Free Press editor: How our company is supporting Vermont small business during the coronavirus

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Dear Reader,

Let’s talk about how people’s livelihoods have been altered by the new coronavirus.

Numerous health experts have explained the wisdom of slowing the virus’ spread through physical distancing and governmental actions, like the orders Gov. Phil Scott made to close restaurants, gyms and clothing stores. Still, our collective prescription for fighting COVID-19, the name of the disease that can develop in those exposed to the virus, has troubling economic effects.

The impact of these closures has yet to be fully realized, but we got a snapshot in the number of Vermonters who filed for unemployment the week that bars and restaurants suspended on-site service

More than 3,784 Vermonters were processed for unemployment benefits on the week that straddled that March 17 order. That’s nearly five times more than the number of claims processed the previous week. And both those numbers could skyrocket, a Department of Labor official warned, because the the unemployment center still has as many as 11,000 unprocessed claims.

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Gannett, owner of the Free Press and about 260 daily local news properties, has launched a website to help communities bolster small businesses shuttered, or operating in a limited capacity, due to the pandemic.

The Support Local website (supportlocal.usatoday.com) allows users to buy gift cards from businesses in their community for use at a later time. Visitors and business owners can add establishments to the platform.

The site — which provides free business listings — allows you to search by city, and filter by categories such as restaurants, bars and cafes. It currently promotes the purchase of gift cards and will be adding additional features like special hours, remote access, delivery services, and special offers as alternative means to provide support.

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Quarantine is a great time to get ahead on shopping for birthdays … heck … even Christmas. Or maybe just buy yourself a really nice meal for when this is all over.

Until then, wishing you strength and resilience.

Yours,

Emilie

Contact Emilie Stigliani at 802-660-1897 or estigliani@freepressmedia.com. Follow on Twitter: @EmilieStigliani.

All coverage of the coronavirus is being provided for free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Free Press. 

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