Why are Vermont distilleries and liquor stores open during the stay home order?

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Beer, wine, and liquor stores enjoy a place on the list of 80 industries that Gov. Phil Scott exempted from his order to close all non-essential businesses in an effort to slow spread of the coronavirus.

For many readers, seeing them appeared alongside grocery stores and gas stations brought up questions.

When asked in a Friday news briefing about the reason for exempting liquor stores from the March 25 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, Scott said in part that it was due to their connection to other essential businesses.

“Some of the liquor stores are attached to grocery stores, so we’re keeping both of them open at the same time,” Scott said. 

Similarly, Scott remarked that a few Vermont distilleries were taking initiative and producing hand sanitizer in their sites.  

“We’re very fortunate to have those businesses that do that,” Scott said. 

Smugglers’ Notch Distillery in Burlington was one of the first Vermont businesses to pivot toward providing hand sanitizer for essential workers such as emergency responders, pharmacists and police officers.

Others such as Caledonia Spirits have joined into the effort as well. On its website, the Montpelier-based distiller is offering customers ways to purchase hand sanitizer that will go directly toward health care workers in need of the product. 

This story may be updated.

Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or ebakuli@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.

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