Larger restaurant wages whack earnings—some warn extra ache continues to be forward

Employees prepare orders for customers at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in Hollywood, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Customers are returning to restaurants in droves, but workers are not, putting even more pressure on fast food chains to hold market share and protect profits while navigating a tight labor market.

In the past two weeks, restaurant managers have painted a bleak picture of the personnel challenges investors face in their profit calls. CEOs like Domino’s Pizza Ritch Allison, Chipotle Mexican Grills Brian Nickol and MC Donalds Chris Kempczinski shared how restaurants have cut opening times, restricted ordering methods, and lost sales because they couldn’t find enough workers. Some chains have been hit harder by the labor shortage, such as Brands International’s restaurant Popeyes, that saw about 40% of its dining rooms closed due to lack of staff.

“Here we separate the wheat from the chaff,” says Kevin McCarthy, an analyst at Neuberger Berman.

Raising wages is a popular approach to personnel problems, although not a perfect solution. McDonald’s wages at its franchise restaurants have risen about 10% so far this year to attract workers. Higher labor costs have resulted in higher menu prices, up about 6% year over year, according to McDonald’s executives.

Starbucks plans to spend around $ 1 billion on improving services for its baristas in fiscal 2021 and 2022, including two planned wage increases. The decision reduced the earnings forecast for fiscal year 2022, disappointing investors and save $ 8 billion in market cap. McCarthy believes, however, that more companies should take a page out of the company’s playbook and invest in their people.

“The stock is in the red, but I think they are a winner. Big step on your part, definitely the right decision in the long run,” he said.

McCarthy said he expected restaurant businesses to lose about 5 points in traffic due to staff shortages.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2021 and into 2022, most publicly traded restaurants expect the problem to persist for at least a few more quarters. Texas Roadhouse CEO Gerald Morgan told analysts on Thursday that there are “a bit” more people in the pool of applicants, but he still believes there is still a long way to go before the company has enough people to meet demand.

Mark Kalinowski, founder of Kalinowski Equity Research, said executives at privately owned restaurant companies are more pessimistic about the timing of the labor market recovery.

“When high-ranking people in private companies say it is getting worse, it usually is,” Kalinowski said.

He has slashed estimates for Starbucks’ fiscal 2022 results and Domino’s U.S. revenue growth for the next quarter, according to the company’s latest earnings reports.

“Not every company will inevitably see a change in its sales forecast, but the margin side has to be considered more closely, especially for concepts that have 100% company-owned locations in the US or are primarily company transactions,” said Kalinowski.

Kalinowski said he prefers stocks with a higher concentration of franchise restaurants. McDonald’s, for example, only operates 5% of its US locations, while the rest is operated by franchisees.

More restaurant income is still ahead. Owner of an outback steakhouse Bloomin ‘brands, Wing stop and Applebees owners Your brands and IHOP parents Your brands are among the companies expected to release their latest results next week. Some analysts, like Wedbush Securities’s Nick Setyan, have revised their estimates in light of earnings reports from peer companies.

Hurricane Ida causes provide shortages, officers warn of lengthy restoration

A rescue team member helps evacuate a woman after Hurricane Ida on Jan.

Marco Bello | Reuters

Communities in the southeast have been hit by Hurricane Ida after the storm system devastated power grids and water systems in the scorching heat.

More than a million customers in Louisiana were without power, like that PowerOutage.us. About 52,000 power losses in Mississippi.

Since Ida hit land on Sunday, utility teams have moved in to assess the damage to the city’s electricity grid, a process that will likely take days, according to the electricity company Entergy. The restoration of the electrical transmission will “take much longer,” said the company in a tweet on Monday.

In the meantime, eighteen water systems have failed, affecting more than 312,000 people, and another 14 systems serving 329,000 people have been under boiling water advice Associated Press reported. Local residents are rushing to find fresh drinking water and ice, as well as long-life food.

Petrol for filling cars or generators is also becoming more and more difficult. That is, regional prices are expected temporarily rise, said the American Automotive Association.

“There’s no point in staying,” one resident told CNBC Frank Holland when refueling. “Our water is rubbish. It’s just too hard to stay here.”

Highway 51 will flood in LaPlace, Louisiana after Hurricane Ida on August 30, 2021.

Mickey Welsh | Montgomery Advertiser | USA TODAY network via Reuters

All of this happens in the sweltering late summer heat. Heat warnings were in effect for some parts of Louisiana and Mississippi where heat index values ​​could reach 106 degrees.

Ida hit land over Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a Category 4 storm with winds reaching 250 mph, one of the strongest storms to hit the region since Hurricane Katrina, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The storm has been downgraded to a tropical depression and is moving across the Tennessee River Valley and is expected to trigger heavy rainfall in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and through the central Atlantic region through Wednesday.

Winter flu season may very well be huge, consultants warn

Medics in a pneumonia ward in the Philippines.

Ezra Acayan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON – Mass vaccination campaigns are being carried out in the developed world, but many countries are still grappling with spikes in coronavirus infections and new strains, such as the highly infectious Delta variant.

And now health experts are warning the public that a very difficult flu season could also be ahead.

“There is great uncertainty about the 2021-2022 flu season,” epidemiologist Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas’ Covid-19 modeling consortium, told CNBC.

“As with Covid, when someone recovers from a seasonal flu infection, they retain a certain level of immunity, at least for a short time, which protects them from future infections. Since our covid containment measures prevented the flu from spreading over the past year, there aren’t “a whole lot of people who recently got infected,” she said.

“So we can enter the flu season with a higher vulnerability than usual, which could exacerbate the risks,” she added.

Meyers believes that whether the flu season is more severe this year or not could depend on how the virus evolves as well as decisions on a personal level.

“As we have learned from the past 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the choices we make as individuals and communities can have a huge impact on the fate of an outbreak. We can and should do our part to prevent a disastrous flu season “by getting vaccinated early this fall and taking sensible precautions if and when the virus spreads widespread,” she said.

“Our experience with Covid can lead to behavior changes that work in our favor. People may be more willing to take flu vaccines and wear face masks or take other precautions to prevent transmission during high season.”

Get ready

The alarm about a potentially bad winter flu season was raised in June by Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer.

“Either we will have a very significant increase in Covid, people will minimize their contacts and we will have less respiratory virus, or people will go back to a more normal life, there will be some Covids, but beyond that we will go back to” one Flu surge, an RSV surge (Respiratory Syncytial Virus, a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms) in children, and so on. “

“I think we have to be aware and adjust to the fact that the coming winter can be a difficult one,” he said.

Flu numbers from the US and England show that influenza cases have decreased during the pandemic, largely due to the social distancing measures in place, which are helping to stop the transmission. During the 2019-2020 flu season, the US has Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that influenza and pneumonia (a life-threatening flu complication that often affects the elderly) will be linked to 38 million illnesses, 405,000 hospital admissions and 22,000 deaths. The CDC stressed that the numbers are only estimates.

But regarding the 2020-2021 season, the CDC told CNBC that due to the low level of influenza activity last winter, there wasn’t enough flu or flu-related hospitalizations in the United States to use a model to estimate US flu exposure for 2020- 2021. “

“We can say that the low level of flu activity during the 2020-2021 season has contributed to dramatically fewer flu cases, hospital admissions and deaths compared to previous flu seasons,” Lynnette Brammer, team leader of the CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team, told CNBC on Tuesday.

“For example, in the three seasons leading up to the pandemic, the peak percentage of respiratory viruses that tested positive for flu every week was between 26.2% and 30.3%. However, last season, the percentage of respiratory viruses that tested positive for flu remained lower than “0.4% during each week of a typical flu season.”

In England and Wales for comparison, deaths from influenza and pneumonia in 2018 were 29,516 in England and Wales and 26,398 in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics. Similar to the US, there was a sharp drop in 2020 with 15,437 deaths related to (and due to) influenza and pneumonia.

Whitty’s comments were taken up by Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London who has also advised the UK government on its Covid strategy.

He agreed that “seasonal influenza is likely to be a major problem” when it comes fall and winter.

“All the measures we have taken against Covid around the world have brought the flu to a very low level and basically no one got the flu in the last year, so the immunity has dropped a little … I think we have to go to one Be prepared for potentially quite significant flu. “Epidemic later this year,” he told the BBC show “Today” in late June.

What’s coming?

It’s hard to predict what will happen during the 2021-22 flu season, said CDC’s Brammer, but the CDC is “preparing for flu virus circulation to return to pre-pandemic levels” as some respiratory viruses are already circulating again Pre-pandemic stages.

“We think something similar could happen with the flu, especially as community efforts to contain it continue to relax. , which also circulated at a low level in the 2020-2021 season, is increasing. This increase is outside of the typical season, “she noted.

Several factors “could make the upcoming flu season more severe than usual,” Brammer said:

  • Antibodies that protect against flu decrease over time.
  • Immunity to a flu shot decreases faster than immunity to a natural infection.
  • Since there was little flu virus activity last season, the immunity of adults (especially those who were not vaccinated last season) now depends on exposure to virus two or more seasons earlier.
  • Young children also have lower immunity to the flu. They may not have previously been vaccinated or have had natural exposure. If children return to school and potentially become infected, there could be a higher number of children who have not previously been exposed to the flu and therefore have lower immunity, which could exacerbate illness.

“We know that the flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu and its potentially serious complications,” added Brammer.

VPSO officers warn enterprise house owners to look at for counterfeit cash

VERMILION PARISH, (KLFY) – The Vermilion Parish Sheriffs Office is issuing a public notice calling local residents and business owners on the lookout for counterfeit cash.

This came after a business owner deposited money into his bank but was notified that one of the bills was a scam.

Eddie Langlinais of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office said the case is being investigated.

The circumstances make it difficult to find a suspect.

“There were several people who brought in cash that day and the gentlemen did not register who gave him the money for these purposes,” said Langlinais. “It’s almost impossible to find out who gave him this fake $ 100 currency.”

LPSS expands food distribution for the remainder of the academic year

Langlinais says such cases don’t happen often in the community, but business owners should be aware of this. There are many ways to determine if it is counterfeit.

“Hold the currency out,” he said. “You can look at the strip to see if it is the real currency or not.”

Businesses can also use scanners to determine if someone is trying to pay for something with counterfeit money.

“They are not 100% reliable, but they are better than nothing.”

Secret Service offers one PDF to download The name “Know Your Money” refers to important functions with which you can determine whether an invoice is real or false.

The Newest: US well being officers warn of false positives | Your Cash

WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials are warning health professionals about the risk of false positive results with a widely used laboratory test for COVID-19 and flu.

The Food and Drug Administration issued the alert to Friday for health facilities using Roche’s cobas test for coronavirus and seasonal flu. The agency warned that problems with the test’s processing tubes could result in false diagnosis in people who are not actually infected.

Roche’s testing system is widely used to screen large batches of patient samples in hospitals and laboratories.

The FDA recommends health workers test samples multiple times to help assure accuracy. If the test delivers conflicting results it may indicate a problem and use should be discontinued, the agency says.

———

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— WHO grants emergency use of J&J vaccine

— White House says it will direct states to allow shots for May 1

— AP-NORC Poll: People of color bear burnt of virus economic toll

— The pandemic has taken a huge toll on children’s mental health.

——

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

———

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LAS VEGAS — Nevada’s top coronavirus official didn’t guarantee the state can meet President Joe Biden’s goal of offering a vaccination to every adult who wants a shot by May 1, but he said it gives everyone something to work toward.

COVID-19 Task Force chief Caleb Cage says everything depends on vaccine allocations. Seventeen new COVID-19 deaths were reported statewide Friday, bringing the pandemic total in Nevada to almost 5,100.

The number of cases statewide is nearing 300,000, while Nevada also passed the 575,000 mark in vaccines initiated.

State officials say almost 324,000 Nevadans, or more than 10% of the state population, are now fully vaccinated.

——

DES MOINES, Iowa — More than 1 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Iowa, even as residents who qualify struggle to make appointments for a shot.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said Friday that Iowa has administered 1.03 million doses.

The milestone reflects significant increases in vaccine supplies but it’s unclear how the state will handle surging demand as more adults become eligible in the coming months. Iowa has no centralized system for people to secure a vaccine appointment.

Gov. Kim Reynolds dismissed an early plan to pay Microsoft to set up a statewide registration and appointment scheduling program. Instead, the state set up a website that offers information about where to get vaccines but leaves scheduling to individuals.

President Joe Biden said Thursday evening that he expects the nation to have sufficient vaccine supply by May 1 so anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to schedule an appointment. Reynolds said Iowa could beat that deadline if vaccine supply increases and remains stable.

It’s unclear whether Iowa is prepared to handle such a volume of people when there already appears to be a bottleneck setting up appointments.

———

WASHINGTON — Former White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx is joining the George W. Bush Institute as a senior fellow.

Birx, who was tapped by former Vice President Mike Pence to manage the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, clashed with President Donald Trump and other officials who moved to set aside science and promote “reopening” the country. Birx, who initially was interested in a job in the Biden administration, faced criticism for not speaking out more forcefully against the former president’s guidance.

The former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Birx had previously overseen the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and led the government’s engagement with international partners on addressing other communicable diseases.

Birx will work on the institute’s public health work, as well as policy efforts to study “how to better position our country to tackle health disparities in the future based off the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

———

SAN FRANCISCO — California on Friday announced it has administered 2 million vaccine doses to people in vulnerable, low-income ZIP codes.

This will allow counties to more quickly reopen activities such as indoor dining and indoor gyms at reduced capacity.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that he would set aside 40% of vaccine for residents of some 400 ZIP codes the state deems most vulnerable. The point is to tie reopening standards to ensure that the people most impacted by the pandemic are protected against the virus.

By hitting the 2 million mark, the state will reassess counties and allow them to move to the red tier within 48 hours instead of waiting until Tuesday.

Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous with 10 million residents, said the earliest it would allow museums, gyms, movie theaters and restaurants to open indoors at limited capacity is Monday.

———

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana is telling its coronavirus vaccine providers that they must get shots in arms within a week of receiving the doses or risk getting blocked from receiving future shipments of the vaccine.

The state health department sent a notice Thursday to the hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other community providers of the coronavirus vaccine detailing the state’s expectations. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office provided a copy of the notification Friday to The Associated Press.

State health department data shows nearly 18% of the state’s total population has received at least the first dose of vaccines that often require two shots. But Louisiana lags many other states in distributing doses.

———

PARIS — France’s public health watchdog is recommending the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson to be injected into all people over 18, including the elderly.

In guidance issued Friday, France’s High Authority for Health said the one-dose shot should be preferentially administrated in areas where the virus is spreading fast.

The vaccine, which has been approved Thursday by the European Medicines Agency, is not expected to be delivered in the country before mid-April.

France is already using vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The country has injected at least one shot to 9,2 % of its population over 18.

Prime Minister Jean Castex expressed concerns Friday over the “very serious situation” the Paris region, where virus patients occupy 95% of intensive care units. Some patients are about to be transferred to hospitals in other parts of France, he said, adding that the government is ready to impose new restrictions if needed.

The country is under a national 6 p.m. curfew and authorities have ordered an additional weekend lockdown in parts of the French Riviera and in northern France. France has been among countries with the highest death tolls, with at least 90,146 lives lost.

———

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s federal government says it has reached a deal to purchase 10 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, though the shot is yet to be approved by the South American nation’s health agency.

The Brazilian Health Ministry said on Twitter Friday that the jabs will be imported by União Química, a company that has lobbied the government to purchase the vaccines, though its own experience is based on other medical products.

Brazil’s government expects to receive 400,000 shots in April, 2 million in May and another 7.6 million by June.

The ministry said it would also evaluate possible production of thge Sputnik V vaccine by União Química plants in Brazil.

Brazil has already secured contracts for 200 million vaccine doses, half made by AstraZeneca and half by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

———

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama is expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to more frontline workers, residents with certain chronic health conditions, and people 55 and older later this month, state officials announced Friday.

“We have been concerned that many people at high risk and others engaged in close-contact work have not been eligible to receive the vaccine yet, but with the additional vaccine supply we are better able to meet the needs of Alabama residents,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.

The expansion, starting March 22, will add over 2 million people to the groups who can receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Alabama, roughly doubling the number of people now eligible.

The dramatic increase in the number of people eligible comes at a time when demand continues to exceed supply and will increase the competition to find shots.

State Health Officer Scott Harris said Alabama expanded eligibility because of the expectations of the public — particularly as they see people in other states getting shots — and health officials’ expectation that the supply will jump over the coming weeks.

The new eligible groups include more frontline workers; people 55 and older; those with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and residents age 16 to 64 with certain high-risk medical conditions. The qualifying medical conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, smoking, obesity, sickle cell disease and heart conditions.

———

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan announced Friday that all residents age 16 and up will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 5, nearly a month before the May 1 date pledged by President Joe Biden.

People age 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities will qualify starting March 22, when 50- to 64-year-olds can begin getting shots under a previous announcement. Two days later, March 24, a federally selected regional mass vaccination site will open at Detroit’s Ford Field to administer an additional 6,000 doses a day for two months.

The U.S. is expecting to have enough doses for adults by the end of May, but Biden has warned the process of actually administering those doses will take time. As of Wednesday, about 22% of Michigan’s 16-plus population had been fully or partially vaccinated.

The state health department said it may take “several weeks” beyond April 5 for everyone who wants the vaccine to get an appointment.

The site in Detroit will operate 12 ½ hours every day for eight weeks, vaccinating at least 168,000 people with two Pfizer shots, potentially more if a one-dose vaccine is used in the final two weeks. Detroit was selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is prioritizing vulnerable areas.

———

GENEVA — The World Health Organization granted an emergency use listing for the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, meaning the one-dose shot can be used as part of the international COVAX effort to distribute vaccines globally, including to developing countries with no supplies.

In a statement on Friday, the U.N. health agency said “the ample data from large clinical trials” shows the J&J vaccine is effective in adult populations. The emergency use listing comes a day after the European Medicines Agency recommended the shot be given the green light across the 27-country European Union. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the J&J vaccine an emergency authorization last month.

A massive study that spanned three continents found the J&J vaccine was 85% effective in protecting against severe illness, hospitalization and death. That protection remained strong even in countries such as South Africa with variants.

The U.N.-backed COVAX effort previously announced it had an initial agreement with J&J to provide 500 million doses, but it’s not legally binding.

———

ATLANTA — U.S. health officials have posted more specific COVID-19 guidance for preschools and other childcare programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending very young children and childcare workers are placed in groups that stay together throughout an entire day. It is similar guidance applied to schools with older students.

The guidance is more emphatic about wearing masks, calls on all childcare workers to get vaccinated and issues more information about the importance of ventilation.

The guidance was issued Friday, replacing advisory documents the CDC posted last summer.

It’s meant for programs that care for children before they start kindergarten. That includes preschool programs and home-based family childcare programs.

———

GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization called on countries not to limit the exportation of critical vaccine ingredients, calling it “one of the major challenges we need to solve” amid a finite supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the U.N. health agency met this week with its partners, industry representatives and others to identify potential solutions to the shortages. Tedros says there were shortages in materials including glass vials, plastic filters and other elements.

“The sudden increase in demand for vaccine production has led to a shortage of these and other supplies,” Tedros says.

He says limiting the production of COVID-19 vaccines was restricting the available supply and could possibly jeopardize the production of routine vaccines for childhood diseases.

———

ROME — Italy’s new premier has pledged to triple the number of daily vaccinations administered daily throughout the country as coronavirus cases rise.

Mario Draghi inspected a vaccination center at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport on Friday and noted the pace, now running 170,000 shots daily, had picked up this month.

Italy’s medicines agency blocked use of one batch of AstraZeneca vaccines, after “several grave adverse events” were reported, Draghi says, describing it as a “precautional decision” in line with other European nations.

Meanwhile, Italy is tightening COVID-19 restrictions for Easter weekend as many hospitals warn they’re running out of ICU beds for coronavirus patients.

The government decided at a Cabinet meeting the entire nation will be under strict ‘’red zone’’ rules the Easter weekend of April 3-5. The day after Easter, called ‘’Little Easter,’’ is a national holiday when many Italians travel for vacations or gather in parks or at beaches for picnics with friends and families. Travel between regions is already banned under previous restrictions.

———

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration says it has the authority to direct states to open up their vaccine supply to all adult Americans by May 1 using the same mechanism it used to order teachers and childcare workers eligible this month.

States are required to distribute the federally provided vaccines in accordance with guidelines set by the Department of Health and Human Services. The department will issue a directive that states allow all adults to be vaccinated under their eligibility criteria by May 1.

The federal government also controls supply directly through the federal retail pharmacy program, federally-run mass vaccination sites and federally qualified community health centers. It could use those mechanisms as well to expand eligibility

———

PRAGUE — The health authorities in the Czech Republic have administered over 1 million coronavirus vaccine shots.

Health Minister Jan Blatny says the vaccination program is picking up speed. So far, almost 288,000 people in the nation of 10.7 million received both shots.

The number of shots surpassed 44,000 in the previous two days, a record. Blatny says the country will receive 1.13 million vaccines of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca in March. The country expects another 2.1 million in April when the first batch of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson is scheduled to arrive.

The minister says unlike some other countries, the Czech Republic will continue administering AstraZeneca vaccines.

There were 11,083 new cases reported on Thursday. The country has 22,865 confirmed deaths.

Vermont Small Companies Will Should Wait Months for Aid Cash, Lawmakers Warn

click to enlarge

  • Tim Newcomb © ️ Seven Days

Members of Congress are putting the finishing touches on a $ 1.9 trillion aid package that could be finalized Tuesday in the US House of Representatives.

But Vermont lawmakers are already warning small business owners it could be midsummer before they see any cash relief. Legislators must decide how and through which programs to divide their expected $ 1.3 billion stake in the pot, a process that can take months, House spokeswoman Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) warned during one virtual meeting of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

“This is the part that we really struggled with in the last session: the time it took [state lawmakers] to put the rules together, ”said Krowinski.

Last year, Vermont received a $ 1.25 billion share of the $ 2 trillion CARES bill passed by Congress in March 2020. It wasn’t until the beginning of July that the first corporate grants began to accept applications.

A similar scenario could also play out this time, said Krowinski.

“Even if the money is approved in April or May, we may not get it until later in the summer,” she said.

It’s not early enough for business owners who last applied for grants this fall, said Kim Donahue, co-owner of the Inn at Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield.

“That’s really not okay,” said Donahue, who heard the same time estimate on a phone call to other property owners on Monday morning. “We already have an enormous need.”

Many small business owners are pinning their hopes on an economic development package that is now going through the Vermont Senate that includes $ 10 million in grants for businesses that were ineligible for state or federal COVID-19 grants in the past year. The Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee was due to hear testimony on the bill on Tuesday.

Money for company “safety net” customs toward approval at Vermont House

Money for company “safety net” customs toward approval at Vermont House

By Anne Wallace Allen

From message

Once the federal COVID-19 law goes into effect, the U.S. Treasury Department will have 30 days to get the money to the states. Next, Governor Phil Scott would make recommendations to lawmakers, said Joan Goldstein, commissioner for the Department of Economic Development. The legislature would then have to set priorities and create grant programs.

Last year, the Commerce and Community Development Agency provided approximately $ 340 million to Vermont’s small businesses through such programs.

Goldstein said she was concerned about the hospitality businesses that have been closed or severely restricted for a year.

“We know that anyone whose business has anything to do with restaurants, lodging, gatherings, entertainment and transportation – all of these hurt,” she said. “Even if they got money beforehand, they’ll probably need more money before everything opens up. Property characteristics say they are 10 percent occupied. People just don’t come. ”

Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Windham) said lawmakers will try to do as much work in advance as possible to expedite the process. They may have to return to the virtual statehouse in August like last year.

“I don’t think that’s what anyone wants, but we might have to keep the budget open, maybe come back,” said Balint. “We just don’t know yet. it’s too early. ”

Even with the practice of creating the programs, Goldstein said, it will be months before lawmakers decide where and how to spend the money. Vermont’s annual budget is generally around $ 6 billion, and policymakers aren’t used to spending an extra billion on programs like education, childcare, and broadband.

“I don’t expect it to be weeks. It will take months, ”said Goldstein. “There will be hearings; there will be testimony. It is a lot of money.”