Congressman Peter Welch heard from over 150 businesses in the state’s tourism industry during a remote Vermont Chamber Tourism Town Hall on April 2 about how COVID-19 is affecting Vermont. The Town Hall, recorded here, was an opportunity for tourism businesses to further Congressman Welch’s understanding of COVID-19’s impact, share ideas, and help shape what future assistance will look like.
Congressman Welch thoughtfully responded to questions submitted by registrants and committed to taking the issues and ideas back to Congress with him.
Congressman Welch said, “It’s a hard time in Vermont and around the world as we face the COVID-19 pandemic together. Public health rightly remains the urgent priority of legislators, but it is also our responsibility to help Vermont’s businesses survive. Vermont’s tourism businesses are owned by our neighbors, our friends, and our families. We need to listen carefully to their concerns and be strong advocates during these challenging times.”
The industry asked Congressman Welch to help them with grant funding rather than loans to help them re-open and re-hire once the Stay Home, Stay Safe order is lifted. Other issues were funding tourism promotion during the recovery, addressing the disincentive to return to work in the new unemployment insurance law, and speeding up the access to SBA loans.
Amy Spear said, “Tourism represents one of the largest contributions of out-of-state money into the state’s economy, bringing significant revenue to communities statewide. When our tourism industry is impacted, as it is now by COVID-19, the impact is felt throughout Vermont. The Vermont Chamber is hard at work keeping tourism businesses informed of changes to the way they do business and pushing for financial and regulatory relief to keep the industry on solid ground.”