COVID-19 RESOURCES.

This page is updated frequently with the latest business resources. Please contact us if you have any content you think should be here–and of course if you have any questions or need business guidance or assistance.

LATEST NEWS.

1/7/2021
Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center (VTPAC) announces its January Webinars:

11/23/2020

  • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2020
    3:00 – 4:00 PM Pandemic Information & Webinar Series for Vermont Businesses
    • Please join the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development for a weekly webinar series focused on health and commerce pandemic updates for the business community. Decision makers from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Health, and the Department of Public Safety will provide updates and be available to answer your questions. This webinar is designed for business owners and organizations that primarily serve businesses. To help us serve you better during the webinar, please consider submitting your questions ahead of time.  Businesses joining the webinar by phone must enter their questions using this link ahead of time, as only those participating via the Microsoft Teams online platform will be able to ask real-time questions.

10/22/2020

Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court invite you to an upcoming webinar: How Chapter 12 Can Protect and Transform the Farm
Friday, November 6
12 to 1:30 p.m. ET
Via Zoom; register here

9/18/2020

Governor Scott announced the Restart Vermont Technical Assistance Program (ReVTA) that will provide technical assistance to hundreds of Vermont businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.  The state’s regional development corporations (RDCs) have been tasked with deploying $1.17 million in technical assistance funding which was provided through the federal CARES Act.

The program will leverage a regional and statewide network of technical assistance (TA) providers. TA includes, but is not limited to, assistance for business operations, financial management, digital and marketing strategies, architecture and design, reconfiguring products or processes, updating safety measures, technology and software consulting, and legal or professional services.

9/15/2020

  • The Buy Local Vermont program drew an overwhelming response as soon as the program went live last week. Almost 12,000 Vermonters received discount offers to support local businesses in their communities. ACCD has released a status report that shows economic activity happening above the average $30 gift amount per customer. Vermonters who have redeemed their gifts thus far have spent 53% more than the value of the discount, resulting in approximately $1.50 in economic activity for local businesses for every $1 invested in the program in just the first week.
  • The Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) in Hardwick, Vermont is offering micro-grants for farms impacted by COVID-19. If farms are shifting their marketing approach, please consider applying to CAE’s Market Development & Sales Innovation Micro-Grant program to help fund new innovative marketing solutions. These grants are available to most Vermont farmers on a first-come, first-served basis.

9/11/2020

The application is now open for the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets’ Capital Equipment Assistance Program. Up to $1,000,000 is available in funding for new or innovative equipment for nutrient management planning. Eligible recipients include farms, custom applicators, non-profit organizations, and other related businesses. Applications are due (or postmarked) by November 1, 2020. Details and the application are available at agriculture.vermont.gov/ceap

9/4/2020

ACCD is continuing to encourage interested businesses to sign up now for the #BuyLocalVermont program. More than 1,000 businesses have registered thus far. Businesses can enroll to take part in the program now, which will launch to consumers September 8, 2020 at 11:00am. For full details on the process to sign up, and to find an informational slide deck and webinar, visit the ACCD Recovery Resource Center. ACCD is also encouraging lodging establishments statewide to sign up to participate. National franchises that are Vermont owned and operated are now eligible. Establishments must be domiciled and have their primary place of business in Vermont and have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and economic crisis.

9/2/2020

  • ACCD posted updated guidance clarifying the mask regulations in retail when a sneeze guard is in use, requiring face masks for all organized sports, and detailing contact tracing requirements for event venues. Please visit the ACCD Work Safe memo to review all current guidance in place.
  • ACCD is continuing to encourage interested businesses to sign up now for the #BuyLocalVermont program, intended to drive more sales at local restaurants, retail stores, entertainment and performing arts venues, as well as lodging and tourism-related businesses, through savings offerings. More than 800 businesses have registered thus far. Businesses can enroll to take part in the program now, which will launch to consumers on September 8th. For full details on the process to sign up, and to find an informational slide deck and webinar, visit the ACCD Recovery Resource Center. The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing has launched a complete redesign of the Stay & Play Directory on the Vermont Vacation website. The online vacation planning tool features a searchable database of Vermont lodging, dining, attractions, recreation, and shopping, and is searched thousands of times each month by potential travelers to Vermont. New features include extensive filters and the ability to book lodging right from the directory. The directory was produced in conjunction with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, but any business can create a listing for free using this form.

8/26/2020

VCW’s Education & Human Development Committee has created three new one-page publications covering the facts about Vermont women, COVID-19, child care, parenting, and Vermont’s economic recovery.

8/18/2020

  • Governor Phil Scott, ACCD, and the Department of Taxes today announced an increase to the maximum grant award for Economic Recovery Grants for Vermont businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in the maximum grant award is available to businesses in the lodging, retail, hospitality, arts, travel and event affiliated sectors that have continued capacity constraints.
    • Previously, businesses could receive up to $50,000 in grant funds. Now, businesses in eligible industries can receive up to an additional $100,000 in grant funding, for a total of $150,000 from the program. The increased maximum award is available both to new applicants to the program and to those businesses that have already received a $50,000 grant.
    • All businesses that received a $50,000 grant award from the Department of Taxes are eligible to request an increase to the new maximum award amount and can do so through myVTax starting today. Starting Monday, August 24, 2020 ACCD will be contacting eligible businesses that already received a $50,000 grant notifying that the supplemental grant funding may be available.
    • If a business has not applied for a grant yet, you can still do so at the ACCD website.
  • ACCD has launched the Restart Vermont Regional Marketing and Stimulus Grant Program. The program will provide $500,000 in grants to organizations for efforts and activities related to economic recovery, consumer stimulus, marketing, or tourism projects to support businesses that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19.
    • Eligible applicants include downtown organizations, chambers of commerce, regional development corporations, municipal economic development/community development departments and committees, local community/economic development organizations, statewide business organizations, or other similar groups.
    • The application window is now open and the deadline to apply is August 31st. For full eligibility requirements and application process, please visit the ACCD Business Recovery Resource Center.
    • An informational webinar about the program will be held on Thursday, August 20th.
  • Governor Phil Scott announced $8 million in available grant funding to assist Vermonters with overdue utility bills as a result of economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide 100% of eligible outstanding arrearages that are more than 60 days overdue for regulated utility customers with delinquent balances who may face disconnection of service.

8/14/2020

Governor Phil Scott announced that the COVID-19 State of Emergency has been extended to September 15, 2020, as well as additional local discretion for gathering size limits and liquor sales. The latest order enables cities and towns to enact stricter local limits for gathering sizes than those established by the State. Municipalities may also mandate shorter hours for the sale of alcohol by bars and clubs than those set forth by the Department of Liquor and Lottery.

8/11/2020

  • Governor Scott releases updates for safe and healthy school reopening guidelines.
  • The Department of Taxes is offering municipalities two grants programs, one for the digitization of records (deadline September 1st) and another for reimbursement of COVID-19 related expenses (deadline September 4th). Visit the Department of Taxes website for full details
  • Agricultural fair organizations that were registered with Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and operating as of March 1, 2020 are eligible to apply for assistance due to lost revenues or expenses accrued due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The application deadline is Thursday, August 20th.
  • Economic Recovery Grants administered by ACCD and the Department of Taxes are available to Vermont businesses who have experienced a 50% or greater drop in total revenue in any one-month period from March 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020, when compared with the same month in 2019. Businesses with at least one W-2 employee, including those who are an owner, are encouraged to apply.

8/7/2020

  • Governor Scott and the Department for Children and Families today announced the launch of the Operational Relief Grant Program, funded with $12 million from the federal CARES Act, to help child care programs offset pandemic-related expenses and losses. The application is open now through August 26th and award notices are anticipated by September 11th. Eligible applicants include child care and after school programs, summer day camps, parent child centers and agencies that serve as fiscal agents for local Children’s Integrated Services.
  • The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) has opened the application for the Forest Economy Stabilization Grant program. Qualifying businesses must meet eligibility criteria and grant award calculations will be based on actual demonstrated economic harm during the pandemic. A recording of an informational webinar for applicants will be posted on FPR’s website and FAQs are available.
  • The 6th annual Open Farm Week is August 10 – 16. This year’s offerings will focus on events appropriate for the current pandemic-related guidelines: tours, picnics, farm trails, virtual/online events (workshops, guided tastings, etc.), social media posts/stories, and perhaps some other creative ideas. Vermonters can support local farmers at dozens of events scheduled across the state.

8/5/2020

The Local Support and Community Action Team of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force is launching a series of virtual forums, facilitated by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, in every county across the state to: share challenges and ideas for community recovery; connect to others working to respond, recover, and build long-term resilience; and meet with a “visiting team” of state, federal, business, and non-profit leaders who will share recovery strategies from across the state, and ideas for resources and support. Each forum will consist of a brief opening session, followed by four 90-minute breakout sessions into topics chosen by regional leaders and representatives, and conclude with a short closing session and share out. All are welcome and encouraged to participate; registration is required. For more information about the forum in Washington County, which will be on September 10th, click here. Registration will open within 2 weeks of the forum date. If you need assistance with registration or have questions about the forum or how to join, please contact info@vtrural.org or call 802-223-6091.

7/31/2020

  • The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) is now taking applications from agricultural fairs organizations who have experienced income loss, additional expenses and event disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the AAFM website for further details.
  • ACCD has signage available for businesses, organizations and partners to help inform patrons and the public that masks will be required beginning August 1st, both indoors and outside, when physical distancing is not possible. The signage options also include posters to help explain why it is important to wear a mask and are part of the larger statewide mask education effort being coordinated through ACCD and the Agency of Human Services.

7/28/2020

  • The Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund is now accepting applications from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) folks living in Vermont and the Northeast. The program is being run through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and the application window is open until August 10th.
  • ACCD has available signage for businesses, organizations, and partners to help inform that masks will be required on August 1st. The signage options also include posters to help explain why it is important to wear a mask and are part of the larger statewide mask education effort being coordinated through ACCD and the Agency of Human Services.

7/27/2020

The Dairy Assistance application has now been live for over a week. Dairy producers and processors are encouraged to apply.  A select group of Vermont Farm and Forest Viability business advisors are prepared to assist interested dairy farmers and processors in completing applications. More information about how to apply is available on the Dairy Assistance webpage.

7/24/2020

Governor Scott announces mandatory masks in Vermont, effective August 1, 2020

7/22/2020

  • ACCD has issued a Notice of Funds Available for Small Business Recovery Technical Assistance. Through this Notice of Funds Available (NOFA), ACCD seeks expert concierge services to assist small businesses assess challenges and utilize technical experts to address those business challenges as a result of COVID-19. Questions related to this NOFA are due this Friday (July 24) by 1:00pm. The deadline for proposals is August 3rd at 1:00pm.
  • The State of Vermont continues to work to educate Vermonters on the importance of wearing masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The Vermont Department of Health has created a toolkit of resources including social media content, newsletter content, and printable posters to help spread the word about mask wearing. If you would like to access these resources for your business, whether to tailor the message to your sector or to hang posters in your business, please contact the State Emergency Operations Center for more information at covid.jic@vermont.gov

7/17/2020

  • Vermont’s new CDBG Sole Proprietor stabilization grant program is designed to assist sole proprietors with no employees that have been impacted by COVID-19 and have remaining unmet needs that can be documented. Businesses will be required to provide a duplication of benefit affidavit to document unmet need.
    • This program will provide grants of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 to qualifying sole proprietors through a Lottery draw. Funds may only be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, utilities, and for retrofitting to meet COVID-19 requirements to re-open and remain open.
  • In preparation for unforeseen business interruptions in the future or a potential resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, a crisis management plan is important for your business long-term. These two webinars will highlight the important pieces you should consider when drafting a plan for your business. You will come away with clear objectives and tools to help create and implement your plan. Registration includes access to both webinars; please use the same link each week. All webinars begin at 1:00pm. 

7/10/2020

Governor Phil Scott, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency today announced $30 million in housing assistance to those affected by COVID-19. The programs utilize federal CARES Act funding to provide relief for those tenants unable to pay rent, landlords suffering from a loss of rent payments, and those lower income homeowners needing assistance in paying the mortgage.

7/1/2020

In The Governor’s address today, he announced that economic recovery grants will be available. The portal should be up and running Monday July 7th. In the meantime, ACCD is hosting a series of webinars to discuss who is eligible and how to apply. The first is tomorrow afternoon.
ACCD Recovery Grant Application
Click here to sign up.

6/29/2020

Vermont Commission of Women releases a data dashboard document tracking the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on women and girls in Vermont.

6/26/2020

As state data and expanded testing and tracing capacity continue to support reopening, Governor Phil Scott announced he will expand the number of states covered under Vermont’s county-by-county quarantine-free travel policy, which allows quarantine-free direct travel from designated counties with less than 400 active cases of COVID-19 per one million residents. Effective July 1, 2020, this policy will be expanded to counties in Delaware; Maryland; New Jersey; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Virginia; Washington, DC; and West Virginia.

6/18/2020

VMEC is offering a new course for Vermont’s small food and beverage manufacturers to help them effectively and confidently navigate their position in the marketplace going forward. The course will focus on the identification of existing barriers for their businesses and will provide instruction on how to apply continuous improvement and problem-solving fundamentals to address those barriers, using examples, and applications that relate to current challenges.
This program is designed to provide the participants with repeatable tools they can use beyond the class to continually improve their operations in a changing environment. Coaching segments will provide practical application to problems that individual businesses are currently addressing. This training is ideal for all levels of leadership and front line supervisors/ managers of Vermont smaller food and beverage manufacturing companies.

Please visit this link to read the full training course description and to register. Attendance is capped at 16 attendees.
For questions, please contact Lisa Henderson, VMEC Director of Client Services, at lhenderson@vmec.org or (802) 299-1456. 

6/17/2020

The US Small Businesses Administration has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19.

6/12/2020

Vermont Tech announces free trainings!

  • Free Manufacturing Training for Parents
    • No cost training for eligible custodial parents and guardians! Includes: Certified Production Technician training (flex online, enrollment dates through July 7), AWS welding (So. Burlington, begins July 6), and CNC machining (online, open enrollment). Training made possible by the Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI), a US DOL program. Email swfi@vtc.edu or visit our website for more details.
  • Free Online Training (for Everyone!)
    • Achieve your career goals with Vermont Tech’s free online trainings. Whether you’re a job seeker or currently employed, we have a training for you! Offerings include:
      • Twelve Steps for a Successful Job Search
      • Managing Customer Service
      • Personal Finance
      • Creating Websites
    • Visit their website and type “free” in the search area. Available through June 30, 2020. (They also have lots of online certificate programs that aren’t free, but may be worth checking out!)
  • Trainings from Continuing Education & Workforce Development
    • Vermont Tech’s CEWD team has a variety of upcoming trainings across various fields, including Agriculture, Business & Leadership, HR, and more. Visit website for more information.

6/9/2020

Join a webinar at 1 p.m. June 11 for an update about the new Main Street Lending Program that will provide liquidity to eligible businesses with up to 15,000 employees and revenues of $5 billion or less. The Program will support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using eligible lenders, this CARES Act program offers several types of four-year term loans ranging from $500,000 to $200 million. Speakers from SBA will also give a Paycheck Protection Program update.  Registration is free, but required.
Register here.

6/5/2020

  • Effective June 8, 2020, Governor Scott has authorized interstate travel to and from New England and New York counties with 400 or fewer active COVID-19 cases per million without quarantine requirements. A map of the approved counties will be updated weekly and posted on ACCD’s website.
  • Vermonters planning to travel to other states should understand that each state may have its own quarantine policy and they should be familiar with, and respect, the quarantine policies of those states.  
  • Visitors will be required to register with Sara Alert for daily reminders from the Vermont Department of Health and must attest to meeting the travel requirements. Lodging occupancy limits will be increased to 50% or 25 total guests and staff, whichever is greater, and health, spacing, group size, and hygiene requirements remain in place. Dining operations at lodging properties must remain at 25% capacity, per existing restaurant guidance.
  • To view the Addendum 17 to Executive Order 01-20, visit https://governor.vermont.gov/content/addendum-17-executive-order-01-20

6/4/2020

Congress passed the PPP Flexibility Act, and it is expected that the President will sign it in the next few days. The bill has key significant changes to the forgiveness portion of the PPP:

  • Maturity Period. The minimum maturity is 5 years, instead of 2 years. This applies only to loans made after the bill is signed into law.
  • Covered Period. The bill changes the “covered period” from the 8 week period beginning on disbursement of the loan to the earlier of (i) the 24 weeks after the origination of the loan or (ii) December 31, 2020. However, the bill allows borrowers who have already received their loans to maintain the original 8 week period if they so choose. While a borrower cannot recalculate the amount it is entitled to borrow, this lengthens the time that it has to spend the amount borrowed and still receive forgiveness. It is unclear whether you can change your covered period if you have already filed for forgiveness.
  • Employee Rehiring Date. The bill changes the date by which employees that were laid off from February 15 – April 26, 2020 must be rehired by in order to achieve maximum forgiveness from June 30 to December 31, 2020. This allows companies significant more time to ramp up their business.
  • Exemption Based on Employee Availability. Under the new changes, loan forgiveness will not be impacted by a reduction in FTEs in the following circumstances:
  • The borrower can document (i) an inability to rehire individuals who were employees of the borrower on February 15, 2020, and (ii) an inability to hire qualified employees for unfilled positions on or before December 31, 2020, or
  • The borrower can document an inability to return to the same level of business activity as it was operating at prior to February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements established or guidance issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration during the period beginning on March 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020, related to the maintenance of standards for sanitation, social distancing, or any other worker or customer safety requirement related to COVID–19.
  • Payroll to Nonpayroll Cost Ratio. To receive loan forgiveness, borrowers must use at least 60% of the loan amount for payroll and 40% for nonpayroll. The prior ratio had been 75% for payroll and 25% for non-payroll. It is unclear if you can take advantage of this change if you have already filed for forgiveness. This new ratio applies over the new extended period.
  • Extended Deferral Period. Payment of principal, interest and fees are deferred until forgiveness is remitted to the lender, only if the borrower applies for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period.
  • Employer Payroll Taxes. The subsection of the CARES Act that prevents a taxpayer from delaying employer payroll taxes if the taxpayer has indebtedness forgiven under the PPP was stricken. This means that PPP borrowers can take advantage of delayed employer payroll taxes even if they are seeking forgiveness.
  • See the full bill text HERE.

6/3/2020

SCORE Vermont will be offering a free webinar for restaurants on Tuesday, June 9th at 10:00am. “Restaurant Survival Strategies Post-COVID” will provide guidance on complying with health and safety requirements and financial models for future breakeven sales level and customer counts.

6/1/2020

  • The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles announced that starting today, Vermonters can take the learner’s permit test online. In addition, the DMV will resume drivers’ exams on June 8th. The Montpelier, South Burlington, and Rutland branch offices will be reopening on June 8th to administer exams by appointment only.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced changes to federal farm loan programs that may provide immediate, short-term relief to some farmers. The changes will allow farmers with existing FSA farm loans to defer their payments for up to a year.
  • The Department of Economic Development will host a virtual town hall on Friday, June 5th at 2:00pm to share updates about the Paycheck Protection Program. Funds are still available for businesses to access. Representatives from the SBA and local banks and credit unions will be available to answer questions.

5/22/2020

Effective today, restaurants and bars may reopen for limited outdoor seating, including for the sale and consumption of alcohol. In addition to existing health and safety requirements for all businesses, outlined by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), reservations or call ahead seating is required with strict limits on table distance and occupancy. Additional safety measures are strongly encouraged, including phone or electronic ordering, takeout service rather than table side delivery of food and cashless or touchless transactions. Operators must also maintain a log of customers and their contact information for 30 days in the event contact tracing is required by the Vermont Department of Health. Establishments serving alcohol will need to file a notice with the Department of Liquor and Lottery prior to reopening for outdoor service.
Effective May 29, hair salons and barber shops may reopen by appointment with limits on occupancy. Again, in addition to existing health and safety requirements for all businesses, ACCD has issued safety measures for hair salons and barbershops, including strict distance between customers, cashless or touchless transactions and curbside pickup for retail sales. As with other businesses, salons and barbershops must maintain a customer log in case contact tracing is required. To view the ACCD’s specific safety guidelines and protocols for all newly opened operations businesses, as well as additional resources, visit accd.vermont.gov.

5/20/2020

Phase I of the Economic Relief and Recovery Package was announced today. Pending legislative approval before becoming reality. 

5/18/2020

The Working Lands Enterprise Board has launched a one-time grant program called COVID-19 Response Business Development Grants. Funding is available for agriculture and forestry businesses to maintain operations while increasing capacity to rebuild and/or recover during an unprecedented time of need. Available funds total $180,000 and eligible grants will be awarded within the range of $5,000 to $25,000. The application period closes on May 31, 2020.

5/15/2020

Governor Phil Scott announced new guidance for the reopening of lodging establishments and cross-border travel. Lodging operations, short-term rentals, campgrounds, and marinas may accept overnight reservations for stays after May 22, 2020 from Vermont residents or those who have met the 14-day quarantine requirement. Details of the lodging and cross-border guidance are available at ACCD’s COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center

5/11/2020

Governor Phil Scott announced today that retail operations can begin reopening starting Monday, May 18th. In coordination with the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Health, ACCD will develop and release guidance this week on how the phased restart will work. Stores will be required to follow all health and safety guidelines and will need to limit the number of people in the store to 25% of a store’s maximum legal capacity.

5/8/2020

  • The SBA has announced that, with the exception of applications from agricultural enterprises, no further EIDL applications will be taken. Agricultural enterprises can apply here. The SBA has also announced that loan amounts will be much smaller than earlier anticipated due to the number of applications submitted.
  • Need information about restarting and reopening in compliance with state and federal guidelines, including how to develop a mandatory reopening plan? Check out the ACCD’s new Restart Vermont Resource website here. Also, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) is offering weekly webinars about reopening, with information that is valuable for all businesses, not just manufacturers. To receive notifications go to their RECOVERY- Daily Operations and Restart FORUM, and click on “BECOME A MEMBER.”

5/6/2020

Governor Phil Scott today announced that outdoor recreation and limited social interactions may resume under strict health and safety precautions, as state modeling continues to indicate a slow in the spread of COVID-19.
While the Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect, if able to comply with outlined safety measures, the Governor’s latest order allows the following social activities to resume:
Gatherings of 10 or fewer. Vermonters may now leave home for outdoor recreation and fitness activities with low or no direct physical contact and to resume limited social interactions and gatherings of 10 or fewer, preferably in outdoor settings that allow for greater physical distancing protocols.
Inter-household socializing. Members of one household may gather – and allow children to play – with members of another trusted household, provided health and safety precautions are followed as much as possible.

5/4/2020

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal has reopened and is accepting applications from agricultural businesses only as a result of funding authorized by Congress.

5/1/2020

Governor Phil Scott announced that Phase III of the effort to reopen Vermont’s economy begins Monday, May 4. The order allows small crews of no more than 10 people per location/job to perform outdoor work and construction work in unoccupied job sites. It also allows manufacturing and distribution operations to resume with a maximum of 10 employees in any location, requiring them to be low-density and ensure they remain six-feet apart at all times. The order also permits supporting operations to continue with a minimum number of employees necessary to support curbside pick-up and delivery services, as well as businesses, nonprofit, and government entities deemed critical to continue to operate under preexisting guidance. Effective May 11, 2020, manufacturing, construction, and distribution operations may restart with as few employees as necessary to permit full operations while continuing to maintain health and safety.

4/26/2020

VOSHA + VT Dept of Health to provide necessary safety & protocol training for all Vermonters returning to work.

4/24/2020

  • The US Senate has unanimously passed an ‘interim’ spending package before the next major stimulus bill, including roughly $484 billion in funding that includes an additional $310 billion of funding for the PPP – $60 billion of which is specifically set aside for small lenders. These changes are expected to be signed into law by 10:30am EST Monday, April 27, 2020.
    • The latest spending package clarifies that food and agriculture producers ARE ELIGIBLE. Food and Agriculture Producers have been and continue to be eligible for PPP loans.
  • The Vermont District Office is receiving a very high level of phone and email volume due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  In response to this situation, a free daily webinar from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday to Friday will be held to discuss SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance. The first webinar starts at 9 a.m. April 24. For more information, email susan.mazza@sba.gov.
    • To join the webinar, visit https://meet.lync.com/sba123/sbmazza/6F6N4YK6.
    • To join by phone, call (202) 765-1264 and when prompted enter the code 470177937#. Upon joining the call, mute the phone to cut down on the background noise and please do not place the call on hold as the hold music will be heard over the presenter.

4/22/2020

On Friday, April 24th at 2pm, Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein will host a virtual town hall to discuss the latest updates on the financial assistance programs available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). A portion of the event will include a Q&A with Darcy Carter, Director of the SBA Vermont District Office, as well as Thom Lauzon and other members of the Employer Financial and Technical Support Action Team.

4/21/2020

The Department of Taxes is providing temporary relief to Vermont businesses who owe Meals and Rooms Tax or Sales and Use Tax. Businesses that are unable to meet the April 25th filing deadline will not be charged any penalty or interest for late payment. It is important to note this is not an abatement of the Tax, but instead a waiving of any interest or penalty for late payments.

4/20/2020

Vermont Department of Labor issues expanded guidelines for self-employed and independent contractors.

4/17/2020

The Small Business Administration is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program including EIDL Advances based on available appropriations funding and the SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

4/16/2020

The federal government has issued “Open Up America Again” guidelines. Any decision for Vermont on when and how we reopen the economy will be made by the Governor and his team.

4/15/2020

  • The Department of Financial Regulation has released a Summary of National Foreclosure Freezes and Forbearance Programs for a range of consumer assistance loan types as well as national-level holds on foreclosures and evictions.
  • The Vermont Supreme Court amended Administrative Order 49 on April 9 to extend the Judicial Emergency to May 31, 2020. Emergency proceedings continue to be heard pursuant to the Order. Non-emergency hearings are only being heard if an exception is granted.  The Court is updating its website as pandemic circumstances evolve, with changes occurring often.

4/14/2020

Governor Phil Scott and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) announced today the establishment of the State of Vermont Economic Mitigation & Recovery Task Force.

4/10/2020

4/8/2020

ACCD updates sector guidelines.

4/7/2020

4/2/2020

Agency of Commerce & Community Development launches new Recovery Resource Center

4/1/2020

—US Treasury releases detailed fact sheet on the Paycheck Protection Program

—The Vermont Department of Labor has announced that it will hold the first in a series of Virtual Town Hall events on Thursday, April 2 at 2:00pm. This first event will focus on services for employers, focusing on issues around Unemployment Insurance, among other labor-related topics. For more information visit the Department of Labor Website.

3/31/2020

—House Committee on Ways & Means releases Unemployment Compensation FAQ sheet

—Committee on Small Business releases CARE Act Flow Chart

—Senate Small Business Committee releases further info on CARE bill.

3/27/2020

Updated fact sheet about how the SBA programs will work released.

3/24/2020

Governor Phil Scott issues a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” by 5pm March 25, 2020. Directs additional closures.

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy released the bipartisan, bicameral, coronavirus emergency supplemental Appropriations bill.

3/20/2020

VtSBDC rolls out initial disaster response for businesses.
Read details here.

3/19/2020

From Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Ted Brady:
“We have refined the process for those seeking clarity on essential businesses as it relates to childcare. Please send an email to commerce.covid19@vermont.gov with the subject heading: 
Childcare Essential Business Clarity: INSERT BUSINESS NAME. While this doesn’t ensure a business will be named essential, the SEOC is compiling and reviewing these inquiries daily.”

3/19/2020

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ANNOUNCES ELECTRONIC OPTION, STAFF INCREASES FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CLAIMS

3/17/2020

The Vermont House passed a bill on Friday 3/13/2020, H.681, that makes several changes to the unemployment compensation statutes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill:

  • Eliminates the experience rating charge to an employer based upon an employee’s claim due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Provides for no charge for unemployment benefits paid up to a maximum of four weeks because –
    • The employer ceases operation due to COVID-19; or
    • The individual has been requested by a medical professional or the department of health to be isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19.
  • An individual must be rehired when the employer resumes operations or upon completion of an individual’s isolation.
  • An individual is not disqualified for benefits if they leave employment to care for a family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

The bill is now pending in the Senate.

LINKS.

Small Business Resources.
Please note that even when applications are not currently being accepted federally, you can still work with your local lender to prepare materials. Prudence is crucial with this funding.

Federal Programs.

Local Options.

Reopening Business.

Business Support + Economic Resources.

  • Center for Women & Enterprise offers no-cost business counseling and online workshops for entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses. 
  • EEOC Guidance on Screening Employees
  • Essential Business Guidance
  • Green Mountain Safety Consulting
    • GMSC offers various informative and top-quality courses that can help your business adopt a safety culture as well as adhere to OSHA and VOSHA requirements. Please find our list of classes, their days, times, and formats below. These classes are subject to change, as well as more to be added for each month!
    • To sign up or register for a course, contact at: support@greenmountainsafety.com
      (802)-862-1399

Grant Options.

  • Farmer Emergency Fund – NOFA VT grants to pay dairy farmer relief workers.
  • Freelancers Relief Fund– Freelancers Relief Fund will offer financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs, including: Food/food supplies;  Utility payments;  Cash assistance to cover income loss. 100% of all donations will be distributed directly to freelancers in need. Applications for funding will open on April 2, 2020.
  • Hello Alice COVID-19 Small Business Resource Center – Among other resources, offering $10,000 grants being distributed immediately to small business owners impacted by coronavirus, as part of our broader mission to ensure Business for All.
  • US Chamber of Commerce Foundation Save Small Businesses Grants. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hs announced a new small business grant to help in the ongoing national emergency. Bullet point of eligibility is you must be a small business employing 3-20 people and must be able to verify the grant will be used for operational expenses. The application process opens at noon today.
  • Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund – LISC will use the Verizon funding to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital.

Community + Personal Resources.

Public Health + Food Resources.

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