Updated Sector Guidance
Be sure to check back periodically for any new updates to sector guidance information on the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order. The newest updates will be marked in red.
Economic Recovery and Relief Package Webinar Recordings Available
ACCD hosted a series of webinars over the last week to explain the proposed $400 million dollar economic recovery and relief package and answer questions from impacted sectors. Recordings of those webinars will be posted as they are available.
Economic Recovery Supplemental Award Program
The maximum grant award for Economic Recovery Grants for Vermont businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic has increased. Businesses eligible for supplemental awards must operate in sectors that have continuing capacity constraints including the lodging, retail, hospitality, arts, travel, recreation, sports, and event affiliated sectors. Find details about the supplemental awards.
Survey for Farm and Food Businesses
The University of Vermont, along with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, are conducting a research survey of farm and food businesses to better understand their experiences with COVID-19 and future resource and technical assistance needs. The survey is approximately 20 minutes in length, confidential, and can help inform future funding priorities with COVID-19 relief and other funding sources. Participants will be eligible for a drawing for one of 40, $99 cash incentives.
COVID-19 Testing Guidance for Employers
The Department of Health has updated information regarding COVID-19 testing in the workplace. The Department of Health does not recommend requiring asymptomatic employees to test for COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative test prior to returning to work, unless that person is looking to end their quarantine period early. Visit the Department of Health’s website to learn more about when testing is and is not recommended for your employees.
Micro Business Grant Program
The Vermont Community Action Partnership and the Micro Business Development Program have come together to establish the Economic Micro Business Recovery Assistance for the COVID-19 Epidemic (EMBRACE). The program is intended to support the smallest Vermont micro businesses owned by an individual with a "household" income at or under 80% of state median. Review the application for full details and eligibility requirements.
Agricultural Fair Grant Program
The 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.
Forest Economy Stabilization Grant Program
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 is available on FPR’s website and FAQs are available.
Everyone Eats Program RFP
In response to COVID-19, restaurants, farmers and community organizations stepped forward to help feed neighbors experiencing food insecurity. These programs have helped stabilize communities by nourishing Vermonters, alleviating the surging demand on food shelves, and providing economic support to restaurants. The State of Vermont has allocated $5M from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to a new program called Everyone Eats, which supports restaurants feeding Vermonters in need. Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA), the fiscal agent for the program, is requesting proposals from community organizations around the state to further these programs in the months ahead. Visit the SEVCA website for more information and to submit a proposal.
Hazard Pay Grant Program
Public safety, public health, healthcare and human services employers whose employees worked to help mitigate or respond to COVID-19 may apply for hazard pay grant funds for their employees. The Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program will pay eligible employees who worked during the COVID-19 public health emergency from March 13, 2020 through May 15, 2020. The program allows covered employers to request funding to provide $1,200 or $2,000 in hazard pay to each employee who meets eligibility criteria.
Spark Connecting Community Grants Second Round Open
Funding is now available through the Spark Connecting Community second round of 2020 grant making. Awards range from $500 to $3,000 to further grassroots work that benefits the people and projects of Vermont communities. First-time grant writers are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted through 5:00pm on Thursday, October 15, 2020.
Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance
The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is accepting applications for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance grants. A total of $8.5 million is available to help farmers, meat and poultry processors, slaughterhouses, farmers markets, agricultural food products businesses, forest products businesses, and producer associations to cover losses and expenses caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. A series of webinars will be held to walk prospective applicants through the application process and answer questions.
Mask Mandate Signage Available
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.
"I Wear a Mask Because…"
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 email@example.com.
Masks become manditory in indoor and outdoor public settings where 6 feet of space between people is not possible, effective August 1, 2020 and with limited exceptions.
Lodging Certificate of Compliance Update
ACCD, in conjunction with the Department of Health, has updated the lodging certification process. In addition to offering the Certificate of Compliance form, lodging properties with the technology to add a digital check box certification to reservation and check-in procedures and processes may now offer that option. The Guest Compliance page has been updated with the exact language that must be used.
Implementing and Understanding Restart Guidance for the Lodging Sector
Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Heather Pelham and Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Ted Brady hosted a webinar to discuss implementing and understanding the recently released restart guidance for the lodging sector. Topics included requirements and best practices, as well as new travel guidance that will impact the lodging industry.
EIDL Program Reopened for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
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. The EIDL program offers long-term, low interest loans for small businesses and nonprofits that can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt, or fund other expenses. The EIDL Advance program will provide up to $10,000 of emergency economic relief grants to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
Restart Plan Templates Available
The Work Smart and Stay Safe initiative requires businesses that closed for 7 days or more to adopt or create a sector-specific reopening and training plan before reopening. Restart plan templates are available and can help businesses establish best practices as they reopen and train employees on safety precautions and protocols.
Artist Development Grants
The Vermont Arts Council Artist Development Grants support artists at all stages of their careers. Grants can also support teaching artists in developing the skills necessary to provide instruction in K-12 schools remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Grant amounts range from $250-$1,000. The application deadline is September 28, 2020. For full eligibility details and an online application, visit the Vermont Arts Council website.
The Creative Sector Reopening and Recovery Guide
The Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Creative Network, and the Vermont Creative Sector Response and Recovery Team have created a resource guide for the creative sector's reopening and recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered in the reopening and recovery guide include employee and volunteer health and safety, patron health and safety, patron education, specific sector guidance, and more.
UVM Study with Vermont Futures Project
The Vermont Futures Project has partnered with the UVM Center for Research on a statewide survey of people taking refuge in Vermont during the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective is to learn what these temporary residents would need to make Vermont their permanent residence. The results will be shared with community and business leaders, policy makers, and others to help inform our next steps. Please share this survey with your networks.
PPE Survey for Businesses
Various Vermont business organizations have come together to launch a survey for employers to help quantify the use, demand (current and future), and supply of masks/face coverings around the state. Participation in the survey will help inform ongoing efforts to assist Vermont employers in securing the masks/face coverings and other PPE they need to operate safely.
Recovery Resource for Communities
The Local Support and Community Action Team, a committee of the Economic Mitigation & Recovery Task Force, is developing strategies to speed long-term community recovery. Their new website shares stand-out examples of best practices and other news in the Vermont community recovery.
Water Quality Checks at Reopening Businesses
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding businesses that are reopening to check, and if needed, flush their water systems to ensure the best water quality for employees or patrons. DEC has issued guidance to help businesses ensure their systems are functioning properly upon restart of operations.
New Regional Relief Fund
The Vermont Community Foundation now offers a Main Street Business Relief Fund for Arlington, Dorset, and Manchester that will direct at least $1 million in support to small businesses. Priority will be given to businesses with gross revenues under $1 million in the following sectors: food; lodging; retail; personal care and wellness; fine crafts and art galleries; landscaping and home care; and pet care.
Coaching Available for Farm, Food & Forest Sector Businesses
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program is providing quick-response consultations to farm, food, and forest products businesses through its network of expert business advisors, in addition to its regular long-term advising services, as well as stress management, mental health, and mediation services. Entrepreneurs seeking help will need to complete a streamlined intake form and are matched with an expert business advisor for an initial 30 – 60 minute consultation.
USDA Allowing Farmers to Defer Payments
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 COVID-19 Recovery Roadmap for Your Business
ACCD and the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) hosted a virtual town hall for small business owners. State Director Linda Rossi and Area Business Advisor and Disaster Recovery Specialist Debra Boudrieau walked business owners through VtSBDC’s COVID-19 Recovery Roadmap designed to aid businesses’ individual response to COVID-19 and to develop specific action steps.
VDOL Virtual Town Hall on Employee Health & Safety
The Department of Labor hosted a virtual town hall for workers and employers about VOSHA and CDC guidance to protect Vermont workers as workplaces open, including training materials developed by VOSHA.
Archived Q&A Webinars for Municipalities
Find previous question and answer webinars with Deputy Secretary Ted Brady that covered best practices, tools, and resources for municipalities. This event series was jointly hosted by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) and ACCD.
Resources for Vermont's Creative Sector
The COVID-19 outbreak brings particularly uncertain and challenging times for Vermont's creative sector, and the Vermont Arts Council is working to enable artists and arts and culture organizations to respond effectively. Visit the Council's COVID-19 Resource Page to find information about special funding opportunities, recovery and response events for the creative sector, and how to stay connected through virtual art experiences while social distancing, and more.
Mandatory Safety Training
All employees returning to work according to the Phased Restart Work Safe Guidelines, including those already working, must complete a mandatory training on health and safety requirements as provided by VOSHA, or another training program that meets or exceeds the VOSHA-provided standard. The Department of Labor has posted training materials in both online and printable formats. Completed training certificates should kept on hand by each employer.
REDC Offers Emergency Loans
The Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) has a new Emergency Loan Program. The program runs through its Revolving Loan Fund to assist businesses that are impacted by COVID-19. Businesses and organizations can apply for these loans to cover expenses and operating costs during this time.
Technical Assistance Available to Help Businesses Navigate Federal Financing Programs
Professional advisors are standing by to provide free and confidential counseling to any business considering applying for financial assistance or to help navigate the application process. Contact these business support organizations for individualized support during your businesses recovery.
Archived Virtual Town Hall: Small Business Administration Financial Assistance Programs
Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein moderated a panel of business advisors to talk about the financial assistance programs available from the U.S. Small Business Administration, including the PPP and EIDL programs.
Business Impact Assessments
ACCD wants to hear from all Vermont businesses impacted by the response to the COVID-19 virus. Please share these impacts via the ACCD Business Impact Form, which will help us assess the full impact as we work toward solutions.