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.
For Employers: Responding When an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
Businesses should be prepared to respond if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Refer to guidance from the Department of Health to find:
- What information employers can begin collecting right away
- When employees with COVID-19 and close contacts can return to work
- Resources and support for employees
- Cleaning and disinfecting resources
Proposal Deadline Extended for Technical Assistance Funding Opportunity
ACCD has extended the proposal submission due date for the 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. The new deadline for proposals is now August 10th at 1:00pm EST.
Sole Proprietor Grants Application Now Open
An economic relief grant program has been announced which will provide grants of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 to qualifying sole proprietors through a lottery draw. The program is funded through $1.5 million from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s CDBG Program, and passed through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The application window opened Monday, July 20, 2020 and grants will be awarded through a lottery system on August 14, 2020.
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) and Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) will be administering funds. Details including the program breakdown, full eligibility requirements, application materials and timelines, as well as technical assistance and FAQs, can be found on the program portal.
COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program Now Open
The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (AAFM) is accepting applications for the COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program for dairy producers and processors who have experienced income loss, additional expenses, and market disruption as a result of the pandemic. $25 million is available for businesses through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. For details about the application process, eligibility, and upcoming educational webinars on the program, visit the AAFM website.
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.
Health Care Stabilization Grant Program
The $275 million Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program to support an array of health care providers, being administered through the Agency of Human Services (AHS), is accepting applications. The application period will be open through August 15, 2020. Health care and human service providers may use the application to seek grant funding for both COVID-19-related lost revenue and COVID-19-specific incurred expenses.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Upcoming #Hiring2DayVT Virtual Job Fairs
The Vermont Department of Labor has announced a series of Virtual Job Fair events. The series will highlight local employers and will include a Q&A about local career opportunities. Register to attend any of these upcoming events:
- August 6th at 11:00am: Burlington, St. Albans, and others in northwestern Vermont
- August 13th at 11:00am: Brattleboro, Springfield, and others in southeastern Vermont
- August 20th at 11:00am: Montpelier, Morrisville, White River Junction, and others in central Vermont
BIPOC Farmer Relief Grants Now Available
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.
COVID-19 Recovery Forums
The Local Support and Community Action Team of the Economic Mitigation and Recovery Task Force is holding a series of virtual recovery forums. These events will provide an opportunity to:
- Share challenges and ideas for community response and recovery
- Connect with others working to respond, recover and build long-term resilience
- Meet with a “visiting team” of state, federal, business and nonprofit leaders who will share recovery strategies from across the state and ideas for resources and support
- Caledonia County forum: August 6th
- Bennington County forum: August 13th
- Essex County forum: August 20th
- Orleans County forum: September 3rd
- Registration is required.
Register Your Lodging Establishment with FedRooms
The Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center (VT PTAC) is assisting lodging venues in registering in FedRooms, the only official government-wide lodging program. FedRooms is a managed hotel program with an annual RFP process. In order to receive the RFP, hoteliers must first submit a Business Case Form which is due by August 1, 2020. If approved, FedRooms then puts your property in front of potential government travelers. Visit the VT PTAC website for more information on this program.
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.
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.
Community Grant Program Announced
The Department of Buildings and General Services has announced the Building Communities Grant Program for construction and capital improvements to support and strengthen Vermont towns and regions. Applicants including municipalities, nonprofit agencies, and regional economic development organizations, are all encouraged to apply for these opportunities to fund construction, infrastructure support, and other needed projects. The deadline for submission is September 15, 2020.
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.
New Marketing Funding for Central/Southern Vermont Businesses
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus and Rutland Herald have announced a Marketing Relief Match Program, committing $100,000 in matching funds. Intended as a catalyst for local economic recovery, the program is designed for locally-owned businesses in central and southern Vermont to assist with promoting change of business operations and reopening. Any locally-owned company with two or fewer locations can take advantage of this program now through August 31, 2020.
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.
Earlier this week the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets released new guidance for Pick-Your-Own operations around the state. The guidance is similar to other retail guidance that has been released with a few more specific points around customer spacing and operational changes that will be needed.
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.
USDA Direct Assistance to Farmers
The USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Applications will be accepted through August 28th. Producers of all eligible commodities can apply through their local FSA office.
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.
State Parks Have Opened for the Season
All of Vermont’s state parks have opened for public use. Mandatory health and safety guidelines will be in effect. Day use activity will be managed to ensure sufficient physical space is available for social distancing, and amenities will be scaled back. State park campgrounds will be limited to tent, RV and lean-to camping; a new and improved web-based reservation system is also now available.
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.