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
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Course for Food and Beverage Manufacturers
Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a new course for small food and beverage manufacturers focused on identifying existing barriers for business. The course will provide instruction for applying continuous improvement principals and problem-solving fundamentals. Three 2-hour live training sessions will be held on Wednesdays, July 15, 2020, July 29, 2020 and August 12, 2020 from 1:30–3:30 pm; three coaching sessions will be scheduled soon.
- July 15, July 29, August 12; three coaching sessions to be scheduled soon
USDA Seeks Applications to Strengthen Rural Cooperatives
USDA is accepting applications for grants to help start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually owned businesses in rural America. $5.8 million in grants is available under the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program to help improve economic conditions in rural areas. Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply to provide technical assistance to individuals and rural businesses. The application deadline is August 3, 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.
Local Food in Your Community Program
The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets has launched Local Food in Your Community Program for projects that support and strengthen collaboration between communities and local producers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The application period for these grants closes on June 30, 2020.
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.
Farmers Market Mini-Grant for COVID-19 Protocols
Rural Vermont has launched a rapid response mini-grant to support farmers markets in need of financial assistance to transition to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Funds will support the purchase of supplies such as hand washing stations, masks, gloves, sanitizer, signs, caution tape, stakes, additional staff, and other needs to support safe shopping. Grants are capped at $500 per market and are available on a first come, first served basis.
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.
Estimated Tax Penalties and Interest Waived
The Department of Taxes has waived penalties and interest for estimated income tax payments originally due June 15, 2020 so long as they are paid by July 15, 2020. This relief applies to Vermont personal income tax, corporate and business/pass-through income tax, and fiduciary and estate income tax.
Childcare and Summer Camp Guidance
The Vermont Department of Health, Agency of Education and Department for Children and Families issued new guidance surrounding the reopening of childcare programs, summer programs and after school programs. Stipends to childcare and day camp operators are available to assist in reopening by helping defer the cost of COVID-19 related expenses.
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.
Weekly Q&A Webinar for Municipalities
A weekly question and answer webinar with Deputy Secretary Ted Brady covers best practices, new tools, and resources for municipalities on the ACCD website. This event is 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.
Additional Arts Recovery Funding
The Vermont Arts Council has opened an additional round of Artist Development Grants to help artists as they adapt and respond to the current COVID-19 crisis. The new application deadline is July 13th.
Vermont Creative Network COVID-19 Support Survey
The Vermont Creative Network (VCN) is following up on the Creative Sector Response and Recovery Forum with a survey to learn what kinds of support VCN could offer to help the sector, both now and into the future.
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.
VMEC Manufacturing Health Officer Training
Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a new course for those that have been appointed health officers at small- and medium-size manufacturers. The course is intended to help these designated employees navigate this new role under current operation restrictions and as guidelines evolve going forward.
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.