Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics
Vermont is close to reaching 80% vaccination and lifting all COVID-19 restrictions. There are a series of walk-in clinics happening at locations around the state, from state parks, to concerts, and highway rest areas. No reservation is needed. ACCD hopes businesses can help spread the word of these clinics to employees or customers who may be looking for a quick and easy way to get vaccinated and help the state reach the 80% mark. Please reference the Department of Health website for upcoming opportunities.
Vaccine Clinics Expanding to Additional Employers
If businesses are interested in creating pop-up clinics for their employees or customers or in having a vaccination booth at an upcoming event, please submit your information through the Vaccine Clinic Request form. The information you provide through this form will help the Department of Health assess the resources needed and if a clinic is feasible at your location in the coming weeks.
COVID-19 Guidance Update Webinar
With COVID-19 guidance evolving and eventually going away completely as the Vermont Forward Plan approaches Step 4, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Labor are holding an online town hall to answer questions from Vermont employers about workplace policies for employees and customers. The Town Hall will be held Tuesday, June 8th from 3:00pm to 4:00pm. Businesses can access the meeting via Microsoft Teams or call in at (802) 828-7667, conference code 789 261 903#. Registration is not required, but Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV) would like to know if you intend to participate by emailing them at email@example.com.
Promoting Vaccination Incentives and Rewards
Is your business offering or thinking about offering any incentives to those who are fully vaccinated? The State of Vermont, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and Department of Tourism and Marketing would like to help promote these incentives to drive more customers to your business, as Vermonters and visitors return to exploring our local communities. Businesses can submit any incentives they may be offering and the State will promote those offers through the ThinkVermont website.
SBA Program Information Resources
For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVOG), the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the Community Navigator pilot program and all other resources available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), visit their COVID-19 relief page.
Vaccination in the Workplace Forum
On Thursday, April 29th, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center offered a forum for employers to learn more about the human resources and legal issues around requiring or encouraging workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Panelists discussed workplace vaccination policy considerations, requesting proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and best practices for communicating with employees about these policies, among other topics. A recording of the event is now available.
Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program Reopened
The Vermont Housing Finance Agency is accepting applications again from Vermont homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest round of program funding provides grants for up to 12 months of past-due mortgage and property tax payments for eligible Vermont homeowners. For mortgage assistance, visit www.vhfa.org/map or call (888) 714-2260 to learn more and apply. A separate rental assistance program is available through the Vermont State Housing Authority at erap.vsha.org.
Community Development Conference
Join the Vermont Community Development Association for their June 17th virtual conference: “Reimagining our Public Spaces.” Hear from a lineup of community and economic development experts and leaders as they share their experiences with community redevelopment projects and discuss resources and support available to communities.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a Federal Communications Commission program that will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount on the purchase of a computer or tablet.
Paycheck Protection Program Deadline Extended
The deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been extended until May 31st. The Vermont District Office of the SBA continues to offer two weekly webinars on First and Second Draw PPP loans and PPP loan forgiveness. ACCD encourages businesses to sign up for their newsletter to get the most timely updates to the PPP and Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program.
Sole Proprietor Stabilization Grant Program
A second round of sole proprietor grants from Vermont Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are available. This additional funding will offer grants of between $1,500 and $10,000 to qualifying sole proprietors on a first come, first served basis. The application for this new round of funding opened on April 5th. Businesses can find technical assistance resources at the grant program website.
Targeted EIDL Advance Update
The Small Business Administration has begun rolling out the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance, which provides businesses located in low-income communities with additional funds. Applicants do not need to take any action at this time. The SBA will reach out to those who qualify. An FAQ document has been posted with additional information.
COVID-19 EIDL Deferment Period Extended
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.
All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note.
All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note.
Community Development Block Grant CARES Act Funding (CDBG-CV)
The Department of Housing and Community Development is accepting applications from municipalities throughout Vermont for CDBG-CV funding through the Municipal Public Facility and Service Program for activities related to COVID-19. Nearly $1.8 million remains to assist communities and non-profits with grants for public facility and service projects that have an unmet need due to COVID-19. Applications must be submitted by the municipality where the project is located. Funding will be on a first come, first served basis and will be awarded through a competitive application process. Grants range from $5,000 to $200,000. Projects serving 70% low- and moderate-income individuals, as well as projects in an area-wide, low- and moderate-income community, will be prioritized. Contact Nathan Cleveland at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Housing Support Services
If you are struggling with your mortgage, rent, utilities and other housing expenses because of COVID-19, your local Home Ownership Center can help. They have HUD-approved counselors on staff and available to help you obtain the assistance you need to keep your home. These housing counseling services are provided to any household affected by COVID-19.
Your location will influence which Homeownership Center can provide assistance to you. Find the Homeownership Center that covers your region.
Cultural Facilities Grants
Cultural Facilities Grants, offered by the Vermont Arts Council, applications for awards of up to $30,000 to Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities to increase the physical capacity to provide cultural activities for the public are now being accepted through June 7th.
UVM Staycation Campaign
The University of Vermont Office of Engagement will launch a new Staycation Campaign aimed at stimulating local economic activity on June 1st to encourage UVM employees to explore and enjoy the fantastic offerings around the state this summer. Businesses interested in joining this free campaign can visit the landing page to register.
Vermont Products Marketing Opportunity
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) is seeking food, beverage and retail businesses to be a part of the Vermont Building at the Eastern States Exposition, home of the Big E fair. In 2019, 1.6 million people attended the Big E, held in West Springfield, Massachusetts, making this a great event to showcase Vermont products to the southern New England audience. For more information and to apply for booth space, visit the AAFM website.
New Resource to Promote Upcoming Events
The new VermontVacation.com events calendar is almost ready, and we hope businesses and event organizers can help populate it for launch to the public. If you have an event happening after May 15th, you can fill out the event submission form now so that your event will be available when the new calendar officially launches. Don’t have an event? Make sure your business is listed on the trip planning directory by signing up. Events and business listings must be tourism-related and appropriate for out of state visitors.
Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets have released the Vermont Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030. Working with over 1,500 Vermonters over 18 months, the plan lays out a vision and 15 goals for advancing the agriculture and food systems in Vermont.
Vermont Everyone Eats Relaunches
ACCD has allocated $1.6 million to Southeastern Vermont Community Action, the Everyone Eats Program Administrator, to relaunch the program. Though this allocation only funds three weeks of programming, partners across the state including the Scott Administration and the Legislature are working together to identify additional funding opportunities. In 2020, Everyone Eats funded over 530,000 meals, injecting $5.3 million into local restaurants and nearly $500,000 to Vermont farms and food producers.
Guidance Clarification for Vermont Emergency Economic Recovery Grants
ACCD guidance had previously stated that all businesses receiving a Vermont Emergency Economic Recovery Grant must spend the grant money by December 30, 2020. We are pleased to clarify that if a business obtains an Emergency Economic Recovery Grant for qualifying losses incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020, the awarded grant funds are not required to be spent by the business by December 30, 2020.
Amtrak Service in Vermont Resumes July 19
The Vermont Agency of Transportation has announced the upcoming resumption of Amtrak service in the state. Visitors and Vermonters alike will soon be able to travel between East Coast cities and Vermont. The Vermonter connects Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, and stops in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to one of nine Vermont communities. The Ethan Allen Express links New York and Vermont via the scenic Hudson River Valley. Current safety protocols include contactless boarding and enhanced surface cleaning, and trains are equipped with onboard air filtration systems. Additionally, all change fees are waived for reservations made by September 6, 2021, allowing greater flexibility with travel plans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19 Pandemic disaster declaration is extended to December 31, 2021 as a result of the recent COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress. For full details, visit the SBA website.
Emergency Staffing Jobs Available
The State of Vermont is developing a hiring pool of candidates who will be assigned as needed in the event of staffing shortages due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Currently, this is focused on long term care facilities, and positions include those such as Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Licensed Nursing Assistants, and unlicensed caregivers. Individuals who are new to the field, as well as those who are recently retired or who only work part-time currently, are encouraged to apply. For more information, or to find volunteer opportunities, visit www.covidstaffing.vermont.gov.
Northern Vermont Recovery Loans
The Vermont Community Loan Fund has launched the Northern Vermont Recovery Loan Fund, serving manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, forestry and wood products, education and early care, and nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Business owners from Vermont’s six northernmost counties – Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Orleans – are eligible. Loans include flexible terms and low- to no-cost debt financing, along with business coaching services and support.
Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
Consider how the re-opening process and operational changes might impact compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The health and safety guidance provided by ACCD does not negate any obligations as outlined by the ADA. Refer to A Primer for Small Business for additional information.
Upcoming VT PTAC Webinars
Whether your business is new to government contracting or is a seasoned vendor, VT PTAC is offering a series of webinars featuring workshops and insights to help all businesses find pathways to government contracts.
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.
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.