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.
BIPOC Business Webinar
The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Business Resiliency Webinar Series will host a webinar specifically for any self-identified BIPOC and minority business owners or managers on January 21st, from 2:15pm to 3:15pm. The webinar will focus on local and regional technical assistance resources to help access available relief grants, develop loan applications, and introduce participants to local lenders who may be managing COVID Relief funding (such as the PPP or EIDL loans) in their communities. Be sure to register ahead of time. Past webinar recordings are also now available to view.
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.
Technical Assistance Program Available
ACCD encourages all businesses to look into free technical assistance options now available through the Small Business Recovery Technical Assistance Program. Business support remains available in a variety of areas being provided by the state’s 12 regional development corporations, Champlain College, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Northern Community Investment Corporation, and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.
COVID-19 Guidelines Research Study
Researchers at the University of Vermont are conducting a survey to study how Vermonters as well as out of state residents that recently traveled to the state are understanding and responding to Vermont’s COVID-19 guidelines. Complete the online survey and be entered to win one of ten $25 gift cards to a local Vermont business.
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.
Paycheck Protection Program Reopens
The U.S. Small Business Administration is currently offering First Draw PPP loans (for first-time program participants) and Second Draw PPP loans (for certain businesses that have previously received a PPP loan). Learn more about the program.
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.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program
On Thursday, January 14th at 3:00pm, the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a webinar to give a preliminary overview of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program included in the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act. In total, the Economic Aid Act allocates $15 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants. The webinar will review grant opportunity for live venues, live performing arts organizations, movie houses and cultural institutions and provide introductory information about who can apply and how organizations can prepare.
Business Economic Survey
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has launched their annual statewide survey of small- to medium-sized businesses. This year COVID-related business questions have been added that will hopefully result in some valuable insights for policymakers. The survey will remain open until Friday, January 29th.
Resource Guides to Help Small Businesses
The pandemic has hit small businesses hard and understanding where to turn to for support can be a challenge in and of itself. For this reason, a few resources are now available in one place to help guide business owners in this time of need. The Vermont Everyone Eats program has put together resources for the restaurant community and the Department of Mental Health has put together a business resource page for any business in need of mental health support with tips to stay mentally healthy.
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.
Unemployment Insurance Update
Unemployment Insurance programs under the CARES Act have been extended with recent COVID-19 economic relief legislation. Programs include Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which has been reinstated to provide an additional $300 per week to claimants. Full details and updates to these programs are available at the Department of Labor website.
Signage for Businesses and Communities
ACCD has signage available for businesses and communities to help educate customers and visitors as to the guidance and restrictions in place. New signage has been added to reiterate specifically the need to quarantine for those returning to the state, or for those who are visiting the state.
Forevergreen Virtual Concert Series
The Department of Tourism and Marketing’s five-part virtual concert series featuring local Vermont musicians, as well as regional and national acts who have an affinity for the state, is available on-demand.
Funding to Create Better Places
ACCD and the Vermont Community Foundation, along with funding partners the Vermont Arts Council, Preservation Trust of Vermont, and the National Life Group Foundation, are pleased to announce $90,000 in grant funding to launch Better Places, a statewide partnership that will help communities reimagine and reopen public spaces for safe dining, shopping, and recreation, while showcasing the unique sense of place their community offers. Applications are due January 22, 2021.
Relaunching Better Connections
After a year off to evaluate and improve the program, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) and ACCD are pleased to announce the Better Connections grant program is accepting applications. The state is offering $260,000 in Better Connections grant funds to help communities plan for and build vibrant, walkable places. All applicants must submit a letter of intent by January 15, 2021 and a full application by February 19, 2021. For more information, visit the AOT website.
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.
USDA Financial Assistance Available
The USDA Rural Development office is able to assist rural small businesses and agricultural producers by conducting and promoting energy audits and providing Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA). Learn more about the program and how to apply by the February 1st deadline.
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.
PPP Forgiveness Webinar
The SBA Vermont District Office hosts a twice-weekly webinar to discuss Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness.
- Tuesdays at 11:30am: Join online or by phone at 202-765-1264 (Code: 986 011 495#)
- Wednesdays at 9:00am: Join online or by phone at 202-765-1264 (Code: 984 055 02#)
Simpler PPP Loan Forgiveness Application for Loans of $50,000 or Less
To streamline the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness process, a simpler application for loans of $50,000 or less was recently released. More than 8,000 Vermont small businesses are eligible to use the new, simpler form. Download the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form 3508S.
Restaurant Industry Survey
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Vermont Independent Restaurants, is conducting a short survey to continue to learn about the impacts of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry. Data collected will be used for continued restaurant relief and recovery advocacy work. The survey takes less than 3 minutes to complete.
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.
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.
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.