UPDATED – 3/17/20
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) continues to assess and respond to the community impacts of COVID-19 on Vermont businesses. To stay informed whenever new information becomes available, we encourage you to sign-up for our Business and Economic Response to COVID-19 Newsletter.
The most current information on the full response to COVID-19 in Vermont can be found on the Department of Health website at: healthvermont.gov/COVID-19. The latest amendments to Governor Scott’s emergency declaration include:
- Governor Scott has directed childcare centers across the state to close normal operations, but encourages continued operation exclusively where needed to provide childcare services for workers who are essential to Vermont’s ongoing effort in community mitigation of COVID-19. To support those most critical to Vermont’s ongoing COVID-19 response, the Governor has ordered schools to provide childcare for “essential persons” working in response to the crisis. For additional details, read the full guidance document here and Governor Scott’s gubernatorial directive here.
- All bars and restaurants statewide have been ordered to close, effective beginning 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 through April 6, although this could be extended. Food service establishments can continue to offer takeout and delivery service.
- Gatherings of more than 50 people or 50% of a location’s capacity are prohibited, whichever number is lower.
- Gov. Phil Scott has announced a Continuity of Education Plan for the orderly dismissal of all schools, and cancellation of all school related activities, no later than Wednesday, March 18.
We understand that many businesses need immediate financial assistance to weather the sudden decrease in business. ACCD is working with other units of state government, the federal government, and non-profit organizations to identify resources to help you recover. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act recently passed by Congress expanded the Small Business Act’s definition of a disaster to include Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, the SBA will be able to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) under a Governor’s Certification Disaster Declaration. We will continue to share information on such programs as they become available.
We are asking any Vermont business impacted by the response to the COVID-19 virus to share these impacts with the Agency through our dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for data on impacts in the following areas:
- Economic Injury
- Supply Chain
- Workforce (Including that caused by lack of childcare)
- Business Travel
- Visitor Travel and Tourism Activities
- Remote Work Capabilities
The Agency has also established a hotline so that businesses may call to report impacts and be directed to resources: (802) 461-5143. The hotline will be staffed Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Guidance from the Department of Labor
We also know that many businesses have questions about unemployment insurance. The Vermont Department of Labor recently created a set of COVID-19 FAQs for Employers and Employees. New updates will be posted on the Department of Labor website. If you have specific questions, you may wish to contact the Vermont Department of Labor Employer Services line at 802 828-4344. Please understand that they are experiencing high call volume.
Small Business Assistance
If your business is looking for technical assistance, you may wish to consult the Vermont Small Business Development Center. In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, the organization created a Disaster Recovery Guide for Businesses, available on their website. This document may help you begin your recovery. In addition, the Vermont Small Business Development Center offers technical assistance and counseling to small business owners. You can find your area advisor on their website.
Business Interruption Insurance Coverage
Details will vary from policy to policy, so if you have questions regarding insurance coverage, please contact your individual insurance agent or broker.
CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
For the full list of employer and business guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html
We know these are difficult times for many Vermont businesses. If you have specific ideas on what kind of targeted assistance might be most impactful to the continuity of your operations in the next 30 days, please let us know so your ideas can be shared with the leadership of the Agency and with Governor Scott. Ideas can be shared through our dedicated email address: email@example.com.