COVID-19 Resource Page

This page is to help inform businesses and community members. We will share all information as we receive it.

June 5, 2020

Update for Restaurants & Lodging

Effective June 8, inns, hotels and other lodging can book 50% of their rooms for guests or have 25 guests and staff on the property, whichever is larger, according to the new guidance from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Long-term guests, such as essential workers, may exceed that occupancy threshold, the ACCD said, and the limits don’t apply to stand-alone cabins, cottages and short-term rentals.

Among many other restrictions, guests who appear to have symptoms of Covid-19 are not allowed to check in.

For restaurants, indoor dining will be allowed but limited to 25% of regular fire safety occupancy limits, or 10 customers and staff, whichever is greater, the ACCD said. The rules do not apply to bars, which cannot offer indoor drinking or dining.

Restaurant seating must allow 6 feet distance between parties. But outdoor dining will be allowed at maximum licensed seating capacity, up to 50 people. Only disposable or online menus are allowed.

(Full story on VTDigger)

May 19, 2020

LODGING UPDATE

On Friday, Governor Phil Scott announced new guidance for the reopening of lodging establishments. Effective May 22, lodging operations, short-term rentals, campgrounds, and marinas may accept overnight reservations from Vermont residents and those who have met the 14-day quarantine requirement.

To clarify, the quarantine requirement must be completed after arrival in Vermont and cannot be completed at a commercial lodging establishment. This means that any out-of-state guests must have already been in Vermont for 14 days prior to checking in (e.g. staying with family or at a second home). Reservations for those that cannot meet the quarantine requirement need to be cancelled through June 15, and may need to be cancelled beyond June 15 depending on further guidance.

We encourage operators to read the entire guidance as there are many operational mandates required for reopening (see Restart section below), including only booking to 25% of capacity, no dine-in food service, and all guests must complete a health questionnaire.

April 14, 2020

The Vermont Department of Labor Virtual Town Halls

The Vermont Department of Labor has been holding Virtual Town Hall meetings to assist employers and employees navigate the current processes due to COVID-19.

Click here to view past town halls

Click here for a schedule of upcoming town halls.

April 10, 2020

Vermont Governor extends State of Emergency. Read the full Press Release here.

April 9, 2020

The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Zoom meeting with Aida Volpone, CPA of Davis & Hodgdon Associates, CPAs.  This is an opportunity to learn more about the new Federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and tax credits available for businesses.
For more about this webinar and to register click here

April 3, 2020

Lodging Operations and Reservations Suspended
As you may be aware, on March 30, Gov. Phil Scott temporarily suspended lodging operations and reservations in Vermont. The order applies to hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short-term rentals (for example, Vrbo, HomeAway, Airbnb, and similar services), and all public and private camping facilities and RV parks.  Exceptions were made for those supporting Vermont’s response to the COVID-19 emergency as follows:

  1. Housing vulnerable populations (for example, emergency shelter for homeless individuals) as arranged through the state
  2. Providing accommodations for health care workers or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety or critical infrastructure
  3. Use of lodging properties as quarantine facilities as arranged by the state
  4. Limited verifiable extenuating circumstances for the care and safety of Vermonters

Today, April 3, the Vermont Attorney General issued a new directive to lodging operations on the enforcement of the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order.  Any lodging operation, as defined in the directive, that provides lodging for any purpose not required to support COVID-19 response will now be subject to enforcement by the Attorney General, including civil or criminal penalties, or both. Read the full directive.

Future Reservations
VDTM has heard and continues to hear the many concerns of our lodging partners during this unprecedented time in our state’s history. Those concerns, specifically around the ability to accept future reservations, have been a central topic in discussions surrounding the implementation of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order. VDTM continues to work towards a resolution to these concerns and develop resources to create a path to recovery for the industry.

Paycheck Protection Program
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans, as part of the Federal CARES Act are now available.  This program is first come, first served so VDTM is strongly encouraging all Vermont businesses interested to contact your lending institution to begin the loan process. PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year.

Businesses can access the Paycheck Protection Program as a recovery tool by contacting the Vermont Economic Development Authority, their local bank, credit union or their local SBA office.

You can find more information and FAQs at the ACCD Recovery Resource Center.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advances

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advances can provide up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid.  These loans are available now, through the SBA.

You can find more in information and FAQs at the ACCD Recovery Resource Center.

VermontVacation.com

VDTM is promoting virtual Vermont experiences and keeping visitors updated on travel restrictions in the state. If you or your business are doing virtual tours, offering online classes or resources, have a scenic web cam, have content talking about the spirit of Vermont during this time, or even reliving your favorite Vermont memories, VDTM can add it to our website and help promote your virtual efforts to stay connected to visitors.  Please send relevant content to Caleigh Cross [email protected] for inclusion.

March 30, 2020

The Federal programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
(CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business
owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will
be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major
programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business
Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax
provisions that are outside the scope of SBA. Click here for more information and to access the guide.

March 26, 2020

Information regarding outdoor activity from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife:

No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, we urge you to practice effective “social distancing” and other measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep you, your family and your community safe:

  • Go out only if you’re feeling healthy.
  • Don’t carpool with non-household members.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting, including the outdoors.
  • Engage in low-risk activities; now is not the time to try something extreme and end up in the hospital, taxing an already taxed health care system.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If those aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.
  • Please leash your dog! They are members of your household and need to keep their social distance as well (and most standard leashes are 6 feet in length).

For more info on COVID-19 and these guidelines, visit the Vermont Health Department

March 24, 2020

Update from Governor Phil Scott via the VT Digger

“The Governor’s order directs Vermonters to stay at home, leaving only for essential reasons, critical to health and safety. If leaving the home, Vermonters should adhere to social distancing policies, including remaining six feet from others (except for those with whom they share a home) and thoroughly and regularly washing hands,” said a statement from the governor’s office Tuesday.

“Effective March 25, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., all businesses and not-for-profit entities not expressly exempted in the order must suspend all in-person business operations. Operations that can be conducted online or by phone, or sales that can be facilitated with curbside pickup or delivery only, can continue,” it continues. The order is effective until April 15.

March 23, 2020

Update for self-employed individuals from Representative Heidi Scheuermann:

There is, understandably, a great deal of anxiety from those who are self-employed in our community.  The self-employed sector actually incorporates a significant percentage of working Vermonters – from what I understand, a larger percentage than other states.

The anxiety is palpable because those who are self-employed don’t contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, so they are not eligible to receive Unemployment Benefits.

To be clear, my colleagues and I are well aware of this issue, and are discussing various options to be able to assist.

The good news is that I do believe the federal government included some provisions in one of the laws they passed.  I am not sure of the specifics, though at this time, but will be reviewing it over the next two days, and will relay that information as soon as I have clearer details.

March 22, 2020

RESTAURANT CALL TO ACTION 
Vermont and the nation are in the midst of an unprecedented public health emergency, in particular Vermont restaurants and their workers. We are requesting immediate abatement of the February and March rooms and meals tax payment and that first payment is due March 25, 2020. We have a very short timeline to get the Governor to act on this. To help get this done, please ACT NOW. 

What Can You Do?

Contact the Governor – Call his hotline at (800) 649-6825 or email the Governor and ask for the abatement of the rooms and meals tax payment. Why?

  • Our restaurant is part of the community and is a gathering space, we need to survive this crisis and be able to re-open to hire back our employees, help our local economy, and support our farmers
  • This is an investment in our neighborhoods and our rural communities
  • This will help us pay our mortgage or rent, utilities, property taxes and other ongoing expenses which we need to pay even without being open. This will help us be ready to stay in business and reopen
  • This will give us an opportunity to re-hire some of our workers now and utilize them in different ways like making repairs and investing in capital improvements

Outreach on Social Media – Use your favorite social media platform to engage you legislators and community.

March 20, 2020

COVID-19 Family Sick Leave

On March 18, 2020, Congress approved the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), an emergency relief bill providing financial support to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is anticipated the new law will take effect within 15 days, or on April 2.

The FFCRA contains a number of provisions related to leave from employment, COVID-19 testing, unemployment benefits, and nutrition and food assistance programs.  This summary focuses on key provisions related to paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, and associated tax credits for employers.

https://drm-law.com/rv/ff005c90916918785534f5524c4ca32f7022c90f

March 19, 2020

Hospitality Petition: 
Restaurant and lodging businesses across the state are petitioning/lobbying Governor Phil Scott to use his and legislative powers to provide immediate relief to the hospitality industry. We are asking business owners to please click the link to sign this petition which will be sent to the Governor’s office. Below you will find the points that are being asked of the Governor.

Even if you’re not a hospitality business, please feel free to read the document and sign the petition.

Hospitality COVID Relief Document

Beer and Wine To-Go:
In regards to the previously mentioned liquor control laws, the Department of Liquor Control (DLC) has confirmed that businesses are now allowed to sell unopened beer, wine and growlers. Food must be purchased with the alcohol, it must be given to patrons by a DLC certified employee and the patron must be 21 years or older with proof of identification. Call 802-828-2345 for more information.

Update from The Bus: 
All Killington Mountain Shuttle buses will be suspended until further notice. All other routes are running as normal. Please keep in mind that information is updated daily on their website.

March 18, 2020

The Welcome Center will be closed as of 5:00pm today. We hope to open back up on April 2. Although we will not be in the office, we are committed to continue providing up to date information for businesses and community members alike. We will continue to send out our newsletters, keep our website updated and post pertinent information on our social media sites.

First, for employees who are temporarily laid off, information regarding unemployment benefits:
If an individual is looking to establish an initial claim, they may contact the Department of Labor in the following ways:
Phone:
• Full-Service Filing of Claims: 1-877-214-3330 (individuals should try this line first)
• Supplemental Initial Claim Intake: 1-888-807-7072
Electronic:
The Department of Labor has released an electronic form to apply for unemployment. Find the press release here.
• Electronic Form for Initial Intake
• Link will also be posted on: vermont.gov labor.vermont.gov heathvermont.gov
If you have an EXISTING UI Claim, please use this number: (877) 214-3332
For further information and resources, here is the link to the Department of Labor information for employees/potential claimants.

Second, we have received some questions from employers concerned about their unemployment rate increasing as a result of layoffs. Please see the statement below from State Representative Jim Harrison regarding this issue.

“The legislation passed by the House that will likely be passed by the Senate as soon as they can figure out how to reconvene, will remove COVID-19 layoffs from an employers experience rating. That is not a total answer as the total fund is paid into by all employers so as claims increase, all employers could see a spike in future payments. We are awaiting federal changes as there may be contributions from Washington to help state funds as part of a stimulus package, but those are still in flux.”

Finally, for businesses that are remaining open, information for employers/businesses:
Please refer to the Vermont Department of Labor information for employers.

I also recommend referring to the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association website for information on the Coronavirus. It can act as an incredible resource as you remain open and do all you can to ensure the health and safety of your employees, your customers/clients, and the community at large.

These resources include a Do This Checklist for all of  you remaining open.  While it is geared toward grocers and retailers, you will see how it can be modified for all of us.

Killington Area Take-Out Guide

This is an important time to take care of ourselves (hand-washing regularly, social distancing and staying home as much as possible) but some of our local businesses are still open and also need our love. Although all bars and restaurants are closed for dining-in, here are the businesses that are offering take-out and/or delivery:

March 17, 2020

This morning I had a conference call with the directors of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC), the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rutland Redevelopment Authority and the Rutland Downtown Partnership.

All of the above directors have agreed to speak on a weekly basis for the next few weeks and months. The purpose of these weekly meetings will be to have a better information flow between our regional economic partners. Below are the bullet points of programs and steps that are in the works right now. This is a developing situation and more information will continue to evolve daily. We will be putting a link on our website for members to stay up to date on programs that the State and Federal government are setting up to deal with the economic impact.

  • The REDC loan committee has a meeting Thursday morning at which time they are going to discuss several different options for their own loan programs. Some of these options may include but are not limited to:
    • Easing restrictions on new loan applications
    • Lowering rates for current REDC loans
  • REDC is communicating with State programs i.e. VEDA (Vermont Economic Development Authority). Their hope is VEDA will also loosen loan restrictions for new loan applications
  • Community Capital (an alternative lending group) may have capital available for businesses to get through the coming months. I hope to have more information on this soon
  • The State Legislature is considering pushing rooms and meals tax payments to a later date. We will monitor this and let you know ASAP as we get more information
  • In the legislature, two House bills have made their way to the Senate
    • H742: Dealing with cutting red tape for health insurance
    • H681: Bill related to unemployment insurance which would be important to your employees

I want to once again encourage employers to fill out the economic impact form/survey. The data collected will potentially help to release more state and federal funds depending on the need in various areas.

March 16, 2020

The following is from the State of Vermont ACCD:
The Agency is working to identify businesses that meet the Small Business Administration’s threshold for SBA disaster loan assistance. Businesses are asked to complete an assessment form (available on the ACCD website at https://accd.vermont.gov/content/sba-worksheet) and return it to [email protected] as soon as possible to help us advocate for eligibility. Our goal is to gain information in each of the 14 counties across the state.  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.

Governor Limits Public Gatherings to 50 (3-16-2020)
Addendum to Governor’s Executive Order issued March 16

Governor announces all restaurants and bars must close or offer takeout only (3-16-2020)

GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDANCE ON COVID-19 COMMUNITY MITIGATION MEASURES, INCLUDING THAT ALL BARS AND RESTAURANTS MUST CLOSE OR OFFER TAKEOUT ONLY

We recognize this is going to be an extremely challenging time for all of us. Below is a list of tools and ideas that you could use to either help keep your business going or prepare for when you’re able to reopen. If any of you have other ideas and are willing to share, please reach out to our office. As of now, the Welcome Center is going to remain open for our normal business hours.

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