On June 26th, the legislature appropriated $96,000,000 to support the economic recovery of Vermont’s business sector through bill H.966
A chart summarizing all of the bills can be found here. The column marked “Senate” represents the final language. Note this chart also includes the proposals from the House and the Governor, which were not enacted into law.
For the purposes of H.966, the economic hardship suffered by a business has been reduced to a threshold of 50%. In that a business must show that they have experienced a 50% or greater loss in a one month period between March 1st, 2020 and August 31st, 2020 to be eligible. If your business files Rooms and Meals or Sales and Use taxes, your grant will be administered by the Department of Tax. If your business does not file Rooms and Meals or Sales and Use, your grant will be administered through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
The amount of Economic Recovery Grants administered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Taxes will be derived by the following formula:
- Indicated/reported gross annual revenue (or annual combined total sales as reported on meals and rooms or sales and use tax returns) multiplied by 10 percent
- The maximum grant ceiling amount is $50,000
More information can be found at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) website.
Applications will be available starting on Monday, July 6th, 2020.
Here are the following allocations of H.966:
- $56,000,000 was appropriated to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and $26,000,000 Department of Taxes to further support businesses who have suffered due to COVID-19 as was enacted in Act 115 on July 19th.
- $2.5 Million was appropriated to ACCD to administer grants for the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. These businesses are within the agricultural, food and forest, and wood products industries and can be used for economic loss or to assist a business in adapting its products to changes in available markets or supply chains that are caused by the COVID-19, provided that such assistance is clearly necessary to ensure the continued viability of the business due to COVID-19.
- $5 Million has been appropriated to ACCD to grant to the Vermont Community Loan Fund, working in collaboration with the Vermont Commission on Women. This program will provide grants to businesses that have from zero to five employees and are at least 51% woman-owned or at least 51% minority-owned.
$1.5 Million was appropriated to the Agency of Natural Resources for grants to outdoor recreation businesses for costs or expenses necessary to comply with or implement COVID-19 public health precautions, including:
- cleaning, disinfection, and personal protection services and equipment;
- symptom monitoring or diagnosis for customers or participants;
- signage or informational material concerning public health precautions;
- temporary staff housing necessary to maintain public health precautions; and
- maintenance or repair of trails where damage is caused by increased usage during the declared COVID-19 public health emergency
- $5 Million has been appropriated to ACCD to grant to the Vermont Arts Council for grants to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.
$2,500,000 to the Department of Tourism and Marketing to create a Restart Vermont marketing program to encourage visitation and consumer spending in Vermont to support businesses that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This program will be tasked with developing the following:
- Marketing activities to promote travel to and within Vermont to increase consumer spending at tourism, hospitality, retail, and related businesses
- A statewide or regional consumer stimulus programs or consumer purchasing incentives that maximize the effect of local consumer spending, including at restaurants, lodging establishments, retail stores, and tourism attractions.
- The Department shall investigate the feasibility of establishing a consumer incentive program to provide to front-line workers who receive hazard pay through the Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program with meaningful discounts or other incentives by and at participating Vermont restaurants and to promote restaurants participating in the program through distinctive signage and other means
$2,500,000.00 to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to create a Restart Vermont business assistance program, through which the Agency shall make available to businesses, professional and technical assistance through qualified Recovery Navigators, whose services will include:
- business operations, financial management, and grant writing;
- digital strategies;
- architecture and physical space design;
- reconfiguring manufacturing equipment and processes and incorporating safety measures;
- technology and software consulting; and
- legal and other professional services.
- $5,000,000.00 to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to grant to Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)to act as fiscal agent for a statewide program: Restaurants and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program is to provide assistance to Vermonters who are food insecure due to the COVID-19 public health emergency by engaging Vermont restaurants that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency to prepare meals using foodstuffs purchased from Vermont farms and food producers.
FYI: It is important to note that there is a prohibition on multiple sources of funding. A business may not receive a grant of Coronavirus Relief Fund monies from more than one source, except that a business in the dairy sector may apply for a grant under the Working Lands Enterprise Fund provided that the award is not for the same purpose covered under other assistance from the Fund. The Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Department of Taxes, and entities that administer funds appropriated will provide businesses with guidance and support to help identify the appropriate programs for which the business may be eligible for a grant and other assistance.
On Tuesday, members of Main Street Alliance of Vermont had the opportunity to speak with Congressman, Peter Welch. After outlining the packages that have been created in Washington, the Congressman answered questions from our members and heard stories of the enormous impact that this pandemic is taking on businesses and what our needs continue to be. We thank Congressman Welch for this time and for all that he is doing on behalf of our state in Washington.
To listen to the call - CLICK HERE
In an effort to help Vermont small businesses through this crisis, we will update resources on this page.
Advice: In the wake of this national crisis, it is critically important that you keep detailed documentation. From dates, times, who you spoke with, impacts on business, action items taken and action items to do, this information will help you as you navigate through this process more effectively.
FEDERAL ADVOCACY - Main Street Alliance
Main Street Alliance COVID-19 Website: The Main Street Alliance (Our National Organization) is advocating tirelessly on behalf of small businesses on the federal level. We ask that you go to our new website to read and sign onto our policy platform, sign up for emails, AND document the impacts of coronavirus on your business.
Federal Policy Resources
Paid Sick Days and Paid Leave Resources - https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20200324
Centers for Disease Control - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
CONTACT OUR FEDERAL DELEGATION: https://advocacy.kidney.org/congressional-social-media-accounts/
SBA Emergency Injury Disaster Advance and Loan - https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance
US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship - The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act:https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e6a768131c8f538ad00b294/t/5e7e7655aff3dd2806a0036f/1585346134348/Small+Business+Owner%E2%80%99s+Guide+to+the+CARES+Act+%5Bfinal%5D.pdf
Helpful article for small business owners from the Kauffman Foundation: https://www.kauffman.org/currents/a-guide-to-helping-small-businesses-covid-19/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=currents-newsletter3_31_2020
Executive Orders from Governor Scott
Department of Health:
Agency of Commerce and Community Develop
Agency Resource Center: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19
Business Impact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Impact Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vtcovid19
Agency Daily Updates Email Sign-On: https://vermont.us3.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ff50346b45ae607c4e55c01ec&id=73312ef76e
STAY HOME STAY SAFE SECTOR SPECIFIC GUIDANCE: https://accd.vermont.gov/content/stay-home-stay-safe-sector-specific-guidance
Continuation of Operation Request Form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=O5O0IK26PEOcAnDtzHVZxpZpCEHOHkZNmCwXH5xH5clURUZRTFRVQ0NMVDZWRlNDVEc0RjdNSzNJVS4u
ACCD CARES Act FAQ's: https://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accdnew/files/documents/CARES-Act-FAQ.pdf
ACCD Resources for Businesses: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business
Department of Labor - Unemployment Insurance
Establishing a new claim Online FORM: https://vermont.force.com/DOLClaim/s/
Establishing a "Mass Layoff" https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance/ui-employers/mass-layoff
Department of Taxes - https://tax.vermont.gov/coronavirus
Commission on Public Utilities Statement: Order Granting Temporary Moratorium on Involuntary Natural Gas, Electric, and Telecommunications Service Disconnections: file:///Users/MainStreetAllianceofVermont/Downloads/20-0703-PET%20-%202020.03.20%20DPS%20Comments%20UPDATE.PDF
HEALTH INSURANCE: MVP + BCBS have opened enrollment for those who lose insurance to get on an exchange plan. Out of work and reduced income folks may be eligible for Vermont Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont will be temporarily waiving financial verifications required for those seeking to enroll in health insurance; Extending out coverage periods until after the emergency ends; Suspending certain terminations of health insurance; Offering a Special Enrollment Period (1 month) for those who do not currently have health insurance to enroll in a qualified health plan and receive premium and cost-sharing assistance, if eligible. Eligible Vermonters can continue to apply for, and enroll in, Medicaid at any time.
SBDC Technical Support -
The Vermont Small Business Development Center is offering support to small businesses as they navigate the resources available to them both through the state and federal governments - https://www.vtsbdc.org/coronavirus/
Resources and Information for Childcare -
Essential Person List: https://vem.vermont.gov/sites/demhs/files/Essential%20Persons_03182020.pdf
Essential Person Childcare Webform: https://webportalapp.com/webform/essentialworkers
Resources and Information for Food -
Hunger Free Vermont -hungerfreevt.org/coronavirus
Vermont Foodbank - https://www.vtfoodbank.org/
CONTACT YOUR VT LEGISLATORS:
Any individual questions, please reach out to the Vermont State Director, Morgan Nichols at: morgan@mainstreetalliance org
Morgan Nichols published Small Business and Legislator Forum - COVID-19 3.17.20 in Blog 2020-03-18 07:52:49 -0700
On March 16th, over 100 businesses came together to discuss COVID-19 with legislators from Lamoille and Washington County.
Watch a recording of this session here.
We will continue to bring you the best information that we can from the state and share your stories and experience with those in the legislature.
A few resources that are helpful during this time:
As shared in our membership email - Main Street Alliance is working to advocate at a national level on behalf of small businesses. Stories are being collected here at https://www.smallbizcovid19.com/ We will have access to all of the stories collected and be sure that our lawmakers have access to all Vermont stories so that your voice is represented in Montpelier.
The Department of Labor Website with FAQ's related to COVID-19: https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19/covid-19-frequently-asked-questions
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development is asking businesses effected by COVID-19 to share their stories with them at email@example.com and their website is: https://accd.vermont.gov/about-us/disaster-planning/covid-19-guidance-vermont-businesses
Additionally, as it relates to unemployment insurance. We are hearing that it's is important to just keep calling in order to get through. Once you are able to connect, the support staff is incredibly helpful to walk you through the process. Additionally, we have learned that if you are a business owner and must layoff more than 10 employees during this experience, that you must go through a mass layoff process as outlined here: https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance/ui-employers/mass-layoff