LOCAL COVID RESOURCES
Okemo Valley Chamber:
A critical focus for us is gathering all COVID information and organizing it in such a way that it’s most useful. We continue to run a restaurant promotion, an online shopping promotion and are continuing to gather updated community & business resources to help.
Okemo Valley TV Chamber Update Show & Zoom Chats:
We are also working with Okemo TV to reformat our monthly Chamber TV Update Shows as Zoom Chats. Here are some recent episodes:
Support Fellow Chamber Members:
Please continue to support these Chamber members during this difficult time. You can also help to support these businesses by purchasing gift cards/certificates.
- Find out where to get take-out or delivery of food at this Okemo Valley Chamber’s Restaurant “To-Go”
- Find out which Okemo Valley Chamber members are offering free food HERE. Please support these valuable local organizations if you are able.
Chamber Members Offering Updated COVID-19 Services:
- ServPro:offering business owners, property managers and facilities directors proactive cleaning and sanitizing in their building(s) in accordance with the CDC’s guidelines, including in the event of a COIVD-19 exposure case if needed. In either case, please contact their office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (802) 674-8004 to provide further information about these services.
- HWC Financial:Offering Business, Employee & Family Financial Consulting. They can help you navigate the current economic environment and more importantly, find the opportunities to not just survive – but thrive going forward. Successful businesses prepare for downturns and make smart decisions with their money. We have been through times like this before and we will again in the future. For a business planning video and business planning checklist, click HERE. Contact Kevin via email at: email@example.com, or phone at 802-293-7663. Save ~ Invest ~ Live Awesome
- Awesome Graphics: offering special Okemo Valley Business Reopening & Safety Education Signage. 50% off for fellow chamber members! Contact them at 802-773-6143.
- Red House Press: offering #LocalStrong Vermont Chamber members save 20% (only $19.20 plus tax regularly $24 each). Plus they are donating $5 to fellow chamber member the Springfield Humane Societyfor each sign sold! Contact them at 802-886-2868.
- Okemo/Vail ResortsCEO offers advice to ensure an upcoming safe ski season. Learn more HERE.
Okemo Valley Chamber Members who are VT SBA Approved Lenders:
Businesses are encouraged to seek professional business counseling and technical assistance before taking on additional debt and to help navigate the various programs and resources available.Besides the banks in Okemo Valley, we are compiling list of accountants, financial advisers and consultants serving the region who can work with you to maneuver the federal programs now becoming available. Please let us know if you should be on this list.
Okemo Valley Regional Impact Survey:
We have also launched a member business survey to best understand your needs to help us marshal and highlight appropriate resources. This Business Impact Survey will help us to better know how you’re affected and what resources we should focus on for you. In addition, some “essential” businesses are still open and others able to operate remotely and are still hiring – we want to share this jobs information with fellow chamber members and others in the region who may need a job. Start the survey HERE.
Vermont Regional Public Resources:
Among the public technical assistance resources is the VT Small Business Development Center and Regional Development Corporations that cover our region. Here’s an updated SBA information sheet from Springfield Regional Development Corporation and the VT Small Business Development Center helping to answer any questions you may have.
Vermont Small Business Development Corporation (VtSBDC) Advisors:
The SBDC’s Disaster Recovery Guide for business developed for Hurricane Irene can also be helpful now.
Regional ReVTa Program:
This Restart Vermont Technical Assistance Program (ReVTA) is being administered by various Regional Development Organizations throughout Vermont. These Regional Development Corporations of VT (RDCs) are contracting with small businesses & non-profits in the state to provide technical assistance to other businesses in VT who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. They have created Recovery Navigator positions in each region of the state to engage directly with businesses impacted by the pandemic and match them with an appropriate technical assistance provider. Find the regional economic development agency in your area HERE. If you are need need of help or wish to offer your technical expertise, please sign up for this program. Learn more HERE.
Regional Development Corporations for our region:
Learn more here about Disaster COVID-19 Business Lending 201. Here are recent updates:
Regional Financing Programs:
- SRDC Regional Revolving Loan Fund: The Springfield Regional Development Corporation(SRDC) local Area Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) has been expanded with a federal CARES Grant to provide more loans to coronavirus-impacted small businesses in Southern Windsor County. Applications for this special COVID RLF are now available. These funds are intended for use for COVID-related impact, such as working capital needs or helping to cover equipment or renovation costs. This is NOT a grant program. Funding is available to applicants in the SRDC service region including these Okemo Valley communities: ANDOVER, BALTIMORE, CAVENDISH, CHESTER, LUDLOW, WEATHERSFIELD. (SRDC also services Reading, Springfield, West Windsor & Windsor). For more info, contact Paul Kowalski at SRDC, firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-885-3061.
- Sole Proprietor Stabilization Grant Program Learn More here and applyHERE For the Okemo Valley counties of:
- Windsor:Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) will be administering these funds (as well as for Orange, Caledonia, Essex, Orleans, Franklin, Grand Isle, & Chittenden Counties).
- Windham, Bennington, & Rutland:the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) will be administering these funds (as well as for Addison, Washington, & Lamoille Counties).
New EMBRACE Micro Business Grants:
In response to COVID-19, the Vermont Community Action Partnership and the Micro Business Development Program have come together to establish the E.M.B.R.A.C.E. (Economic Micro Business Recovery Assistance for the COVID-19 Epidemic) direct grant program to support the smallest Vermont micro businesses owned by an individual with a “household” income at or under 80% of state median “household” income. Grant amount range from $2,500 to $5,000 and will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. Grant funds will be disbursed thru November 2020 and all funds must be spent by grant recipients by the end of the year. Learn more about the program by watching this video. The EMBRACE Grant application is now available HERE. For more info, please contact your county representative:
Vital Communities of the Upper Valley has a Pandemic Small Business Navigator for business resources.
Regional Human Resources Survey
Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDC) is part of a new human resources partnership, the Springfield Area Working Communities Challenge to help employers recruit & retain employees. They are surveying area businesses to see who would be interested in technical assistance with HR Compliance, especially as it relates to COVID-19. Take the survey HERE.
Everyone Eats Program:
The State of Vermont has allocated $5M from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for a new program called Everyone Eats, which supports restaurants and farms feeding Vermonters who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Everyone Eats is administered in VT by Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA). Funds will be used for programs to help feed the food insecure by purchasing from local food providers such as farms and restaurants. They are seeking requests for proposals from communities. Click HERE for the Request for Proposal (RFP). Chris Meyers from Chester Helping Hands is working on the Okemo Valley program.
STATE COVID RESOURCES
Governor of Vermont Directives:
See the latest updates to the VT Stay Safe orders in red HERE. Learn more about the new Cross State Travel plan HERE. On September 22, cross state travel was expanded to additional states. Click HERE for the current map.
The governor announced a $400 million economic recovery plan earlier this week and opened retail, restaurants and lodging to limited capacity. There are provisions made for all business with a focus on hospitality, retail and agriculture. The recovery plan phase I provides immediate relief to help businesses stay afloat with grants/loans, technical assistance, in-state marketing and rental assistance. To learn more about Governor Scott’s Announcement of $400 Million Economic Relief announcement click HERE or you can watch the Video.
Governor Scott is working to re-open the state economy with measured steps and balance to keep people healthy for a phased restart. Learn more HERE.
Click HERE for updates to Governor Scott’s Work Safe Be Smart, Stay Safe Order. The Stay at Home Directive until May 15th has now been extended until Oct 15th.
Governor Scott also approved re-establishing lodging reservations to June 15th. The Vermont Chamber offered this additional clarification to the Exec Order updates: The Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order prohibits lodging except to support COVID-19 response. Addendum 9 released today extends that Executive Order until May 15, 2020, so reservations for arrivals between now and May 15 would need to be cancelled. Existing reservations for arrivals between May 15 and June 15 may remain, pending any future extension or amendment to the Stay Home, Stay Safe order.
Phase I reopening of the VT economy was declared by the Governor starting Monday April 20, 2020. ACCD issued new work safe additions and updated health & safety guidelines HERE.
Vermont’s Economic Recovery Grants:
Arts & Cultural Organizations effective Monday September 21, are eligible to receive Vermont Economic Recovery Grants. Learn more and apply on The Vermont Arts Council website HERE.
Vermont has set aside $70 million to provide relief to the state’s businesses, $50 million for Restaurants, Lodging & Retail and $20 for other businesses impacted by the pandemic. Applications became available on Monday July 6, awards are given on a first come, first serve basis. Before submitting your application, please review the information about the application, who is eligible, how to apply and get technical assistance at the ACCD website. You can also view related webinars HERE. Click HERE for the application.
Restart VT Work & Recovery Task Force
Effective Friday September 18th, lodging establishments may operate at 100% capacity and bar seating is permitted at dining venues. Learn more HERE.
Effective Saturday August 1st, non-essential retail establishments can now operate at 50% capacity. Learn more HERE.
Effective Friday June 26th: Arts, Culture, and Entertainment venues, as well as restaurants, can expand capacity for events and dining to 50% of approved occupancy size with new maximum gathering sizes for 75 people for indoor events and 150 people for outdoor events. The full guidance for lodging operations, restaurants and all other sectors is available on the ACCD website.
Effective, Monday, June 8th:
- RESTAURANT indoor occupancy goes up to 25% (but still no bar service)
- LODGING occupancy goes to 50% capacity or 25 guests
- CROSS-STATE TRAVEL plan was also announced. The Cross-State Travel will allow to/from traffic for 55 locations in New England and New York affecting a population of 3.6 million. Locations are identified as having COVID active cases similar to Vermont with less than 400 cases – for these locations, travel is allowed without quarantine. Other requirements may apply.
See the latest updates to the VT Stay Safe orders in red HERE. Learn more about the new Cross State Travel plan HERE.
On Monday, May 18, Vermont retail stores will be able to reopen at 25% capacity under the condition that they abide by the state’s coronavirus operation guidelines. Businesses with 10 employees or less are permitted to use the VOSHA course through the U.S. Department of Labor. For guidance on reopening, click HERE.
The Governor’s Restart Vermont Task Forces includes different Action Teams representing different sectors of the state’s economy. On May 1, 2020 the Manufacturing, Fulfillment & Distribution Action Team developed a guide for the 2020 Phased Reopening & Recovery Plan for this sector. Find it HERE. If you have any questions, please email the VT Manufacturing Exchange at email@example.com.
Vermont Agency & Community Development (ACCD):
ACCD is sponsoring, and Okemo Valley businesses are encouraged to enroll in, the new #BuyLocalVermont program which promises to bring in more foot traﬃc to quickly increase sales for restaurants, retail stores, entertainment & performing arts venues, lodging and tourism-related businesses. Learn more and sign up HERE.
The Department of Tourism & Marketing maintains the VermontVacation.com website and produces the Vermont Vacation Guides twice a year has a FREE directory listing for Vermont Businesses. Click HERE to sign up your business.
ACCD is administering Economic Relief Business Grants as well as additional grants for Minority & Women-Owned businesses. Applications became available on Monday July 6, 2020 on a first come, first serve basis.
The ACCD website is also offering resources to help tourism sector businesses reopen safely with sector specific plans. Currently restart plans are on the site for the lodging and restaurant sectors, among others. Reopening signage resources are also available.
The Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD) recently presented a virtual conference call about U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Updates from the Employer Financial & Technical Support Action Team. Learn more HERE.
The VT Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD) has listed some new state tax relief provisions for small businesses and private non-profits. Learn more HERE.
The Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD) has comprehensive COVID coverage on their website, and a newsletter related to all business and community COVID resources for Vermont, and COVID FAQs, Please sign up for the newsletter here.
ACCD’s website is really helpful for its comprehensive coverage. It provides a great overview of COVID related programs and resources for Business, Individuals and Communities and provide links to primary resources across agencies.
VT Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC):
The Vermont Small Business Development Center provides free technical assistance to new and existing businesses. They also offer workshops, many of which are now virtual. The VtSBDC has a special COVID-19 page which includes a Roadmap to Recovery flow chart. Click HERE to view a recent webinar on the Roadmap to Recovery.
VT Department of Labor (DoL):
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a new program for those who are:
- sole proprietors
- not eligible for traditional unemployment
to receive some financial help during this time. Learn more HERE.
The VT Department of Labor (DoL) has been hosting a series of Virtual Town Halls. View HERE.
The Vermont Department of Labor has special COVID-19 Information for Employers and Employees in the state.
VT Occupational Safety & Health Administration (VOSHA)
VOSHA has guidance and mandatory training for the health & safety of employees during the phased reopening of the state’s economy.
VT Department of Health:
Effective 8/1/2020, all Vermonters and visitors are required to wear face masks in public. Learn more HERE.
The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) has updated guidance for visitors traveling to VT. Click HERE for more info.
VDH also has special COVID-19 Guidance for Food & Lodging establishments in the state.
VT Agency of Human Resources – Department of VT Health Access:
The State of Vermont also announced Health Care Provider Stabilization Grants which were launched on Friday, July 17, 2020. This grant program utilizes funds from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide direct cash grants to eligible health care and human service providers who have lost revenue and/or observed increased expenses due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Learn more HERE and click HERE to apply.
VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Marketing:
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Marketing (VAAFM) has special COVID-19 Guidance for Agriculture & Food providers in the state. The Vermont Department of Agriculture also maintain a COVID-19 page of resources for farms and food producers in the state. Learn more HERE.
New Corona relief funds are now available providing agriculture & working lands assistance for eligible farmers, meat & poultry processors, commercial slaughter houses, farmers’ markets, value-added food product businesses, forest products businesses, and producer associations. Grant payments are on a first-come, first-served basis. All compensable losses and costs must have been incurred since March 1, 2020 and be related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Learn more and apply HERE.
VT Working Lands Board:
The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) will be administering the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program for dairy producers & processors who have experienced income loss, additional expenses and market disruption as a result of the pandemic. The application opened on Friday, July 17 with an available $25 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for qualified applicants. There are also funds for Forest & Wood Product industries. Apply HERE for dairy assistance.
WLEB has also awarding COVID-19 Response Business Development Grants in the Agriculture & Forestry sectors. These funds are designed to complement a business’s ability to maintain operations while increasing capacity to rebuild and/or recover. The grant application deadline was May 31. Click HERE for more info and an application.
VT State Housing Authority:
The State of Vermont is providing housing assistance to those affected by COVID-19. This grant program will utilize federal CARES Act funding to provide relief for landlords suffering from a loss of rent payments, those tenants unable to pay rent, and those lower income homeowners needing assistance in paying their mortgages. Learn more HERE.
Agency of Human Services:
The Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program was established in using Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to pay eligible employees who worked during the COVID-19 public health emergency from March 13 through May 15, 2020. The Hazard Pay Program allows covered employers to request funding to provide $1,200 or $2,000 in hazard pay to each employee who meets eligibility criteria. Public safety, public health, health care and human services employers whose employees worked to help mitigate or respond to COVID-19 may apply for hazard pay grant funds for their employees. Learn more HERE.
VT Department for Children & Families (DCF):
The Operational Relief Grant (ORG) program includes $12 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funding to help child care programs offset pandemic-related expenses and losses. Grant applications are open now through August 26 and award notices are anticipated by September 11. Eligible applicants include child care & afterschool programs, summer day camps, parent child centers and agencies that serve as fiscal agents for local Children’s Integrated Services. Learn more HERE.
FEDERAL COVID RESOURCES
VT U.S. Congressional Delegation “Tele-Town Halls”:
Our federal congressional delegation including Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch have been hosting a series of Virtual Town Halls. View on the links below:
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act:
The $2 Trillion COVID Stimulus Package main aspects aim to provide cash payments to individuals & families, keep employees working, expand unemployment insurance benefits and offer critical low-cost small business counselling, loans, grants & rebates.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):
The Vermont District Office of the SBA offers a free daily webinar from 9 to 10 am Monday to Friday to discuss SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan & Advance (EIDL). Click HERE To join the webinar. To join by phone, call 202-765-1264 and when prompted enter the code #470177937. Upon joining the call, mute the phone to cut down on the background noise and please do not place the call on hold (as the hold music will be heard over the presenter). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The COVID stimulus programs have now been approved for $484B in added funding. This funding will be making it’s way to the the SBA business programs you want to access ASAP:
Please realize these are available on a first-come serve basis. Learn more HERE. The application deadline of the PPP has been extended to August 8, 2020.
The bulk of the Stimulus Programs come under the administration of the SBA. Please see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources for an overall review of available federal programs and more detail on SBA programs.
The SBA is overseeing three different COVID-19 Business Loan & Grant programs:
- Paycheck Protection Program(PPP) – This is an SBA loan program through your banker.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan(EIDL)– This has a grant portion to $10K. The program is direct SBA program, meaning you apply to the SBA directly, via website.
- Small Business Debt Relief Program– This is an SBA program available through your bank, is designed to help with existing bank debt.
Please click HERE for information on these SBA programs.
If you have a PPP Loan, click HERE for a Loan Forgiveness Application from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS):
There are two New Employer Federal Tax Credits from the IRS:
- Credit for Sick & Family Leave
- Employee Retention Credit
Learn more HERE.
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):
The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers respond to COVID-19 HERE. DOL has info on unemployment insurance, employer questions and other FAQs. There is now an online portal for employees applying for unemployment insurance and employers can also call 877-214-3331 for UI Assistance.
U.S. Center for Disease Control – Staying Safe, Body & Mind
For the full list of Employer & Business guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), please visit HERE.
Learn more about what to do about stress and anxiety HERE.
Learn how to keep yourself safe HERE.
Business Technical Assistance & Private Resources:
Check in with your insurance company to see if you have Business Interruption Insurance, review your policy and click this guidance for additional info on this from the state.
The Champlain Valley Chapter of SCORE (formerly the Senior Corps of Retired Executives) in Vermont offers technical assistance and workshops, many of which are now online. They also have a COVID Resources page. Learn more HERE.
The Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE):
The Center for Women & Enterprise services all of New England with different state chapters. Click HERE for the CWE-VT. They offer technical assistance and workshops, many of which are online. They also have a COVID Resources page.
Dig In Vermont:
Be included in their listing of Vermont Food & Farm producers selling online. Learn more HERE.
MyChamplainValley.com Local TV Channels WVNY ABC 22 & WFFF Fox 44:
Consider adding your Business to MyChamplainValley.com’s listing
Love Vermont Business Listing:
Add your business to the statewide new Love Vermont Business Listing encouraging folks to support the state’s businesses by buying a gift card, shopping their online store, picking up take-out or contributing donations to them. This is a way to support your favorite local Vermont businesses while staying home and safe throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
VT Digger State-Wide Business Directory:
VT Digger is doing a statewide directory of essential businesses and those that are now reopening. Submit your business HERE.
Seven Days State-Wide Business Listings:
Seven Days is maintaining The Register a State-Wide Business Listings directory of Vermont businesses selling their products for shipping, delivery or curbside pickup. They’re focused on small, locally owned retailers, but also including some larger chains with VT locations — in recognition of the fact that these stores are local employers and add vibrancy to our downtowns. Browse all of the products by categories, shop savvy and keep Vermont strong! Learn more and sign up your business HERE.
Seven Days has also compiled Good To-Go Vermont of eateries offering takeout, delivery or curbside pickup. If your restaurant open for takeout please let them know and get on their listing by adding your business here: Add Your Business. Send updates to existing listings here: email@example.com.
Upper Valley Trail Alliance:
List your business for visitors along Vermont’s trail system. Trail Finder, an online resource for finding trails in VT & NH, is launching Trailside Services, a new portal to connect local businesses to trail users. Fees are waived until April 2021. Sign up HERE.
Vermont Arts Council Grants:
Arts Organizations in the state can apply for COVID Relief grants HERE.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has a Covid Resources page and also has information specific to restaurants.
The US Chamber has tremendous resources on their website related to Corona Virus such as the Small Business Guide & Business Preparedness Checklist.
National Restaurant Association:
The National Restaurant Association put together COVID-19 Reopening Guidance. Find it HERE.
#StandForSmall Resources for Small Business
Please stay connected and reach out for assistance as needed – we’re always just a call or email away!