RDCs of Vermont to Deliver $1.17 Million in Small Business Technical Assistance
Governor Phil Scott has announced the distribution of $2.5 million in federal CARES Act funding for Restart Vermont Technical Assistance. This funding will deliver robust support to Vermont businesses impacted by the economic downturn due to COVID-19. The funding, allocated by the Vermont General Assembly in Act 137, leverages existing statewide and regional assets to reach a broad range of companies in every sector and region.
The Regional Development Corporations of Vermont (RDCs of VT) were among five organizations selected to implement Restart programming. The RDC program, Restart Vermont Technical Assistance (ReVTA), will leverage a regional and statewide network of for-profit and nonprofit technical assistance providers to help small businesses. Each RDC will deploy a Recovery Navigator to work one-on-one with businesses and determine the best form of technical assistance to help each business on its path to recovery. The Navigator, client business, and technical assistance provider will develop a scope of work appropriate to solving the client’s issues. The cost of the work will be covered by the grant. The program is expected to assist over 250 businesses with grants averaging $3,000.
In Chittenden County the RDCS ReVTA Program will be administered by GBIC, the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation. Businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and would like to receive technical assistance and businesses that can provide technical assistance should register to participate in the program at: www.VermontEconomicDevelopment.com.
About 250 Vermont businesses are expected to receive technical assistance through the ReVTA program between now and December 20, the deadline to expend CARES Act funds. Technical Assistance providers and impacted businesses are encouraged to register now. Links to registration, webinar training, and more information on the RDCs of Vermont’s Restart Vermont Technical Assistance Program can be found at www.VermontEconomicDevelopment.com.
Employees with COVID-19 related concerns in the workplace can contact the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA). Employees can submit a safety complaint form on VOSHA’s website, or call toll free at 1-800-287-2765.
Governor Scott announced that ACCD and the Department of Taxes will administer a new round of grants for businesses: Expanded Economic Recovery Grants. The Department of Taxes application is open now through the myVTax portal until midnight on October 30, 2020. ACCD will be opening their application in the next week and the window to submit applications will also be two weeks.
Governor Phil Scott and ACCD have announced new resources for businesses navigating the COVID-19 crisis. Free technical assistance is now available through the Small Business Recovery Technical Assistance Program with support 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. The program is now live, and businesses can begin accessing resources immediately.
COVID-19 Testing Guidance for Employers
The Department of Health has updated information regarding COVID-19 testing in the workplace. The Department of Health does not recommend requiring asymptomatic employees to test for COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative test prior to returning to work, unless that person is looking to end their quarantine period early. Visit the Department of Health’s website to learn more about when testing is and is not recommended for your employees.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding businesses that are reopening to check, and if needed, flush their water systems to ensure the best water quality for employees or patrons. DEC has issued guidance to help businesses ensure their systems are functioning properly upon restart of operations.
COVID-19 FAQs for Municipal Operations
The Vermont League of Cities and Towns offers updated FAQs for municipalities on recent guidance and its legal and practical effects on general municipal operations, as well as information related to municipal services such as dog licensing, access to public records, town office closures and re-openings, and processing zoning applications.
Mandatory Safety Training Now Available
Addendum 11 to the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order included a directive that by May 4th, all employees returning to work according to Phased 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.
We are still interested in hearing from all Vermont businesses impacted by the response to the COVID-19 virus. Please continue to share these impacts via the Agency Business Impact Form, which will help us assess the full impact as we work toward solutions.
If you have other inquiries, please contact us through our dedicated email address: [email protected].
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.
Interactive Public Wi-Fi Hot Spot Map Now Available
The Vermont Department of Public Service has released an interactive Public Wi-Fi Hot Spot Map to help Vermonters connect to publicly available internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The map includes the location of the Wi-Fi hot spots and pertinent information about how to access them, including places where users can access Wi-Fi from outside the building or in a parked vehicle to encourage social distancing. Vermonters are encouraged to send information about Wi-Fi hot spots to [email protected] and review additional connectivity resources from the Department of Public Service online.