Coronavirus Resource Guide

 Our Team is updating this daily as more information becomes available to support you, your business, and your employees.  

Critical Updates Effective November 20th 2020 Until Further Notice

By order of Governor Phil Scott:

Updated Travel Quarantine Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Effective Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021: people who are fully vaccinated and at least 14 days out from their final vaccine dose can travel to and from Vermont without quarantine restrictions. In addition, a fully-vaccinated person who comes in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will not be required to quarantine.

Fully vaccinated means, according to the CDC: 

Mandatory Travel Quarantine in Effect for Non-Essential Persons

Due to rising COVID-19 case counts across the Northeast, effective on November 10, 2020, the State of Vermont has suspended its leisure travel map and implemented a mandatory quarantine for anyone returning or traveling to Vermont

Essential Travel

People traveling for essential purposes, including work, do not need to quarantine. Essential travel includes travel for personal safety, medical care, care of others, parental shared custody, for food, beverage or medicine, to attend preK-12 school and college if commuting daily, or to perform work for businesses that are currently allowed to operate. For more information about which businesses may operate and how they may operate, view the Work Safe Guidance. The current State of Emergency requires employers to use remote work and telework whenever possible to avoid unnecessary work travel. Businesses and employees must only travel for work related trips when absolutely necessary. Individuals engaged in a daily commute to and from their job are expressly exempt from the need to quarantine by Executive Order.

Persons should not travel to, from, or within Vermont if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if they meet the criteria for needing to Isolate or Quarantine.

Staying Safe and Compliant

Requirements For All Industries

Additional health and safety consideration for all business, non-profit and government operations:

Mask Use for Employees

Food Retail Operating Requirements (General stores, convenience stores, etc)

Retail Operating Requirements

Retailers may begin to reopen concurrent to ACCD sector guidance including:

Bars, Restaurants and Food Service Operating Requirements

For more resources related to reopening head to the ACCD website: Restart Vermont Resources

Useful Print Outs

Cleaning:

State of Emergency Extended to March 15th, Social Gatherings Continue to Be Banned

View the full order COVID-19 Executive Orders Summary New Work Safe Additions as of 2/15/21

The latest order continues the state of Emergency to March and maintains the ban on social gatherings.

The Governor has ordered all non-essential/non-critical businesses to shut down, unless included in the current implementation of the “restartvt” phased reopening plan (see industry specific guidance higher up on this page), and directs all non-essential residents of the state to remain at home throughout the duration of the order, leaving only for essential reasons. While we cannot provide legal advice on whether your specific business can stay open, we can steer you in the right direction.

Find out here what businesses are deemed Critical and Essential.

Businesses deemed critical to public health and safety are urged to offer curbside pickup to the extent possible. We strongly encourage you to offer this service.

Statewide Mask Mandate Ongoing

Per Governor Scott’s July 24th Executive Order, there is an ongoing mandate for Vermonters to wear masks when in the presence of others. This mandate has been continued through the extension of Governor Scott’s State of Emergency, and is anticipated to continue until the State of Emergency ends. There is a signage component to the order, detailed below.

Businesses and non-profit and government entities shall implement measures notifying customers or clients of the requirement to wear masks or facial coverings, which may include, but shall not be limited to, posting signage stating that masks or cloth facial coverings are required and denial of entry or service to customers or clients who decline to wear masks or facial coverings.

Recommended signage can be found here.

VRGA strongly encourages members to:

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development has published the following guidance on the mask order:

"As of Saturday, August 1, 2020, Vermonters and visitors are required to wear masks or cloth facial coverings over their nose and mouth any time they are in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where they come in contact with others from outside their households, especially in congregate settings, and where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.

A person who declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical or developmental issue, or difficulty breathing, shall not be required to produce documentation, or other evidence, verifying the condition."

Mandatory Health & Safety Requirements for all Business, Non-Profit & Government Operations

Employees will be required to complete, and employers must document, a training on mandatory health and safety requirements as provided by VOSHA, or another training program that meets or exceeds the VOSHA-provided standard.

This training is available here.

Businesses that are open to the public will be required to conduct pre-screening or health surveys to verify each employee has no symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath), including temperature checks to the extent possible, prior to the start of work each day.

The Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Agency (VOSHA) has developed training and other materials to inform Vermonters on appropriate safety measures necessary to return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Training and other materials were developed in conjunction with the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

VOSHA Resources Guidelines for Businesses from Vermont ACCD

Federal Response


Temporary Small Business Window for PPP Loans

SBA will offer PPP loans to businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors only from Wednesday, February 24 through Wednesday, March 10, 2021. All other businesses must wait out this exclusivity period before applying.

Additionally changes have been made to:

As of now, there is no specification on how or when the funding formula for small business will be revised. VRGA will continue to monitor changes and update members as new information becomes available.

The PPP Program has reopened

FFCRA Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act included a number of provisions related to paid family/medical leave and paid sick leave, including a tax credit for employers intended to fully cover the cost of leave: The effective date of this legislation is April 1st, 2020 and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020. The second of three bills passed by Congress in response to COVID-19 creates emergency paid sick leave along with paid family leave for individuals impacted by coronavirus/COVID-19. Employers can claim a 100 percent refundable tax credit against payroll taxes for employers and sole proprietors.

Read the full FFCRA Act

Click here for a quick overview of the FFCRA

View this Document for more information on Paid Sick Leave/Medical Leave/Family Leave

Read the FAQ on the FFCRA Act here.

The Department of Labor recorded a webinar on the FFCRA. Please continue to frequent this web address regularly as the Department will continue to update the compliance assistance information available there.

General COVID-19 Updates

Governor Scott and Commissioner Levine Issue Gathering Size Advisory

Governor Phil Scott and Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, have announced an advisory on social gatherings, strongly recommending they be limited to 10 or fewer people.

Noting that Vermont has seen an increasing number of cases as a result of socializing, and many states are now pointing to private social gatherings as a contributor to spread of COVID-19, the State is providing firm recommendations to limit these types of events.

Alcohol Sales: Take Out, Curbside and Delivery Orders Allowed

Expires November 15th (follows expiration of State of Emergency)

Per a directive from Governor Phil Scott, a temporary allowance has been made for take out, curbside and delivery sales of spirits, spirit based, malt and vinous beverages given the following:

If you are considering offering this, we strongly encourage you to contact your Insurance agent to discuss your current Liquor Liability coverage.

The permissible hours for delivery shall be from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. For deliveries, the licensee shall be able to travel from town to town or from place to place carrying orders for delivery of any alcohol product they are licensed to sell and authorized to deliver hereunder without a delivery permit, provided the following conditions are met:

Labor Issues

CURRENT LABOR LAW: Labor law during COVID-19 has rapidly changed and adapted to the situations that have arisen. Check the Vermont Department of Labor website for consistently up to date information. For specific issues you cannot find answers to, reach out to the VRGA team so we can assist. Breakdowns of major changes/additions to the labor law system are below.

Refusal to Return to Work

The Department of Labor reminds unemployment claimants who have been placed on temporary layoff or furlough related to COVID-19 that they must return to work if called back by their employer. Refusal to return to work, when being offered the normal rate of pay and number of hours per week, may result in the termination of unemployment benefits and the need to repay certain benefits.

If your employees have refused to return to work and are instead continuing to draw unemployment benefits, you must report this to the state Department of Labor. Employers should complete the online refusal to work form.

Pandemic Emergency Employment Compensation

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extends regular unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks to claimants who have exhausted their 26 weeks of benefits on July 1,2019 or anytime after. If you have exhausted your unemployment benefits any time after July 1, 2019, you may be eligible for PEUC. This program is currently scheduled to end on December 26th, 2020

Pandemic Unemployment Claims (PUC)

The Department of Labor has announced that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program (part of the federal CARES Act) is now available to accept unemployment claims from those not eligible for the regular Unemployment Insurance program (self-employed, sole proprietors, independent contractors).

More information on the PUA application process and eligibility

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance info

Watch this Vermont Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Demo: How to fill out the form

Resources

VRGA Webinar Page

CDC WebinarKeeping Employees SafeLet's Grow Kids Childcare Options

FDA Daily UpdatesThe Wage and Hour Division FAQ

NRF Guidance for Essential Retail ServicesSmall Business Administration Disaster Loans

Tips from the Attorney General and Business Leaders

Attorney General's CAP Small Business HelpGuidance for Preparing the Workplace

HR Compliance Bulletin on CoronavirusCovid 19 What you need to know

Stop the Spread of Germs PrintoutEmployee Work from Home Guide

Coronavirus and the WorkplaceHR Communicable Disease

 OSHA COVID 19 Prevention and InformationAgricultural Related COVID-19 Resources

Executive Orders Summary

Executive Orders by Industry.pdf