Coronavirus Resource Guide

 

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

Updated 3.27.20. 

Stay Home, Stay Safe Order

Click here to view the full Home/Stay Safe Order

Click here to view the VRGA/VSFA Document Description of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order

The Governor has ordered all non-essential/non-critical businesses to shut down 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. 
We have also compiled a list of businesses in the state providing shopping hours for vulnerable members of the community, curbside pickup and other services in response. If your business is offering special services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please reach out to us to be added to this list.
Please check this list for a store near you
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. If it is not possible, here are ways to limit exposure to your employees and customers along with helpful links.

If you are staying Open with access to the public

If you are staying Open Without Access to the Public

Retail stores that are deemed non essential but still need to fill online orders and offer curbside pickup and delivery. Here are some steps to take to make sure your employees and customers stay safe.

Once you have completed this checklist, Check out this Webinar on Creative Ways to stay in business: Your Store is Closed but your business Isn't

If you are Temporarily Closing your business

Federal Response Acts

CARES Act — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The comprehensive aid package includes direct payments to Americans, an expansion of unemployment insurance and billions in aid to large and small businesses. As of March 26th, the bill has been passed by the senate and resides with the House. The House has scheduled a vote for Friday, March 27th. Once the bill is passed by the House, it will move ahead for signature from President Trump. We are closely monitoring the passage of this bill and will provide a summary of the final passed bill when it is available. Read the current full bill here. Read the most recent article from 3/27/20 Here

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. Read the full bill here. Find out specifics of the leave provided by the bill in the document below.

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

 

Financial Assistance

Federal Funding

Private Lending

We are not personally promoting these lenders, we are just compiling the information as it comes in for your benefit. If you have heard of other lending opportunities please reach out to us. If you are a member of these banks they are offering special loans for people effected by COVID-19.

New England Federal Credit Union

North Country Federal Credit Union

 

General COVID-19 Updates:

Childcare

State of Vermont makes web-based form available to help ensure Childcare for essential workers.

The State, with the help of Let's Grow Kids, has developed a web form to more easily collect information to connect the families of essential workers with childcare in schools and licensed childcare programs that are operating to provide services now through April 6, 2020, while school dismissal and general childcare service closures are in effect. Families can also call 2-1-1 ext. 6 or 1-877-705-9008 to speak to a childcare referral specialist. Eligible families can complete the form and the State, through the Agency of Education for school-aged children through grade 8, and Child Development Division for younger children, will work to connect essential workers who need childcare with options for their children.

Alcohol Sales: Take Out, Curbside and Delivery Orders Allowed

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:

This directive is effective until April 15th, 2020. 

Bottle Redemption

Vermont Bottle Bill Redemption Requirements Temporarily Waived Through April 30th, 2020

Vermont DEC has taken this step in allowing retailers and redemption centers to temporarily stop redemption services to reduce unnecessary person-to-person contact and possible virus transmission and to let grocers to focus on restocking food shelves and other needed work to assure availability of groceries. This temporary period will end on April 30, 2020 unless extended by DEC. Decisions about whether to close or stop redeeming during this time are solely at the discretion of the retailer/redemption center. 

We ask all Vermonters to take necessary precautions to keep themselves and their community members safe. For further information on COVID-19 in Vermont, and Vermont’s response, visit https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirusFor questions about Vermont’s bottle bill, or this pause in enforcement, contact Becky Webber with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation at 802-522-3658, or rebecca.webber@vermont.gov.

 

Labor Issues

CURRENT LABOR LAW: The Vermont Department of Labor has issued guidance to staff. "Staff shall not deny claims for able and available issues due to a claimant being isolated or quarantined at the direction of a health care official due to potential or verified exposure to the COVID-19 disease. These individuals shall be treated as temporarily unemployed through no fault of their own, and able and available, for the purpose of UI benefits."

PROPOSED LAW: The Vermont House has on Friday passed H.681, a bill that proposes to relieve employers of charges for unemployment benefits paid to an employee for a maximum of four weeks because:

In order for employers to be relieved of UI charges, the bill does require that the employee be rehired when the business reopens or upon completion of the employee's period of quarantine.

The bill still needs to be considered by the full Senate before being reviewed by Governor Scott. 

What VRGA is doing for YOU

VRGA President Erin Sigrist has been in touch with many state officials asking questions on your behalf, once the question has been answered it will be on our FAQ Page. Our Team is working around the clock to make sure we have up-to-date information for you. Here are some of the requests, press releases, and questions we are bringing to the conversation with your state officials.

Check out our FAQ Page on questions already answered.

Erin's Letter to the Director of Vermont Emergency Management on suggestions on which businesses should be deemed Essential vs Non-Essential. 

See Erin on WCAX on March 22nd with Vt. Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts discussing the impact of the coronavirus on the state's dairy industry and food systems; Erin discussed assistance available to help small businesses and the challenges grocers are having keeping the shelves stocked.

Call to Action That All Vermont Retailers & Grocers Offering Designated Shopping Hours for Vulnerable Populations

Request to postpone the ban on single-use plastic bags which is set to take effect on July 1, 2020.

What Our Members Are Doing: Be Creative. Be Safe.

Many of our members have tried to come up with creative ways to provide the goods people need while limiting their exposure to COVID19. Try thinking outside the box, react in the moment but prepare for the coming months.

Please check this list for a store near you We have compiled a list of businesses in the state providing shopping hours for vulnerable members of the community, curbside pickup and other services in response. If your business is offering special services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please reach out to us to be added to this list.

Visit this webpage on downtown districts and what the rest of Vermont is doing.

Short Term: Curb Side Pickup, Free Local Delivery, (PLEASE CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENCY TO LET THEM KNOW - most insurance companies are being good allowing this right now BUT you should definitely call your agent and let them know you are doing this as it may require some extra coverage), focusing on online sales or phone sales.

Long Term: Talking with their banks, learning about Small Business Loans, Cancelling Events, Focusing on Online sales if possible, staggering staff hours so that employees have little to no contact with each other.

 

Additional Resources - Updated Daily

VRGA and Paul Frank + Collins: Employment Issues in the COVID-19 Environment (Webinar)  

Coronavirus: A Clear and Present Danger to Retailers (Webinar)

Let's Grow Kids Childcare Options

CDC Webinar 3/18/20

FDA Daily Updates

The Wage and Hour Division FAQ

NRF Guidance for Essential Retail Services

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans

Tips from the Attorney General and Business Leaders

Attorney General's CAP Small Business Help

 Guidance for Preparing the Workplace

HR Compliance Bulletin on Coronavirus

Covid 19 What you need to know

Stop the Spread of Germs Printout

Employee Work from Home Guide

Coronavirus and the Workplace

HR Communicable Disease

 OSHA COVID 19 Prevention and Information

Agricultural Related COVID-19 Resources