Coronavirus Resource Guide

Updated 3.27.20. While the crisis with COVID-19 is constantly changing, we are making sure to update this page daily with the resources you may need. For your convenience, we've posted several guidance documents here for your reference. Some can be printed and posted in your break rooms and shared with employees and customers. Please call us at 802-839-1928 and tell us how you are effected.

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. You can Click here to view the VRGA/VSFA Document Description of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order.

View the full Home/Stay Safe Order

NAICS code guidance list

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has provided a detailed list to help determine which sectors and activities are critical. This document includes clear “yes” or “no” indicators next to each NAICS code determining whether a business may continue in-person business. Find further information and FAQs here.    

State of Vermont Critical Business List

Retail services list by store

VRGA has 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. 

Check this list for a store near you

Food producers and manufactures

VSFA is working on compiling a list of our producer and distributor members who are staying open to manufacture products for retailers. Stay tuned for updates and access to this list.

Be Prepared: What Businesses Can Do:

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:

without access to the public:

If you are temporarily closing your business:

Emergency Federal Response Bills

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. Associate Member Gravel & Shea, a Burlington-based law firm, has provided this explanation on eligibility, terms of loans, and forgiveness opportunities.

Read the current CARES Act bill

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. Find out specifics of the leave provided by the bill in this document: Paid Sick Leave/Medical Leave/Family Leave.

Read the full FFCRA Act bill

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 passed the bill H.681 that proposes to relieve employers of charges for unemployment benefits paid to an employee for a maximum of four weeks because:

Associate Member Gravel & Shea, a Burlington-based law firm, has provided this overview of the expanded employment benefits that have been recently passed by the Vermont Legislature and Congress.

Financial Assistance

Federal Funding

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) is seeking to understand and document the impacts of COVID-19 on Vermont businesses. Please fill out the survey below with accurate information to allow the ACCD to learn the true impact of COVID-19 on business in the state.

Estimated Business Impact Survey

SBA Economic Injury Disaster loans

As of Friday, 3/20/20, this loan is now available to Vermont small businesses.

Apply for a Federal Disaster Loan

Here are some tips as you navigate the application:

Additional Resources

Private Lending 

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

New England Federal Credit Union

North Country Federal Credit Union

General COVID-19 Updates

Childcare

Update: On 3/26, Governor Scott Dimisses Schools for in-person instruction for remainder of 2019-2020 school year.

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

CDC Mass Gathering Guidance

VSFA events affected by the COVID-19

If you have further questions on any of the below events, please contact alexandra@vtspecialtyfoods.org.

Business Advisor Resources

Webinar: What You Need to Know About COVID-19

VSFA and VRGA collaborated with UVM Extension to present some basic information about the virus (SARS-CoV-2), the disease (COVID-19), and additional online resources. We respond to some of the questions we have received about COVID-19 in the context of the daily activities of food manufacturer/food handlers.

Watch the pre-recorded webinar here

Webinar: Doing Business in these Uncertain Times 

Presented by Paul Frank + Collins P.C. on 3/25, VSFA and VRGA members joined Senior Partners Karen Stackpole, Kris Brines, Chris Leff, Shane McCormack, and Bob DiPalma from Paul Frank + Collins for a live webinar to discuss employment issues, financing issues, contact problems and related questions that may arise as this pandemic continues to evolve. Download the slide presentation.

Watch the recorded live webinar here

Paul Frank + Collins has also provided further information on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and a supporting Employees Rights Poster.

What VRGA is asking your Government Officials 

VRGA President Erin Sigrist has been in touch with many state officials asking questions on your behalf. Check out VRGA's FAQ Page on questions already answered. If you have further questions or concerns, please call us at 802-839-1928 or email us.

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

Many of our members have tried to come up with ways to provide the goods people need while limiting their exposure to COVID-19. 

Short Term: Focusing on online or phone sales, Curbside Pickup, Limiting Store Hours if they have a retail shop still open, , Contacting larger grocery stores to keep your product in stock, Adjusting production hours to avoid contact between employees, 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).

Long Term: Talking with your banks, learning about Small Business Loans, Cancelling events, Focusing on Online sales if possible.

Support Local Business - Where your product is being sold

Support Locally Owned Stores - We have assembled a list of businesses in the state providing shopping hours for vulnerable members of the community, curbside pickup, delivery and other services in response to COVID-19. Please check this list for a store near you. If your product is being sold in one of these stores, please try to highlight that on your social media or website to promote folks to shop there. 

Larger Scale Vermont Support - We wanted to share what Vermont Downtown Districts are doing in the midst of COVID-19 reaching Vermont. Here, you will find a list of the Downtown Districts of Vermont. On their web pages you'll be able to see what stores are temporarily closed, what stores have remained open, and most importantly, how you can help!

Additional Resources

Agricultural Related COVID-19 Resources

Business Income Insurance

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

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