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COVID-19 Resource Guide

New information is in red.  Last updated 06/30/2020.

Stronger Together

We know that this is an incredibly uncertain time for you, your employees, and our community. We are working hard to support you, offer information, and bolster resilience. 
 
We know that our community will be changed by this. That said, throughout this crisis we have seen our business community show their true colors amidst an unprecedented challenge. Businesses have donated their personal protective equipment to the state’s emergency response; others have set up charitable efforts to support our most needy, and time and time again, we’ve heard “we want to do what is best to help with the COVID-19 effort.” We have always been glad to represent our members, but you make us proud and you make us confident that we will, as a community, get through this and be stronger together. 
 

This page will be updated with new and relevant information and resources as they become available.  If you have information you would like to share with Vermont’s business community regarding COVID-19, please contact us.

Lake Champlain Chamber – Legislative Summary (June 29)
Our legislative updates are typically reserved for members, but we are opening access to the general public to better inform the community during these unprecedented times.

Lake Champlain Chamber – President’s Message: Be Smart, Be Selfless, Wear a Mask
Tom Torti, President of the Lake Champlain Chamber, makes the case for all members of the general public to wear a mask before they go out.

Lake Champlain Chamber – Wear a Mask Poster
Businesses can print out this “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Mask, No Service” poster for their storefront.

Read our “Recovery and Re-opening Efforts for Struggling Hospitality and Tourism Businesses” memo.
The Lake Champlain Chamber wrote a memo to officials at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development on Thursday, May 7 urging the agency to ease restrictions and provide financial assistance for our hospitality businesses.

Lake Champlain Chamber – Rapid Response Program
Our Rapid Response program will provide guidance for employers so businesses like yours can comply with frequently changing rules and regulations. Submit a question and get a response in 1-3 business days.

Lake Champlain Chamber – Steps to Reopening Your Business
We have provided a step-by-step guide to help you safely reopen your business in a COVID-19 world.  

Lake Champlain Chamber – Summary of State and Federal Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
This summary is primarily focused on items relevant to the finances of businesses and individuals. It is neither financial nor legal advice for any specific organization. It is an analysis of the new law before any rules or regulations. 

Lake Champlain Chamber – Member-to-Member Support
Some Chamber member businesses are offering discounted and free services to other members during this challenging time.

Lake Champlain Chamber – Support These Small Businesses From Home
We are frequently updating this list of small businesses you can support right from your couch.

Lake Champlain Chamber – Job Forms
Two forms have been created to help individuals in this uncertain time.  For job seekers, the job search form allows you to upload your resume and desired employment information. That information is then distributed to HR professionals and recruiters. For employers, the job openings form allows you to upload information on your current open positions. That information is then uploaded to our job board.

Lake Champlain Chamber – Business Continuity Plan.
The Lake Champlain Chamber is committed to maintaining a healthy work environment for our employees while continuing to serve our members and mission.

Read the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
Read the Governor’s addendum to his 01-20 Executive Order effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Read our memo to Governor Scott.
Our suggestions were focused toward three ends; Reaction, Retention, and Recovery in that order of priority.

About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The CDC offers information on how Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads, symptoms, prevention and treatment, what to do if you are sick, and frequently asked questions, including printable fliers

Resources for Recovery

Face Covering Guidance and Where to Buy
The Health Department recommends that all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when outside of the home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Here you will find a list of where to buy masks for your business.

Standardized Employee Screening Questionnaire
Download this questionnaire for sample screening questions to ask employees upon return to work and on a regular basis moving forward. This template is based on questions required or recommended by various states as well as input from U.S. Chamber member companies of all sizes and sectors.

Customizable Workplace Flyer
Customize, print, and post this workplace flyer to communicate to your employees and customers the steps your company is taking to keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CDC’s Reopening Decision Tree Guide for Employers
The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic,
especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other
partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.

CDC Coronavirus Resource Center for Businesses and Workplaces
The CDC has put together a resource center for businesses and workplaces. Resources include health considerations and tools; guidance to plan, prepare and respond; prevention and support; and communication resources.

CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers (Updated May 2020)
The CDC made changes to their official guidance on May 6, 2020.

CDC Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Workplaces and Businesses
This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

CDC FAQs: General Business Operations
Here you will find answers to many frequently asked questions about healthy business operations.

OSHA Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
This is a comprehensive overview of OSHA guidance on preparing to return to work during COVID-19.

Implementing a National Return to Work Plan
To help business and government anticipate the challenges we may face, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has begun to explore and catalogue some of the major implications of returning to work in this environment—ranging from workplace safety and employee rights to liability concerns and continued revenue disruptions.

Principles for Safe Recovery
The Business Roundtable issued a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging for the slow reopening of business and endorsing several overriding principles.

A Road Map to Reopening
American Enterprise Institute unveils a multi-phase plan for reopening business as epidemic transmission is brought under control in certain regions.

When Will Your City Feel the Financial Impact of COVID-19? (Brookings)
As the crisis unfolds, the impact on cities’ bottom line will be driven not only by overall economic conditions but specifically the parts of the economy where revenue is generated: retail sales, income and wages, and real estate.

Small Business Resources

COVID-19 Employers Back to Business Action Plan
Import this free COVID-19 Back to Isolation “recipe” checklist tool to help your business carefully restrict operations in phases for employee safety if COVID-19 cases start to increase again. All content is from the CDC Guidelines including the detailed Opening Up America Again Framework. This back to work recipe is FREE and also includes a free version of the Pie project and process management tool for easy execution with unlimited users. Be sure to also import the above Back to Business sister action plan. Recipe and tool provided by PieMatrix.

COVID-19 Employers Back to Isolation Action Plan
Import this free COVID-19 Back to Isolation “recipe” checklist tool to help your business carefully restrict operations in phases for employee safety if COVID-19 cases start to increase again. All content is from the CDC Guidelines including the detailed Opening Up America Again Framework. This back to work recipe is FREE and also includes a free version of the Pie project and process management tool for easy execution with unlimited users. Be sure to also import the above Back to Business sister action plan. Recipe and tool provided by PieMatrix.

Import this free COVID-19 Crisis Cashflow Planning “recipe” to help you prepare your business for current and future negative impacts from economic hardships. Take action so your business can make better cashflow planning decisions. Recipe content created by Reconciled and tool provided for free by PieMatrix.
 

Ready to Reopen: A Playbook for Your Small Business
Download this step-by-step guide to help your company reopen safely and keep employees and customers healthy and informed as restrictions lift across the country. The playbook includes safety and sanitation guidance, communications advice, and other best practices information. 

Stay Home Stay Safe Sector Specific Guidance
On April 17th, Governor Scott issued Addendum 10, providing new guidance to outdoor work, low and no-contact work, and non-essential retail.  The sector-by-sector guidance aims to help businesses interpret the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order. All businesses, whether essential or not, must abide by the following health and safety guidance included in Addendum 10.

Vermont ACCD’s COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center
Find helpful FAQs and guidance on Paycheck Protection Loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Economy Injury Grants, the Small Business Debt Relief Program, and other resources available to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Coronavirus Emergency Loans – Small Business Guide and Checklist 
A helpful infographic prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help small business owners better understand the emergency loans available to them under the CARES Act.

Information on Paycheck Protection Program from SBA
SBA Lenders will be able to start taking applications as soon as April 3. Lenders in Vermont can be found here.

Information on Paycheck Protection Program from U.S. Treasury
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.  You can find the application here.

FAQ on Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
This frequently asked questions document provides more detail on the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order.

NAICS Code Guidance on Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
Businesses can review this list to determine, using their NAICS Code to determine which functions may be determine critical.

The CARES Act: What You Need to Know About Emergency Small Business Relief
A concise summary of key points and answers to FAQs about the Paycheck Protection Program by Venable, LLP (Mar 26, 2020).

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act One-Pager
An outline of notable sections in the CARES Act in respect to nonprofit organizations by ASAE (Mar 26, 2020).

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources (SBA)
Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security and health of the American people.  Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.

Disaster Loan Assistance (SBA)
Businesses in the 10 counties in Vermont already declared may immediately apply for assistance. To apply online, visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. Please note SBA is experiencing significant volume. While they work to add additional customer service and processing capability, here are a couple of suggestions if you are trying to apply for disaster loan.

  • Consider applying after 5pm
  • Do not use the Chrome browser
  • Some applicants are having difficulty uploading the required documentation. If you are attempting to file after 5pm and not using Chrome, you can call SBA (1-800-659-2955) to work around uploading documents (hours 8am to 8pm)

SCORE Business Mentoring
Find a mentor or volunteer to support small businesses

Vermont Federal Credit Union Relief Program
VFCU is offering a number of financial programs to support businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19

Acceptable Continuation of Business Operations
Commercial entities, non-profits, employers and others with questions about the acceptable continuation of business operations should contact the Agency of Commerce and Community Development via this online form.

VtSBDC Disaster Recovery Guide
Information on how small businesses can navigate disasters.

Webinars

Upcoming:

7/15: Pandemics, Politics and Planning: A Market and Economic Discussion
Please join the Lake Champlain Chamber and People’s United Advisors’ senior investment and planning professionals for an insightful market and economic discussion.  This webinar is free and attendance will be capped at 90.

7/16: Race Against the Machine: A Webinar Addressing Systemic Racism
Dr. Jude Smith Rachele of Abundant Sun will facilitate a workshop on how businesses can address systemic racism and achieve better racial equity.  State of Vermont Executive Director of Racial Equity, Xusana Davis, will join and co-facilitate.  Chamber members will receive a discount on their registration fee and attendance will be capped at 95.  All proceeds to Abundant Sun.

Past Recordings:

5/21-5/27: Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development Webinar Series
Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development hosted a series of webinars to help explain the relief and recovery package and how it will support various sectors throughout the economy. 

5/26: LCRCC Webinar: An Overview of FFCRA with Sheehey Furlong & Behm
LCRCC and Sheehey Furlong & Behm provides an overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) its interaction with other state and federal programs, and how to use it to the advantage of you and your employees.  See an overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act here.

5/21: LCRCC Webinar: Adapting Vermont Hospitality to COVID-19
Local business owners contribute to a panel discussion on how the hospitality industry can advocate for assistance and adapt to our new normal while generating business and revenue.  

5/12: LCRCC Webinar: DRM Presents Strategies for Returning to Work
Are you ready to switch gears? We know that these isolation orders have to end sooner or later and it’s going to be a transition for everyone. The time is now to start planning for a successful return to work strategy. DRM’s labor and employment team will help you think through the process and present strategies to consider for your organization.

5/6: Grow with Google Livestream: Manage Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty
Discover tools, tips and resources to help you manage your business remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to update critical business information online to keep customers informed, host virtual meetings and events, and access documents from anywhere. We’ll also share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small businesses.

4/7: Resources for the Self-Employed with VDOL
VDOL covers this topic as part of their virtual town hall series.

Find the Chamber’s written summary of this webinar here.

4/2: Important Information for Businesses About New Laws in the Age of COVID-19 with Paul Frank + Collins
Paul, Frank + Collins joined us to discuss recent laws relating to employment matters, federal assistance to businesses, and business tax matters.

You can find the slides from this webinar here.  PLEASE NOTE: New information is becoming available very quickly and these materials may be outdated after April 1, 2020.

3/30: Congressional Update: Federal Stabilization Bill
The offices of Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch will provide an update on the federal stabilization package and answer questions.

Legal Guidance

Paul Frank + Collins COVID-19 Resource Guide
Paul Frank + Collins put together a COVID-19 resource guide on topics specific to business immigration, employment and labor law, and mitigation.

Legal Guidance on Workplace Pandemic Planning (EEOC)
This technical assistance document provides information about Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and pandemic planning in the workplace. It identifies established ADA principles that are relevant to questions frequently asked about workplace pandemic planning such as:

  • How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce when an influenza pandemic appears imminent?
  • When may an ADA-covered employer take the body temperature of employees during a pandemic?
  • Does the ADA allow employers to require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of the pandemic influenza virus?
  • When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require doctors’ notes certifying their fitness for duty?

Coronavirus Update for Vermont Employers & HR Professionals: Answers to 7 FAQs (Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC)
Today, many employers and human resources professionals are finding themselves in uncharted territory as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been declared a national emergency and continues to impact communities around the world. Employment Attorney, Alexandra Clauss, is actively counseling businesses on legal best practices for responding to the virus and promoting a safe and healthy work environment.

Coronavirus Scams (FTC)
The FTC and FDA have jointly issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products, claiming they can treat or prevent the Coronavirus. The companies’ products include teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.

Tax Guidance

Coronavirus Tax Relief (IRS)
The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.

Meals and Rooms/Sales and Use Tax Relief
The Governor has directed the Commissioner of Taxes to exercise his authority to provide relief to Vermont businesses who owe Meals and Rooms Tax or Sales and Use Tax until further notice. Many of our local businesses find themselves unable to meet the March 25 and April 25 filing deadlines due to the implementation of mitigation steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. Taxpayers who are unable to meet the deadlines will not be charged any penalty or interest on these taxes for late submissions.   

Remote Work Guidance

25 Remote Work Tips
Brief bullet points on how to maximize productivity while working remotely.

Vermont Department of Public Service Announces Public Internet Hotspot Maps
Broadband Internet access is an important resource for remote learning and working from home but may not be readily available to all residents. The Public Service Department has prepared a map of public buildings in Vermont where WiFi with access to the internet is publicly available. These sites are accessible at all hours from a parked vehicle on the road or parking lot. 

Free Webinar: How to Be an Effective Employee While Working from Home
Tech Group is offering a free training webinar to share best practices for being productive and professional when working from home.

Coronavirus: How to work from home, the right way (BBC)
Companies around the globe have rolled our mandatory remote work.  Whether you’re a newbie or WFH veteran, here’s what you need to do to stay productive.

Telework Guidelines During COVID-19 Pandemic (State of Vermont)
The State of Vermont is strongly encouraging telework for its state workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  State Departments and Agencies should be exploring all possible options for teleworking for state employees applying this approach liberally including flexible hours.

5 Tools You Need to Become Remote-Work-Ready
Monday.com has put together a list of five essential resources for a remote work situation.

Comcast Announces Comprehensive COVID-19 Response to Help Keep Americans Connected to the Internet
Company opens Xfinity WiFi network nationally for free, offers unlimited data for free, confirms its commitment to connecting low-income families.

5 big tech companies making remote-work tools free during the coronavirus outbreak, including Google and Microsoft (Business Insider)
Here are five tech companies that are making it easier to work remotely, and are making their services more accessible to small businesses and organizations.

6 ways to deal with conflict and disagreement when you work remotely
Even if it’s not well received—and even if you’re wrong—disagreement is productive. Here’s how to make the most of it in a remote work situation.

Tips on cyber safety during the COVID-19 crisis by Tech Group.
Tech Group, Inc. is fully operational, available and prepared to help you stay productive and navigate potential business challenges.

Resources Provided by Members

FastSigns is offering a 25% discount to all businesses and organizations who need signage for virus related communications: banners, coroplast signs, posters, floor graphics, a-frame inserts, and vehicle magnets. 

Farm Fresh Radio 102.9 is offering FREE advertising to all Lake Champlain Chamber members.  Members can call (888) 468-1029 x.1 (sales) to record their free ad. They will edit the message, put it on the air and broadcast it to their thousands of listeners in the Champlain Valley.

dbmStrategies is offering no-fee initial consultations, have discounted rates to LCRCC members by 30%, and offer a deferred payment structure to help your business develop a comprehensive communications plan to weather the unpredictable challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

VTDigger Business Directory
VTDigger is collecting information on what businesses are offering delivery/curbside pickup.

Reconciled‘s Michael Ly has offered to present a webinar on working with remote teams and keeping engagement rhythm to Chamber members at no cost.  Contact Billy Connelly, Member Engagement Manager, if you are interested.

Reconciled is offering a free 15 minute consultation with their accountants on cashflow/planning.  Contact [email protected] if you are interested.

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development wants to hear from Vermont businesses impacted by the response to COVID-19.  Please share your experience and send it to [email protected].

GMT to offer free bus service, alter routes
Due to the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic, the Burlington area public bus system, GMT, is offering the following updates to its passengers.

Coronavirus Resource Guide (VRGA)
A well-organized resource guide from our friends at the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association.

Comcast Opens Xfinity WiFi Network Nationally for Free
Comcast announced additional steps to help ensure people stay connected to the internet as more schools suspend classes and companies encourage employees to work from home due to COVID-19.

Hunger Free Vermont
Covers all the different nutrition programs people could become eligible for quickly if they have had a change in income. This could be helpful for employers to know if they have had to reduce employee hours, for example.

Additional Resources

City of Burlington Resource & Recovery Center
Questions on how the Resource & Recovery Center can help can be sent to [email protected]
or call 802-775-7239.

Spherion Job Board
Spherion has information on open positions in the area.

Vermont Department of Health Public Health Response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus
The Health Department is closely monitoring the rapid developments in the outbreak of COVID-19.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates from UVM Medical Center
The UVM Health Network is working with the Vermont Department of Health and New York State Department of Health to coordinate preparedness efforts based upon guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
Information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease, including daily updates.

World Health Organization: Video Explainer
Video from WHO explaining what’s currently known about the virus.

Unemployment Insurance – Mass Claims Program (VTDOL)
The Mass Claims Program allows employers who are experiencing a slowdown in business, or a temporary/permanent layoff for a group of 10 or more employees, to open claims for the affected employees. REMINDER: If your business is laying off ten (10) or more employees, there is a specific “mass layoff” process.

Vermont Distilleries Offer Free, Homemade Hand Sanitizer
Amid heightened precautions around COVID-19, stores are running out of cleaning wipes, sterile gloves, face masks and hand sanitizers. But across Vermont, local distillers are taking care of one of those needs.

Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis
Based on their ongoing analysis and support for our clients around the world, the Harvard Business Review has distilled the following 12 lessons for responding to unfolding events, communicating, and extracting and applying learnings.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Aid Tracker
The business community is mobilizing its expertise, capabilities, and community resources to assist with the relief and containment efforts. Learn more.

American Chamber of Commerce in China: Flash Survey Results on COVID-19 Impact Revealed (2/27/20)
On Feb. 27, the American Chamber of Commerce in China (“AmCham China”) released the results of a flash survey that measures the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on its member companies.

Coronavirus Resource Page
A resource page by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, including links to Resilience in a Box and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Quick Guides.

COVID Business Update from the Church Street Marketplace
Details on what businesses are operating, have online or social media shopping options, offer gift cards, or have delivery/take out.

Finding Work During COVID-19
Recently displaced workers can find information on how they can find remote work during and after the pandemic.