STAY HOME STAY SAFE

COVID-19 Testing Sites:
The Health Department is offering free and fast COVID-19 testing at the sites listed below for anyone without symptoms, especially health care workers, first responders, and child care providers serving essential workers. This clinic is part of the State of Vermont’s efforts to ramp up testing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The test will tell you if you have a current infection. It is not a serology/antibody test, which means it will not tell you if you were infected in the past.
Friday, May 29, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Middlebury and St. Johnsbury + Essex and Barre  
Saturday, May 30 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Barre
Monday, June 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Orleans
Tuesday, June 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Essex and Springfield
Wednesday, June 3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Brattleboro, Morrisville and Rutland + Burlington
Thursday, June 4, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Barre, St. Albans and Hartford/White River Junction + Burlington
Friday, June 5, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Middlebury and St. Johnsbury + Burlington.

Registration is required! Register here!

St. Albans Library Opens: CURBSIDE PROCEDURE PROTOCOL (MAY 2020)
Patrons can place order for materials

  • By phone
  • By email
  • By using their Koha account and placing holds individually or using their cart

Staff will receive requests and check out items to patrons.
Patrons notified by email or follow up phone call.
Staff must wear masks (gloves optional) when working in the Library. Masks must be on when delivering books to patrons in or outside the Library.
All items are placed in foyer awaiting pickup with receipt attached to item.
When more than 2 items are going out to a patron, items will be placed in a paper bag with patrons receipt stapled to bag.
Patrons can elect to have items handed to then at the entrance or brought to their car.
Home deliveries in the St. Albans area are optional following the same guidelines with staff never entering patron’s house/lobby/etc. (approved by Insurance).
Hours of home delivery will be based on staff availability and subject to change.
All materials returned to the library will be cleaned/disinfected.
Turnaround time for most items will be over 24 hours.

USDA Rural Development Business and Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program Webinar

Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 (For Stakeholders and the Public)
Time: 2 PM Eastern

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making available up to $1 billion in loan
guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program provisions included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
 
B&I CARES Act Program loans must be used as working capital to prevent, prepare for or respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans may be used only to support rural businesses, including agricultural producers, that were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020.
 
The Department begins accepting applications on May 22, 2020. Applications must be received no later than midnight Eastern Daylight Time on June 22, 2020, or until funds are expended. Program funding expires Sept. 30, 2021.
 
Eligible applicants may contact their local USDA Rural Development State Office in the state where the project is located.
 
Eligible Program Applicants: Federal or State-Chartered Banks, Savings and Loans, Farm Credit Banks, Credit Unions.

Webinar Topics: Program Compliance & Documents, Application Requirements, Program Resources, Application Process Examples, Guidance on How to Apply.

Who Should Attend:
May 27 webinar – rural lenders and program participants
June 3 webinar – rural lenders, stakeholders and the general public.

To register for the webinar on Wednesday, May 27 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, visit https://globalmeet.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1322642&tp_key=7a700acddd.

To register for the webinar on Wednesday, June 3 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, visit
globalmeetwebinar.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1324161&tp_key=6067315417

Paycheck Protection Program – Loan Forgiveness Application:

COVID-19 Testing
Wed., May 20th from 9am to 3pm:
COVID-19 testing pop-up site at Collins Perley, St Albans

Testing for asymptomatic health care workers, first responders (EMS, fire, and law enforcement), child care providers currently serving essential workers, and people returning to Vermont – such as college students, people who winter out of state and second home owners.

Vermonters with symptoms, no matter how mild, should contact their health care provider to get referred to a nearby testing site.

More information can be found by scrolling down to the press release below my signature line.

Individuals can register at: humanresources.vermont.gov/popups (St Albans may be on the second page of available days/times)

Food Distribution
Thurs, May 28th from 10am to 2pm:
Fresh produce and dairy, at the Franklin County State Airport, 629 Airport Road, Swanton.
More information, here: https://vem.vermont.gov/pods

   
Important Re-Opening Guidelines      
Dear Chamber members,   As our state prepares to phase into re-opening certain sectors of industry and business, there will be guidelines and trainings to adhere to. It is important to realize that we are all still living with an active virus that is taking all kinds of twists and turns as we continue evaluate the science behind it.   Here is some information designed to help you:   The Vermont Department of Labor and the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) will hold a virtual town hall event on Thursday, May 14, at 3:30 p.m. The town hall covers topics relating to protecting the safety and health of workers. Employers and employees are encouraged to attend. Q & A will follow. The Town Hall will be posted to DOL’s YouTube channel. for viewing later.   The VT Department of Labor has prepared detailed re-opening guidance, listed HERE.   Employers must provide training and details of standard operating procedures to their employees. Employers may also choose to adopt an additional training program that meets or exceeds the VOSHA-provided standard, or additional policies and procedures that are applicable to the employment environment and employees’ duties, which cannot be less restrictive than those developed by VOSHA.   We hope this helps! Please reach out to us with any questions. We are available via email.   Stay safe! We look forward to seeing you soon!   www.fcrccvt.com FCRCC Covid-19 Resource Page      

Merchant Sales – State Promoting: If anyone is selling online, offering curbside, selling gift certificates, etc. the state is helping to promote it.  Sign up for free here: https://www.lovevermont.org/

There’s a link to takeout restaurants and other sellers here on the main page, too: https://www.vermontvacation.com/virtual-vermont/products

The Department of Public Service is looking for Vermonters to call them if they do not have access to internet, and need it for school work – continuity of education, telemed/video doctor visits or to enable working from  home.  Please call 1-800-622-4496. They can’t help if they don’t know about the need.

2020 Census: Governor Scott reminded Vermonters to fill out their Census 2020 information by going online 2020Census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020. It takes about 5 minutes and is critical to federal funding. Vermont ranks 2nd from the bottom in response rate right now, please help us improve those numbers.  Federal funding is critical at this time.

PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (PUA) This program is aimed at the self-employed. It’s on a new and different system. The issues that could arise are with claims from individuals who are both making traditional claims and PUA claims.

The PUA claims applications should begin to be filed on Tuesday (4/21) and weekly benefits could be phoned in by Friday (4/24), if all goes as planned (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Line: (877) 660-7782).

As the PUA system moves forward and complications arise, each claimant will get the weekly minimum of $191 plus the $600 federal contribution.

Acting Labor Commissioner Harrington is anticipating that 40,000 to 50,000 people will file claims. Stay updated as the Department about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and other resources for Self-Employed, Independent Contractors, Sole Proprietors, and others eligible for PUA by signing up for the CARES ACT: SELF-EMPLOYED INFORMATION NEWSLETTER

Regular UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE Governor Phil Scott announced Friday, that the state will make a dramatic break with federal unemployment insurance rules if the backlog of unemployment claims was not resolved by Saturday night. Governor Phil Scott said that he has authorized the Treasury to issue $1,200 checks Sunday to those Vermonters who have unresolved claims. The state will then continue to validate those claims and adjust them going forward. He said people not working must get money in their pockets as soon as possible. No one eligible for unemployment insurance will lose money because of the delay.

The Vermont Department of Labor has implemented an alphabetized structure for the intake of weekly claims and inquiries, designating specific days of the week for individuals to contact the Department, based on the first letter of their last name. The structure will take effect on Sunday, April 12, 2020.  https://labor.vermont.gov/alphabetized-structure-information

Vermont WIC is open and most services are being done by phone appointment to align with social distancing efforts. We have also temporarily expanded our food list to add options for some hard to find items. Check the expanded food list to see what has been added. Please visit our website or text VTWIC to 855-11 to apply. To connect with WIC in your area, visit www.healthvermont.gov/local. We will continue to provide breastfeeding support, nutrition education, and community referrals. If you are pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, a caregiver or parent with a child under five you may be eligible for WIC.

Vermont WIC website links:
Home page: https://www.healthvermont.gov/family/wic
Apply to WIC: www.healthvermont.gov/applytowic
Local WIC clinic page: www.healthvermont.gov/local
Temporary Expanded foods list (COVID-19): https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/WIC_expanded_food_covid19.pdf

Congressional Contacts and Links:
Tom Berry (Sen. Leahy): Tom_Berry@leahy.senate.gov
Andrew Bahrenburg (Sen. Leahy – ag policy): Andrew_Bahrenburg@leahy.senate.gov
Pollaidh Major (Sen. Leahy – tracking nutrition and food access): Pollaidh_Major@leahy.senate.gov
Erica Campbell (Sen. Sanders): Erica_Campbell@sanders.senate.gov
Ryan McLaren (Rep. Welch): Ryan.McLaren@mail.house.gov

CARES Act Summaries:
Full Summary and FAQ links: https://www.speaker.gov/sites/speaker.house.gov/files/COVID%20TOOLKIT%203.30.20.pdf
NSAC: https://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/closer-look-farmer-relief-senate-pandemic-package/
Treasury guidance on PPP: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm961

CARES authorized the states to extend Unemployment benefits to self-employed (who can be sole prop) and contract employees. VTDol isn’t quite ready to process claims yet, but they are asking self-employed to sign up for a newsletter. See: https://labor.vermont.gov/CARESact_Vermont/SelfEmployed

VAAFM Covid Resources
https://agriculture.vermont.gov/covid-19-information

UVM Extension:

  • Folks who want to be part of organizing team for webinars mentioned by Alison Nihart or have ideas for webinars should reach out to Lisa Chase (Lisa.Chase@uvm.edu) or Cheryl Herrick (Cheryl.Herrick@uvm.edu).
  • Farm Business Educators are available for quick consult in addition to existing one-on-one business planning programs. Email Mark Cannella if you want to get on the email list for information they’re sending out: Mark.Cannella@uvm.edu

Caledonia Spirits Hand Sanitizer:
https://caledoniaspirits.com/cleanhands

GoFundMe Link for ShiftMeals:
https://www.gofundme.com/f/shiftmeals-a-local-food-response-to-covid19

Link to innovative direct sales model:
The event is over but if you click on “details” you can see how they navigated it: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/safe-supply-outdoor-grocery-store-registration-100832789588?fbclid=IwAR2pMVncBFreehkKg5ZBPDxqo991O6tRG2Zeit4lasIw7Qte5cR2Q65WUGw#

Farm to Plate Covid Resources Page:https://www.vtfarmtoplate.com/resources/collections/covid-19-support

Guidance for municipalities- Agency of Commerce and Community Development (scroll down, listed alphabetically by sector). https://accd.vermont.gov/content/stay-home-stay-safe-sector-specific-guidance

Vermont League of Cities and Towns summary. https://www.vlct.org/sites/default/files/documents/Resource/EssentialFunctionsMACMemo_1.pdf

Updated Open Meeting Law information from the VT Secretary of State. https://sos.vermont.gov/secretary-s-desk/commentary/updated-covid-19-impacts-and-considerations-for-open-meeting-law/

Volunteer sign-up – Statewide: https://www.vermont.gov/volunteer. Northwest Vermont Specific: https://unitedwaynwvt.org/covid19-community-response

‘Workplace’ Poster for Sick/Family Leave Benefits. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

Consider ways to still get goods and food from our local businesses with this Business Information Spreadsheet and the St. Albans Messenger’s Updated Restaurant List.