Rep. Sibilia: October 19th Update

Need to know info about Vermont’s mailed ballots

Second round of economic recovery grants

The Tax Department and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development are preparing to launch the second round of economic recovery grants, pursuant to Act 154. The Agency and Department received an additional $76.7 million to distribute directly to businesses to who additional unmet need due to revenue losses because of COVID-19.

In anticipation of the launch the Department and Agency are hosting two webinars this week. The information for those webinars is below. The link to the full events page is here: https://accd.vermont.gov/calendar/list

Economic Recovery Grants 2.0, Webinar & Discussion October 21, 2020 (Wednesday) 12:00 – 1:00pm

Please join the Agency of Commerce and the Department of Taxes for a webinar and presentation on the latest round of Economic Recovery Grants. Leadership will walk-through the application process, award calculations and engage in Q&A.  

For Attendees who can Participate via the Microsoft Teams Application, Please click here: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_Y2U0ODVmN2MtYWI1ZC00MTVjLWE0ZTItODQ3NzM1YTk4M2Mz%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%2220b4933b-baad-433c-9c02-70edcc7559c6%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%226f050d2d-fc2a-4e51-b3b6-ef74136c3539%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d

Call-In Number:+1 802-828-7667   United States, Montpelier (Toll) Conference ID: 274 847 454#

Economic Recovery Grants 2.0, Webinar & Discussion October 23, 2020 (Friday) 10:00 – 11:00am

For Attendees who can Participate via the Microsoft Teams Application, Please click here: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZmM1N2E0MGQtM2RhNC00NTY5LWFjNGItOTM0Y2FkYjkzZDM3%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%2220b4933b-baad-433c-9c02-70edcc7559c6%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%226f050d2d-fc2a-4e51-b3b6-ef74136c3539%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d

Call-In Number: +1 802-828-7667   United States, Montpelier (Toll) Conference ID: 189 839 369#

Please email Jess Vintinner with the Agency if you have any questions regarding the webinars or grants themselves, she is copied here.Jessica.vintinner@vermont.gov


Legislative Funding Provides Free Classes and Training for Vermonters

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermonters whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19 can access more than 100 free classes and training opportunities this fall through the Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS), thanks to a $2.3 million allocation of Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) from the Vermont Legislature. 

Funding provides tuition, supplies, and support services to Vermonters who have been laid off, furloughed, had hours cut, or been employed in an industry that has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible Vermonters can enroll in a wide variety of classes and training at the Community College of Vermont, Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College. Classes and training are available in high-demand fields such as early childhood education, healthcare, business, and manufacturing.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Vermonters to gain new skills and explore new career options during a time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty,” said VSCS Chancellor Sophie Zdatny. “The Vermont State Colleges System has a proud history of helping students realize greater job security and economic stability, and this program complements our efforts to create a stronger, more resilient Vermont.”

For more information and to register for classes, visit www.vsc.edu/VtWorkers.

Funding for this workforce training initiative is provided to the Vermont State Colleges in coordination with the Vermont Department of Labor.


https://vtrans.vermont.gov/planning/projects-programs/corridor-management/vt9-Bennington-Brattleboro

ICE RINKS DIRECTED TO FREEZE SCHEDULES FOR TWO WEEKS

Governor aims to prevent influx from high risk areas

Montpelier, Vt. – Following the decision by the State of New Hampshire to close indoor skating facilities for two weeks, Governor Phil Scott issued an executive order prohibiting Vermont’s skating rinks from accepting new reservation for use of their facilities beginning today, October 16, at 5:00 p.m., through midnight on October 30, 2020.

Governor Scott said the directive is intended to prevent an influx of new users from high risk areas into Vermont’s ice rinks.

“As of today, New Hampshire’s skating facilities were closed by their governor for two weeks in response to outbreaks that have resulted in 158 cases of COVID-19 among 23 different ice hockey teams,” Governor Scott said.  “In addition, there is an outbreak in central Vermont that may be connected to the outbreaks in New Hampshire. To reduce the risk to Vermonters, and to help sustain the progress we have made, rinks in Vermont may not take any additional reservations for the next two weeks.” 

Rinks may allow their currently scheduled operations over this two-week period, provided all other existing health and safety guidance is fully implemented. 

Governor Scott’s executive order also directs the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Natural Resources, to review current recreation guidance to determine if a more aggressive response is needed to prevent further spread of COVID-19 related to activities in indoor skating, hockey and other recreational facilities. 

As you may know, Governor Scott has authorized a second round of grants for the Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program. The Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) is partnering with the Agency of Human Services (AHS) to administer this round of the program, which is authorized through Acts 136, 154, and 168 of 2020.

An additional $22.5 million has been allocated for the program, which funds have been made available to the State of Vermont through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. Eligibility for the program has been expanded to include additional types of employers whose employees were engaged in activities substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency or were providing essential services to Vermonters during the eligible period, March 13, 2020 through May 15, 2020. 

Former employees (that were previously employed by either an employer that applied for grant funding in round one of the program or an employer applying for funding in round two of the program) are eligible for hazard pay in round two. The grant review team will contact employers that applied for funding in round one of the program to identify eligible former employees.

In addition, employees who received one week or less of unemployment benefits during the eligible period are eligible for hazard pay in round two of the program.

Round one of the program authorized hazard pay grants primarily for healthcare related employers, morgues and homeless shelters, whose frontline workers performed jobs with an elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19. Round two expands the program to include the following additional types of potentially eligible employers:

  • Lodging establishments that housed homeless individuals during the eligible period;
  • Traveling nurse and nurse contracting agencies that provided services to healthcare or residential care facilities in Vermont;
  • Cleaning or janitorial services that provided services to healthcare or residential care facilities in Vermont;
  • Food service providers that provided services to healthcare or residential care facilities in Vermont;
  • Grocery stores;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Hardware stores and retailers serving basic human needs (such as retail that sold food, beverage, animal feed and essential supplies) that were open to the public for in-person sales; 
  • Wholesale distributors making deliveries to certain essential retailers;
  • Trash collection, waste management, and septic services;
  • Privately owned wastewater pollution abatement and control facilities;
  • Child care facilities that provided care for the children of essential workers pursuant to Directive 2 of Executive Order 01-20; 
  • Vocational rehabilitation service providers; 
  • Funeral and crematory establishments; and 
  • Security service agencies that provided security services to other covered employers.

The application period will open on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 9 a.m. EST. Grants will be awarded through an online application process and funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Demand for grant funds is expected to exceed available funding.

DFR and AHS will be hosting a webinar on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 3 p.m. EST to give a brief overview of the program and answer questions from employers and employees about matters such as eligibility, the application process, and timing of payments. Updated program guidance and application instructions for round two of the program will be made available next week, in advance of the application period. In an effort to reach as many potentially eligible applicants as possible, we ask that you please notify any interested or potentially eligible constituents about the timing and parameters of this program. 

Questions may be directed to COVIDHazardPay@vermont.gov. Commissioner Michael Pieciak and Director Jill Rickard are also copied here


GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY TO NOVEMBER 15

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today announced that the State of Emergency has been extended to November 15, 2020 to ensure the state can continue to suppress the spread of COVID-19.

The executive order has been extended with no additional changes and can be viewed at https://governor.vermont.gov/content/addendum-6-amended-and-restated-executive-order-01-20.

“Vermont has led the nation in responding to this virus. We’ve worked together to keep each other safe and prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, allowing us to methodically reopen our economy and keep it open while many other states have had to take steps backward,” said Governor Scott. “But we cannot become complacent. While our success has allowed us to do more, we must keep making smart choices. This means staying six feet apart and wearing a mask (even around friends), avoiding crowds, following travel guidance and washing our hands. We can continue to move forward if we stay vigilant.”

In addition to helping the state manage the public health risks, the State of Emergency keeps numerous supports in place to mitigate economic hardship resulting from the pandemic. These protections include expanded housing and meal delivery systems, expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance, resources for businesses and federal emergency funding.

Click here to view the full executive order.

For more information on:



Restart Vermont Technical Assistance


The Vermont Legislature allocated $2.5 million of federal CARES Act funding for small business technical support in Act 137. On September 18, 2020, Governor Scott and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development announced that the Regional Development Corporations (RDC) of Vermont would be tasked with deploying $1,400,000 in technical assistance funding for small businesses across the state under the Restart Vermont Technical Assistance Program (ReVTA).

The funding for the ReVTA program is aimed at assisting Vermont businesses and non-profits who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. . To be eligible you must be a Vermont entity conducting activities in Vermont. You may be asked to demonstrate that you operate out of a Vermont property, pay employees who conduct work within Vermont, or have sales and customers in Vermont.

The RDCs have created Recovery Navigator positions in each region of the state. The Navigators will engage one-on-one with businesses impacted by the pandemic to discern a recovery solution and identify an appropriate technical assistance provider from a network of for-profit and non-profit service providers. Once a recovery path has been determined, the regional Navigator will help connect the business with an appropriate TA provider and together they will develop a Scope of Work.

Once the work is completed, the technical assistance provider will be paid by the grant program. All activities within the Scope of Work must be completed by December 4, 2020. Average TA award is expected to be $3,000.

More information at: www.vermonteconomicdevelopment.com/


As always, if you have suggestions, concerns or critiques please be in touch so we can schedule time to discuss.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or lsibilia@leg.state.vt.us. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com

Kind regards, 

Rep. Laura Sibilia 
Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

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