COVID Blog Updates

COVID-19 Resiliency Update 4/13/20

This is a communication related to the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s regional
COVID-19 Business Resiliency Program

Dear Neighbor:

The communities in this region are home to families who are experiencing personal tragedies that defy comprehension. Their loss and grief is compounded by isolation.  Yet neighbors, family and friends are finding safe ways to support those who are sick as well as those whose hearts have been broken.
These same communities are homes to hundreds of small businesses and thousands of their employees. The small business is the heart of Vermont’s economy, without whom we have no hope of recovery.  Fortunately, Vermont business owners, like all Vermonters, are a hardy and resourceful group.  Unfortunately, these traits will not be enough to save every business impacted by the COVID-19 economic fallout.
Stress and uncertainty have become the new normal for most Americans. Here in Vermont we continue to follow the guidelines in Governor Scott’s Stay Home, Stay Safe policy, with a continuation of that announced last week. Accounts indicate that Vermont is trending toward, or even beating, the best-case modeling scenarios for the COVID-19 crisis.  While there are early indications of success from social distancing in terms of health and safety, the good news in no way alleviates the stress and uncertainty we all feel surrounding what comes next.
Is it too soon to be thinking about what’s next?  Certainly, for those individuals fighting for their lives and families grieving losses, yes, it is too soon. This is a human impact first and foremost.  Even for those not yet touched personally by the crisis, ever-changing conditions have made it hard to transition from reacting to planning. Many businesses owners and managers are still assessing which federal SBA resources are right for them, if any.  Right now, taking the time to make informed decisions is crucial. As a business owner who came through the disaster of Irene, I look back with 20/20 hindsight wishing I knew then what I know now. The situation we face today promises to be much worse in its uncertainty, scope and duration.
Small business owners who are willing to stare themselves in the mirror may have to admit that their best option is throwing in the towel. It takes real courage to close. That decision is likely one of the single most difficult moments in an entrepreneur’s life. It means letting go of years of hard work and dreams, disappointing customers, and letting down employees and vendors. We as a region must support this decision and applaud them as entrepreneurs. BDCC & SeVEDS will be here to support their next venture.
Today BDCC & SeVEDS are working to understand the situation so we can help organizations navigate complex recovery programs and identify gaps in resources. Please take this new survey in this newsletter – it’s very short and it will help us know how relief programs are serving local businesses and non-profits. For those organizations that forge ahead, we will fight to bring more resources to this region so that you can reboot and rehire. Please continue to stay in touch and if you don’t already have a BDCC liaison, reach out and we’ll connect you with someone to help navigate the long road ahead. You are not alone.
We will continue to share information as comprehensively and quickly as we can to help your organization assess its current and future position. We are paying special attention to research about how this crisis is unfolding, particularly how much harder small businesses will be hit, and impacts on specific industries and sectors. Changes to the national, regional, and local economies will take months to manifest themselves.  Based on research referenced below, we estimate that 24% of Windham County’s private employers have been hit by “immediate” impacts, representing 29% of total employment. When we look at “near term” risk it’ gets worse: Another 34% of employers are at risk, and while they employ a smaller share of people (19%) they represent a larger share of wages paid in the region (23%). Insights like this helps individual businesses and nonprofits develop strategies to position themselves not just for survival, but for resiliency and growth. As a region, research like this is helping BDCC & SeVEDS support individual organizations, in addition to informing the development of a strategic path forward for regional economic recovery.
Regardless of what unfolds in the coming weeks and months, we will get through this together and find our way forward.

Together we are Vermont Strong.

Adam Grinold

Adam Grinold
Executive Director 
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation 
Connect on LinkedIn — call me: 802 257-7731 ext 224  —  email me

Emergency Order Extended, Lodging Reservations changes, Sector specific guidance, Department of Motor Vehicle
Governor Phil Scott extended Vermont’s State of Emergency through May 15, which also extends the expiration date of all corresponding orders and directives issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original State of Emergency, issued on March 13, was set to expire on April 15, as were the subsequent mitigation measures. As a result of this extension, all measures, including the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order, are now in effect until midnight on May 15 (note, schools remain dismissed for in-person instruction through the end of the school year).read the addendum

Disaster Declaration and Public Assistance

Vermont has received a federal disaster declaration DR5342 which opens up federal disaster funds to assist State agencies, municipalities and critical private non-profits in Emergency response costs related to COVID-19.

The declaration will provide 75% federal funds to qualified applicants for emergency protective measures including; Emergency Operations Center operations, medical sheltering, medical supplies, provisions of food/water/ice/medicine, security and law enforcement for temporary facilities, and communications of general health and safety information to public.  Please note only overtime labor costs can be claimed and a minimum of $3,300 in eligible costs must met.  Hazard Pay is not eligible. Also, paying your employees while they are unable to work is not eligible under the Public Assistance FEMA program.


Montpelier – The Vermont Department of Labor has announced it will continue its Virtual Town Hall events for the week of April 13, 2020. The Department announced the events in response to the impact of COVID-19.
Dates and employer-focused conversation topics for the week of April 13, 2020 include:

  • Unemployment Insurance – Claimant 101
  • Time: 8:30am – 9:15am
  • Overview: Department of Labor staff will provide an overview of top questions the Unemployment Insurance Division has received, as well as general instruction, tips and updates to attendees.
  • Online Link
  • Unemployment Insurance Update – Employers
  • Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Overview: Updates and information for employers about unemployment insurance, with attendees able to ask questions of Department staff
  • Speakers: Cameron Wood (Director, Unemployment Insurance)
  • Online Link


  • Unemployment Insurance – Claimant 101
  • Employee Safety and Workers’ Compensation Amid COVID-19
    • Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm
    • Overview: Discussion surrounding workers’ compensation issues facing employers including coverage of workers, filing claims and reporting of injuries, as well as updates on worker safety during COVID-19
    • Speakers: Stephen Monahan (Director, Workers’ Compensation Division), Dan Whipple (Manager, Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and Kevin Gaffney (Deputy Commissioner, Department of Financial Regulation)
    • Online Link

A full schedule of Department events can be found at, and previous events are uploaded to the Department’s YouTube Channel, which may be viewed here:
The Department of Labor will continue to hold these events as needed and will provide topics that are timely and of current community benefit. For further information and updates on the Vermont Department of Labor, please visit

Release of the Windham Regional/United Way Southeastern Vermont COVID-19 Resources for Individuals Guide

During this uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be very confusing to know where to go locally to learn about resources that can be useful. A new COVID-19 resource guide, aimed at individuals living in southeastern Vermont, is now available. This resource list is a compilation of currently known programs and activities relevant to people living in southeastern Vermont.  The resource can be found on the Windham Regional Commission’s website by visiting  If you are in immediate need of assistance, call Vermont’s resource line by dialing 2-1-1 about help and resources.

The initial resource guide for the Windham Region was compiled by Groundworks Collaborative, Windham County United Way, the Town of Brattleboro Sustainability Coordinator, and the Windham Regional Commission. This resource guide is meant to be a living document that will be updated on a regular basis. With the changing nature of this pandemic, individual needs, and community response to it, you can help keep it current and up to date. Updates and suggestions are welcome through an electronic form on the guide webpage.
For more information, contact, Margo Ghia at or Chris Campany at

Providing Systems and Solutions to help Vermont Manufacturers Innovate, Plan, Perform and Grow
Manufacturing Exchange – Vermont ( is now live with a primary mission of “connecting people and supply chains to deliver solutions.” It also allows manufacturers and suppliers to post their needs and find business opportunities. MXVT uses familiar social media tools in a virtual collaboration space that empowers innovative thinking, helps solve problems, and can create new supply chains. Powered by VMEC, has launched during the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis with an initial focus on enabling and accelerating connections between urgent health-related equipment needs & personal protective equipment (PPE), potential Vermont manufacturers first, and product and solution providers. MXVT site content will continuously become richer as we connect and all move forward together.
VMEC is working in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD), the Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center (VT PTAC), Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV), Vermont’s Regional Development Corporations (RDCs), and additional partners.  Register in TODAY!
Can we make this in Vermont?
Helmet-Based Ventilation

VMEC is seeking VT manufacturers interested in the development and possible production of Helmet Based Ventilation.  If you can help to develop a solution, please contact Chris Paulk, VMEC Business Advisor, at or (480) 201-7982.  Please join the conversation and see more information about what is needed and what is happening related to this device and other healthcare PPE on the Manufacturing Exchange – Vermont.
This page includes valuable information such as VMEC Crisis Response Services, which in part include:
1) Support and Problem Solving
2) Supply Chain
3) Re-deployment of Resources and/or Re-Tooling
4) Manufacturer Connections
VMEC is only a phone call or video chat away!  Please let us know how we might help you.  No issue is too big or too small!
Contact us at (802) 728-1432 (this number’s Voice Mail is being checked multiple times each day), or connect with your VMEC Business Advisor at this link.
Identifying Current and Potentially Convertible Suppliers of Critical Products and Services

AIV, VMEC, VT PTAC, RDCs and other partners are working together and with the the state to identify Vermont manufacturers and other businesses who can currently supply, or could convert operations to supply, products and services needed by Vermont authorities and other response leaders in the COVID-19 crisis.  Donations and referrals to suppliers are also encouraged.  We are also working to identify the same for federal efforts as opportunities evolve.
The current priority list for the state is:
• N95 Respirators
• Surgical Masks
• Full Face Shields
• Goggles
• Surgical Hoods
• Gloves
• Boot Covers
• Booties
• Tyvek Coveralls
• Impermeable Aprons
• Coveralls
• Gowns
• Fluid Resistant Gowns
• Surgical Gowns
NOTE:  The state is also asking for non-medical masks that Vermonters can use in accordance with CDC and Department of Health guidance.
You can also respond with other products or services you believe would be needed.  The list above might evolve over time, and identifying other items in advance could be helpful. see more info here

Jenni Barker, manufacturing technician at Omega Optical in Brattleboro, holds an optical filter produced in one of Omega’s High Volume Production machines on Monday, April 6, 2020. These coating machines are in 24-hours/seven-days-a-week production to recreate fluorescence filters used in COVID-19 testing.
Chroma, Omega take center stage in coronavirus testing By Susan Smallheer, Brattleboro Reformer

Please take BDCC’s new 2-minute survey to help us understand who is accessing relief programs and who is not.

If you haven’t already, please let BDCC know how your business is impacted:
We use this information to understand what is happening for you, and advocate for disaster relief to businesses and employers in this region. You may resubmit an update at any time.

Stress Test your business:
Find information on BDCC’s web site on using the Resiliency Assessment “Stress Test”, including a new webinar. This worksheet helps create a plan of action for your business to weather these uncertain times. This tool helps you look at different scenarios and options for liquidity.

Participate in Weekly Business Webinars
Join us every Friday at 2:15 pm for a Zoom webinar – we try to bring you answers to questions and point you to resources as they become available.

Business Assistance – What to Consider Now?

Business owners should contact their SBA-affiliated banks to inquire about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program supports businesses by helping to keep existing employees. If 75% of the funds are used for payroll purposes – there is the potential of partial loan forgiveness during the specified period.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is also available to businesses now and can work to provide low interest access to capital with the potential of an advance up to $10,000.

NOTE: These are finite resources. It is advised that businesses who are interested complete applications in order to be considered.

Review BDCC’s Business Resiliency Program’s pages and recent webinars for up-to-date information.

BDCC’s Micro-entrepreneur Loan Program is also available for businesses suffering economic injury.