COVID-19 Updates December 2020


Congress Passes COVID Relief Bill and Federal Government Funding Bill
Father Christmas booted The Grinch and Scrooge out of Washington to allow for a 12th-hour passage of a $2.3 Trillion bill that includes $900 Billion in COVID relief and $1.4 Trillion to ensure the Federal government continues operating through September 2021. President Trump is expected to sign the bill. 

Key COVID Relief provisions include:
- Second Round of Direct Payments to individuals and families: $600 for individuals making up to $75,000, $600 per eligible child dependent, and $1,200 for couples earning up to $150,000.

- Extension of many unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021.

- A new Emergency Rental Assistance program

- Low-income Water Utility Bill Assistance

- Additional funding for agriculture and nutrition programs

- Funding for low-income family access to broadband

- Additional funding for health care, vaccines, testing and tracing

- Funding to support K-12 and higher education

- Funding to support childcare

- Extension of several tax provisions, including the Employee Retention Tax Credit and Paid Leave Credits

- Extension of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), including repeal of the requirement to deduct an EIDL Advance from the PPP forgiveness amount, funding for a second PPP loan for certain businesses, a set-aside for businesses with 10 or fewer employees, expansion of the program eligibility to business types that were previously excluded, and simplification of the forgiveness process for loans of $150,000 or less. 

- Additional funds to SBA to provide Advance Grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program for businesses in low-income communities.

- Grants for shuttered venue operators.

- Extension of the SBA Debt Relief program 

To view a detailed summary of the relief bill, click here.

State Weekly Webinar Continues Wednesday, December 23
The weekly business webinar hosted by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Health continues on Wednesday, December 23 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.  This week's webinar will feature Congressman Welch and a discussion of the COVID Relief bill that passed Congress this week.     

To join via Teams App:

To join by phone:

NUMBER: +1 802-828-7667  Conference ID: 807 169 675#

 To leave questions in advance or during the webinar, use this link:

Couldn't attend today's Restart Vermont Technical Assistance Webinar on COVID-related HR Issues? 
Not to worry, it was recorded. Click here to access the webinar recording.The webinar was designed to help employers navigate pandemic-related personnel questions. The panel featured two experts from the state's top HR and Benefits firm, Hickok Boardman; Managing Director, Meredith Spellman, J.D., LL.M, who specializes in the employment and personnel fields, and Karen Tierney, PHR, Director of strategic HR Services who regularly conducts trainings at organizations on leadership development topics. The event also featured legal experts from Downs Rachlin Martin; Attorney Timothy E. Copeland Jr., Director, who focuses exclusively on the representation of employers in all aspects of their relationships with employees, and Attorney F. David Harlow, Director, a labor and employment litigator in DRM's Brattleboro office. The webinar lasted just over an hour, beginning with a legal update. Participants received an overview of the employment laws and regulations related to COVID-19 facing Vermont employers, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employee travel, disability-related issues, and vaccinations. Click here to access the webinar recording


Grants Available for Rural Businesses from LISC-Lowes' Rural Business Relief Program
As part of its continuing commitment to impact rural America, OneLISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe's Rural Relief Small Business Grants program. To find out more about who is eligible, to sign up for updates, and to apply, please visit the LISC website. Applications are due by December 6.


Wednesday Pandemic Information & Webinar Series for Vermont Businesses
Please join the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development for a weekly webinar series focused on health and commerce pandemic updates for the business community. Decision-makers from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Department of Health, and the Department of Public Safety will provide updates and be available to answer your questions. This webinar is designed for business owners and organizations that primarily serve businesses.  To help us serve you better during the webinar, please consider submitting your questions ahead of time.  Businesses joining the webinar by phone must enter their questions using this link ahead of time, as only those participating via the Microsoft Teams online platform will be able to ask real-time questions. Participants can submit anonymous questions via the webinar’s online questionnaire HERE


When: Every Wednesday, 3:00 – 4:00 PM

How: Attendee Link

Call-In Information
+1 802-828-7667   United States, Montpelier (Toll)Conference ID: 477 481 46#

Assistance Available for Electric Bill Arrearages
Vermonters suffering economic hardship due to loss of income from COVID-19 can get help now to pay their arrearages for residential and business (non-residential) electric accounts. The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program (VCAAP) provides financial support to customers who may face disconnection of service because of past-due balances for their electric, landline telephone, Vermont Gas, private water or water and sewer/wastewater charges.