by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Phil Scott today announced a $400 million economic relief and recovery package, using funds from the $1.25 billion the state received from the Federal CARES Act. The two-phase proposal, which is expected to be the first of multiple packages necessary to fully recover, will start with $310 million for immediate emergency relief to the most impacted sectors and businesses to be followed by $90 million in long-term recovery investments. Scott said at his media briefing Wednesday that the proposal now will go to the Legislature for its approval. He said he hopes they can turn it around in a week so he can start distributing the money as soon as possible.
by Stephanie Yu, Public Assets Institute If there’s anything that has become clear in this pandemic, it’s just how important schools are to Vermont families. School staff are feeding kids, providing online instruction, helping connect kids to resources that they need—everything they always do and then some, but under much more challenging circumstances. And with schools working to reach kids who don’t have broadband access and continuing to meet students’ special education needs, they need more funding, not less.
Vermont Business Magazine VGS President and CEO Don Rendall announced today plans to step down in September 2020 after 6 years leading the company. The VGS Board of Directors has selected respected public and private sector leader Neale Lunderville as the next president and CEO. Lunderville previously was the general manager of Burlington Electric, helped establish NG Advantage, which is one of Vermont Gas' largest customers, and was a top official in the Douglas Administration.
by Tom Torti, President of the Lake Champlain Chamber If you’re as old as me, you can remember a time when you could walk into any bar or restaurant and light up your tobacco product of choice. As the old saying goes, “your right to swing your fist ends right about where my nose begins.” Well, the scientific research came about that showed how second-hand smoke could be dangerous to those around you, and in the interest of our collective health, your right to puff smoke ended right about where my nose began.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Labor has created an automated email that PUA claimants will receive when each weekly claim is being processed for payment with a rough timeline for receiving the payment. Also, PEUC went into production Tuesday night. DOL expects ≈1500 claimants to automatically be enrolled. They will be mailed a notification and the website will be updated to display additional information on how to file for past benefit weeks. Similar to before, because this a mainframe program, claimants will be able to file one back week per day. The system will process the filed week overnight and open the next back week the following day.
Vermont Business Magazine Community Health is taking appointments again for in-person visits with health care providers, and starting May 25th Community Health Express Care in Rutland and Castleton are once again open 8 am- 8 pm, 7 days-a-week. Since patient and staff safety is always a top priority, some protocols have been put in place for everyone who visits any of Community Health’s locations, including Community Health Dental, Community Health Pediatrics and Brandon Community Pharmacy.
Vermont Business Magazine The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) has released updated guidance for professional services, yard sales, swimming facilities, and lodging properties. This guidance, developed with the Department of Health and Department of Public Safety, is in accordance with Governor Phil Scott’s Be Smart, Stay Safe initiative and goes into effect immediately. While this new guidance only clarifies existing rules, this moves up the lodging reopenings which had been set for May 22. The swimming issue had been moot until now because of chilly weather, but the forecast is now for temperatures in the 70s for the next week and pushing 80.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health today reported that there were four new cases of COVID-19 for a statewide total of 944. There were no new deaths, which remain at 54. Although the data continues to show Vermont is doing well in its efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, the VDH warns that we cannot let our guard down. As Vermont slowly reopens, physical distancing from others, wearing face coverings and handwashing continue to be essential.
Vermont Business Magazine The Commissioner of Taxes, under Governor Scott’s directive, exercised his authority to waive penalties and interest for estimated income tax payments that are originally due June 15, 2020 so long as they are paid by July 15, 2020. The directive was announced today.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Community Foundation has distributed its third and largest round of grants totaling $622,334 from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund. The latest grants are designed to support the rapidly changing landscape of relief efforts throughout the state and are focused on youth and family centers, mental and behavioral health services, housing and legal services, and organizations that work with communities of color, indigenous people, and migrant workers. Among the grants is a $60,000 award to the Vermont Foodbank to purchase and process surplus local milk for the charitable food system through a partnership with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.
Vermont Business Magazine The Centers for Living and Rehabilitation (CLR), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), has earned deficiency-free status, the highest given, on a survey meant to determine ability to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other infections to those living, recovering, and working within long-term care facilities.
Vermont Business Magazine Following guidance from the state and the easing of restrictions, Gifford Health Care in Randolph is working toward returning to pre-pandemic levels of service, including resuming all outpatient surgical procedures at its medical center. In addition to surgical services, all of Gifford’s clinics throughout the region, primary care and specialty, are open, and diagnostic services, such as laboratory work and imaging, are also available.