Tourism industry opens up for bigger groups, more travel

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Tourism industry opens up for bigger groups, more travel

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 1:21pm -- tim

NEW HOSPITALITY SECTOR AND EVENTS GUIDANCE

Vermont Department of Tourism Governor Phil Scott announced Friday that effective June 26, arts, culture, and entertainment venues, as well as restaurants, can expand capacity for events and dining to 50% of approved occupancy size with new maximum gathering sizes for 75 people for indoor events and 150 people for outdoor events. The full guidance for lodging operationsrestaurants and all other sectors is available on the ACCD website.

CROSS STATE TRAVEL

ACCD and the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) released the latest cross state travel map today, which added 12 additional counties in New England and New York that can be traveled to or from without quarantine. Quarantine free travel to Vermont is now an option for 6.8 million people from 75 counties, doubling the number since the launch of the metric and map two weeks ago.
 
The map will continue to be updated every Friday as part of the modeling data from DFR and you can also find an updated spreadsheet of non-quarantine counties each week. 
 
There was some confusion around the Sara Alert requirement. That language has now been changed so that guests are strongly encouraged to sign up for the alerts rather than required. VDTM also wants to remind lodging operators of the Certificate of Compliance that can help out of state guests determine if they have met travel requirements.

RESTART SAFETY PLANS AND UPDATES

The ACCD website is also offering resources to help tourism sector businesses reopen safely with sector specific plans. Currently restart plans are on the site for the lodging and restaurant sectors, among others. Reopening signage resources are also available.
 
Updates to guidance in effect this week included campgrounds and marinas can now book to 100% capacity if mandatory health and safety requirements are met.  If you are looking for more information on the new guidelines, including quarantine requirements, VDTM hosted a webinar on the topic and has a recording available to view.

RELIEF AND RECOVERY FUNDING UPDATE

Federal Loan Programs

A reminder that the US Small Businesses Administration has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program which provides small businesses with funds for payroll costs still has money available and is taking applications until June 30, 2020.  Small businesses can use funds for up to 24 weeks and have the option of extending the life of the loan from two years to five. SBA will forgive loans if funds are used as intended.

State Economic Relief and Recovery Update
 
ACCD and the Vermont Department of Taxes are working to get an application process in place for the first round $70 million dollars in state grants available from the CARES Act funding.  Of the $70 million, $50 million has been designated for the lodging, hospitality and retail sectors.  VDTM will provide updates as soon as they are available.
 
As a reminder, this initial grant money that was passed by the Legislature is less than half of what the Governor asked for in his $400 million economic recovery and relief package.  We hope you will contact your legislators and urge them to pass the rest of the Governor’s relief plan, so we can ensure the most money possible is reaching businesses in need.
 

LODGING AND VACATION SPECIALS

As Vermonters venture into their backyards, and cross state travel continues to expand, VDTM can help promote any specials being created to bring visitors back.  Beyond lodging deals, we can also post activity specials if properties or businesses have those to offer.  You can submit your deal through a form on our website.

 
Visit VermontPartners.com for industry research, media, and more.

Source: Vermont Tourism Commissioner 6.19.2020