Table of Contents:

January 19, 2022

We have not issued a new Disaster Lending and Grants Information sheet since last summer (21-501) as there were no new COVID specific programs being issued on the state or federal level. Due to changing conditions as you navigate the on-going pandemic we have determined that it is time for a new sheet containing information on navigating COVID-19.

This sheet includes:

  1. Actionable information on closed programs.
  2. Descriptions of any programs still open and links to them.
  3. Current information on what to do if you or one of your staff tests positive for COVID.
  4. Assistance for managing your business thru COVID.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Keeping very detailed records of the actions you take after you accept any Federal or State COVID-19 loans or grants is paramount. To assist you in keeping your information in one easily accessible place VtSBDC has created the COVID Grant and Loan Dashboard. The Dashboard is designed to be used as a fillable PDF or you can print a copy and fill it in by hand. The Dashboard captures the minimal information you will need to understand what you have received in loan or grant monies during COVID. Additionally, you should have a file (both digital on your computer and a hard copy file) for each of the loans or grants you received that has all of the information on each including signed loan documents, uses of funds and any correspondence with the issuing entity. Records on these loan and grant vehicles have a minimum of 3 years of financial records that must be kept in the case of an audit by the State or Federal government.

The link to the Dashboard is on this page…click on the Dashboard button to download it to your computer): https://www.vtsbdc.org/coronavirus/

 

FEDERAL PROGRAMS:

  1. COVID-19 EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) is closed however there is pertinent information to review: 
      1. Please note: Applications for an EIDL increase are no longer being accepted.
        1. As of 11:59 pm on May 16 th the portal access will be permanently closed. If you had
          previously not downloaded your documents to your computer you will need to contact
          the Disaster Customer Service Center at (833) 853-5638 to request your documents.  

          a. You are responsible for keeping all your initial loan documentation electronically
          and/or in hard copy for the duration of your loan.

      2. The date of your first payment on the COVID-19 EIDL is 30 months from the original loan origination date (the date you received the first loan – not any increases).
      3. Do remember that although payments are deferred INTEREST is ACCRUING and you should know the amount. You can find the amount in your SBA Capital Access Financial System (CAFS). If you have not already created your CAFS account here are the instructions: https://www.sba.gov/document/support-cafs-account-enrollment-access-instructions-borrowers
      4. Payments of principal and interest will be made over the remaining 28 years. You may make prepayments at any time without penalty. SBA will send you a monthly bill beginning the month before the first payment is due.
      5. You also need to set up your payments via Pay.gov. You will need to fill out the SBA Form 1201 Borrower Payment here: https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/3723407
      6. FAQ’s for the program were last updated 9.3.2021 and are very detailed: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2021-09/COVID-EIDL-FAQs-090821-508.pdf
      7. This is the list of permitted and non-permitted uses of EIDL funds:
    1. Permitted Uses:
      1. Working Capital Uses 
        1. Accounts Payable
        2. Inventory
        3. Supplies and materials
        4. Operating Expenses that would have been met prior to the crisis
        5. Pay short term debt used in anticipation of disaster loan funding defined as follows: EIDL funds can be used to reimburse short term debt that was incurred while waiting for disaster assistance. Normal ongoing business expenses and debts incurred starting January 31, 2020 going forward until the disaster has been declared over, are eligible to be paid with EIDL money.
        6. After PPP $ Spent or all the time if no PPP:
          1. Payroll Expenses
          2. Rent
          3. Utilities
          4. Interest on Debt
        7. Payment and pre-payment of business non-federal debt incurred at any time (past or future) and payment of federal debt (note this was added as an allowable expense on 9.8.21).
      1. Non-Permitted Use of Funds:
        1. Payment of any dividends or bonuses; 
        2. Disbursements to owners, partners, officers, directors, or stockholders, except when directly related to performance of services for the benefit of the applicant; 
        3. Repayment of stockholder/principal loans, except when the funds were injected on an interim basis as a result of the disaster and non-repayment would cause undue hardship to the stockholder/principal;
        4. Expansion of facilities or acquisition of fixed assets; 
        5. Repair or replacement of physical damages; 
        6. Refinancing long term debt; 
        7. Paying down (including regular installment payments) or paying off loans provided, or owned by another Federal agency (including SBA) or a Small Business Investment Company licensed under the Small Business Investment Act. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is not considered a Federal agency for this purpose; 
        8. Pay any penalty resulting from noncompliance with a law, regulation or order of a Federal, state, regional, or local agency. 
        9. Contractor malfeasance
        10. Relocation.
    •  
      1.  
  1. EIDL ADVANCE
    1. The EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advances are both closed.
    2. As of January 1, 2022, declined Targeted Advance applicants may submit one request for reevaluation. The deadline for reevaluation requests is February 15, 2022. For information on requesting a reevaluation of a denial here is the link: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/eidl/targeted-eidl-advance-supplemental-targeted-advance
    3. Advance monies from all three programs do not need to be paid back and can be used for operating capital for your business.
  2. PPP (Paycheck Protection Program): is closed and applications for forgiveness should be submitted within 10 months of the end of the Covered Period. For information on the Forgiveness process review all information on the SBA website or speak with the bank that issued the PPP funds: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program/ppp-loan-forgiveness
  3. Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) is closed.
  4. Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program is closed.

STATE PROGRAMS:

  1. Economic Recovery Bridge Program – $10 Million available under the following conditions: to provide priority funding to businesses that have not received prior State or Federal financial assistance. To the extent that funds remain available, the program is also intended to provide funding to businesses that have suffered a tax loss even after receiving State or Federal aid. 
    1. To determine if your business is eligible and to apply for the funds review all the material on the ACCD website here: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/economic-recovery-bridge-program
  2. EMBRACE (Economic Micro Business Recovery Assistance for the COVID-19 Epidemic) direct grants of up to $5,000 is now open (or soon to open) under the following conditions:
    1. For new applications for existing businesses the application period is now open.
    2. For start-up businesses (those seeking to open or did open after December 31, 2020) the application period will open on January 18, 2022.
    3. For returning applicants the application period will open on March 1, 2022.
    4. All eligibility requirements, applications and instructions can be found here: https://mbdp.org/embrace-grant

 

Employee Retention Tax Credits (ERTC):

The best way to see if you qualify for ERTC’s is to speak with your Accountant/CPA

  1. The Employee Retention Tax Credits 2021: 
    1. The following guidance has now been released: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-21-23.pdf
    2. Again, the best way to stay abreast of the use of this program is to be in contact with your Accountant/CPA.

 

Some RDC’s Loan Programs are still open.

Please contact your local RDC for details.

Here is a link to the RDC’s if you would like to contact them regarding their loan options:

https://accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/resources/rdc

 

HANDLING of a COVID INCIDENT: 

    1. A POSITIVE COVID test (either you or your staff) requires per the State the following:
      1. Per the CDC on 12/27/2021 individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 5 days followed by 5 days of strict mask adherenceIN ADDITION to the CDC guidance, the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) guidelines allow Vermonters to end isolation only after 5 days if they have gone 24 hours without a fever and have two negative antigen tests performed at least 24 hours apart, beginning no sooner than day 4 of their isolation period. The State of VT has also strongly recommended continuing to wear a mask around others through day10.
        1. The VDH Guidelines are here: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/symptoms-sickness/what-do-if-you-test-positive-covid-19
        2. The ACCD has created a graphic (the COVID-19 Decision Tree) which outlines this current guidance for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Print this document or have it at the ready as guidance for yourself and to share with employees: https://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accdnew/files/documents/12-30-21%20Vermont%20Forward%20COVID%20Decision%20Tree.pdf
      2. CARES ACT unemployment benefits for quarantine have now ended which means that an employee required to isolate for 5 days can no longer apply for unemployment for the mandatory quarantine period. Further information on this has been provided by the Vt Dept of Labor here: https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance/employer-vaccine-mandates-and-ui
        1. We strongly suggest you watch the webinar (in the link above) that has been provided which explains the current situation in detail.
        2. We recommend that you review your benefit program with your employees so they understand what PTO is available to them.
      3. If you do have an employee test positive we also suggest you call your Insurance agent immediately to discuss whether the incident will be covered by Workers Comp. Whether it is or isn’t a covered incident notification to your insurance agent is required and the best business practice.
      4. While the State of Vermont is no longer mandating masking and social distancing it is still the best practice and some cities and towns have made local mandates and you do need to comply by those. And you can also, as a business owner, decide they are required for your own business.
      5. Mandatory Vaccination is not a State or Federal requirement for most privately-owned businesses although some businesses are choosing to enact a vaccination mandate. The ACCD did a webinar in December which outlined options if you are considering this mitigation action. 
        1. Here is the recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tf574g6Sjw
        2. Here are the PowerPoint Slides: https://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accdnew/files/Mitigating%20COVID%20in%20the%20Workplace%2012.20.pdf
      6. The ACCD has also created a webpage with all current COVID-19 incident guidance. We strongly suggest a frequent review of this page as guidance can easily change: https://accd.vermont.gov/content/mitigating-and-responding-covid-19-workplace

 

VtSBDC ASSISTANCE for MANAGING your BUSINESS thru COVID: 

The management of your business during this pandemic continues to bring significant challenges and opportunities. VtSBDC offers help in a variety of ways:

  1. A Roadmap that is self-guided to assist you in making decisions and assessing the current state of your business. The Roadmap can be found here: https://www.vtsbdc.org/covid-19-roadmap/
  2. The VtSBDC website has a wide variety of business resources that you can use: https://www.vtsbdc.org/resources-2/
  3. To request advising (one-on-one, confidential, no-cost) from a VtSBDC business advisor:  https://www.vtsbdc.org/register-existing-business/