New Free Resources for Restaurants

New Free Resources for Restaurants
September is National Food Safety Month with the National Restaurant Association and ServSafe. This year’s theme is Know Safe & Show Safe and programming will be highlighting cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting standards with five weeks of education.
 
The weekly themes include:
  1. Cleaning vs. Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting
  2. Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Equipment
  3. Cleaning and Sanitizing Dishes
  4. Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Operation
  5. Develop and Implement a Cleaning Program
 
Access new free resources focused on cleaning and sanitizing here.

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2 Questions in 2 Minutes – Alcohol To-Go

2 Questions in 2 Minutes - Alcohol To-Go

Take two minutes to learn about alcohol to-go in Vermont & how it helps our restaurants and businesses.

You can connect with our Vice President of Tourism Amy Spear at aspear@vtchamber.com.

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Legislature Modernizes Liquor Laws

Legislature Modernizes Liquor Laws

The Legislature passed the most significant liquor law modernization bill in recent years. H.313 is awaiting Governor Scott’s signature and includes the Vermont Chamber and Vermont Independent Restaurants priority to extend the current pandemic-allowed alcohol to-go provisions until July 2023. While not a cure-all, the off-premises provision as passed will help the industry recoup some lost revenue and provide a service that customers have come to expect. According to a National Restaurant Association survey in 2019, 56% of all adults said they would order drinks with their to-go order from a restaurant, if permitted. Without a doubt, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. By January 2023, a report examining economic and public safety impacts will be submitted to the Legislature.

Other provisions impacting Vermont’s tourism and hospitality industry that made it over the finish line include reduced third-class license fees (from $1,095 to $230) for holders of a manufacturer or rectifier’s license, updates to festival permits which were made in collaboration with the industry, and the elimination of the requirement for 48-hours written notice to be given to the Division of Liquor Control for promotional tastings for licensees and for staff participating in the promotional tasting to be off duty for the rest of the day. Contact Vermont Chamber Vice President of Tourism Amy Spear with questions.

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Walk-in Vaccine Clinics Across Vermont for Hospitality Workers

Walk-in Vaccine Clinics Across Vermont for Hospitality Workers

Media Contacts:

Maggie Wilson
Vermont Chamber Director of Communications
mwilson@vtchamber.com

Nate Formalarie, Communications Director
Agency of Commerce and Community Development
(802) 522-7323; nate.formalarie@vermont.gov

Vaccine Clinics to be Held Across Vermont for Tourism and Hospitality Workers

“Ensuring Vermont’s hospitality industry is safe and healthy is crucial to our state’s recovery”

Montpelier, VT (May 13, 2021) – In partnership with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the Vermont Department of Health will begin hosting walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics for restaurant, hospitality, and tourism workers over the next week.

The initial wave of clinics will take place at seven locations, with each site offering Johnson & Johnson vaccines for tourism and hospitality workers on a walk-in basis. Clinics will be staged at restaurants, lodging properties, ski resorts, and other tourism attractions to bring the vaccine directly to the workers in this sector. 

Vermont was recently ranked first in the nation for its COVID-19 vaccination rate, and more than 628,000 doses have been administered throughout the state. Governor Phil Scott’s Vermont Forward Plan for reopening is dependent upon Vermonters doing their part and getting vaccinated as soon as they can. These upcoming sector-specific vaccine clinics will make accessing the vaccine easier for hospitality workers and help Vermont continue on the path to fully reopen by July 4th.

“The hospitality sector is eager to welcome guests back to our businesses,” said Jed Davis, owner of the Farmhouse Group of restaurants. “Providing ease of access to our industry workers and employees recognizes the important role our teams play in the social and economic recovery of Vermont.”

“Ensuring Vermont’s hospitality industry is safe and healthy is crucial to our state’s recovery,” said Amy Spear, Vermont Chamber Vice President of Tourism. “Employees in the industry maintain a high level of contact with the public and often work hours not conducive to traditional vaccine appointment times. These clinics will make vaccines more accessible to the tourism and hospitality workers who provide welcoming, world-class experiences for Vermonters and visitors alike.”

“As the state looks forward to the next phases of reopening, making sure vaccines are easily available will be key,” said VDTM Commissioner Heather Pelham. “We are all eager to enjoy gathering together at events and meeting up with friends and family at our local restaurants. With this extra support for the tourism industry, we can help make sure everyone stays safe, as we welcome back visitors to the state and work to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

The first wave of clinics will be in Waterbury, Woodstock, Waitsfield, Windsor, South Burlington, Middlebury, and Warren. To see all dates, times, and locations for these tourism and hospitality worker vaccine clinics, please visit the ACCD Recovery Resource Center.

More than a dozen additional clinics, including in Rutland, Killington, Stowe, and Vergennes, are being planned now and will be added as details are confirmed.  If a tourism or hospitality business would like to host a clinic for industry employees in their area, please contact Amy Spear at aspear@vtchamber.com

About the Vermont Chamber of Commerce

As the largest statewide, private, not-for-profit business organization, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce represents every sector of the state’s business community. Its mission is to create an economic climate conducive to business growth and the preservation of the Vermont quality of life.

About the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing

The Department of Tourism and Marketing promotes Vermont’s travel, recreation, cultural and historic attractions, as well as the state’s goods and services, in coordination with public and private sector partners. The department also works to market to a global audience in a manner consistent with the values and traditions of the state for the economic benefit of all VermontersVermontVacation.com

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Get Cozy, Light a Fire, and Shop Vermont This Holiday Season

Get Cozy, Light a Fire, and Shop Vermont This Holiday Season
Sun and Ski Inn
Photo by Stowe Beautiful
Vermont’s mountains are covered with snow, wood smoke is rising from chimneys, and holiday lights are brightening towns and cities across our state.
As the holiday spirit fills Vermont this December, we encourage you to shop local for your gifts. Local businesses are struggling because of the public health crisis. Your gift-giving this winter can support Vermont businesses while you buy high-quality and thoughtful presents. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Attractions Association have collected gift ideas for you to consider this winter:
Picture Photo from Danforth Pewter
Gifts Handmade in Vermont A selection from Bennington Potters cookware or dining pieces is the perfect accompaniment to homemade meals. Glassware and decor from Simon Pearce will add subtle shine and sparkle to any home. Give the gift of Christmas with ornaments, nativities, and decorations from Christmas Days. Shop locally sourced and made silk scarves, pottery, and jewelry at Artisans Hand. Find something for everyone on your list at Vermont Country Store, one of Vermont’s most iconic shopping experiences. Get custom sculptures and art from Stone Revival Gallery or shop their handmade collections of fine art and décor. Pewter décor or jewelry from Danforth Pewter make the perfect heirloom gift. Clothing and Accessories Give the ultimate gift of comfort with sleepwear, blankets, or clothing from Vermont Flannel. Shop premium Merino Wool socks from Darn Tough, perfect for outdoor adventures or staying warm at home. Find unique clothing and accessory items for the trendy women in your life at Fat Hat Clothing. The updated basics or luxe loungewear from Commando are perfect for comfortably staying in or going out.

Picture Photo from King Arthur Baking
Food Support restaurants in your neighborhood by purchasing gift cards for your loved ones. Shop King Arthur Baking for the baking mixes and tools every home baker needs. Give the gift of maple with Sugarbush Cheese & Maple Farm’s edible gift boxes, or gift pancake mix, maple products, and berry syrups from Maple Grove Farms. Satisfy your loved one’s sweet tooth with Lake Champlain Chocolates’ specialty chocolates and Christmas truffles, or Snowflake Chocolates’ popcorn, brittles, and chocolate snowflakes. You’re bound to find something for every foodie in your life at Stowe Mercantile, with their selection of handmade fudge, maple products, specialty products, and more. Vermont Ski Staycation Ski resorts are implementing extra health and safety measures so that everyone, from guests to their communities at large, stays healthy. State guidance considers industry best practices, CDC guidance, and state regulations. Ski with peace of mind and enjoy the snow at these Vermont ski areas:
Use Ski Vermont’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide to plan your Vermont staycation. You can find more Vermont businesses to support using our categorized Vermont Chamber member directory or by browsing through our Stay & Play Directory. Have a happy holiday season and thank you for shopping Vermont.
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How Vermont Businesses Are Helping Our Communities

How Vermont Businesses Are Helping Our Communities

Vermont and the nation are experiencing an unprecedented public health emergency, coupled with an abrupt economic downturn. 

Our thousands of statewide businesses and their employees and families across all industries are facing hardships. Even in the face of significant challenges,  Vermont businesses have shown compassion, innovation, and care for their communities. 

Below are examples of Vermont businesses and organizations helping during the  pandemic:

  • Northfield Savings Bank donated $15,000 to Vermont Foodbank
  • Darn Tough donated 5,000 pairs of socks to the UVM Health Network and is knitting a sock that benefits the Vermont Foodbank
  • Vermont Evaporator Company is making and donating durable, washable cloth masks to Vermont public schools to help them reopen safely
  • O’Brien Brothers is donating $20,000 to two Vermont organizations to help Vermonters in need to get basic necessities this winter
  • GLOBALFOUNDRIES donated tools and equipment to Generator Inc., a local nonprofit makerspace and donated $20,000 to the University of Vermont Medical Center to help in the fight against COVID-19
  • TD Bank thanked their employees with $500 pandemic bonuses
  • Vermont Mutual Insurance Group is contributing $1 million in charitable donations to help with COVID-19 relief efforts in Vermont
  • RunVermont is holding a Get Out, Give Back virtual run/walk three-race series supporting Vermont non-profits
  • Gordon’s Window Decor is re-purposing cellular shade material to produce comfortable masks and donating 25 masks to non-profits in need for every 25 masks purchased
  • Vermont Housing Finance Agency is accepting applications for their Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
  • ECHO Leahy Center launched two programs to support Vermont families: ECHO Virtual STEM Academy and ECHO Care and Enrichment
  • Lake Champlain Chocolates donated chocolate hearts to teachers and support staff in Chittenden County and teamed up with Vermont Creamery for a sweet collaboration to raise money for the Vermont Foodbank
  • PieMatrix in Burlington is offering free CDC-based COVID-19 back-to-business and back-to-isolation plans for businesses to use when opening or closing operations 
  • Vermont Community Foundation announced $380,500 in grants in the fourth round of grantmaking from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund
  • Vermont Teddy Bear is sewing more than 3,000 face masks to donate to medical professionals and is spearheading an effort to  help make 125,000 masks available in Vermont
  • Teknor Apex is manufacturing TPE resin that is converted into the straps for the 95 facemasks, breather bags on ventilators, and face mask respirators
  • Hops for Hope, a 5k run and walk to benefit the American Cancer Society, goes virtual to continue supporting cancer treatment and research
  • Vermont State Colleges System partnered with Vermont Electric Power Company to offer free Wi-Fi to the general public on the campuses of Northern Vermont University, Castleton University, and Vermont Technical College
  • The Community Bank NA New England branches donated $15,000 to The DREAM Program
  • The MEND Fund was created to respond to the burden faced by downtown businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic; supporters include Union Mutual Insurance Company, Vermont Mutual, National Life, Northfield Savings Bank, and Noyle W Johnson
  • Farrell Distributing and The Foundry at Summit Pond are partnering with Yealands Wines and Palm Bay International to create a “Raise a Glass” program supporting local healthcare workers
  • The Skinny Pancake is feeding Vermonters in need with free meals through their new food response program, ShiftMeals
  • Tuttle Printing is producing face masks to help businesses comply with state guidance and regulations, available for order by email
  • Farrell Distributing helped develop a coalition of Vermont businesses  to serve communities with needed sanitizer
  • Birchgrove Baking is offering “Sweeten a Day” boxes; customers can purchase a box of pastries to donate to hospitals, health care workers, and first responders
  • Fat Hat Clothing Company is pitching in to make protective masks
  • Sugarsnap launched a delivery service to help workplaces and homes provide sustenance and care as well as social distance and safety
  • Vermont Glove is pivoting to produce protective gear
  • Burton is donating half a million KN95 masks to hospitals around Vermont, to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, and to other areas where they are urgently needed; they have also donated over 1,000 Anon Optics goggles through Goggles for Docs
  • Dunkin’ is sending care packages to Central Vermont Medical Center, Grace Cottage Family Health and Hospital, and Gifford Medical Center health care workers
  • Bar Harbor Bank is donating to help adult education programs in Vermont
  • The Vermont Country Store is sharing advice on safely bridging the social distance and checking in on neighbors and loved ones
  • Green Mountain Power is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections through the end of April
  • Orvis answered Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s call for personal protective equipment
  • Awesome Graphics in Rutland is printing signs with COVID-19 etiquette reminders and thank-you’s to essential workers and health care workers
  • Distilleries around Vermont, including Green Mountain Distillers, SILO Distillery, Barr Hill by Caledonia Spirits, Mad River Distillers, and Smugglers’ Notch Distillery are producing hand sanitizer for those in need 
  • In a press conference on March 23, Governor Phil Scott made special note of the good work underway as communities respond to COVID-19 by Casella Waste Systems, Inc., Autumn Harp, General Dynamics, GlobalFoundries, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and others
  • Two Brothers Tavern is serving deeply discounted wines 
  • Yoga Six in South Burlington offered free online yoga classes 
  • Spectrum Internet is offering two free months of internet and WiFi services for new Pre-K to 12, college student and teacher households who don’t have internet or WiFi service
  • Effective until further notice, Green Mountain Transit is operating bus service fare free
  • In response to the pandemic, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency awarded $120,000 in grants to meet housing needs and is providing help through a new Mortgage Assistance Program to Vermont homeowners who have fallen behind on payments 
  • ​NPI Technology Management is offering web content to help Vermont businesses make remote workplaces work and free consultation to provide technical advice
  • Arts and humanities organizations in Vermont can apply for emergency relief funding through a new partnership between the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities
  • Union Mutual is partnering with Montpelier businesses Langdon Street Tavern and Pinky’s Deli to sponsor meals each week for Montpelier and Central Vermont residents in need
  • Consolidated Communications is helping students learn from home, upgrading networks so doctors can focus on patients, and providing tools to help employees collaborate remotely
  • Leonine Public Affairs created a thorough COVID-19 resources page
  • SKIRACK in Burlington donated googles to health care workers through Goggles For Docs
  • Burlington maker space Generator started prototyping personal protective equipment for area hospitals in response to nationwide shortages
  • The National Life Group Foundation approved grants of $100,000 each to community foundations in Vermont and Texas
  • Chroma’s filter technologies are letting biotech firms develop tests for coronavirus
  • Little Morocco Café in Burlington is serving free hot soup and rice three times a week, and Stowe Street Café in Waterbury is also making and distributing free community meals
  • Trent’s Bread in Westford, Vermont, is donating loaves of bread to local food shelves
  • The Vermont Institute of Natural Science is offering at-home education resources 

Retailers and grocers are making extraordinary changes to the way they do business in order to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. The Vermont Retail and Grocers Association is updating this list of what retailers and grocers throughout the state are doing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Services range from delivery to curbside pickup and designated shopping hours for vulnerable populations.

To support the fight against COVID-19, the Vermont Chamber, partnering with state and federal government agencies, engaged manufacturers to quickly locate urgently needed medical supplies and to identify manufacturers who could retrofit and adapt their operations to manufacture essential personal protective equipment (PPE), medical devices, and life-saving medicines. Many Vermont manufacturers are stepping up to make medical protective gear.

Additionally, businesses looking to donate PPE (personal protective equipment) are advised:

  • You can drop PPE off at the Vermont Emergency Management building at the Waterbury State Complex between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, at 45 State Drive, Waterbury, VT 05676.
  • If you can’t get to Waterbury, you can drop it off at the closest State Police Barracks with locations listed here.

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce is determined to continue ensuring the well-being of Vermont’s business community during these unique and trying times. Please contact us if you have any questions, and access our COVID-19 Resources page for the latest information and resources for businesses.​

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Vermont Chamber Launches Building Bridges Fund to Support Small Businesses

Vermont Chamber Launches Building Bridges Fund to Support Small Businesses
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The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has launched a Building Bridges Fund to help impacted businesses continue to participate in important advocacy, education, and promotion programs. Contributions benefit small businesses and the Vermont Chamber, allowing businesses to continue participating in Chamber programming and helping the Chamber maintain their powerful advocacy voice, which helps move all businesses toward economic recovery. Many restaurants, inns, and retail stores are struggling to pay ongoing expenses. Actions taken today will ensure businesses and communities across the state thrive in a post-pandemic Vermont. Throughout the crisis, the Vermont Chamber has provided critical guidance to businesses and helped advocate on federal and state levels for financial and legislative relief to keep Vermont businesses on solid ground. Vermont Chamber State House coverage makes certain that legislators and government officials understand the issues affecting small businesses from Newport to Brattleboro. “While nearly every Vermont business has been impacted by COVID-19, some have certainly been hit harder than others,” Drew Richards, Vice President of The Richards Group, a 2020 Building Bridges Fund contributor, said. “We are looking to help those businesses that have been disproportionately impacted. Thanks to the Vermont Chamber for corralling this much-needed economic support.” At a time when businesses are hurting, the need for support is greater than ever. Make a contribution to the Building Bridges Fund now at vtchamber.com.

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Joint Fiscal Committee Approves $75 Million for Additional Business Relief

Joint Fiscal Committee Approves $75 Million for Additional Business Relief

The Joint Fiscal Committee met this morning and unanimously approved the Scott Administration’s proposal to dedicate $75 million of unallocated remaining Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to relief grants for the lodging and restaurant industry.
 
The Vermont Chamber advocated for the release of these funds to help address the overwhelming unmet financial need businesses continue to face because of COVID-19 operating restrictions and the resultant economic downturn. The Vermont Chamber’s efforts were bolstered by the restaurant and lodging sectors that mobilized to express widespread support for the proposal to authorize the funds. 
 
Vermont Chamber Vice President of Tourism Amy Spear said, “Authorizing these funds was essential to the survival of lodging and restaurant entities that continue to grapple with the staggering economic impact of COVID-19. We are very appreciative of the Scott Administration and Joint Fiscal Committee’s work to advance this much needed additional relief for Vermont businesses.”

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Vermont Chamber Expands Educational Offerings for Hospitality Professionals During COVID-19

Vermont Chamber Expands Educational Offerings for Hospitality Professionals During COVID-19

As the state partner for the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce has expanded its educational resources for the restaurant and lodging industry. Tourism professionals now have access to more than seven complimentary professional development offerings.

Educational opportunities include:

  • Two free ServSafe training videos are available, designed to reinforce practices to keep food and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. These free courses are available through the end of April.
  • The ServSafe Food Handler online training program is available for free through April for those who wish to attain the certificate or refresh their knowledge. This course must be uploaded to a student’s profile no later than April 30th. The student will have one year to launch the course and 60 days after launch to complete it.
  • The ServSuccess online learning suite, which offers courses, interactive study guides, and professional certification exams, is free through April. This program is designed to enhance the knowledge and abilities of working industry professionals. This course must be uploaded to a student’s profile no later than April 30th. The student will have one year to launch the course and 90 days after launch to complete it.
  • The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute’s professional development courses are available free of charge through April. These offerings are suitable for all hotel level employees and can help them take their hospitality career to the next level. Students must enroll no later than April 30th. Once enrolled, the student has 90 days to access the material for the AHLEI training.

ServSafe has been the industry standard for food and alcohol safety training and certification for 30 years. Hospitality organizations and schools rely on AHLEI for quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals.

Describing the expanded offerings, Vermont Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Tourism Amy Spear said, “Vermont and the nation are in the midst of an unprecedented public health emergency, with significant stress being placed on the tourism industry. The Vermont Chamber is committed to helping the state’s restaurants and lodging properties recover and strengthening the tourism industry.”

The Vermont Chamber will continue to work with hospitality sector associations to provide resources for tourism industry employees and will advocate for measures that help Vermont businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Congressman Peter Welch Heard From Over 150 Businesses at Vermont Chamber Tourism Town Hall

Congressman Peter Welch Heard From Over 150 Businesses at Vermont Chamber Tourism Town Hall

Congressman Peter Welch heard from over 150 businesses in the state’s tourism industry during a remote Vermont Chamber Tourism Town Hall on April 2 about how COVID-19 is affecting Vermont. The Town Hall, recorded here, was an opportunity for tourism businesses to further Congressman Welch’s understanding of COVID-19’s impact, share ideas, and help shape what future assistance will look like.

Congressman Welch thoughtfully responded to questions submitted by registrants and committed to taking the issues and ideas back to Congress with him.

Congressman Welch said, “It’s a hard time in Vermont and around the world as we face the COVID-19 pandemic together. Public health rightly remains the urgent priority of legislators, but it is also our responsibility to help Vermont’s businesses survive. Vermont’s tourism businesses are owned by our neighbors, our friends, and our families. We need to listen carefully to their concerns and be strong advocates during these challenging times.”

The industry asked Congressman Welch to help them with grant funding rather than loans to help them re-open and re-hire once the Stay Home, Stay Safe order is lifted. Other issues were funding tourism promotion during the recovery, addressing the disincentive to return to work in the new unemployment insurance law, and speeding up the access to SBA loans.

Amy Spear said, “Tourism represents one of the largest contributions of out-of-state money into the state’s economy, bringing significant revenue to communities statewide. When our tourism industry is impacted, as it is now by COVID-19, the impact is felt throughout Vermont. The Vermont Chamber is hard at work keeping tourism businesses informed of changes to the way they do business and pushing for financial and regulatory relief to keep the industry on solid ground.”

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