Pandemic Resources

Sharon, VT Information

For information specific to the Town of Sharon, please see https://sharonincidentcommand.weebly.com/

State of Vermont Information

Vermont’s website healthvermont.gov is updated daily with information about cases in Vermont, as well as with the state’s response. To learn about steps enacted by the state of Vermont, click on “What Vermont Is Doing.” To read updates on the spread of coronavirus throughout the state, in addition to steps being undertaken, click on “Updates.” The site also contains information on testing, travel, social distancing, and much more.

Upper Valley Information

UVStrong has created a stellar site that gathers resources for Upper Valley residents. You can find information on housing, food, childcare, utilities, transportation, and more.

Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage (payment of past due bills) Assistance Program

Vermonters suffering economic hardship due to loss of income from COVID-19 can get help now to pay past due utility bills for residential and business or nonprofit accounts.  Eligible utility bills include water and wastewater/sewer bills and electric, wired line telephone, and natural gas. Grants will be awarded on a first come, first served basis until funding runs out or the program ends in December. Funds for this program were made available through the federal CARES Act and the State of Vermont Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Find more information on the Department’s webpage at https://publicservice.vermont.gov/ You can also call your utility to ask questions or contact your local Community Action Agency, or contact the Department’s Consumer Affairs and Public Information (CAPI) Division at 1‑800-622-4496 or by email at psd.consumer@vermont.gov

Department of Motor Vehicles

The Vermont DMV has shifted to online, phone and mail services and has granted a 90-day extension for all license and registration renewals. Any state inspection due by March 31 has also been granted a 90-day extension. Some services are being provided as normal, some on a modified basis, and others have been suspended until further notice. Please see the DMV website for more information.

Free COVID-19 Testing

Testing for all Vermonters is now free.

Childcare for First Responders

The State of Vermont wants to make sure essential workers can focus on their jobs and not worry about the care and safety of their children. They’ve created a list of people considered essential.

If you are considered “essential” and need child care for children up to grade 8:

1. Go to the new form created for essential workers.
2. Complete the form, including your contact information, and someone will be in touch within 24 hours to discuss available child care resources.
3. You can also dial 2-1-1 and press “6” to connect to someone about the available resources.
4. If you need child care immediately, call 1-877-705-9008 to be directed to your local Child Care Support Agency.

This connection service for essential workers will be in effect while schools and general child care services are closed due to COVID-19.

Vermont Law Help

Legal and Benefits Updates for Vermonters – The outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus has created many changes in the way Vermont courts are operating, changes to public benefits, and more. This page is filled with fantastic information from evictions and foreclosures to federal student loans to child custody arrangements during the pandemic.

Domestic Violence Prevention

WISE
You are not alone. We are still available to you and your loved ones. We are adapting and adjusting, and we are here for you as always. On those inevitable days or moments when you are not feeling particularly strong, please know that we are here for you every hour, every day. Call the crisis line (866-348-WISE) or chat with us online. You do not have to be in crisis to reach out to us.

Our WISE educators have created a number of WISE activities for teachers, parents, and students to supplement their home lessons. Check them out in Prevention.

Green Mountain Power

GMP is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections through the end of April, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our customers. These policies are effective immediately and will be in place through the end of April. We will evaluate their continued need at that time. Please note that regular billing will continue for all customers.

Online Newspapers

Many newspapers have lifted their paywalls during the pandemic to allow you to access the information you need for free.  The Valley News has made its coronavirus coverage free to read at vnews.com.  Other papers including New York TimesWall Street Journal and Washington Post are providing free online access to COVID-19 related information and updates, as well.

Internet and Cell Phones

Baxter Memorial Library offers free wifi (no password required). Though the building is closed, the signal extends into the parking lot behind the building. You can find other public buildings in Vermont with free wifi access using this map.

Vermont Temporary Broadband Subsidy Program
The Temporary Broadband Subsidy Program provides eligible Vermont households with a credit to assist with Internet service subscriptions. Residential account holders who have suffered an economic hardship due to COVID-19 and require high-speed Internet services for a qualifying need may receive a temporary credit of up to $40 per month toward an Internet service subscription. 

Consolidated Communications
If you have internet through Consolidated Communications, know that they have pledged to: (1) ensure that all residential or small business customers maintain continuity of voice and data connectivity regardless of their ability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic, and (3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone who needs them.

EC FIBER
No disconnections – Until further notice, ECFiber will not be disconnecting any customer due to non-payment. 
Free Installations and Service to new subscribers at homes with School Children – Since schools are closed through the remainder of the school year, we are offering free installations and service at basic speeds and free service through June to new subscribers at serviceable addresses that are eligible for free/reduced school lunch or WIC.  (This applies to Aerial drops only, and we are sorry we cannot extend this to underground services at this time.)
• Speed Bumps – If you are an existing customer finding that with everyone working or schooling from home your internet capacity is not where it needs to be, please consider upgrading your level of service.  If you need financial help in doing so, ECFiber will provide the next level of service up from your current subscription for free through June. 
• If you need service of any kind, please call us at (802) 763-2262 between the hours of 9am and 5pm or e-mail us at support@ecfiber.net.

AT&T
• Low-Cost Internet – They have increased eligibility for Access from AT&T, as well as giving two months free for new subscribers
• Data – No data caps for wired (not cell) service.

Charter/Spectrum
• Low-Cost Internet – Charter is offering two-months of free service for new households with a child or college student. They continue to make Spectrum Internet Assist available to qualified households.
• Data – Spectrum does not have data caps

Comcast
• Public Wifi– As mentioned above, Xfinity WiFi hotspots will be open to non-subscribers nationwide. For a map of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi . Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
• Low-Cost Internet – Their Internet Essentials program, which offers low-cost internet access to lower-income families, includes two months free for new subscribers
• Data – No data caps for service

T-Mobile
• Data – Customers using T-Mobile and Metro on a plan with limited data will have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days.

Verizon
• Data – Verizon does not have data caps for home internet service.

IRS Filing Deadline Extension

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

VT Tax & Homesteading Declaration Filing Extension

Vermont Income tax filing due dates for the following taxes have been extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020: Vermont personal income tax, Vermont Homestead Declaration and Property Tax Credit Claims, Corporate income tax, and Fiduciary income tax.

This means taxpayers can file and pay these taxes on or before July 15, 2020 without any penalty or interest. This includes any tax year 2020 estimated payments that were due for these taxes on April 15th, 2020.

Although the filing deadline has moved, Vermonters can file their returns and claims any time before July 15. Anyone expecting a refund is encouraged to do so. 

2020 Census

SHAPE YOUR FUTURE. Completing the short census questionnaire allows you to influence the amount of money that comes to Vermont for many of our essential programs – programs that benefit our health and safety, that pay for our roads, for local government, for schools, for hospitals, and for so much more. As of April 19, Windsor County has a 33% response rate, which is well below Vermont’s response rate of 41% (which is well below the national response rate of 50%).

All households should have received an invitation by the end of March with a 12 digit Census ID to go online and complete the questionnaire. But, you can complete the questionnaire at any time without the census ID by going to the official Census website, my2020Census.gov. Once there you will see a link : “If you don’t have a Census ID, click here.” It will ask you for your physical address, and from there you can complete the questionnaire.

If you prefer not to use the internet, you can complete the questionnaire by phone. Call 844-330-2020 for help in English. There are an additional 13 languages for completing the questionnaire.

If you have questions, or need help, please call the 2020 Census office in Burlington at 802-557-6704 (they are teleworking to be safe and will respond to your calls), or email elvira.otero@2020census.gov\

Applying for Health Insurance

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont Health Connect has opened a Special Enrollment Period until May 15, 2020. During this time, any uninsured Vermonter can sign up for a Qualified Health Plan through Vermont Health Connect. Qualified families can also get financial help paying for coverage. Please call us at 1-855-899-9600 to learn more.

Eligibility
You must be currently uninsured.
If you already on a Vermont Health Connect plan, you are not eligible to use this Special Enrollment Period to change plans.

Verification
You can self-attest that your are currently uninsured (that means you do not need a document showing you are uninsured).
Applicants terminated for non-payment of premiums in 2020 will be required to pay the prior balance plus first month’s premium.

Health coverage effective date
You may choose either April 1, May 1 or June 1 for the coverage to start, and you may choose these dates even if your plan is not confirmed before April 1.

Did you know?
If you lose your job-based insurance at any time of the year, you have 60 days to get onto a Vermont Health Connect plan.

Applying for Unemployment Insurance

If your job has been affected by the coronavirus, you may be able to apply for unemployment insurance.  Here are the step by step instructions.

Online Recovery Meetings

Second Wind Recovery Meetings and Coaching – Although The Upper Valley Turning Point peer recovery center is closed and all onsite activities temporarily suspended, we are here for you! The isolation created by COVID-19 is difficult for many people. Those in recovery from substance use disorder and their families rely on a close knit and accessible community for support.  During this time the Turning Point is providing many online alternatives via Zoom meetings.

WeConnect Health Management – Five daily free meetings to individuals and one to families and loved ones, all online.  Everyone is welcome no matter your pathway to recovery or recovery status. 

Counseling

Upper Valley COVID Relief – Over 20 licensed Vermont and New Hampshire psychotherapists have volunteered to provide free support to workers impacted by the coronavirus in the Upper Valley with free, 30-minute telehealth support sessions.  Support is available to any worker impacted by the virus, including but not limited to retail and grocery workers, first responders, all hospital employees, nursing home/home health aides, correctional officers, and any worker furloughed or unemployed due to COVID.  Please contact Lisa Gardner with any questions.

The Vermont Support Line from Pathways Vermont provides anonymous, non-judgmental support and connection for all Vermonters by phone. It’s staffed by local peers who’ve been through tough situations themselves. They listen, talk with you, provide insight, and help you face life’s challenges. The line is open every day from 3:00 pm to 6:00 am.  
(833) VT-TALKS / (833) 888-2557 or by text at (833) 888-2557

Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support via a medium people already use and trust: text. To start, text “VT” to 741741.

Outdoor Recreation in VT during COVID-19

VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation– During the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors close to home and connecting with nature is an excellent way to help maintain our mental and physical health.  Although facilities like restrooms at many areas are currently closed, people are still welcome to enjoy state parks, state forests and wildlife management areas.