COVID-19 Updates


Last updated September 16th, 2020


Public Health Resources

I strongly encourage you to read through the Commonwealth's webpage that is dedicated to providing COVID-19-related updates and check that webpage regularly for new information. The Commonwealth's webpage is updated frequently and is one of the best sources of information for what actions Virginia is taking to combat the spread of COVID-19. 


​The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) put together a portal through which you can access important materials related to COVID-19, including: waivers, memoranda and guidance; available disaster grants and loan programs; and instructions for private sector partners who seek to aid the Commonwealth in our COVID response. You can access the portal here


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leading the national response to COVID-19 and is an excellent source of information on COVID-19, particularly for information on actions being taken in response to the spread of COVID-19 at the federal level. You can see the latest information published by the CDC here.


​USA.gov has put together a webpage with sources of information on actions the federal government is taking to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. You can check that out here.


The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is a great source of information on Virginia's response to the spread of COVID-19. VDH is working with the CDC, local public health departments, and other stakeholders to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of Virginians. You can find updates from VDH here. VDH has also put together a number of helpful FAQs thatyou can find here.


​The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association has published and is actively updating a COVID-19 data dashboard that tracks hospitalization and discharge numbers. You can check it out here.


The local health districts in Hampton Roads have established a regional call center to answer questions related to COVID-19. The call center is open from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. The number for the call center is (757) 683-2745. If all the lines are busy your call will be returned within one business day.


HOW TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19


Practice Social Distancing: Key to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and lowering the burden on our health care system is social distancing.Social distancing "means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible." It is impossible to emphasize how vital it is that we all practice social distancing. The graphic below shows how, when we all practice it, social distancing can save lives by keeping the number of COVID-19 patients at or below the capacity of our healthcare system.


















Practice Good Personal Hygiene: 


  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.  
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 


Call your doctor if you feel sick:If you think you are sick with COVID-19 and are exhibiting, call your doctor before going in for testing. Your doctor will run through your symptoms with you to determine whether or not you should come in for testing. According to the CDC, the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, shortness of breath


UPDATES FROM THE GOVERNOR 


You can find news releases from the Governor here.


On September 10th, the Governor announced that, thanks to significantly improved health metrics, Hampton Roads would be joining the rest of Virginia in Phase 3 of reopening. You can read more about that announcement here


On September 1st, the Governor announced that the DMV will extend the validity of driver's licenses', learners permits, and ID cards originally set to expire in August, September, or October of 2020 for 60 days. Credentials set to expire in November have been extended to November 30th. Additionally, starting in mid-September, the DMV will offer an online renewal option for most credential holders who are required to renew in-person between September 2020 and December 2021. This means that you can avoid a trip to the DMV by renewing online to obtain a two-year credential. You can find more information on this announcement here. The Governor also announced that Eastern Virginia would remain in Phase 2 of reopening. You can watch the entire September 1st briefing here


On July 1st, Virginia will move into Phase 3 of Reopening. You can view the sector-specific guidelines for Phase 3 here.


On June 30th, the Governor announced that as Virginia begins Phase 3 of reopening, bar seating in restaurants must remain closed. You can read more about this decision here


On June 26th, the Governor announced that on Monday, June 29th, Virginia will launch the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development using $50 million in CARES Act funds. The Governor has also called on chief general District Court judges around Virginia to delay hearing eviction cases in their localities until July 20th. You can find out more about the RMRP program here


On June 18th, the Governor outlined the Phase 3 Guidelines for Reopening. The Governor did not announce when Phase 3 will begin, but it will not be before June 26th. You can view the slides from the Governor's presentation here. Sector-specific guidelines can be found here


​On June 2nd, the Governor signed Executive Order 65 which outlines Phase 2 of Re-Opening. Most of Virginia is expected to enter Phase 2 this Friday, June 5th. Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond will remain in Phase 1. During Phase 2, Virginians are still encouraged to telework and follow social distancing guidelines. Masks are still required in indoor public settings. During phase 2 the number of people allowed at a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50. Restaurants and breweries may open indoor seating to 50% of capacity. Fitness centers may open indoor space to 30% occupancy. You can find the full language of Executive Order 65 here and industry-specific guidelines here.


On May 26th, the Governor announced that beginning Friday, May 29th, all Virginians over the age of 10 will be required to wear masks inside brick-and-mortar establishments. There are some exceptions, such as when you're eating or drinking, or if you have a medical condition that prevents you from safely wearing a mask.


On May 22nd, the Governor announced that Virginia has launched COVIDcheck, an online risk assessment tool that will assist Virginians with checking their symptoms, connect them with healthcare providers, and help them find testing sites. You can access COVIDCheck here


On May 18th, the Governor announced that the beaches in Virginia Beach would be allowed to open for recreational activities beginning May 22nd. Parking lots and garages will be capped at 50%. You can learn more about this decision here.


On May 12th, the Governor announced that certain localities in Northern Virginia would be allowed to delay entering Phase 1 of reopening due to the region's significantly higher percentage of COVID-19 tests. You can read Executive Order 62 here. Accomack County and Richmond City also requested and received delays in entering into Phase 1. You can learn more about that here.


​On May 8th, the Governor presented a detailed outline of Phase 1 of reopening Virginia. It is anticipated that we will begin Phase 1 next Friday, May 15th. You can find the full text of the guidelines here and an industry-specific breakdown here.


 What will Phase 1 look like?

  • The "stay-at-home" order will turn into a "safer-at-home" order
  • Teleworking will still be strongly encouraged, where possible
  • We must continue to follow social distancing guidelines
  • We should continue wearing face coverings where possible
  • Continue to limit social gatherings to ten people or less


For businesses, the Phase 1 guidelines are as follows:

  • Non-essential retail operations previously restricted to 10 patrons or less will be able to operate at 50% capacity
  • Restaurants previously restricted to takeout and delivery-only will be able to operate at 50% of their outdoor seating
  • Fitness facilities that ere previously completely closed will be able to operate outdoor classes and activities with ten people or less
  • Beaches will continue to be limited to exercise and fishing only
  • Entertainment and amusement facilities are to remain closed


On May 4th, the Governor announced that the current restrictions on non-essential businesses, outlined in Executive Order 53, will be extended by one week. The Governor is hopeful that, if the positive trends we're seeing in the data continue, a gradual easing of public health restrictions can begin on May 15th. You can watch the Governor explain this decision, the data behind it, and specifics on what a gradual reopening will look like here.


On April 29th, the Governor made several announcements. First, he announced that beginning on Friday, May 1st, elective surgeries, dental procedures, and veterinary work can begin again. The Virginia Department of Health has put together an FAQ on this decision that you can read here. It was also announced that Virginia has secured loan relief for the approximately 200,000 Virginians with privately-held student loans. This relief is the result of an effort from Virginia and other states to secure loan relief for those with privately-held student loans that did not qualify for relief under the federal CARES Act. You can learn more about whether or not you qualify and what relief looks likehere. You can find afull recap of the April 29th briefing here.


On April 24th, the Governor announced that May elections would be postponed two weeks until May 19th. This means that you have until May 12th to request an absentee ballot. All voters are strongly encouraged to vote absentee instead of going to the poll in person. Torequest an absentee ballot online click on this link. Follow the prompt and select “I have a reason or condition that prevents me from going to the polls on Election Day.” The website will then have the option to choose “my disability or illness” as the reason for their request. To read more about the Governor's order to push the May election by two weeks, click here.


Also on April 24th, the Governor presented the phased approach for easing public health restrictions put in place to respond to COVID-19. This phased approach is based on guidelines issued by the CDC. To read more about what this approach looks like, as well as the data that is guiding decision-making, click here.


​On April 23rd, the Governor made a series of announcements. The Governor directed the Virginia State Police to continue suspending the enforcement of motor vehicle inspections and take several additional measures through July 31. The Governor also extended the closure of public-facing DMV offices until May 11th. Additionally, the Governor extended the ban on elective surgeries until May 1st. You can read more about these decisions here


On April 17th, Governor Northam signed Executive Order 57 to expand Virginia's healthcare workforce. Among other things, it allows Virginia-licensed nurse practitioners with two or more years of clinical experience to practice without a collaborative agreement; provides hospitals with additional flexibility in the supervision of interns, residents, and fellows; lets hospitals use fourth-year medical students in the provision of care; and allows for the expanded use of telehealth. You can read more about the order here.


On April 15th, the Governor announced that he would be extending Executive Order 53, requiring the closure of recreational and entertainment businesses, an additional two weeks until May 8th. You can read more about this announcement and find a Frequently Asked Questions Guide here.


On April 13th, the Governor, together with UVA's Biocomplexity Institute and the non-profit RAND Corporation, presented several models prepared by UVA's Biocomplexity Institute that model the impact of tactics taken to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia. Some key takeaways from these models are: 

  • Current social distancing efforts starting March 15 have paused the growth of the epidemic in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this scenario, “paused” growth means that the rate of new cases is holding steady rather than increasing
  • Current trends suggest that Virginia’s statewide hospital bed capacity will be sufficient in the near future.
  • Lifting social distancing restrictions too soon can quickly lead to a second wave.


You can listen here for a quick summary of what these models mean. You can watch the full presentation from researchers here.


Also on April 13th, the Governor announced a major expansion of Virtual Virginia, Virginia's existing online learning system, to provide students and teachers with an additional resource for distance learning. Teachers can use Virtual Virginia to share lessons and activities with their students. Virtual Virginia content can be loaded onto students' devices so the program can be used regardless of whether or not students have internet access at home. You can learn more here.


On April 10th, Governor Northam announced a statewide effort to recruit an additional 30,000 volunteers for the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). The MRC is made up of teams of health professionals and community members, working to assist our healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19. Volunteers can submit their applications here.


On April 7th, the Governor requested that the General Assembly move the General Election and all special elections scheduled for May 5th, 2020 to the November 3rd General Election date in order to protect the health of voters and poll workers. The Governor also announced that the June 9th primary elections will be pushed back two weeks to June 23rd, 2020. The Governor has the statutory authority to make this change under § 24.2-603.1 of the Code of Virginia. You can read more here.


On April 6th, Governor Northam urged all Virginians tofollow new CDC guidelines and wear face coverings when out in public. These coverings don't need to be medical grade and you can use this link to find instructions on how to make a cloth mask using materials you have in your home.

















Additionally, the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office has published guidelines on electronic notary applications that you can read here


On April 3rd, the Governor announced that an initial $2.5 million in emergency funding will go towards providing shelter for Virginia's homeless population during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can read the details of the announcement here.


On April 2nd, Virginia received the Major Disaster Declaration to aid in the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19. What this means is that the Major Disaster Declaration provides federal public assistance for all areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia affected by COVID-19 at a federal cost share of 75 percent. This will allow our state agencies, local governments, and some non-profits to buy additional supplies and receive reimbursements for costs related to COVID-19. It also means that federal agencies can now provide direct emergency assistance to Virginia. You can read more here.


On March 30th, Governor Northam issued a stay-at-home order. Under the order, Virginians are directed to not leave their homes except in extremely limited circumstances. Individuals may leave their residence for allowable travel, including to seek medical attention, work, care for family or household members, obtain goods and services like groceries, prescriptions, and others as outlined in Executive Order Fifty-Three, and engage in outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements. You can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for violating parts of the order. You can read the full text of Executive Order 55 here.


On March 23rd, Governor Northam announced that all schools will be closed through the remainder of the school year. Additionally, all restaurants must close their dining rooms and move to carry-out and delivery only. All recreational businesses must close by midnight tomorrow (3/24). Grocery stores and other essential businesses may remain open. You can learn more about the latest order here. Have questions? Check out this FAQ. Any businesses with questions about essential vs. non-essential businesses can email those questions to business@virginia.gov.


On March 19th, Governor Northam announced that Virginia is increasing access to health care for Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents. This includes: eliminating all co-payments for services related to the treatment of COVID-19; permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of their routine medications instead of the normal 30-day supply; waiving pre-approval requirements for critical medical services and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place; and more. You can read the other changes that are being made, as well as additional announcements made by the Governor, here.


On March 17th Governor Northam and the Commissioner of Health issued an order prohibiting non-essential gatherings of ten or more people. The Commissioner's order enforces this limit in restaurants, bars, theaters, and fitness centers. The order will last two weeks, at which time the Governor will determine whether it needs to be continued. You can read the order here.


On March 13th Governor Northam announced all schools to be closed for a minimum of two weeks. You can read his full announcement here. 

On March 12th Governor Northam declared a state of emergency here in Virginia. You can
find his full remarks here.


Schools


Our school districts have been working tirelessly to ensure that students continue to have access to healthy meals and learning resources while schools are closed. For specifics on the meal location sites in your district, click on the link for your school district below. In addition to the meals provided by school districts, some local businesses are providing meals for students as well. You can learn more about that here.

Newport News Public Schools

WJCC Public Schools

York County School District


Information on the return to learn plan  for Newport News Public Schools can be found here. You can find York County Schools' reopening plan here and WJCC's reopening plan here


The reopening guidelines for Virginia's schools were published on June 9th. You can find the complete Recover, Redesign, Reopen guidelines here. You can find an FAQ regarding school reopening here. Since the publication of these guidelines, the Governor's office has clarified that these guidelines are guidance, not a mandate that limits school divisions to one approach when developing their reopening plans. 


The Virginia Department of Education has put together a detailed FAQ regarding special education and student services that you can read here.


​On May 18th, the Governor announced an education workgroup that will help guide the school reopening process. Members of the workgroup include members of Virginia's public and private early childhood, K-12, and higher education systems. You can read more about the workgroup's focus and its membership here.


On April 13th, the Governor announced a major expansion of Virtual Virginia, Virginia's existing online learning system, to provide students and teachers with an additional resource for distance learning. Teachers can use Virtual Virginia to share lessons and activities with their students. Virtual Virginia content can be loaded onto students' devices so the program can be used regardless of whether or not students have internet access at home. You can learn more here.


Additionally, VA TV Classroom, a partnership between Blue Ridge PBS, VPM, WETA, WHRO Public Media and the Virginia Department of Education, launched on Monday, April 13th. VA TV Classroom will air instructional content from 1-3 PM Monday-Friday. Here’s a breakdown of the schedule:


  • ​​K-3 instruction airs from 1-2 p.m. with Standards of Learning-aligned content provided by WHRO Public Media. “Learn to Grow with WHRO” segments will be 15 minutes in length and led by teachers. 
  • Grades 7-10 instruction airs from 2-3 p.m. with SOL-aligned content provided by WHRO Public Media focusing on Earth Science and Algebra 1.
  • During the week of April 27, “VA TV Classroom” will add a special hour from 3-4 p.m. called “AP Prep Week,” with content provided by Virtual Virginia — in collaboration with WHRO — focusing on a different AP subject each day. The hour will include two 30-minute segments.


You can learn more about VA TV Classroom here.


On March 23rd, Governor Northam announced that all schools will remain closed through the remainder of the school year. You can read more about that announcement here. You can use this link to read a general update from the Virginia Department of Education. The VDOE's updated FAQ page is another great source of information that you can read here.


On March 20th, the Virginia Department of Education announced that it plans on canceling the Standards of Learning (SOLS) testing this year.

I also wanted to share some of the fun online resources that I've been using with my three boys. 
Google Earth has teamed up with National Parks to offer some seriously cool virtual field trips. If you're as obsessed with adorable penguins at the Shedd Aquarium as my household is then I'm sure you've already seen their great videos on Facebook. The Cincinnati Zoo is live-streaming a home safari every weekday at 3PM. There are a whole lot of awesome virtual museum tours out there too. Two national treasures, the Kennedy Center and Mo Willems, have teamed up to bring Lunch Doodles to your household every weekday at 1PM. Another fun resource I recently discovered is the online activities offered by a place that's near and dear to all of us, Colonial Williamsburg. You can check out CW's website for more info. Don't forget to take advantage of this streak of good weather and spend some time outside (while still practicing social distancing) as well!


DAY CARES/CHILD CARE​ & SUMMER DAY CAMPS


Summer day camps are subject to the same guidelines as child daycare centers. DSS guidelines can be found hereand DSS guidelines on Phase 3 can be found here

On April 15th, Governor and First Lady Northam announced that Virginia received $70 million in Child Care Development and Block Grant funding through the CARES Act (that third big stimulus package passed by Congress). The funding is for immediate use to support and sustain child care services. The funding will be used to meet four overarching goals:


  • Support providers who are open to serve children during the pandemic
  • Support low-income families who rely on child care subsidies
  • Support providers in the Child Care Subsidy Program, even if they are temporarily closed
  • Ensure back-up emergency child care is available as needed 


Child care providers that are open, serving essential personnel, and want to apply for the new grant program should look for information on how to apply at childcareva.com. Providers participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program should consult the communications that will be emailed directly to them and the FAQs available at
childcareva.com. Questions may also be submitted to the Virginia Department of Social Services at vendor.services@dss.virginia.gov.  Public schools considering emergency child care should email superintendent@doe.virginia.gov. 
Families participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program should consult the FAQs available at
childcareva.com or contact their local department of social services.


On March 18th, the Governor's administration issued guidelines to childcare providers on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These guidelines include:

  • Child care providers should limit capacity to 10 total individuals per room and prioritize care for children of essential personnel.
  • Children should eat meals in their own classrooms and increase distance as much as possible, such as allowing only one classroom at a time to go outside and staggering exits and entrances to reduce contact.
  • Staff and children should focus on basic health precautions, including regular hand washing and cleaning frequently touched objects.​​


You can read the full text of the guidelines here.


​​For parents needing to find a child care provider, they can call (866) KIDS-TLC or (866) 543 - 7852.


Additionally, Governor Northam directed the Department of Social Services to modify Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy program, currently caring for 25,000 children, to increase support and flexibility for enrolled families and providers. These modifications include:

  • Expanding eligibility for school-aged children currently designated for part-day care to full-day care.
  • Increasing the number of paid absences from 36 to 76 days for both level 1 and level 2 providers.
  • Automatically extending eligibility for families due for eligibility redetermination in the near future by 2 months and temporarily suspending the requirement for face-to-face interviews.


HOUSING


On August 7th, the Virginia Supreme Court extended the eviction moratorium until September 7th. You can read more about this decision here


On June 26th, the Governor announced that on Monday, June 29th, Virginia will launch the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development using $50 million in CARES Act funds. The Governor has also called on chief general District Court judges around Virginia to delay hearing eviction cases in their localities until July 20th. You can find out more about the RMRP program here


On June 8th, the Supreme Court of Virginia announced a moratorium on evictions until June 28th. The order will remain in effect through June 28 and modifies the Court’s earlier Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to COVID-19. The temporary moratorium will halt all eviction proceedings for a period of nearly three weeks, as the Governor's administration implements a comprehensive rent relief program for the thousands of Virginians facing housing insecurity in the midst of this public health crisis. You can read the full order here


The Virginia Housing and Development Authority, in partnership with the Governor's administration and the Department of Housing and Community Development, called "StayHomeVirginia." The site has tools, information, and resources for renters, homeowners, landlords, and those experiencing homelessness. The site also provides summaries of federal and state protections that are in place. You can access the StayHomeVirginia site here.


On April 3rd,  the Governor announced that an initial $2.5 million in emergency funding will go towards providing shelter for Virginia's homeless population during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can read the details of the announcement here.


The Supreme Court of Virginia has suspended eviction proceedings in all district and circuit courts through early June, and evictions for all Housing Choice Voucher holders are halted for 120 days.


For all mortgages guaranteed by federal mortgage programs, including Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) mortgages, the mortgage provider will defer mortgage payments—principal plus interest—for up to three months for those who have lost income due to COVID-19.



UTILITIES 


On September 15th, the State Corporation Commission extended the general moratorium on utility shutoffs through October 5th. You can read more about this announcement here

Verizon announced they will waive late fees and keep customers connected to their services if they are negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. You can
find their announcement here. More recently, Verizon published an FAQ about their response to COVID-19 that you can access here

Cox Communications will waive late fees and keep customers connected as well as expand their low-cost services for students and families in need during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find their update here



THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM


The Virginia Supreme Court has announced that, beginning May 18th, "all courts may hear in-person non-emergency matters if they determine it is safe to do so, and provided they comply with the guidance for transitioning from emergency to routine operations provided by the Office of the Executive Secretary in order to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19 from in-person court proceedings."


On May 6th, the Judicial Emergency was extended to June 7th, 2020. You can find all of the Virginia Supreme Court orders related to the COVID-19 judicial emergency here.


On April 22nd, the Supreme Court of Virginia extended the judicial emergency for a third three-week period, through May 17th, 2020. You can read the extended order here.


On March 27th, the Supreme Court of Virginia extended the judicial emergency until April 26th, 2020. You can read the order here.


​Questions about how all of this impacts your business at the courthouse? Check out this FAQ.


On March 16th the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) suspended all in-person visitation to state correctional facilities and suspended all transfers from local and regional jails for the next 30 days. The VADOC is providing all inmates with two free phone calls per week beginning March 20, 2020, through April 15, 2020. Off-site video visitation, facilitated through Assisting Families of Inmates (AFOI) remains available. JPay and VADOC have worked together to provide each offender's JPAY account with two free JPay stamps per week during this time. You can find information on the steps being taken by the Virginia Department of Corrections here.

On March 16th the Supreme Court of Virginia declared a judicial emergency and suspended non-essential state court proceedings from March 16 until April 6. During this time, an unlawful detainer may be filed by a landlord against a tenant unable to pay rent, but the court will not hear the matter until at least April 7. You can
find the announcement by the Supreme Court of Virginia here.



WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS


​Virginia Workers


April 15th: Thanks to federal funding through the CARES Act, workers who are not eligible for benefits under Virginia's traditional Unemployment system can receive benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. PUA is the federally funded program that is part of the CARES Act (the third big stimulus package passed by Congress) that gives states funding so that they can provide unemployment benefits to individuals who don’t qualify for benefits under the states’ normal Unemployment System, like: individuals who are self-employed, gig workers, 1099 filers, etc

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) has launched the PUA online system. You can learn more about the PUA program and how to apply,
here.


March 17: The Virginia Employment Commission will waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive unemployment insurance benefits as soon as possible. Additionally, the eligibility for unemployment benefits have been expanded, and workers who meet the following criteria will be considered for support:

  • Workers affected because their employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. 
  • Workers who have been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer. 
  • Workers who must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.


For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions guide for workers that have been temporarily laid off or discharged during this public health crisis.


Virginia Businesses

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes several programs that aim to provide resources and relief to small businesses. You can learn more about these resources by
reading this guide put together by Senator Warners's office or by visiting the Small Business Administration's website. The IRS has also published an information page on the Employee Retention Tax Credit (which is part of the CARES Act) that you can find here


April 13th: Virginia Humanities will be distributing approximately $500,000 in CARES Act funds to museums, libraries, historic sites, and other cultural institutions in the coming weeks. Historical, cultural, and educational institutions are encouraged to fill out this needs survey which will assist Virginia Humanities in determining how to distribute these funds.


On March 23rd, Governor Northam announced all restaurants must close their dining rooms and move to carry-out and delivery only by midnight on March 24th. All recreational businesses must close by midnight on March 24th. Grocery stores and other essential businesses may remain open. You can learn more about the latest order here. Have questions? Check out this FAQ. Any businesses with questions about essential vs. non-essential businesses can email those questions to business@governor.virginia.gov.


March 19th: Virginia has been approved by the US Small Business Administration for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans Program. Impacted Virginia small businesses and nonprofit organizations can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. More information is available here.

March 17th: Governor Northam announced that regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Also, Virginia will tap into Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act rapid response funding for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency.


Virginia Farms and Businesses


The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has published a number of operational guidelines for various farms and agribusiness, including Pick-Your-Own Farms and Farm Stands. Those guidelines can be found here.


​TAX POLICY


The Department of Taxation is extending the due date for individual and corporate income taxes owed to June 1, 2020. Interest accrued between May 15th and June 1st will be waived. *Note: the filing deadline of May 1, 2020, remains the same.* Additionally, businesses impacted by COVID-19 can defer payments on state sales taxes due on March 20 for 30 days.


A couple of folks have reached out to my office asking if Virginia can extend the deadline to file individual and corporate income taxes further, until July 15th, 2020. Unfortunately, Virginia is not able to extend the state tax filing deadline to match the July 15th federal extension because the state's fiscal year ends on June 30th. Under the Virginia Constitution, we are mandated to have a balanced budget every year and pushing $2.1 billion in revenue into the next fiscal year would cause a severe imbalance. That said, individuals can still request an extension if they need to. More information about this and the June 1st payment extension can be found on the Virginia Tax website.


Virginia Tax has created a COVID-19 information page on the agency’s website to share critical messages with taxpayers. You can access that website here


Due to the ban on non-essential gatherings of ten or more persons, the Newport News Commissioner of the Revenue's office wasn't able to hold their Tax Information Preparing Seniors (TIPS) session in March. The Commissioner's office has prepared and shared this video that includes helpful information for seniors as they're preparing their taxes that you can watch here.


FOOD INSECURITY


​If you're experiencing food insecurity you can click here to find the food bank closest to you


INSULIN


Eli Lilly announced the immediate start of the Lily Insulin Value Program. Through the program anyone with or without commercial insurance can fill their monthly prescription of Lilly Insulin for $35. The program covers most Lilly insulins, including all Humalog formulations.


You can call the Lily Diabetes Solution Center at (833) 808-1234 to learn more. You can read more about the Insulin Value Programhere.


DOMESTIC ABUSE













This is a difficult time for those stuck at home with abusive partners. Please know that shelters and programs for survivors of sexual and domestic violence are open and ready to help. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call the hotline at (800) 838-8238, text at (804) 793-9999, or chat online at www.vadata.org/chat. You can click here to find a statewide directory of sexual assault crisis centers and domestic violence programs in Virginia. For support and information on resources from local programs in and around the 93rd District, you can call:
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-787-3224
Avalon Center's 24-hour helpline at (757) 258-5051
Transitions Family Violence Services 24-hour crisis hotline at (757) 723-7774
The Samaritan House 24-hour crisis hotline at 757-430-2120


TRANSPORTATION


On September 1st, the Governor announced that the DMV will extend the validity of driver's licenses', learners permits, and ID cards originally set to expire in August, September, or October of 2020 for 60 days. Credentials set to expire in November have been extended to November 30th. Additionally, starting in mid-September, the DMV will offer an online renewal option for most credential holders who are required to renew in-person between September 2020 and December 2021. This means that you can avoid a trip to the DMV by renewing online to obtain a two-year credential. You can find more information on this announcement here.


On July 1st, the Department of Motor Vehicles announced that road skills tests will resume under a new process that incorporates social distancing protocols to protect the health and safety of both customers and employees. You can find more information on the new road skills test format, as well as how to book an appointment, here


On June 25th, the Governor announced that the validity of DMV-issued credentials expiring on or before July 31st would be further extended for an additional 90 days. This means that the validity of every driver, vehicle, special identification, and driver credential due to expire on or before July 31, 2020 will be extended 90 days not to exceed October 31, 2020. Credentials set to expire after July 31st, must be renewed before their expiration date.


On May 26th, the DMV will re-open 5 additional DMV customer service centers, including one in Newport News. You can find more information about this, including how to make an appointment, here.


Beginning May 18th, 9 DMV customer service centers will open around the state on an appointment-only basis. You can click here to learn what locations will be open, which services will be available, how to make an appointment, and more.


Beginning May 15th, the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry will resume normal operations. This means two boats will be running from 5:30 AM to 7:00 PM with boats leaving Surry and Jamestown o the hour and the half-hour. You can learn more here.


On April 23rd, the Governor extended the closure of public-facing DMV offices until May 11th. The Governor also directed the Virginia State Police to continue suspending the enforcement of motor vehicle inspections and take several additional measures through July 31. You can read more about these actions here.


On March 26th, Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf issued a statement extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021.


On March 19th the Department of State Police announced it will suspend the enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections Program for 60 days.

On March 17th the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced that all DMV Customer Service Centers will be closed effective midnight, March 18 until at least April 2. Online services will still be available, and to the extent possible, everyone is encouraged to complete your transactions online. There is a 60-day extension for licenses and identification cards that expire March 15 - May 15 and for car registrations that expire in March and April. You can
read the DMV's full update here

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​CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC NEED WAIVER


On March 20th, Governor Northam signed an executive order giving hospitals and nursing homes the ability to increase their bed capacity without needing prior governmental approval, being issued a new waiver, or going through red tape. You can read the full order here.


​COVID-19 FRAUD TASK FORCE


On March 20th, the Virginia State Police joined its federal partners to announce the formation of the Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force to address the significant increase in fraudulent scams, online websites, and robocalls that have begun since COVID-19 first appeared in the United States. The mission of the task force is to identify, investigate, and prosecute fraud related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Virginia. 


The Virginia Fusion Center is also actively monitoring alleged fraudulent activity related to COVID-19 and sharing that information with local, state, and federal authorities. To report fraudulent activity, Virginians can notify the Virginia Fusion Center (VFC) at 
vfc@vfc.vsp.virginia.gov or visit the FBI website at www.ic3.gov.


Additionally, any Virginian who would like to report fraudulent activity can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General 
at this website.


PRICE GOUGING


​If you are concerned about price gouging in your area, please reach out to Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section for investigation, as violations are enforceable by the Office of the Attorney General through the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

​​Proudly representing Virginia's 93rd District