Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) 3/30/20

March 30, 2020

Hello Friends,

It has been two and a half weeks since the General Assembly adjourned and Governor Northam declared a state of emergency for Virginia in response to the continued spread of COVID-19. We have all become too familiar with new phrases such as “social distancing”, “home quarantine”, and “shelter-in-place”. We’ve seen things none of us were expecting to see in 2020 such as toilet paper shortages in grocery stores, the closure of all schools, and the news monopolized by one subject no matter the channel. There have been some unexpected positives too: the bonus time with college students we almost said goodbye to after spring break, the quality family time we’ve had whether we wanted it or not, and the outpouring of love and support from community members from seamstresses making medical masks to teachers parading through neighborhoods just to see their students. It is a time we will not soon forget.

We all know business owners, employees, and companies (large and small) who have been impacted by the coronavirus. With our Hampton Roads area so dependent on tourism and visitors, I am dedicated to providing all the resources possible to our business community to enable them to get through this time and back on their feet as soon as possible. As a Member of the General Assembly, we receive daily updates from the Governor’s staff which I would like to summarize and communicate to you in weekly updates from my office. There are so many resources to help you and your family during this time. If you are overwhelmed or need help finding specific answers to questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. The email is: district07@senate.virginia.gov and our phone number is: 757-990-3080.

As always, it continues to be an honor to serve and represent you all as the State Senator from the 7th district. Stay safe and well out there! We can get through this together!

Take care,
-Jen

Cases in Virginia:

The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. Click here for the latest number of positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Virginia: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

Virginia’s Coronavirus Homepage:

Virginia.gov has set up a website for all things coronavirus-related. All updates can be found here: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus-updates/ and the site will continue to update as Virginia takes new action to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Support for Small Businesses:

Virginia received a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Small businesses and non-profit organizations located throughout the state can now apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. More information can be found here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Information about Stimulus Package for Business:

More information about the Stimulus Package can be found in the documents below from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship: https://sbecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Senate-Small-Business-Committee-Guide-to-the-CARES-Act.pdf

https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/28e8263e-e7d4-4da7-a67b-077c54ba4220/9F7B494B2E355791B24536DC2162CF16.final-one-pager-keeping-american-workers-paid-and-employed-act-.pdf

Unemployment Insurance:

Governor Northam directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.

Workers should apply to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. Information on how to fill can be found here: http://www.vec.virginia.gov/

State Corporate, Sales, and Individual Taxes:

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can request to defer the payment of state sales tax due March 20, 2020 for 30 days. When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties.

The Virginia Department of Taxation is extending the due date of payment of Virginia individual and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020.

Information can be found at: https://www.tax.virginia.gov/

Tax Refunds:

The VA Dept of Taxation continues to process tax returns. The sooner taxpayers file, and file electronically, the quicker we can process and issue refunds. Through March 21, the Commonwealth has processed over 2 million returns and issued 1.5 million refunds.

Federal Tax Information:

The deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020.

Information regarding the IRS can be found at: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Utilities:

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued an order directing utilities it regulates, such as electric, natural gas, and water companies in Virginia, to suspend service disconnections for 60 days to provide immediate relief for any customer, residential and business, who may be financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Federal Housing Finance Agency:

The U.S. FHFA has directed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. The foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage. More information on the announcement can be found here: https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Suspends-Foreclosures-and-Evictions-for-Enterprise-Backed-Mortgages.aspx

Business Questions:

Any businesses with questions about essential vs. non-essential designations can send those inquiries to business@virginia.gov

Workforce Questions

For requests from workers needing additional assistance through the unemployment claims process, please direct inquiries to workforce@governor.virginia.gov

Closure of State Parks for Overnight Stays:

After consulting with Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Clyde Cristman, Governor Northam authorized the Director to close state park campgrounds, cabins, and bathhouses through April 30, effective at checkout on Friday morning.

This recommendation will make the official status of all state parks in Virginia day use only. Further information on State Park policies related to COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/covid-19-update

REAL ID Enforcement:

Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf issued a statement extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline from Oct 1, 2020 to Oct 1, 2021: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/03/26/acting-secretary-chad-wolf-statement-real-id-enforcement-deadline

Farms and Agribusiness:

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: https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/about-emergency-information.shtml

Emergency Request for Information on COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment:

Today the Commonwealth put out an Emergency Request for Information (RFI) in regards to personal protective supplies. That RFI can be found here: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/9343b86bae904e67bc76d4c2d4b6a144

Virginia Medical Reserve Corps:

The Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is seeking individuals to volunteer with the corps. More information on the MRC can be found here: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/mrc/

Child Care Hotline:

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

Department of Corrections:

The Department of Corrections will provide COVID-19 related updates on their website here: https://vadoc.virginia.gov/news-press-releases/2020/covid-19-updates/

Senior Services:

Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia is available to help seniors connect with food and other critical resources. They are also providing up-to-date information about COVID-19. You can connect with them by phone 757-461-9481 or their website https://ssseva.org/

Additional Information:

For a comprehensive list of actions Governor Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

The COVID19JIC@vdem.virginia.gov email is now operational. The email address account will be monitored by our Joint Information Center (JIC) staff and relayed to the appropriate subject matter expert. If you have questions, please reach out using the above email.

For information about best practices from the CDC, Click Here

For updated information from the Virginia Department of Health, Click Here

For updates from the City of Virginia Beach, Click Here