Happenings from the Homefront 6/29/20

June 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

Last week we held our primary elections in Virginia. While there were issues with the Virginia Beach poll books which caused confusion and some frustration among voters on election day, we have been in communication with the Department of Elections and will continue to work to ensure our local elections remain unbiased and fair. Last Tuesday was good practice for November. I hope each of you went to the polls to exercise your voice in government!

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being involved and staying involved in state politics right now. As we watch on the news and read in the papers, we see division and frustration among groups with good and bad intentions in our communities. While I believe that our government works best when it adapts and evolves to meet the needs of all citizens over time, there is a right way and a wrong way to bring about this change and I’m not sure we are going about it the right way at times.

That’s where I need you all to stay engaged and informed. Be mindful of the messaging the media puts out there and know that there are many elected leaders who are working daily to ensure your voices are heard in all realms of government. I, for one, appreciate all of your support and encouragement and am honored to be the voice of all my constituents in the 7th district. 

Stay well & take care-

Letter to the Governor: Special Session

I sent a letter to the Governor (I can’t imagine how much mail he must be receiving these days) asking for a specific date for the General Assembly to be called into special session.

I am not alone in my ask and join other frustrated legislators in our petition to be a part of the discussion. The Governor’s unilateral executive orders and mandates continue to be an over-reach of his executive power and Virginians deserve better.

2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit

It was a privilege to be a part of the 2020 Virtual Virginia Women Veterans Summit! Thank you to all who participated and contributed to an empowering and successful few days!

Last week I stopped by the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office to drop off some muffins! I want our law enforcement officers know that we appreciate all they do to keep our communities safe. Thank you for being there when we need you!

Small Business Recognition

Small Business Saturday Shout out to Brothers Printing for making 9000+ tags for our Fourth of July flags! Thank you for helping us paint the town Red, White, & Blue for America’s birthday!

many-waving-flags.jpgClick Here4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Click the button below to email our office to help us deliver 100% American-made U.S. Flags across Virginia Beach this Fourth of July! My office is happy to celebrate America’s birthday throughout our community. We are working to ensure that even with the current restrictions, we can help spread a little American joy!!

COVID-19 Updates

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today June 29th, 59,071 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,665 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 1,123 cases in Virginia Beach and 855 cases in Norfolk.

PreK-12 School Reopening Guidelines
Governor Northam announced a phased approach that allows Virginia schools to slowly resume in-person classes for summer school and the coming academic year. 

Detailed information on each phase can be found in the guidance document available here.
VDOE has also developed comprehensive guidance to aid schools in planning for a return to in-person instruction and activities. “Recover, Redesign, Restart” can be found here.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that his Administration has released its Phase 3 Guidelines for all business sectors. 

An online PDF version of that document can be found here.
For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Information
With the PPP deadline to apply being tomorrow June 30th, I am sharing the form that would need to filled out and submitted to a participating lender. If you need to access a list of participating lenders in Virginia please click here

Virginia Beach City Treasurer’s Office Now Open With the Exception of the Lynnhaven Location
Virginia Beach, Va. (June 15, 2020) —​The City Treasurer’s Office is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of the Lynnhaven location. The Lynnhaven Office opening will coincide with the Planning Department’s opening, which has yet to be determined. The Lynnhaven drop box will continue to be picked up daily. 

Strict sanitizing guidelines to protect the public and employees have been implemented. Citizens will be asked to respect the 6 feet social distancing and face covering mandates that are still in effect. We strongly encourage citizens to conduct business online or by phone, email, and fax when possible.Face coverings are required for conducting business inside City Hall, per the Governor’s Executive Order 63.
For more information please contact the City Treasurer’s office at (757) 385-4445 or visit: www.vbgov.com/treas

For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeachtwitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

Virginia Beach: New Program to Provide Emergency Grants to Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (May 6, 2020) — Virginia Beach is adding to the list of loan and grant programs available to small businesses by creating a new Economic Development Investment Program (EDIP) offering that provides emergency assistance.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council provided $1.5 million in funding and approved an ordinance to temporarily allow the Virginia Beach Development Authority to make emergency assistance grants to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDIP part E fund is designed to help businesses with rent, utility or other business expenses up to $10,000. Qualifications, criteria, application, and associated documents can be found at www.yesvirginiabeach.com. Data from the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership indicate that, since April 1, 2020, more than 20,000 new unemployment filings were received from Virginia Beach residents and that the majority of those job losses have been from small businesses. Additionally, respondents to a survey the City of Virginia Beach recently completed that asked businesses about needs indicated that funds to pay rent, utilities and related expenses were their top concern. “The pandemic has exacted high tolls from nearly everyone in one way or another. Our economic recovery depends on the ability of our hardest hit small businesses to survive long enough to begin reopening and attracting customers back,” said Mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer. “The City Council heard very clearly from constituents that emergency assistance is needed to fill critical funding gaps small businesses are experiencing. This will be money well spent.” EDIP is administered by the Virginia Beach Development Authority, which is appointed by the City Council to promote investment, reinvestment and workforce development.

Virginia Department of Social Services offering residents cooling assistance
The Virginia Department of Social Services said in a news release Friday it’s accepting applications for cooling assistance during the summer months. Households approved to get cooling assistance will get a one-time payment of $300. One-time payments of $100 will also go to 113,000 households who received fuel or crisis help during the most recent heating season. These payments will go directly to vendors to credit the eligible household’s account, the release said. Those eligible will get notifications in the mail this week. While the cooling assistance program is provided yearly, the $100 payments are new, and part of the CARES Act funding program, said a spokeswoman for the department. The cooling assistance payments are offered through the department’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which pays electric bills, security deposits for electricity, central air conditioning system or heat pump repairs, whole-house fans, ceiling or attic fans and window unit air conditioners. To qualify, households must have a child less than 6 years of age, a person living with a disability or an adult aged 60 or older.There’s also an income requirement. This year, the maximum gross monthly income before taxes for a one-person household is $1,383 and $2,839 for a household of four.The program is accepting applications until Aug. 17. Applications can be filled out online via CommonHelp, or by calling the Enterprise Customer Service Center at 1-855-635-4370, or contacting your local department of social services.

Long-term Care
Governor Northam announced new guidelines and testing requirements for reopening long-term care facilities, and outlined how the Commonwealth will direct $246 million, primarily from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, to support long-term care facilities in their response to COVID-19. 
In addition, the Governor is directing the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to make public facility-specific data regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with long-term care facilities. Facility-specific data can be found here.

CVS Drive-thru Testing Locations
Governor Northam announced that CVS would be opening 39 new drive-thru testing locations across Virginia. Please input your location here to find a testing location near you.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Governor Northam announced an amendment to Executive Directive Seven (ED 7) to further extend the validity of credentials issued by DMV. The Fourth Amended ED 7 extends the validity of every driver, vehicle, and special identification credential due to expire on or before July 31, 2020 for up to an additional 90 days not to exceed October 31, 2020. This extension is in addition to the prior extension of up to 90 days not to exceed August 31, 2020. This means that a customer whose credential expires between March 15 and April 30 has an additional 90 days added to the prior 90 days, effectively 180 days, beyond the expiration date to renew. Customers whose credential expires between May 1 and July 31 will have up to 180 days beyond the expiration date to renew, not to exceed October 31, 2020. Customers with a credential that expires after July 31 must renew the credential before its expiration date. This extension will give customers with expiring credentials more time to schedule appointments to complete their DMV business.

Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.

To identify the local Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) administering organization for a household and to conduct a self-assessment for eligibility, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 211 VIRGINIA by dialing 2-1-1 from your phone. Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for additional information and resources.

Mental Health
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Coastal Virginia) is one of our local resources here to provide help. Especially now, check in on those you worry about & be mindful of your own mental health. The NAMI helpline number is: 1-800-950-6264 (M-F, 10am-5pm).
The National Suicide Prevention Helpline (available 24/7) is: 1-800-273-8255.NAMI Coastal Virginia also provides the following support:—-Online Support Groups: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/online-support-groups

Hampton Roads COVID-19 Resources: https://www.namicoastalvirginia.org/covid-19-resources

Action Alliance Statewide Hotline
Many Virginians are unaware that sexual and domestic violence programs are still open – providing crisis services, emergency shelter, and resource-based support – or that they can still go to the hospital for care after trauma/assault. The Virginia Statewide Hotline is still here (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) and ready to help, and so are sexual and domestic violence programs all over the state. Call: 1.800.838.8238 or Text: 804.793.9999.

Behavioral Health Resources for COVID 19
Community Services Boards (CSBs) across Virginia have transitioned some in-person strategies to work remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local CSBs.

Frequently Asked Questions from Workers:
Given the substantial economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Virginia’s workforce, the Northam Administration has released a comprehensive FAQ document to address questions that workers may have. That document can be found here.Also available in Spanish: haga clic aquí

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.
There are so many resources to help out there. 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!

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

Like our daily routines, how we conduct politics has changed as well. We have taken a break from political fundraising for many months but are starting to begin to ask for support again in the form of small donations as we go forward. Please consider a small donation if possible to help me defend the values that we hold dear as Virginians.
Donate Here