Email Updates

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-
Jen




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

Happenings from the Homefront 6/16/20

June 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

We need our kids back in school five days a week in the fall. Period. The Virginia Beach Public School Superintendent sent out an email last week stating they are considering a two-day per week in-person learning structure with the other days offered digitally. As a mother of four school aged children in three different schools, I’m here to tell you that digital learning is no replacement for in-person education. We can get our kids back in school and we CAN do it safely. Our children are suffering academically and psychologically and we are sitting by idly while it happens waiting for loose guidance yet again from the Governor. Not only are children suffering in homes with less than ideal caregiving situations, food insecurities, or diminished wifi access, but we have also taken away their support systems of teachers, coaches, and friends.

There are many mixed messages out there. The governor mandates that we wear masks inside buildings and that we follow strict random rules at the beach, but he is not giving solid guidance to our localities about the number of days our children will attend school in the fall. At this point we are doing more harm than good by keeping our children isolated. There have been ZERO deaths of children under the age of 20 from COVID-19 statewide since the onset of this pandemic. One of my solutions is to patron a bill to have a certified school nurse be present in every school in our Commonwealth. I need parents to feel that their children are safe and for faculty and staff to feel protected in order for some normalcy to return to our children’s lives. Now I need the Governor to call the General Assembly into special session to allow us to enact legislation and to do our jobs.

I watch what is going on in our country and I am frustrated. I hear and see those of us who push for change, but I also see a new form of discrimination against our law enforcement officers who are not being given the credit, respect, and appreciation they deserve. Yes, there is room for improvement, but the disrespect and egregious actions toward our men and women in blue has been wrong. So many of our law enforcement officers are good, fair, and hard-working individuals that deserve recognition for being there when we call. There is no room for lawlessness in our country and we must ensure those who enforce the law are able to do their jobs properly and safely.

I hope you all have been able to get out and enjoy some of the beautiful warm weather that summer brings. Keep getting out, visiting local businesses, exercising, and planning summer vacations. Please continue to be mindful of the media’s messaging. With this being an election year, I find very opinionated and sided news both on television and in print. Watching that news with a critical eye allows us to decipher what is valid and what is propaganda. I encourage you all to critically watch all media messaging as well.

Thank you all for paying attention to state politics. I think we are all learning how much power some elected offices have and how important it is to elect good and commonsense leaders. Keep in touch! 

Stay well & take care-
Jen


CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!
🎉CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2020!! Wishing you good luck, good health, & all good things in the years to come! We are very proud of you!! 🎓🎉


Virginia Beach ranks as #1 safest large city in America, study shows

Click Here for Article


Small Business Recognition:
Special shout out to the employees of RK Chevrolet & RK Subaru in Virginia Beach for their active role in keeping their business open and safe for customers and staff. Their focus on COVID-19 sanitation, sterilization, and social distancing earned them a company award as a “RK Frontline Hero”, a medallion, & a reward check!


many-waving-flags.jpgClick Here4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDClick 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 16th, 52,917 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,426 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 909 cases in Virginia Beach and 681 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 Virginia will be moving into Phase 2, with the exception of Northern Virginia and Richmond, both of which will remain in Phase 1. 
See here for the full text of Executive Order 65, Phase 2 Easing of Temporary Restrictions due to COVID-19. See here for the Spanish translation.
See here for the Phase 2 Guidelines for all Business Sectors. See here for the Spanish translation.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found 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.

Face Coverings in Virginia
Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitation, and wash hands regularly.

See here for a press release on this announcement. See here for the full text of E.O. 63.

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.

Public Beaches
Governor Northam announced that  public beaches would be allowed to reopen, provided that they follow the social distancing guidelines established in Virginia Beach: no large gatherings of more than 10 people, no tents, no alcohol, no group sports.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Given the shutdown of most DMV locations, Governor Northam announced that anyone whose driver’s license is set to expire before July 31, 2020 will have until August 31, 2020 to renew it.

Temporary Moratorium on Evictions
At Governor Northam’s request, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons suspended all eviction proceedings through June 28. Details of the Governor’s rent relief initiative, supported by federal CARES Act funding, will be announced in the coming weeks. Tenants are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent on time if they are able. Visit StayHomeVirginia.com for more information and resources on tenant rights.

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

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

Happenings from the Homefront 6/5/20

June 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

I think we can all agree that it has been a stressful week. We have all seen the video of the needless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His death started a cascade of emotion in our country that resulted in bringing challenging issues to light through peaceful marches but also igniting violent riots resulting in destruction and pain for many. We relied on our members of law enforcement to respond and appreciated their efforts to return peace to our cities and states across America during these dark days. 

The destruction, riots, and looting that have occurred around our great country have been devastating. I watch and read the news and have seen the most heart-breaking stories about individuals of all races who are small business owners who had their shops and stores looted and burned. People already struggling from the economic effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns now have nothing. We are better than that as Virginians and we are certainly better than that as Americans.
I support the First Amendment and have said many times that when you show up on the steps of the Capitol en mass to advocate for your cause, I see you and I listen to you as any representative of the people should. There is strength in numbers and in a peaceful presence. Violence and rioting are not and will never be the answer. Let the discussions begin. Instead of picking a side, choose to be a unifier.

On top of that, COVID-19 still exists (although the scenes from TV might have you believe otherwise!). I am so proud of how our beaches, restaurants, and small businesses have responded with really trying to keep employees and customers safe. I applaud each and every business who has been patient and is re-opening their doors to regular routines again. Thank you!!

Starting today, the gyms are open (at 30% capacity), the restaurants are open inside (at 50% capacity), pools are open for exercise purposes, gardens & zoos can reopen, and gatherings of up to 50 people can be held. I encourage everyone to wear their masks if they are at risk and to be considerate of others who may be at risk by wearing a mask around them. Use commonsense but get out and live life. It’s summer and we live at the beach!

Thank you all so much for your emails, phone calls, & social media support. I am thankful to have constituents who communicate and who are interested in state government. Keep in touch and stay well!

Stay well & take care-
Jen




We remember the twelve lives lost in the Virginia Beach tragedy on May 31, 2019. We pray for their families and friends left behind that God can continue to give them strength and comfort them today and everyday.





The COVID pandemic has silently initiated a few new epidemics without trying…. In addition to a variety of mental illnesses, I can personally attest to the obesity crisis I see in my primary care patients. By closing our gyms and rec centers, many people have put exercise on the back burner. My older adult patients rely on gyms and rec centers (Silver Sneakers!) to keep their instability, muscle weakness, & joint pain at bay. The good news is that as of Friday, the gyms are back open (at reduced capacity), and it’s time to buy new sneakers and lose that COVID weight we’ve gained.
Phase 2 Reopening

Per the Governor, here are the things that Phase Two (starting Friday) allows:
· Gatherings of up to 50 people while practicing social distancing
· Restaurants can have indoor seating at 50% capacity
· Gyms and fitness centers can have indoor workouts at 30% capacity
· Pools can open with restrictions
· Gardens, zoos and other outdoor venues can reopen with some restrictions· Rec centers allowed to open with physical distancing and no shared equipment



PIZZA FOR LOCAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS
I delivered pizza with Tommy Smigiel, Norfolk City Councilman & the Norfolk Fire-Rescue team to long-term care facilities and one emergency room in Norfolk as a way to say “thank you” for all their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic. (Special thank you to Randy Wright for organizing & Azalea Inn Grill and Time Out Sports Bar for the pizza!)

Click Here to see the WAVY10 Story



many-waving-flags.jpgClick Here4th of July Flag Event – VOLUNTEERS NEEDEDClick 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 join with Senator DeSteph and his staff 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 5th, 46,281 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,251 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 784 cases in Virginia Beach and 560 cases in Norfolk.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced that on Friday, Virginia will be moving into Phase 2, with the exception of Northern Virginia and Richmond, both of which will remain in Phase 1. 
See here for the full text of Executive Order 65, Phase 2 Easing of Temporary Restrictions due to COVID-19. See here for the Spanish translation.

See here for the Phase 2 Guidelines for all Business Sectors. See here for the Spanish translation.
A press release on this announcement can be found here.

For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

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.

Face Coverings in Virginia
Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitation, and wash hands regularly.

See here for a press release on this announcement. See here for the full text of E.O. 63.

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.

Public Beaches
Governor Northam announced that  public beaches would be allowed to reopen, provided that they follow the social distancing guidelines established in Virginia Beach: no large gatherings of more than 10 people, no tents, no alcohol, no group sports.

Racetracks to Reopen
Governor Northam announced that horse and vehicle race tracks would be allowed to reopen for single-day events. However, spectators will be prohibited from attending the event, and strict social distancing guidelines must be followed.

Driver’s License Renewal Extension
Given the shutdown of most DMV locations, Governor Northam announced that anyone whose driver’s license is set to expire before July 31, 2020 will have until August 31, 2020 to renew it.
Housing Resources
Please click here for a comprehensive overview of housing resources available to homeowners, renters, and landlords.

Mental Health Month
May is mental health awareness month. 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 HotlineMany 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 19Community 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

Happenings from the Homefront 5/29/20

May 29, 2020
Hello Friends,

We are certainly living in unique times. I know there are different schools of thought out there surrounding the executive orders and mandates coming out of the Governor’s office. As a healthcare provider, I want Virginians to stay safe and healthy and be mindful of the health of those around you. I’d encourage you to wear a mask if you are at risk or worried but I do not think masks should be made mandatory. I know that all Virginians want to do the right thing and that we will given the chance. I worry constantly about my vulnerable older adult patients, but I trust them to do the right thing by staying home and wearing masks when they go out. I want our businesses to succeed and our economy to rebound. I want people to go back to work, to keep their jobs, and to be able to take care of their families without relaying on the government for handouts.

Let’s talk about fear and the media briefly. I watch and read a variety of news on a daily basis to understand what my patients and constituents are seeing and hearing. The media is doing a fabulous job of inciting fear in all of us. Yes, there is a reason to be mindful of our health and the health of others. But being afraid to do things we can do safely is not healthy. Our country was not made great by a people who were fearful and stayed home. It was made strong and resilient by people who worked smartly, took chances, and made good decisions. We are still that country and still those people. Don’t let a fear take away the quality of life and freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.

I will close by asking those of you with a friend or relative in a long-term care, assisted living, or nursing facility to please check on and call your friend or family member and do it often. We have further isolated a group of people who were already limited in their ability to interact and communicate with the people they have relationships with and love. Call someone you know and call them more than once. A phone call would mean the world to them until they can have visits in person. I will continue to advocate for a phased, safe re-opening of our nursing homes and a path to improving lives for our older Americans who live in these communities.

Thank you for staying in touch with my office through our social media and email. I appreciate your thoughts and comments. I am here to help and represent you to the best of my ability.

Stay well & take care-
Jen




Call with the Governor

We asked for and were able to have a one-on-one call with the Governor last week to discuss a few things important to me and my constituents. It was a pleasant half hour discussion about many of the issues we have all been following and are all concerned about. I continued to advocate for safely opening Virginia Beach and our businesses here & assured him that our residents were ready & able to take the precautions necessary to make that happen.

As two healthcare providers, we spent the majority of our conversation discussing how the COVID crisis has affected our long-term care facilities and home healthcare (PPE, staffing), the need for budget changes going forward to enact improvements in our long-term care communities, and the possibility of a phased reopening of our long-term care facilities to allow loved ones to be reunited with their family members.

I spoke for the Moms (& Dads) of Virginia applauding the Governor’s education task force to begin the process of reopening our schools in the fall and asked that he include school counselors & pediatric mental health specialists in the discussion.I ended by thanking the Virginia Employment Commission for their help with our constituent unemployment concerns & asked for additional support.




BEACH REOPENING
The COVID-19 Beach Regulations include: Keep six feet apart unless family
No groups of more than 10 people
No speakers
No large coolers
No alcohol
No tents OR groups of umbrellas
No group sports (volleyball, football, Frisbee, etc.) 

In addition, no entertainment or programming that generate mass gatherings will be permitted. Public parking garages and surface lots will be limited to 50% capacity. All beach play sets will remain closed. Existing City ordinances already apply to some of these activities in the resort area. Governor Northam stated that he would not hesitate to reinstate additional restrictions or close beaches if people do not follow the rules. For more information about local ordinances, visit: https://library.municode.com/va/virginia_beach/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_CH6BEBOWA_ARTIINGE






DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES UPDATE
DMV Continues to open offices across the Commonwealth & extends expiration dates
The validity of driver’s licenses and identification cards expiring on or before July 31, 2020 is now extended 90 days, not to exceed August 31, 2020. A customer whose credential expires between March 15 and May 31 has 90 days beyond the expiration date to renew. Credentials expiring from June 1 to July 31 must be renewed no later than August 31, 2020. Vehicle registrations that expire in March, April, and May are also extended for 90 days, while those expiring in June are extended for 60 days, and those expiring in July are extended for 30 days. We are alerting customers of the extensions through our website, a news release issued to statewide news media, and social media.

In addition to credential extensions, we continue to reopen customer service centers (CSC) across the state for appointment-only service for specific services. Today, the Richmond Central CSC and the Onancock CSC will reopen. On June 1, the Arlington, Franconia, Leesburg, Prince William/Manassas, and Tysons Corner CSCs will reopen. To make an appointment at any open DMV locations visit www.dmvNOW.com/appt.

The amended Executive Directive Seven also allows Class B Virginia Driver Training Schools to reinstate behind-the wheel training on the date the locality in which the school is located enters Phase One as outlined in Executive Order 61 and Amended Order of Public Health Emergency Four. Those who wish to take behind-the-wheel training must contact a licensed Class B Virginia Driver Training School directly.





4th 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 join with Senator DeSteph and his staff 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!!

Click Here




Senator Kiggans Social Media Post on Mandatory Mask Order
After the debacle at our beach this past Saturday with the Governor not wearing his mask in a crowd, I am shocked he announced at his press conference Tuesday that face masks inside ALL buildings are now mandatory in Virginia (effective Friday, May 29th). As a public figure, he should know at all times that he is certainly being watched & not forget his mask nor get close to people without one.

His vague statement about mandatory masks not being enforced by law enforcement officers but by the Health Department makes me wonder what he has up his sleeve next. I know for a fact that the state legislators (as one of his “checks & balances”) are not being involved in the decision making processes. It will be the responsibility of the General Assembly when we meet again to attempt to put checks in place to ensure we are directly involved with decisions which impact our constituents and limit the direct power given to one individual at the Executive level.

As a healthcare provider who sees at-risk geriatric patients, I, too, look at the science and watch the numbers of who this disease affects & encourage those at risk to wear masks and limit their outings. I worry everyday about our nursing homes and how much work we have to do to protect this vulnerable group so they can be eventually reunited with their families. I also watch the numbers for how much money our large and small businesses have lost & how the unintentional consequences are affecting other facets of life. (Professionally, I see an average of four or five patients a day who are struggling with depression concerns or who have gained ten or more pounds.)

The Navy taught me the importance of leadership by example, and our Governor clearly has not done that. Masks should be encouraged for all but making them mandatory inside ALL establishments is going too far. Now is the time to be encouraging people to get Back to Business, not giving them another reason to not leave their homes.




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 May 29th, 40,447 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 2,056 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 680 cases in Virginia Beach and 470 cases in Norfolk.

Phased Reopening Plans
Phase 1 includes:
Safer at Home (especially if you are vulnerable)
No social gatherings of more than 10 people
Continued social distancing
Continued teleworking
Face coverings recommended in public
Easing limits on businesses and faith communities
You can find the Governor’s full slideshow presentation here.

Phase 1 Business and Religious Services Guidelines
Governor Northam rolled out an overview of guidelines applicable to businesses and religious services when Virginia enters Phase 1 of the Virginia Forward Blueprint. For more information and detailed guidelines please visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia.

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

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.

Face Coverings in Virginia
Governor Northam signed Executive Order 63, requiring Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increase cleaning and sanitation, and wash hands regularly.

See here for a press release on this announcement. See here for the full text of E.O. 63.

Workplace Safety Regulations
Governor Northam announced that he is directing the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) to develop emergency temporary standards to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19. 
These occupational safety standards will require the approval by vote of the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board and must address personal protective equipment, sanitation, record-keeping of incidents, and hazard communication. Upon approval, the Department of Labor and Industry will be able to enforce the standards through civil penalties and business closures.

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

Mental Health Month
May is mental health awareness month. 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 19Community 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.

Hiring Contact TracersThe Virginia Department of Health will be hiring 1,300 individuals to conduct and oversee the contact tracing process. Interested applicants will find a listing of the number of open positions in the orange box on the left hand side of the page, and a link to the staffing agencies who will conduct the hiring process. You can find a link to that information here.

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

Update from Senator Jen Kiggans 5/11/2020

May 11, 2020
Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19) 5/11/20

Hello Friends,

For the past two months, we have all stayed home as directed, going out only for essential trips and the occasional take-out meal.  We have put on homemade masks, carried hand sanitizer, and stayed 6 feet apart from others while we turned into home school parents and teleworkers.  We have done our part because we care about preventing the spread of a unknown and potentially fatal virus and because we want to protect our families, neighbors, and friends.  Due to our efforts, our hospitals were not overwhelmed, we have enough PPE now, we have the ability to test the people who need testing, and we better understand COVID-19 and those who are most at-risk.  We now know this virus is primarily deadly for vulnerable, older adults because over half of all deaths in Virginia can be attributed to people over the age of 70 with over a third of deaths occurring in our long-term care communities.  We have changed our routines to live with COVID-19 but it is time to get back to life and, most importantly, back to work.

Our Commonwealth is on the verge of permanent damage to our businesses and the livelihood of most Virginians if we do not re-open soon.  Many have received stimulus money and financial help from the government to keep their doors partially open during this crisis.  Although the government assistance has been necessary and appreciated, it is meant to be temporary. Our country was founded by hard work and independence from overbearing government along with the promise of opportunity for all. It is against what we believe as Americans to become reliant on big government to provide for our families.  Our beaches (some of the safest places in our state with plenty of space and UV light) must re-open immediately.  It is time for our tourism to rebound and our churches to hold services in person again.  We can safely follow guidelines while protecting our most vulnerable. Re-opening our state sooner rather than later is imperative before the economic impact of COVID-19 is irreversible.

Virginia is not a one-size-fits-all state.  The southwestern parts of our state who have had little to no COVID outbreaks have suffered in greater proportion due to the Governor’s state-wide executive orders.  There has been no regional approach to re-opening which I fear has done permanent damage to the rural and less economically advantaged parts of our Commonwealth.  General Assembly members from all over Virginia, including myself, have written letters to the Governor, have offered to be a part of the discussion, and have requested a legislative special session be called. The Governor has not been receptive to any of our requests or suggestions and is, per our constitution, able to make unilateral decisions which do not include the legislative branch.  From the very beginning, the General Assembly should have been included in the decision-making process to have the priorities of all Virginians represented at the table. 

I will continue to do my part to advocate for the 7th district and my constituents.  Our office remains available to assist with any and all government related issues as needed.  Please continue to do your part by staying home if you are sick, following CDC guidelines, and taking care of each other and yourselves.  If we learn anything from the response to this crisis, let it be the lesson of what defines good government and how important it is to elect good leaders. Virginia needs a common-sense, non-biased, broad thinker as a leader. Get ready to vote in 2021 and exercise your voice. The future of our Commonwealth depends on it.

Take care & stay well!
-Jen



Thank you to the wonderful volunteers from Eastern Virginia Medical School who dropped off beautiful homemade masks! They will be given to staff at local long-term care facilities in our community and are so appreciated!
Press Release from Sen. Jen Kiggans

COVID-19 Opens the Door for Geriatric Healthcare Reform
Long before COVID-19, our long-term care facilities have struggled with staffing, funding, and substandard living conditions. Families are frustrated by their loved one’s care and staff feel overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. The residents in these facilities, especially those who rely on Medicaid, live in small rooms with multiple people, share the attention of a stressed nurse or care assistant, and are isolated from a society who chooses to lock them away where we don’t have to see them nor be reminded of their inconveniences.  

As a geriatric nurse practitioner, Virginia State Senator, and member of the Governor’s COVID-19 Long-term Care Task Force, I am pleased to see the state government responding and supporting the long-term care community in countering this pandemic, but the work has only begun. Not surprisingly, staffing shortages (including recruitment and retention issues) continue to be at the top of the list for areas for improvement. Although the Governor has increased state Medicaid reimbursement $20 per patient per day and has loosened some restrictions for certification of nursing assistants, facilities are still struggling as staff become ill, fearful, or quarantined themselves.

Prioritizing testing for these facilities early on would have allowed for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients to be sectioned into positive and negative care areas including isolation and quarantine rooms. Staff should have been given sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sooner to facilitate better infection control. Instead, long-term care facilities are only recently being made a priority for PPE while starting to test all residents and new admissions from hospitals with the help of emergency staffing from outside sources such as the Medical Reserve Unit.

The infection and fatality numbers associated with the COVID-19 crisis and this susceptible age group have been staggering: out of 244 outbreaks in Virginia, 143 have been at long term care facilities, which have had 2,902 cases or 14% of the state’s total cases. 405 of the 713 deaths in Virginia as of May 5th were also in these facilities. As the rest of the country talks about drive-thru testing and antibody results and how essential these things are to re-opening our Commonwealth, my priority and point of focus remains the same: our vulnerable elderly. As of May 5th, of the 713 total deaths in Virginia, 368 were people age 80 and above, 164 of people age 70-79, and 116 of people age 60-69 (age 50-59: 42; age 40-49: 17, age 30-39: 4, and age 20-29: 2). One thing that the majority of people age 70 and above have in common is that they usually have multiple chronic health issues and an already fragile immune system.  

The response to the long-term care crisis pandemic should factor into our plans to re-open our Commonwealth for business. Since the majority of our workforce is less than age 70, most of us should be able to safely return to our jobs with the following safeguards such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, following good hand hygiene, and remaining home while you are not well or in poor health. Keeping all of Virginia in quarantine with our fragile economy on the verge of collapse does not justify mandating our younger healthy adults and pediatric population to stay home. It makes sense to take an age and vulnerability-based approach to re-opening as not all Americans present with the same risk level and should not all be treated as such.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider how we do geriatric healthcare overall in Virginia. With many alternatives to crowded understaffed facilities, Virginia has a chance to think outside the box and set an example for other states. State funding for group care homes, financial reimbursement for caregivers who leave jobs to care for their elderly family members, and increased access to telehealth are some underutilized vehicles for improved geriatric care. There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we view our most vulnerable but most precious members of society. Heaven forbid we have another crisis such as this that turns our long-term care facilities into battlefields where our doctors, nurses, and staff are out-numbered and ill-prepared to fight an unseen enemy. We already have an extreme shortage of geriatric-trained providers as the pay is low, the work is hard, and the competition for better healthcare jobs is great. We owe it to the care providers to compensate them with better pay and working conditions along with tangible gratitude for a sometimes thankless but always rewarding profession. I believe the silver lining of this crisis is that this oftentimes voiceless group now has people listening. We can do better Virginia, and we must do it now.  

State Senator Jen Kiggans



HAPPY BELATED MOTHER’S DAY!


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 May 11th, 23,889 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia with 1,181 probable cases. Additionally, we currently have 505 cases in Virginia Beach and 308 cases in Norfolk.

Phased Reopening Plans
Governor Northam announced he was extending E.O. 53 to expire May 15. Barring another extension, this will begin Phase 1 of the relaxation of social distancing policies. Phase 1 calls for:

Safer at Home (especially if you are vulnerable)No social gatherings of more than 10 people Continued social distancing Continued teleworking Face coverings recommended in public Easing limits on businesses and faith communities

You can find the Governor’s full slideshow presentation here.
Governor Northam rolled out more detailed guidance on Phase 1 regulations for individuals, businesses, and places of worship. Please see pages 11 – 15 of the attached slide deck for details on the changes that will come, if Virginia moves to Phase 1 on May 15. 

The full text of E.O. 61 and Order of Public Health Emergency Three can be found here.

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.

Mental Health Month
May is mental health awareness month. 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.

Testing Workgroup
Governor Northam announced the creation of a Testing Workgroup, to make sure all of Virginia’s public and private testing efforts are coordinated. Dr Karen Remley and Dr. Lillian Peake will head up the workgroup. Dr. Remley is the former Virginia Commissioner of Health, and Dr. Peake is our state epidemiologist.

Executive Action on DMV
Governor Northam extended the closure of public-facing DMV offices to May 11, and directed Virginia State Police to continue suspending the enforcement of motor vehicle inspections and take several additional measures through July 31. The full text of Executive Directive Seven can be found here.

COVID-19 Business Task Force
Governor Northam announced a diverse group of leaders participating in the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Business Task Force, which will continue to provide advice and guidance to the Cabinet on a safe, responsible strategy for easing restrictions on businesses and individuals.

A full press release on the Business Task Force can be found here.

Local May Elections
Governor Northam announced that he is using his executive authority to delay the May 5 local elections by 14 days to May 19. Given health concerns, the Governor is strongly encouraging anyone who plans to vote in that election to vote absentee by mail. 

Safe Absentee Voting
Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the Commonwealth has reached an agreement that will help ensure safe absentee voting for the upcoming June 23 primaries. Under the terms of a proposed consent decree, the Commonwealth will accept absentee ballots without the signature of a witness “for voters who believe they may not safely have a witness present while completing their ballot.” The order is proposed to the court and will not be final and effective until entered by the court. A copy of the brief in support of the agreement is available here.

As a reminder, the Governor postponed the local general and special elections from May 5th to May 19th. Absentee ballots must be requested by May 12th. Voted ballots must be received no later than May 19th at 7pm. Voters can request online that an absentee ballot be mailed to them by visiting elections.virginia.gov/voterinfo or by downloading and printing a request form at elections.virginia.gov/forms and returning the completed and signed form to their local General Registrar’s office by mail, fax, or scanned attachment to an email. Forms are also available in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Payment Relief for Student Loans
Virginia has secured relief options for more than 200,000 Virginians with privately held student loans. The payment relief is the result of a new initiative by Virginia and several other states to work with the major private student loan servicers to expand on protections for federal student loan borrowers through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For more information see the press release linked here

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

Facts From the Science Museum Floor: Reconvene Session

April 24, 2020
Facts From the Science Museum Floor: Reconvene Session and COVID-19 Update 4/24/20

Hello Friends,

I know this email may seem a little long but I do hope you stick around til the end… lots of information to pass along about what’s happening in Virginia!

If you’re not wanting to read the update, please take a moment to fill out my end of session survey to fill me in on what’s important to you going forward: http://www.jenforva.com/2020-general-assembly-session-survey/
I know we are all getting tired of being stuck in our homes. We miss our jobs and friends. We miss our churches and schools. We miss going out to eat and going on vacation. I’m actually to the point now where I see mass gatherings of people on TV shows and it looks strange to me! We’ve done a good job at not overwhelming our hospital systems, and we have given the medical community time to understand COVID-19 a little bit better, how to treat it, who’s at risk, and how to prevent further spread. Now it’s time to START to reopen our state and get our economy back on track. Many states have made plans and started to get back to work and now it’s Virginia’s turn.

Unfortunately, we’ve (appropriately?) instilled a lot of fear in people which will take time to undo. In Hampton Roads, we are approaching our busiest season for tourism of the year. I would love to see us begin to reopen our small businesses, restaurants, our workplaces while wearing masks, limiting number of people in one place, and keeping our vulnerable and people in poor health AT HOME. In my perfect world, we’d focus more on protecting the older adults in long-term care and other cluster communities who have some of the highest fatality rates and who were not protected initially. There is MUCH room for improvement in our nursing homes and protecting those who do not have a loud voice. The Governor put out a plan at his press conference today (4/24)- let’s hold him to it!

As state legislators, we are not involved in the decision making process in regards to the Governor’s Executive Orders. We hear for the first time what he is planning when you do: at his press conferences. I sent a letter from my Senate office to the Governor with concerns of my constituents and my local business community but it has fallen on deaf ears. The reconvene session that was held in Richmond on April 22 was a session to vote on the amendments proposed by the Governor on the legislation passed in January and February. We also voted on budget amendments. To clarify, there was no discussion or debate about reopening our state for business. 

I want to cut straight to the chase about the reconvene session this past week. It was surreal to show up at the Science Museum of Virginia with our folding table desks ten feet apart, everyone wearing masks, caucus held in a tent, and one senator who was quarantined in a plexiglass box all day! (The House met in a tent on the Capitol lawn while out-of-work Virginians honked horns to reopen Virginia and Speaker Filler-Corn fainted briefly before recovering and returning.) The Senate staff did a fabulous job of ensuring our voting boxes, microphones, and electricity outlets were all functioning and ready to roll. We jumped right in and started by voting on legislation affecting our business community who will need support to recover from the damage that’s been done.

Here is a summary of some of the senate legislation voted on during the day:

SB7/SB182/SB939: Minimum wage increase/project labor agreements/collective bargaining: The Governor’s amendment pushed back the enactment dates of these bills to May instead of January. Republicans held the hard line that these bills are even worse now as many employers and small businesses are hurting and will be recovering for some time, and we had requested they be vetoed so the 2021 General Assembly could take a closer look at our economy then before they were put into place. These votes fell on party lines and the Governor’s amendments were adopted with the bills and will be put in place in May, 2021.

SB235/SB861: Association health plan bills: The Governor put a re-enactment clause on this bill which means the House & Senate would have had to re-vote next session to have the bill passed. Instead we voted NO to the Governor’s amendments and the opportunity for consortium health plans and expanded opportunities for all Virginians to have healthcare passed 35-5 out of the Senate. I have always supported this bill and was happy to vote NO to the re-enactment amendment.

SB793: Early parole/prisoner release bill: The Governor’s amendment put an EMERGENCY re-enactment clause on this bill so it would go into effect immediately instead of waiting the usual July 1 to become a law. This bill passed along almost party lines. Additionally, in the budget, the Governor allows the Department of Corrections to start releasing prisoners now who have less than a year left on their sentences including those with who have committed violent crimes and who are repeat offenders (almost 5000 prisoners would qualify). As I did during session, I voted against this bill and its amendment.

SB971: Skilled gaming bill: The “games of skill” found in restaurants, bars, and some convenience stores were banned during our legislative session. The Governor’s amendment put a re-enactment clause on the ban and allows games of skill one year to be taxed and regulated with the proceeds going towards COVID-19 relief spending. It is estimated to generate $150 million for the relief fund. I have always supported games of skill as they help our small businesses and restaurant owners. This bill gives them one more year of life with the Governor’s promise to kill them next session.

SB316: Date of Primary Elections moved back one week in June (normal election years): The Governor’s amendment put a re-enactment clause on the bill so it would need to be voted on again next session to pass. I was the patron of this bill and proposed it as a school safety bill to allow for polling places in our schools after students are dismissed for summer. This bill had been requested by the Department of Elections and had been supported by educators. Despite the myriad of election reforms bills passed this session making voting easier (& more fraudulent?) than ever in Virginia, opposition continued to insist my bill would stifle voter turnout (still not sure how!) and the Governor’s amendment was added. My bill has to be voted on again next session and its fate in unknown.

HB29 (Amendment 36): This is the “caboose bill” for the budget where the Governor added an amendment to push the date of the primary May elections back to November. He is not able to move an election date over two weeks without the approval of the General Assembly. After much debate and some bipartisan agreement, the Senate voted against the Governors amendment (which would have required the destruction of the thousand of ballots of people who have already voted absentee). Interestingly, the House voted to approve this amendment (by a very small majority). The Governor at his press conference today (4/24) stated the May primaries would now be held on May 19th and he suggests people vote absentee and ensured that precautions would be taken to hold safe elections in person on that date.

If you are interested in learning more or reading more of the bills and amendments that were discussed at our reconvene session, please visit this link: http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/vetoes/vetoes2020.pdf

I leave you with my favorite part of my newsletters- My five most shocking things seen in the Senate this week! I thank you all for keeping up with government in our Commonwealth and I implore you all to get involved and stay involved. Virginia has changed and we need to keep watching to understand the implications that has for our future.

Thank you all for the opportunity to represent you in the Virginia Senate. It is an honor of a lifetime. If there is anything my office can do to assist you or your family or business during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us: district07@senate.virginia.gov or call: 757-990-3080.

SENATOR KIGGANS’ TOP FIVE MOST SURPRISING THINGS SEEN IN THE VIRGINIA SENATE THIS PAST WEEK:

1- I’m not sure where the Senate Clerk got 40+ bottles of Purell hand sanitizer but we each had one sitting on our desks for personal use during session! (But were reminded at the end to leave them and not take them with us!)

2- I hope we didn’t pay extra for it but there was a chandelier hanging in the middle of the tent that the Senate set up for us to hold our Republican and Democratic caucus meetings. Maybe that was supposed to make it feel fancier? Not sure but it sure was windy and I was worried about the tent blowing over the whole time we were out there!

3- Having Senator Barker sitting in that plexiglass cage for the entirety of session was truly distracting. I believe he had underlying health issues and needed an extra layer of protection but it really felt like he was either the drummer for the live band we didn’t have or a DJ waiting for the right moment to spin some tunes. I heard the Clerk’s husband made the booth for him which was a very kind gesture. Maybe we’ll bring it back to our chamber and use it as a timeout box of sorts!

4- It’s always a bad sign when they order a bunch of pizzas around 5-6 p.m. That means we’re in for the long haul! We adjourned just after 10 p.m. after starting at noon. Good thing I’m a night person!

5- Most importantly, I saw this week that putting a mask over someone’s mouth doesn’t make what they say any less egregious or terrible or wrong!! Some crazy stuff coming out of our new “progressive” majority….! Stay tuned, vote in every election, and get ready to flip the House back RED in 2021!

Take care & stay well!
-Jen
A few pics from our Reconvene Session
Meal Delivery with SSSEVI was happy to help Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia (SSSEV) deliver meals! They have been delivering over 5,800 meals weekly to seniors throughout the southside of Hampton Roads. After that, I dropped off homemade masks made by our wonderful volunteers to SSSEV in Norfolk. Overall a great day!

Special thank you to my Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership classmate Jason Inge for coordinating delivery to those in need in our community!

Senator Kiggans statement on Small Business:
I went out to pick up lunch today and was so sad to see so many small businesses in shopping centers closed while big places like Target, Walmart, & Home Depot (which I all equally love and shop at) have packed parking lots and lots of unmasked people walking in and out. Seems like it would make more sense to open more doors and spread people out so we are not all packed in the same few locations. Wear a mask or stay home if you’re sick, at risk, in poor health, or geriatric but we can do a better job opening our businesses while still following CDC guidelines!

Many of you have emailed, called, or asked what direct influence does the General Assembly have to change the Governor’s Executive Orders and the answer is “none”. We are not asked for input nor have any advanced knowledge of what will happen. We hear the order and ask our constituents to follow it. I will tell you to use your voice to write or email the Governor’s office and to register to vote in the next elections. Bad leaders are elected by good citizens who don’t vote. Better yet, get involved and stay involved. Virginia needs our help now more than ever.

Senator Kiggans statement on Testing:
Many of you have asked my thoughts on COVID-19 testing, its availability, and prioritization of who to test. As you are all aware, there is a continued shortage of test kits available with the majority of ones in use reserved for symptomatic patients in acute care settings. There are a variety of reports out there documenting the actual number of tests available to states, and it’s difficult to get an accurate number as it varies depending on what you read. New tests with faster result times are in development along with antibody test kits, which may or may not prove immunity to COVID-19. Sentara now has an in-house COVID lab which is working up to processing 1000 tests per day with results in 24 to 48 hours. Many providers have been treating patients with probable mild COVID-like symptoms without official testing then giving them the same instructions as if they had had a positive test: quarantine and symptom management.

While we are still waiting for a plentiful and portable test kit supply to exist, it is not necessary to require people to have a negative test as a requirement to go back to work at this point. We should continue to prioritize testing for patients in acute care and hospital settings in order to dictate care with a close second priority going to testing all people who live in affected clusters such as nursing homes, jails, and shelters. We are all aware of the tragedies that have occurred in long-term care facilities around the country where the virus has been able to spread rapidly from asymptomatic staff and patients to infect an incredibly vulnerable population ultimately leading to death. The Canterbury Rehab and Healthcare Center in Richmond reported 49 deaths as of Friday with a total of 128 positive cases, more than half of which had been asymptomatic at the time of testing. Testing everyone in our nursing homes and jails allows staff to dictate care guidelines, separate residents who are positive and who are not, and empowers staff to prevent further spread to other communities.

Despite the development of antibody test kits, most virologists and epidemiologists claim that there is no evidence serological tests can show whether a person has immunity or is no longer at risk of becoming re-infected. Long story short, assume everyone (even yourself) is an asymptomatic carrier. Wear a mask, wash your hands, follow the CDC guidelines, and stay away from vulnerable populations. Get enough sleep, eat well, and get some exercise. Stay healthy so we can all get back to work and “normal life” as soon as possible!

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 April 24th, 11,594 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia. Additionally, we currently have 331 cases in Virginia Beach and 141 cases in Norfolk.

Unemployment Update:
Individuals are asked to file for Virginia Unemployment first and if denied to follow the steps below:

Any constituents who received a denial based on insufficient base period wages or no base period wages if they are self-employed, a 1099 filer, independent contractor or gig worker to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) by accessing this link: https://www.vec.virginia.gov/html/pua.html

Under the CARES Act if you can demonstrate an attachment to the workforce, you may be eligible for PUA if you meet one of the Covid-19 scenarios. 
A) The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
B) A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
C) The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
D) A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work.
E) The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
F) The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
G) The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
H) The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
I) The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19. For example:An individual was diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical professional, and although the individual no longer has COVID-19, the illness caused health complications that render the individual objectively unable to perform his or her essential job functions, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
J) The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
K) The individual meets any additional criteria established by the Secretary for unemployment assistance under this section.

The Secretary has determined that, in addition to individuals who qualify for benefits under the other criteria described above, an individual who works as an independent contractor with reportable income may also qualify for PUA benefits if he or she is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited his or her ability to continue performing his or her customary work activities, and has thereby forced the individual to suspend such activities.For any self-attestation to one of the above conditions, you must have available proof if we ask for it and sign that you are knowingly committing fraud if you make a false statement.

CARES Act FAQ from U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.This link provides additional information for consumers, renters, homeowners, small business owners, investors and others who may have questions about how the CARES Act will benefit them.
Virtual VirginiaGovernor Northam announced a dramatic expansion of Virtual Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education’s existing online learning system, to allow every teacher in the Commonwealth to host virtual classes while schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. These resources include a platform that enables all Virginia public school teachers to share lessons and activities with their students through June 30. The full press release on this announcement can be found here.

Childcare for Essential WorkersGovernor Northam and First Lady Pam Northam announced $70 million from the CARES Act that will go towards childcare for essential personnel. Background on this funding can be found here.

Extension of Non-Essential Business ClosuresGovernor Northam announced that he is extending Executive Order 53 for an additional two weeks.

As a reminder, E.O. 53 ordered the closure of recreation and entertainment businesses, as well as personal care services. It also banned gatherings of more than 10 people. A full press release on the extension of the order can be found here.

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

Legislative & COVID-19 Update 4/13/20

April 13, 2020
Hello Friends,

While we were busy doing our best to celebrate Passover & Easter and staying socially distant from our places of worship and our loved ones as the government told us to do, our Governor was very busy over the weekend signing into law the legislation that was passed by the new majority in the General Assembly during our session in January & February including:

-Gun control measures (including one handgun/month, mandatory background checks, & red flag laws) which, in my opinion, violate our Second Amendment rights and fail to provide the due process we are guaranteed by law. (Meanwhile, my mental health continuity of care bill was killed in a House subcommittee along a party line vote 3-2.)

-Pro-abortion legislation which removes critical protections for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves and repeals provisions such as informed consent & the 24-hour waiting period for women who are making difficult decisions in a crisis situation. Additionally, these bills will also allow non-physician providers to perform abortions at locations that do not meet hospital standards for safety.

-Election Reform bills including bills which repeal Virginia’s voter ID law (meaning you no longer have to show a photo ID to vote), expands access to early voting up to 45 days prior to an election, allows no excuse absentee voting, permits automatic voter registration at DMV, and extends in person polling hours from 7pm to 8pm. This is in addition to the Governor’s proposal to move the May elections in Virginia to November complete with new filing and registration deadlines and the destruction of already cast ballots (which requires approval from the General Assembly & which I do not support).

The Governor does recognize that the $135 billion biennial budget passed in March is no longer feasible nor realistic and has ordered a hiring freeze of state employees and asked executive branch agencies to find areas to cut costs in order to save at least $2 billion in budgeted expenses. He has suggested he will postpone raises for teachers and state workers and has hinted at calling the General Assembly in for a special session to address a now impractical budget. Our teachers have been one of the few professions who have answered the call to continue to work and serve the children of Virginia in the most challenging of times by teaching them in a new digital world. We should be finding ways to give them a higher raise or bigger bonuses and not suggesting we freeze their budget in place of some of the new social programs put in place this past session. This is infuriating and unfair to our educators!

In a half-hearted attempt to recognize that the struggling businesses community will need help getting back on its feet, the Governor proposed delaying the implementation of the minimum wage increase and collective bargaining until May 1, 2021 (moved back four months from January 1, 2021). He also is seeking a year delay banning electronic skill games in restaurant, convenience stores, and truck stops with a plan to tax their profits and use the money for a COVID-19 response fund.

One of the most frustrating things for me to watch this past week are the numbers of elderly people who are dying in our nursing homes across the country, the most prominent being the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico where 42 people have died as of Sunday evening. I read over and over that the nursing home death numbers are blamed on chronic staffing shortages that have been made worse by the coronavirus crisis, a shortage of protective supplies and a continued lack of available testing. As a geriatric nurse practitioner and advocate for my patient population, I proposed legislation this past session dealing with staffing ratios in nursing homes and requirements for patient care hours to improve living conditions for our most vulnerable Virginians. My bill was not passed and was turned into a work study to make recommendations on increasing the availability of clinical workforce in nursing homes. I look at the some of the budget items passed in March ($5 million for illegal immigrant drivers licenses, $56 million for inmate healthcare, $20 million in land conservation, $10 million for rebuilding oyster reefs,….) and I can only imagine what we could do for staffing shortages in long-term care facilities in the hopes of preventing a tragedy like COVID-19 from happening again.

Ronald Reagan once said, “Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty”. I believe our representative government works best when it truly represents ALL the people of a state or country. In Virginia, our power structure has become so one-sided that a significant number of our citizens’ voices are not able to be heard. As we come to live in the “New Virginia” that has been “flipped blue”, let us also not forget that voting is how we exercise our voice. Take time this week to think about our Commonwealth, the direction we are headed, and decide what should be done next to protect the Virginia we all love before it becomes unrecognizable.

Take care & stay well!

-Jen

Here are this week’s COVID-19 resources as communicated from the Governor’s office:

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today April 13th, 5,747 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia. Additionally, we currently have 251 cases in Virginia Beach and 99 cases in Norfolk.

Workforce Frequently Asked Questions
The Office of the Governor’s Chief Workforce Advisor has published an FAQ page for workers in both Spanish and English. Those documents are attached below.
Click here for English Click here for Spanish

Virginia Dept of Education
The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) has published an in-depth FAQ page regarding special education and student services. That FAQ page can be found here.

Small Business Administration Loans
The SBA continues to put out information on their Coronavirus Relief Options for small businesses. Those updates can be found here.

Employee Retention Tax Credit
The IRS has published an informational page on the Employee Retention Tax Credit. This program is a component of the CARES Act, and more information on it can be found here.

May and June Elections
Governor Northam today requested the General Assembly move the May General Election and all special elections scheduled for May 5, 2020 to the November 3, 2020 General Election date to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Governor is also exercising his statutory authority (§ 24.2-603.1 of the Code of Virginia) to move the June primary elections from June 9, 2020 to June 23, 2020.

Virginia ABC Directives
Governor Northam directed ABC to allow establishments with mixed beverage licenses, such as restaurants and distilleries, to sell mixed beverages through takeout or delivery. This will be effective at midnight on Thursday, April 9th.
Additionally, the Governor directed the Virginia ABC authority to defer annual fees for licenses and permits that would be up for renewal through June.

Long-Term Care Facilities
Governor Northam announced that Dr. Laurie Forlano, Deputy Commissioner at the VA Dept of Health, will head up a task force to oversee the Commonwealth’s COVID mitigation efforts in long-term care facilities. This task force will ensure that nursing homes and long-term care facilities have the necessary financial resources, strengthen their staffing and infection control measures, and ensure access to information on where the virus is appearing.

VDEM Information Portal
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has established a portal through which you can find a wide variety of COVID-related material. It encompasses 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. Those resources can all be found here.

VDH Frequently Asked Questions
The Virginia Dept of Health website has published a comprehensive page of health-related FAQs. Please distribute this link to any constituents with relevant questions.

Guidance for Faith Leaders
Virginia’s COVID Unified Command has published guidance documents for faith leaders. These guidelines are published in EnglishSpanishArabic and Korean. Additionally, the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion has published an FAQ Guide, found here.

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

COVID-19 Update 4/7/20

April 7, 2020
Hello Friends,

This past week has been tough. We continue to home school our kids, watch our local businesses struggle, worry about the future of our own jobs, and remain fearful about standing closer than six feet from anyone we encounter. We have been asked to cover our faces with any types of mask we can find or make and have been asked to only go out when absolutely necessary for essential trips. We continue to see numbers of COVID-19 patients rise, but we also have seen that our social distancing precautions and stay-at-home efforts are paying off. This, too, shall pass but we must be patient and work together to shorten the course of this disease and have life as we know it return to normal.

I must take the time to thank all of you who have sewn masks for our office and have donated face shields, cleaning wipes, and hand sanitizers. We have become a collection point for all of these donated and needed items and are passing them out to nursing facilities, long-term care communities, and hospice and social workers. I have to take a moment to especially thank former House Delegate Cheryl Turpin and current Delegate Alex Askew who, in a showing of bipartisanship, have donated hundreds of masks made by their volunteers for our efforts. I am honored and thankful to have their help in fighting COVID-19 on a grassroots level. This bipartisan effort proves that taking care of our communities is not a political issue and that we must work together for the greater good during times like these. If you have homemade masks to donate, please contact our office. Thank you in advance!

As a healthcare provider, I take advantage of every opportunity to emphasize the importance of thinking about and communicating your healthcare wishes to your family. In my healthcare world, we call this Advance Care Planning. It includes designating a person or persons in writing who will be responsible for implementing your healthcare wishes if you are unable to do so. Coronavirus or not, it is important that we have these discussions to avoid difficult situations and unneeded stress in the future. For more information, please check out this website: https://theconversationproject.org/nhdd/

We have compiled a list of resources that have been mentioned by Governor Northam’s staff this past week. The entire General Assembly (100 House Delegates and 40 Senators) participates in conference calls with the Governor’s staff on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This email is a compilation of information shared there and in follow-up emails from the Governor’s administration.

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!

Take care & stay well!
-Jen

Cases in Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health website continues to update the status of cases in Virginia. As of 9 a.m. today April 7th, 3,333 positive cases have been reported here in Virginia. Additionally, we currently have 200 cases in Virginia Beach and 72 cases in Norfolk.

PPE Donations:
VDEM has issued the following survey to gather information from the private sector on offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution, discounted): https://bit.ly/VaDonations. This applies to donation offers for tests, PPE, or other necessary equipment.

School Meal Finder:
Families and parents in Virginia can now visit the school meal finder website to find locations near them where local school divisions are offering free school meals —both breakfast and lunch, for pick-up while school buildings are closed due to COVID-19. 

Resources for Veterans:
This link serves as a resource guide from the Department of Veterans and Defense Affairs: 
https://www.vada.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/secretary-of-veterans-and-defense-affairs/pdf/VADA-COVID-19-Resources.pdf

COVID-19 Medicaid Pages:
Both English and Spanish COVID-19 informational pages are live on their respective CoverVirginia websites. CoverVirginia is the home for information on Virginia’s Medicaid and FAMIS programs.

Federal Agency Resources:
USA.gov is cataloging all U.S. government activities related to coronavirus. From actions on health and safety to travel, immigration, and transportation to education, find pertinent actions here.

Federal Mental Health Resources:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here.

U.S. Dept of Treasury CARES Act Implementation:
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has set up a website with up-to-date guidance on CARES Act implementation. 

Federal Coronavirus Tax Relief:
The Internal Revenue Service has set up a website with up-to-date guidance to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.

Distribution of Economic Payments:
Distribution of economic impact payments to individuals will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Social security recipients, who are not typically required to file a tax return, will automatically receive economic impact payments. For guidance, see Economic Impact Payments: What You Need To Know.

Emergency Shelter for the Homeless:
Governor Northam today announced an initial $2.5 million in emergency funding to shelter Virginia’s statewide homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic. A press release on that emergency funding can be found here.

This emergency support will provide temporary housing for the approximately 1,500 Virginians who are currently unsheltered or rely on shelters that require them to leave every day. The funding will also provide housing for individuals in shelters that may need to be quarantined, or where social distancing is not feasible.

Emergency Care Sites:
In Northern Virginia, the Dulles Expo Centerwill be the site for an alternative care facility. This center can accommodate 315 acute, or 510 non-acute beds. The Hampton Roads Convention Center will serve the Hampton Roads region, with an increased capacity of 360 acute, or 580 non-acute beds. The Richmond Convention Center will serve the greater Richmond area, with an increased capacity of 432 acute or 758 non-acute beds. 

The Northam Administration is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to complete contracts, approve designs, and move towards construction. The goal is for the alternative care facilities to be ready in 6 weeks, to correspond with the projected peak of the virus in mid-May.

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.

Federal Major Disaster Designation:
Governor Northam announced that Virginia has received a Major Disaster Declaration to aid in the Commonwealth’s response to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Governor Northam requested this federal disaster assistance on Monday, March 30.
A Major Disaster Declaration designation provides federal public assistance for all areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia affected by COVID-19 at a federal cost share of 75 percent. The full press release on the Major Disaster Designation can be found here.

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
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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

Business Update from Senator Jen Kiggans

March 20, 2020

As you all know, COVID-19 has had a major impact on our business communities. If you are a business owner, please know that I am very appreciative of the work you do and your investment in our community. I want to provide you with all the available resources to get us through this difficult time and am attaching below a number of resources from the federal, state, and local level. All this information is meant to be a tool to let you know that there is help out there during this stressful time. We are here for you and are in this together with you. Let us know how we can help.

Taxes:

Updated information from the IRS can be found at: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

Here are a few of the actions currently being taken by the IRS:

Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.

Corporations: For C Corporations, income tax payment deadlines are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of their 2019 tax due.

This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.

Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. If an individual or business files their tax return or requests an extension of time to file by April 15, 2020, they will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15. The easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through a tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses must file a Form 7004.

State Business Tax Information:

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also request to defer the payment of state sales tax due today, 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.

Attached is the Bulletin from the Department of Taxation: https://www.tax.virginia.gov/laws-rules-decisions/tax-bulletins/20-3

Also, here is the link for dealers to request the extension: https://www.business.tax.virginia.gov/VTOL/tax/Login.xhtml?utm_content=february_2019&utm_medium=email&utm_name=2019_secondq_interestrates&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=tax_preparer

The Governor has requested the Department of Taxation to extend 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. Please note that interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so.

Business Resources:

Following a request submitted by Governor Northam on March 18, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for Virginia. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the Commonwealth affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. To submit a loan application through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Items Required for Applications

1. Loan application (SBA Form 5), completed and signed (this is electronic/online in the portal). To see what the form looks like, an example can be found here.

2. Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506-T), completed and signed by each applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, each general partner or managing member; and, for any owner who has more than 50 percent ownership in an affiliate business. Affiliates include, but are not limited to, business parents, subsidiaries, and/or other businesses with common ownership or management.

3. Complete copies, including all schedules, of the most recently filed Federal income tax returns for the applicant business; an explanation if not available

4. Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) completed, signed, and dated by the applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, and each general partner or managing member

5. Schedule of Liabilities listing all fixed debts (SBA Form 2202 may be used)

Statement from the Governor’s Office:

A statewide ban on gatherings of 10 people or more at restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters, as well as a statewide recommendation limiting gatherings of 10 people or more at all other non-essential sites has resulted in many closures, negatively affecting small businesses throughout the Commonwealth. The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity conducted a survey of these affected businesses to determine the economic impact of their losses for the disaster period as compared to the same period in the preceding year. The Department received more than a thousand responses from small businesses throughout all corners of the Commonwealth. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) assistance to small businesses will lessen the economic burden business-owners face and improve the economic recovery outlook for the Commonwealth.

Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce:

The Hampton Roads Chamber is a resource for all local businesses. They have created a COVID-19 Business Resource Guide. This includes valuable information to help small and large businesses sustain themselves through this crisis here in Hampton Roads.

If you need assistance with small business matters during this crisis, or have any questions, please contact Jim Carroll at the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center. Mr. Carroll will be conducting webinar training sessions on the Small Business Disaster Loan program to interested parties next week.

Again, I am very thankful for the valuable work of our local business community. As the situation progresses, I will provide updates via email and/or social media. I have attached a button below to direct you to my Facebook page. If there is anything that my office can do to be of assistance to you in this trying time, please contact us at: district07@senate.virginia.gov or by phone: 757-990-3080 (Virginia Beach office).

Thank you and stay safe,

-Jen