COVID-19 Business Assistance

As COVID-19 continues to impact everyone globally, the Rockbridge County Office of Community Development, its staff, the County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors are diligently working to provide the most update to date information and resources available to our business community during these trying times. We will continue to update our local businesses and residents on available resources on this page. County staff is available to assist business owners in finding opportunities for assistance. Please contact Brandy Flint in the Office of Community Development at (540) 464-9662 for additional information or email.

With a second stimulus package now in place, the following resources are available to navigate the available aid.  

Summary of Select Provisions from H.R.133 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

Direct Payments to Citizens

  • Direct economic relief via stimulus checks of $600 or individuals making up to $75,000 per year. $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000, and an extra $600 for dependent children that are under 17 years old.

Small Business Support

  • Provides $325 billion in small business funds.
    • $284.5 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. PPP SBA Link: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program* This program is now open. Apply immediately.
        • The application deadline to March 31, 2021.
        • A small business can receive a second PPP loan if they have less than 300 employees and can demonstrate a revenue reduction of 25%.
        • Businesses that received PPP loans would be able to take tax deductions for the expenses covered by forgiven loans.
        • Expands eligibility to both nonprofit and quasi-governmental destination marketing organizations (DMOs) with 300 employees or less (full time and part-time combined), as long as no more than 15% of their activities consist of lobbying activities and they did not spend more than $1 million on lobbying in 2019. 501 (C)(6) nonprofits, including local newspapers, radio, and television broadcasters, and destination marketing organizations may apply.
        • Sets aside at least $35 billion for eligible recipients that have not previously received a PPP loan. 
        • Provides a second round of forgivable loans to businesses with 300 employees or less and a 25% decline in revenue in any quarter in 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019. 
        • Expands the list of PPP-covered expenses to the cost of supplies and inventory, software and cloud-based services, uninsured damages from public disturbances in 2020, and measures to address COVID-19 health and safety guidelines (i.e. PPE)—in addition to payroll, mortgage debt interest, rent, and utilities. 
        • Continues to require at least 60% of loan proceeds to be used on payroll, capping covered non-payroll expenses to 40% of the loan. 
        • Going forward, for both first-time and second-time PPP applicants, the loan amount is based on 2.5x average monthly payroll, up to $2 million, for each loan.
          • However, for lodging and food services businesses, the loan amount is based on 3.5x average monthly payroll, up to $2 million.
          • Expressly forbids PPP loans to publicly traded companies.
      • Provides $40 billion to extend Small Business Administration (SBA) EIDL grants through December 31, 2021. EIDL Grant SBA Link: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loans
        • Sets aside $20 billion for employers in low-income areas with 300 or less employees, and experiencing at least a 30% economic loss, allowing them to receive a $10,000 grant, or an amount equal to the difference between what they previously received and $10,000. 
        • Removes the requirement for EIDL advances to be deducted from the calculation of PPP loan forgiveness. 
      • Provides $15 billion for SBA grants to concert venues, performing art centers, theaters, and museums with 500 or less full-time equivalent employees.  
        • Eligible employers must demonstrate at least a 25% decline in revenue. 
        • Recipients are ineligible for PPP loans.
        • The grant amount is based on 45% of the employer’s gross revenue in 2019, up to $10 million. 
        • Grants can only be used on payroll costs, rent, utilities, interest on preexisting debt, maintenance, advertising, insurance payments, theatrical productions, state and local taxes, and measures to address COVID-19 health and safety guidelines (i.e. PPE).
      • $3.5 billion for continued Small Business Administration debt relief payments.
      • $2 billion for enhancements to Small Business Administration lending.
    • Provides $12 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions that provide credit and financial services to low-income and minority communities.

*It is highly recommended that interested applicants for the PPP program and the EIDL grants should be proactive in reaching out to their bank and their accountant to prepare for when the second round of loans open. Applicants should check the SBA website daily for the online reopening of EIDL grant program and be in regular contact with their bank regarding the PPP portal opening. 

 Broadband

$7 billion to expand broadband access for students, families and unemployed workers. It includes:

  • A new $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit that will provide $50 per month for broadband for low-income families.
  •  $300 million for rural broadband.
  • $250 million for Federal Communications Commission’s telehealth program.
  • $285 million to fund a pilot program to assist with broadband issues for historically Black colleges and universities.
  • $1.9 billion for “rip and replace” efforts related to Huawei and ZTE equipment in U.S. networks.
  • $1 billion in grants for tribal broadband programs.
  • $65 million to improve broadband mapping.

 Expanded Unemployment Benefits

  • Provides $120 billion in unemployment insurance (UI).
  • Extends the Federal Pandemic unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program through March 14, 2021, providing $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Extends and phases out the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to March 14 (after which no new applicants) through April 5, 2021.
  • Extends and phases out the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides additional weeks when state unemployment runs out, to March 14 (after which no new applications) through April 5, 2021.
    • Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by increasing weeks available from 13 to 24–with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.
  • Increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim benefits through regular state unemployment with the additional PEUC program, or through the PUA program, to 50 weeks.
  • Provides an additional $100 per week for certain workers who have both wage and self-employment income but whose UI benefit calculation does not take their self-employment into account.
  • Extends the interest-free loans to states, flexible staffing and nonprofit relief to March 14, 2021.
  • Requires documentation of employment, rather than the self-certification that is currently in use and requires states to verify applicant identity.
  • Requires states to have a place to report when someone turns down a job and must notify claimants of the requirement to accept suitable work.
  • States may opt to provide an extra benefit of $100 per week for up to 11 weeks through March 14, 2021, for certain workers who have both wage and at least $5,000 of self-employment income in most recent taxable year ending prior to application.

State and Local Government Information 

For information regarding COVID-19 in Rockbridge County, please visit the County website, for Lexington, and for Buena Vista.

Stay in touch at the Governor’s dedicated Coronavirus website.

Updates from Senator Mark Warner

The PACT – Protecting All Citizens and Travelers

Rockbridge Regional Tourism's marketing initiative to help instill confidence in prospective travelers. See the press release here. In partnership with regional and jurisdictional organizations, we encourage hospitality businesses to participate in this pledge. Visit the site here to take the pledge.

Additional resources:

A comprehensive Federal Rural Resource Guide

Lexington-Rockbridge Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Resource Hub

COVID-19 Recovery – CSPDC 

Small Business Assistance: 

Private Sector Businesses (small and large businesses):

  • IRS: Employee Retention Credit available for many businesses financially impacted by COVID-19 (HERE). The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
  • Treasury and IRS Release FAQs to Help Small and Midsize Businesses Navigate Paid Sick and Family Leave Tax Credits (HERE). The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are offering small and mid-size employers more information on refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing their employees paid sick and family leave wages related to COVID-19.
  • Department of Labor Announces New Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Implementation(HERE). The U.S. Department of Labor today announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, effective today, April 1, 2020.
  • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management Private Sector Team published a survey for the private sector to submit issues they are experiencing and offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution, discounted, or contracted). That survey can be accessed here. The Team also has a Private Sector Portal with useful information.
  • The Governor is authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs. Governor Northam is directing all employers to follow U.S. Department of Labor guidance on workplace safety.
  • Utilities - The State Corporation Commission 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.
  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has issued COVID-19 guidance for businesses.
  • Internal Revenue Service - Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus. OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 – Developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help employers respond in the event of coronavirus in the workplace. Temporary OSHA Guidance on Respiratory Protection Standard – This guidance provides suggestions and options to help increase the availability of N95 filtering facepiece respirators for healthcare providers. COVID-19 Webpage – Provides infection prevention information specifically for employers and workers. For more U.S. Department of Labor information and resources, visit our U.S. Department of Labor page

For Employees and Families:

  • Unemployment Insurance – expanded time, amounts and those covered.
    The unemployment insurance program, administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Under normal circumstances, individuals who meet a strict set of employment-related criteria can receive weekly payments over a period of 12 to 26 weeks, but efforts are underway at both the state and federal level to expand eligibility, increase payments, and extend the duration coverage.
    As a result, all Virginians who have experienced job or income loss as a result of the Coronavirus crisis are encouraged to file an application for unemployment insurance using the VEC’s online portal, selecting “Lack of Work” as their reason for separation. Please note, recipients will be required to access the portal each week to claim their unemployment insurance payment.
    Detailed instructions for individuals applying for unemployment insurance benefits can be found here. An FAQ on unemployment benefits can be found here.

  • Health Insurance Options: The Virginia State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance wants to remind Virginians that there are health insurance options available if they’ve recently been laid off or lost health insurance benefits through their employer. Coverage options include:
    • Virginians can apply for an individual plan through the health insurance marketplace under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the annual open enrollment period runs from Nov. 1 to Dec.15 , special enrollment periods (SEP) are available for people who may have recently lost their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage or have experienced other qualifying life events. You can apply for the SEP within 60 days before you know your coverage will end and within 60 days from the date you lost coverage. To learn more, visit healthcare.gov. Marketplace plans go into effect the first day of the month after a person’s job ends.
    • Depending on your circumstances or income level, you may qualify for other assistance, such as Medicaid or Family Access to Medical Insurance Security. When applying for health insurance coverage through the ACA marketplace (healthcare.gov), it will provide you with information if you qualify. For more information concerning Virginia Medicaid programs, visit coverva.org or call 1-855-242-8282.
    • People who have already lost a job may be able to extend their health insurance coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for up to 18 months. Typically, employers with at least 20 full-time employees are required to offer COBRA coverage. If you opt in to coverage through COBRA, your health plan and health benefits remain the same, but you would be responsible for the entire cost of your coverage, plus an administrative fee. In most cases, you have 60 days to enroll upon receiving notice of eligibility for COBRA coverage. Once you opt in to COBRA coverage, you cannot switch to a plan through a health insurance marketplace until ACA open enrollment begins in November or until COBRA coverage ends in 18 months.
    • Since losing your job is a qualifying event, you may also be able to get health insurance coverage through a spouse or other family member’s employer-sponsored insurance plan. Individuals younger than 26 may be able to join a parent’s employer-sponsored plan. You have 30 days from the time your previous employer stops paying for your insurance to enroll in your family member’s plan.
    • Other options include short-term, limited duration health insurance plans, discount health plans and health care sharing ministries. White cautions that, while less expensive, these plans may not offer the same levels of coverage or consumer protections. (See this SCC document for more information.)
    • For more information, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance at 1-877-310-6560. You also can compare plans using the worksheet.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act)

For Residents, Businesses and Communities:

  • USDA Rural Development has setup an informational website for COVID-19.
  • Valley Program for Aging Services has set up a website to regarding their services during COVID-19.
  • Valley Career Works Rapid Response Covid-19 information can be found here.

For Agriculture and Agribusinesses Information

Below is a brief overview of key provisions of the new COVID-19 bill related to Agriculture:

$13 billion for agriculture production in new agricultural aid, including direct payments to farmers producers, protections for food and agriculture workers, and specific support for smaller producers. The $13 billion included in this bill is broken down by:

  • Approximately $5 billion for supplemental $20 per acre payments to all row crop producers.
  • $225 million for supplemental payments to producers of specialty crops like fruits, nuts and vegetables.
  • Up to $3 billion for supplemental payments to cattle producers, contract growers of livestock and poultry, dairy farmers, and producers who were forced to euthanize livestock or poultry due to the COVID crisis.
  • $1.5 billion to fund purchases of food, including seafood, for distribution to those in need, and to provide worker protection measures, and retooling support for farmers, farmers markets.
  • $400 million for a Dairy Product Donation Program, modeled after the 2018 Farm Bill pilot milk donation program.
  • $60 million in grants to small meat and poultry processors.
  • $100 million for Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG) to support specialty crops.
  • $100 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program.
  • $75 million for the Farming Opportunities Training Outreach program.
  • $28 million for state agriculture departments to fund programs aimed at confronting farmers' mental health crisis and stress.

Allows the USDA secretary to provide aid to biofuel producers who have been impacted by the steep drop in gasoline consumption in 2020.

Establishes a loan calculation for the initial round of the PPP loans for farmers and ranchers, and allows Farm Credit System Institutions to be eligible to make loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Additional details can be found at https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/newsroom/dem/press/release/ranking-member-stabenow-leads-bipartisan-effort-to-secure-increases-in-food-assistance-support-for-farmers-in-final-covid-19-package



The Office of Community Development will continue to update this list as new resources become available.