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- COVID-19 Business and Employee Assistance
COVID-19 Business Assistance
Getting Back to Work
The PACT – Protecting All Citizens and Travelers
Rockbridge Regional Tourism is introducing a 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.
Getting Virginia Back to Work. The Virginia Chamber has created a guide to getting Virginia back to work. View the plan here.
Additional Resources for Reopening
For Safer at Home: Phase One Business Sector Guidelines click here.
The Small Business Development Center has set up a website to assist businesses in reopening. Please visit this link for more information.
Grant application for County businesses impacted by COVID-19. Rockbridge County, in partnership with The Community Foundation, is now accepting applications for grant funding for County businesses impacted by COVID-19. Companies who have been affected by COVID-19 and hold a valid County business license may submit a request to Brandy Flint at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the drop box located at 150 S. Main Street, Lexington. Each application will be reviewed by a committee and submitted to The Community Foundation or the Rockbridge County Economic Development Authority for funding approval. Grants of up to $2,000 will be issued to qualified applicants to be used for expenses such as rent/mortgage, utilities, and insurance. These grants will be released on a rolling basis. The deadline for applying for funding is June 19, 2020 at 5 p.m. Funding is limited, and applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis based on a demonstration of financial need. Additional details are provided in the grant application. You may review any questions to Brandy Flint at (540) 464-9662.
COVID-19 is impacting our economy in unprecedented ways, and its impact on local businesses, both small and large, is becoming more evident each day. 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.
County staff is available to assist business owners in finding opportunities for assistance. Please contact Sam Crickenberger or Brandy Flint in the Office of Community Development at (540) 464-9662 for additional information or email.
State and Local Government Information
For information on how to support downtown businesses in Lexington please visit Main Street Lexington’s website.
Stay in touch at the Governor’s dedicated Coronavirus website.
S.3548 - CARES Act
To provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. A summary of the Act can be found here, and the full text is here.
List of businesses that can operate during stay-at-home order.
Small Business Assistance:
- Please not that as of 4/23/2020 this program has received additional funding.The Paycheck Protection Program - Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
- Community Foundation The community foundation has set up a COVID-19 fund. For more information please visit their website.
- Forgivable Loans for Small Businesses - https://va30dayfund.com/
- Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board Small Business Layoff Aversion Grants.
- Small Business Administration (SBA) as of March 30, 2020 SBA has a new website set up for COVID-19. Additional resources can be found at COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources.The Small Business Administration has implemented a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration. EIDL loans offer financial options for overcoming these hard times. Small businesses and non-profits statewide are now able to apply for a loan of up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. Businesses wishing to submit a loan application should visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. If a business does not have access to a computer or smartphone, please call SBA at 1‐800‐659‐2955 for assistance. PLEASE NOTE THAT AS OF 4/20/2020 THIS PROGRAM IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
- SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
- Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF). SCCF is now offering loans to small businesses through disaster relief fund.
- Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center’s Business Resource Guide regrading COVID-19.
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
Facebook announces $100 million program for small businesses impacted by Coronavirus. Click here for details.
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:
In the weeks immediately after the passage of the CARES Act, Americans will see fast and direct relief in the form of Economic Impact Payments. For more information, CLICK HERE.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).
- Key Takeaways
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is an emergency program established by the CARES Act to increase unemployment benefits for Americans who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Under FPUC, eligible people who collect certain unemployment insurance benefits—including regular unemployment compensation—will get an extra $600 in federal benefits each week through July 31, 2020.
- The CARES Act also established the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which extends unemployment benefits for an extra 13 weeks, and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus.
- Most states recommend applying for unemployment insurance benefits online.
- Key Takeaways
- 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. Additional measure to assist rural residents, businesses and communities were added on April 8, 2020. Please visit the following link for more information: https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_RD_SA_COVID19_CUMULATIVEUpdate04152020.pdf .
- Valley Program for Aging Services has set up a website to regarding their services during COVID-19.
- 50Ways Rockbridge has set up a website for citizens to give and find help.
- Valley Career Works Rapid Response Covid-19 information can be found here.
The Office of Community Development will continue to update this list as new resources become available.