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COVID-19 Business Assistance
COVID-19 continues to impact everyone globally, the County Administrator, Board of Supervisors, and staff 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 Economic Development at (540) 463-1473 for additional information or email.
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.
Farm and Food Worker Relief Grant Program
A comprehensive Federal Rural Resource Guide
Lexington-Rockbridge Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Resource Hub
Small Business Assistance:
- Small Business Administration (SBA) 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.
- 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).
- Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center’s Business Resource Guide regrading COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Resources | Tax Updates & Business Planning (yhbcpa.com)
- SOAR - Southern Opportunity Resilience Fund - Virginia Department of Small Business & Supplier Diversity
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.
The Office of Economic Development will continue to update this list as new resources become available.