Chamber COVID-19 Resources
The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is offering this page as a health and economic resource guide during the coronavirus pandemic. Please check back often as we plan to update the page frequently.
UPDATED 4/12/21 10:11 am
The Chamber encourages you to continue to support our members as you can during this difficult time. Our full business directory has member contact information for you to learn more.
The 2020 Maple Festival was cancelled. In the aftermath, participating vendors provided the Chamber with contact information for customers to reach out with support. With the cancellation of the 2021 Maple Festival as well, we have decided to leave this connector page up until further notice. Any support you can show these talented Arts & Crafts, Food and Information Booth Vendors is greatly appreciated, as they play a critical role in making the Maple Festival a success. Thank you!
See our 2020 Maple Festival Connector page by clicking here.
Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccination Information:
2/17/21 Governor Ralph Northam invited Virginians to pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine online at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA. The Commonwealth’s new, centralized system allows individuals to easily pre-register for the free vaccine, confirm that they are on the wait list, and learn more about Virginia’s vaccination program.
“Virginians have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, and these new tools will help them get answers, get pre-registered, and most importantly, get vaccinated,” said Governor Northam. “While our vaccine supply remains limited, we are doing everything we can to acquire more doses and put shots into the arms of eligible individuals in a safe, efficient, and equitable manner. I thank everyone for staying patient and continuing to follow public health guidance so we can mitigate the spread of this dangerous virus.”
For the full press release, please visit: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2021/february/headline-892800-en.html
1/11/21 From the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Assocation (VRLTA): VDH has launched a new website where individuals can get more information and sign up for alerts based on their occupation, age, medical history, etc. This website is available BY CLICKING HERE. VRLTA is encouraging you to sign up now to get updates and help VDH plan for vaccination efforts.
1/7/21 COVID-19 INFORMATION UPDATE from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce:
This week, Governor Northam provided his first COVID-19 pandemic update of 2021. The health crisis remains critical with cases at the highest point since the first reported case in March 2020. According to statistical modeling conducted by the University of Virginia, cases will continue to rise through Valentine’s Day.
Broad immunization will be the key to getting Virginia past this pandemic. According to Governor Northam:
• Virginia needs a total of 17 million doses of the vaccine; that amount covers all 8.5 million Virginians, with two doses each.
• The current short-term goal for Virginia is to vaccinate 25,000 people per day, with a longer-term goal of 50,000 vaccinations.
Northam also announced his plan for prioritizing the administration of vaccines. Developed with recommendations from the CDC, the priority 1 group includes three categories (A, B and C) which includes health care professionals, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities. Also included are essential workers who are at high risk of exposure or work in occupations that do not allow them to work from home. This includes firefighters, police officers, teachers and childcare workers, bus drivers, grocery workers, and mail carriers. Individuals aged 75 years first, and then 65 and older and those with compromised immune systems are also included. The priority groups account for approximately 4.2 million Virginians. The priority groups can be found on the VDH website at: www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.
The Governor encouraged Virginians to get the vaccine and noted thousands of providers have registered with the CDC and over one hundred pharmacies have entered into agreements to administer the vaccine.
The Governor announced the appointment of Dr. Danny Avula to lead the vaccination effort in Virginia. Dr. Avula will be coordinating efforts between local health departments, private providers, key state personnel, and hospitals. The National Guard will also be tasked with coordinating logistics and administering the vaccine.
The following information was provided by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency):
The FEMA How to Help page provides various ways to submit donations or offers of assistance on a national level and the National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) posts up-to-date fact sheets and guidance on their Dashboard.
The CDC has a website tracking the vaccinations in the United States that is searchable by state. You can also learn more about the vaccine, including information on training, storage, and general administration if you or your staff have questions.
The CDC also created the COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries, including child care, educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns. The toolkit contains a variety of resources including:
- key messages,
- an educational slide deck,
- newsletter content,
- a plain language vaccine factsheet (available in several different languages),
- a template letter for employees,
- social media content, and
- vaccination sticker templates.
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov
Governor Northam Announces Limited Capacity Increases for Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings, Some Entertainment Venues as Vaccinations Rise
Approximately one in four Virginians vaccinated with at least one dose
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that as COVID-19 vaccinations continue to rise in Virginia, certain sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate with additional capacity and indoor and outdoor gathering limits will increase starting Thursday, April 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus. More than two million Virginians, or approximately one in four people, have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“With increased vaccination capacity and our health metrics continuing to trend the right direction, we can safely take these targeted steps to ease certain mitigation measures,” said Governor Northam. “Virginians have come so far over the past year, and now is not the time to simply throw the doors open or let down our guard. While some capacity limits will be increased, we must all remember to stay vigilant and work together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.”
The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued mitigation strategies like physical distancing, teleworking, and universal mask requirements. Key changes in the Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:
- Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 50 people for indoor settings and 100 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Entertainment venues: All indoor and outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity. Indoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity or with a maximum of 500 people, an increase from the current cap of 250 people. Outdoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity, with no specific cap on the number of attendees. These venues were previously limited to 30 percent capacity or up to 1,000 attendees, whichever was fewer.
- Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at recreational sporting events will increase from 25 to 100 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for indoor settings, and from 250 to 500 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for outdoor settings.
- In-person graduation and commencement events: Last week, Governor Northam issued preliminary guidance on safe in-person graduations and commencements, which included a cap of 5,000 people or 30 percent of the venue capacity for outdoor events, whichever is less. Events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing.
The full text of Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here. Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Virginia has now administered more than 3.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and is currently giving approximately 50,000 shots per day. Virginians are strongly encouraged to make sure they are pre-registered at vaccinate.virginia.gov, or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA, to ensure that the Virginia Department of Health has all the relevant information to reach out when individuals are eligible to schedule vaccination appointments.
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Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov
Governor Northam Increases Capacity Limits for Outdoor Sports and Entertainment Venues as COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Infection Rates Continue to Fall, Vaccinations Rise
Indoor capacity limits to remain in place, overnight summer camps can open May 1 with mitigation measures
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that as COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continue to decline and vaccinations rise in Virginia, certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate at increased capacity starting Monday, March 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.
“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of all Virginians, hospitalization and positivity rates across the Commonwealth are the lowest they have been in nearly three months,” said Governor Northam. “As key health metrics show encouraging trends and we continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts, we can begin to gradually resume certain recreational activities and further reopen sectors of our economy. Even as we take steps to safely ease public health guidelines, we must all remain vigilant so we can maintain our progress—the more we stay home, mask up, and practice social distancing, the more lives we will save from this dangerous virus.”
The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued strict health and safety protocols including physical distancing, mask-wearing requirements, gathering limits, and business capacity restrictions. The current modified Stay at Home order will expire on February 28, 2021.
Governor Northam is beginning to ease public health restrictions by taking steps to increase capacity limits in outdoor settings, where evidence shows the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 is lower. The key changes in the Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:
- Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
- Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
- Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
- Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.
The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.
Last week, Governor Northam amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to increase the number of spectators permitted at outdoor youth sporting events to 250.
Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
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With general business and specific industry areas: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia/
Education and Training for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, 16VAC25-220: https://www.doli.virginia.gov/covid-19-outreach-education-and-training/
DOLI Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.doli.virginia.gov/conronavirus-covid-19-faqs/
Helpful algorithm for evaluating employee symptoms and for making decisions about returning to work from the Virginia Department of Health: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/182/2020/09/Noncritical-Infrastructure-Worker-Algorithm.pdf
More than 1,000 Virginia business community members surveyed to develop “Blueprint” of best practices and recommendations to ensure consumer confidence and worker safety.
June 10, 2020 RICHMOND, VA – Earlier today, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) released its “Blueprint for Getting Virginians Back to Work” plan – a business-led effort to quickly provide guidance on how to get the Virginia economy moving again.
The Blueprint for Getting Virginians Back to Work provides guidance for businesses and policymakers as the Commonwealth moves beyond the term ‘essential business’ to fully reopen the economy. Intentionally named to complement the Chamber’s long-term business plan for Virginia – Blueprint Virginia 2025 – the Blueprint for Getting Virginians Back to Work provides a path forward that helps businesses with their immediate needs.
“As our government and business leaders consider how to best recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that they have the guidance to ensure consumer confidence and worker safety,” said Virginia Chamber President and CEO Barry DuVal. “The Chamber has launched this Blueprint for Getting Virginians Back to Work initiative to provide recommendations on operating in the current economic climate and how to return stronger than before. Through this effort, it is clear that business owners are reopening with the health and safety of Virginians as their top priority.”
In April and May, the Chamber engaged the business community through a series of surveys and roundtable discussions focused on cultivating input and best practices that are reflected in the final plan. More than 26,000 Virginia Chamber member companies, over 100 local chambers of commerce, industry trade associations and non-profits, and other key thought leaders from across the Commonwealth were among those invited to participate in this process.
The final plan, along with a host of other important resources for businesses, are available on the Chamber’s newly launched website www.GetVaBackToWork.com.
[Direct resources and Virginia cases by the numbers at https://getvabacktowork.com/covid-19-resource-center/]
Including industry specific guidelines: https://www.virginiasbdc.org/recoveryresourcecenter/
State and National Resources on COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website: https://www.cdc.gov/
Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Website: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/
Press releases from the Virginia Governor, including the March 30th Statewide Stay at Home Order, in place until June 10, 2020 unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/
Highland County, Virginia Resources on COVID-19
January 13, 2021 Update from The Highland Medical Center:
Updates from the Highland Medical Center: https://www.facebook.com/HighlandMedicalCenter/
Updates from the Highland Medical Center: https://www.facebook.com/HighlandMedicalCenter/
The Highland Helpline number is no longer active as of September 1, 2020.
Updates from the Highland Medical Center: https://www.facebook.com/HighlandMedicalCenter/
(3/26): WOF Food Bank have decided to have our food pantry during the coronavirus situation as it is an essential service to the county. We will only be having it one Saturday a month each month from 9am to 11am .
We will be doing this until covid-19 is lifted and everything goes back to normal. A grocery list will be given out at the mobile food bank the first Wednesday of each month. The regular food pantry will be drive up only and customers will be expected to line up behind the stop sign in front of the food pantry. Each person will stay in their vehicles for the entire time. The grocery list will be handed to the check in person. The list will be given to someone else to shop for you and load the groceries in your vehicle. This will protect them and our workers from any virus. Customers without lists will be given a list at food pantry times to fill out while while other customers are being shopped for. The next dates of our food pantry are May 9th, June 13th, July 11th. Please feel free to pass along to others that may not have Facebook.
Food Bank Word of Faith Church Office: 540-468-2592 or Jeff and Susan Grant: 540-396-4833.
To donate to the Food Bank, send check to:
Word of Faith Food Pantry
Monterey, VA 24465
memo line – For Food Bank.
The Highland Farmers’ Market will be held every Friday from 3:30 – 6:00 pm beginning May 22nd – October 2nd of 2020. Until the COVID-19 situation passes, there will be a pre-order/customer pick-up system in order to work under the guidelines that have been set. Check out the new website at https://highlandcountyfarmersmarket.luluslocalfood.com/ for more details! If you have questions as a customer or vendor, you can contact The Highland Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-468-1922 for more details.
3/27/20 From MGW regarding Public Wi-Fi access in McDowell in Highland County:
In light of the school closings and impactful changes resulting from COVID-19, we at MGW have been working with our communities to provide “Drive-in” Public Wi-Fi access for students and citizens who might otherwise not have access because of their location or due to financial reasons. As many of you know, we partnered with The Highland County Chamber of Commerce and the Stonewall Ruritans to establish free wifi at the Ruritan Club for the Maple Festival- that service remains active and is available for immediate use. You’ll be glad to hear that despite the Maple Festival getting cancelled, we have had almost 200 gigs of traffic pass through that connection in the last few weeks. We believe the demand for internet connectivity is even more vital to the functioning of our communities as we navigate these unprecedented times.
We are asking that you help spread community awareness on the availability of this resource to the public. The Stonewall Ruritan Club has graciously supported this cause by allowing people to park outside the Ruritan building for Wi-Fi access. We are referring to this as “Drive-in” Public Wi-Fi because as you notify folks that this is available, we would recommend you remind them to remain in their vehicles while accessing the internet at these locations and respect all social distancing protocols.
We have named this connection “MGW Free Wi-fi” so any user would just need to search for that network in the wifi settings on their device and connect to it.
Learn more about other active MGW Wi-Fi sites at https://www.mgwnet.com/driveinwifi .
The Highland Center is offering free “drive-up” wireless internet from your vehicle in Monterey. You can use the following information to gain access:
WiFi Network: Center_Guest
Please note that for the best signal, it is best to park next to the building. Thank you to The Highland Center!
5/19/20 The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge wants to know what matters most to YOU, particularly during these difficult times. One way your Community Foundation serves you is by getting financial resources to the organizations that can help you. We hear from them regularly, but it is important that they also hear directly from YOU. Complete the brief survey here: https://cfcbr.org/survey/
Economic Relief and Opportunities
3/31/21 From ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership:
Yesterday, President Biden signed into law the two-month extension to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. As a refresher, the legislation extends PPP through May 31 and allows 501(c)(6) organizations and others more time to pursue a second PPP loan. Further, if eligible organizations apply by May 31, the Small Business Administration will permit lenders an additional 30 days to process and approve any outstanding applications.
Eligibility criteria for a second PPP loan are as follows:
- The applicant received a first PPP loan and will or has used the loan only for authorized uses;
- The applicant employs no more than 300 people; and
- The applicant can demonstrate at least a 25-percent reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
The maximum loan amount of a second PPP loan is two-and-a-half times the average monthly 2019 or 2020 payroll costs, up to $2 million.
Full details about the SBA Paycheck Protection Program are available at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.
The Innovation Commercialization Assistance Program (ICAP) is focused on helping Virginia-based technology and innovation-driven startups on their path to success. ICAP works with startups to provide support along their entire journey towards scaling – from the early idea stage, all the way through working on Series A level of funding. This is accomplished through experiential learning programs and one-on-one advising with a team of experienced entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. These services are offered at no cost and all advising is confidential.
Full details at www.virginiasbdc.org/programs/icap/
ICAP is accepting applications for the next cohort until midnight on April 25, 2021.
Should you know of an entrepreneur with an idea or invention, please encourage them to apply: https://www.virginiasbdc.org/icap-lean-startup-introductory-course-virtual-cohort/.
Small Business Administration:
Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) Program
Monday, April 5th
Register by clicking here now
LISC will be holding a webinar on Small Business Administration’s newly created Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) Program. The SBA is expected to start accepting applications for the program on April 8th, with awards being provided on a rolling basis. This webinar will provide information on program eligibility and application preparation, with an emphasis on helping venues in underserved communities prepare for rollout through actionable steps and best practices.
The SBA is holding webinars to cover the basics of the program, as well as applicant eligibility and requirements. You can view all upcoming events and webinars here. They have also launched a splash page for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal in anticipation of opening grant applications for the critical economic relief program. You can visit the SVOG portal here.
• Bill Taft, Senior Vice President, LISC Economic Development
• Michelle Harati, Policy Officer, LISC Policy
• Karleen Porcena, Senior Program Officer, LISC Economic Development
• Sean Watterson, Happy Dog Venue Owner, and Co-Chair of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) Implementation Task Force
Telework!VA is your one-stop resource for businesses, agencies and employees looking to learn more about telework or how to implement a successful telework program.
Here’s how they help employers:
- Establish tailored telework policies and staff agreements to promote a sustainable program
- Assess and evaluate your existing telework program
- Help your business formalize a management and operations model that includes telework
- Provide FREE virtual training for managers and employees
- Create and streamline budget plans
- Provide guidance on telework related technologies
Learn more at http://teleworkva.org/.
On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 133) to provide more than $900 billion in emergency assistance for individuals, families, nonprofits and businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic.
From the US Chamber of Commerce: Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans:
What Small Businesses Need to Know About the New Pandemic Relief Package – Changes to PPP and More:
1/6/21: Dominion Energy is partnering with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation to temporarily expand its EnergyShare program to assist those small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dominion Energy Virginia is pledging $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. The program funding will be covered by shareholders and will not impact customer rates. Qualified businesses may be eligible for one-time assistance with their Dominion Energy electric bill up to $1,000. Learn more about eligibility requirements and applications at http://www.vachamber.com/foundation/small-business-relief-program/
Are you or someone you know late on your rent or mortgage? You may qualify for the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program, which offers financial assistance for payments past due beginning April 1, 2020 and onward. Find out if you’re eligible by visiting dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or by calling 2-1-1.
Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Ralph S. NorthamFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE · October 28, 2020
Office of the Governor
Governor Northam Invites Small Businesses and Nonprofits to Apply for Up to $100,000 from Rebuild VA Grant Fund
~ Program allotted additional $30 million, eligibility expanded ~
RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Rebuild VA, a grant program to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will expand eligibility criteria and increase the amount of grant money businesses receive.
Rebuild VA launched in August with $70 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Governor Northam is directing an additional $30 million to support the expansion of the program. Businesses with less than $10 million in gross revenue or fewer than 250 employees will be eligible under the new criteria, and the maximum grant award will increase from $10,000 to $100,000.
“We started Rebuild VA to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Northam. “These changes to the program will ensure that we can provide additional financial assistance to even more Virginians so they can weather this public health crisis and emerge stronger.”
Rebuild VA will now be open to all types of Virginia small businesses that meet size and other eligibility requirements, from restaurants and summer camps, to farmers and retail shops. Businesses that previously received a Rebuild VA grant will receive a second award correlated with the updated guidelines.
Rebuild VA is administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Eligible businesses and nonprofits must demonstrate that their normal operations were limited by Governor Northam’s Executive Orders Fifty-Three or Fifty-Five, or that they were directly impacted by the closure of such businesses. In September, the program expanded eligibility to supply chain partners of businesses whose normal operations were impacted by the pandemic.
Rebuild VA funding may be utilized for the following eligible expenses:
• Payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave;
• Employee salaries;
• Mortgage payments, rent, and utilities;
• Principal and interest payments for any business loans from national or state-chartered banking, savings and loan institutions, or credit unions, that were incurred before or during the emergency;
• Eligible personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfecting materials, or other working capital needed to address COVID-19 response.
For additional information about Rebuild VA and how to submit an application, please visit https://www.governor.virginia.gov/rebuildva/
Nonprofit Roanoke is distributing FREE PROTECTIVE MASKS for nonprofit organization staff and volunteers in Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s REGION 6*, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and VA Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VA VOAD). Please see the following link with a Google survey to learn more and apply: https://airtable.com/shrFFLj7gWI8N7iSV
The original link: https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/eip/?utm_campaign=ocomm-eip-20&utm_content=eip-email-cta&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.
Attention SSI and other federal benefit recipients who did not file 2018 or 2019 tax returns and who have qualifying children under 17 – It’s not too late! Take Action Now!
The IRS has extended deadlines to help children and adults get their Economic Impact Payments (EIP) by using its Non-Filer Tool.
• You must act by September 30th to get $500 EIPs for your child this year.
• Most adult Social Security and SSI beneficiaries have already received their EIPs. Adults who started receiving their monthly Social Security or SSI payment on or after January 1, 2020 should receive their $1,200 EIP from the IRS on or by November 6, 2020 without taking action with the IRS. Other adult federal benefit recipients must act by October 15th to get their $1,200 EIP this year.
Please read the latest from the IRS and take action now if appropriate.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 provided $900 million of supplemental Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding to assist households impacted by COVID-19. Through this funding, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) received $23,356,803, which will be utilized to support the new COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program and provide other energy assistance resources.
The new program will assist low-income households that would not typically be eligible for other energy assistance programs (Fuel, Crisis, and Cooling Assistance) offered by the Virginia Department of Social Services. Eligible households will receive a one-time payment of $300 to address their immediate energy costs, including energy debt accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Households that received Fuel, Crisis, or Cooling assistance (except equipment-related services) from VDSS within the 12 months are not eligible to receive COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program benefits. However, households may qualify for other heating assistance through the Department’s normal Fuel Assistance application process, which begins October 13 and ends November 13.
Applications will be accepted through November 20, 2020 or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. Applications may be submitted online from the COVID-19 Virginia Resources website at https://covid.virginia.gov/ or through the COVID-19 Virginia Resources mobile app that can be downloaded from through the App Store or Google Play. All questions about applying should be referred to 1-833-829-2767.
Eligibility criteria for assistance includes:
• Must be a resident of Virginia
• Must have a heating or cooling expense responsibility
• Must be either a United States citizen or an eligible immigrant
• A household’s monthly gross income must be less than the maximum allowed for the number of people in the home:
Household Size Maximum Income
Each Additional Member Add $156
For additional information regarding the COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program and other available energy assistance resources, visit dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/ or contact the dedicated energy assistance line at 1-833-829-2767.
You may also apply at https://vaservices.dss.virginia.gov/CARES/
The following is an opportunity to provide comments about adding an additional commodity (such as maple syrup) to be considered in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to potentially provide future financial relief. Comments on additional commodities will be received by June 22, 2020. Full details can be found at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FSA-2020-0004-0003. Comments can be made by clicking the upper right “Comment Now” button.
As part of the efforts to continue to mitigate and respond to the pandemic, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is hiring temporary contractors in a variety of positions to aid in the COVID-19 response. VDH started hiring for contract positions in May, and while many positions have been filled, there is still a need to hire people for the following positions:
- COVID-19 case investigator
- COVID-19 contact tracer
- COVID-19 testing coordinator
- COVID-19 regional containment advisors
- COVID-19 data manager
- COVID-19 analytics coordinator
These positions are temporary (6+ months) and are 32- 40 hours a week with competitive pay. Applicants must be willing and able to work weekends as needed. Hired contractors will be able to work remotely but will be asked to come to district offices as needed. No public health or healthcare experience required for contact tracer positions.
Attached to this email is more information on how to apply for these positions. [INSERTED HERE: Staffing-Agency-List] Please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in any of these positions. Please note that applicants should only apply for these positions through ONE staffing agency of their choosing.
If you or anyone else has any questions, please feel free to contact me or share my contact information with interested applicants.
Thank you for the help in spreading the word about this opportunity to our community.
Have a good weekend and stay well,
Laura Lee Wight
Health Educator | Central Shenandoah Health District
1414 N. Augusta Street | P.O Box 2126 | Staunton, VA 24402
Cell: 540-430-1699 | Office: 540-332-7830 ext. 344
Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers
SCORE has many free webinars that may be helpful to navigate the current business climate at https://www.score.org/recorded-webinars, with topics such as “10 Principles to Running a Virtual Company Extremely Well”, “A Smarter Approach to Your COVID Marketing Strategy” or “The 4 Key Things Business Owners Should Be Focused on Right Now”. You can watch these webinars live, too!
Dear Friends, We are pleased to share the following announcement and call for proposals on behalf of CAPSAW:
CAPSAW has been allocated supplemental Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funding to address COVID-19 related needs through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. All funds are for services to individuals and families at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line residing in Staunton, Augusta County, or Waynesboro. All proposals must be received, via email@example.com by 5pm on the first Friday of each month. Proposals will be reviewed until funding has been allocated. Please direct any and all questions to Anna Leavitt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Information on the Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans, including the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance:
Some of this is time-sensitive. Learn more at https://mailchi.mp/thecne/time-sensitive-financial-support-available-to-nonprofits?e=9c2e0078c3
For more assistance on filling out the SBA Loans, please contact Betty M. Mitchell, Highland Economic Development Officer
540-383-9415 (cell) or 540-474-3333 (home)
The handout “SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus” located by clicking HERE is the 1-page overview for businesses (3.75% interest) and private nonprofits (2.75% interest) that may be eligible under this U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) program. There is a long list of entities not eligible under this program – most relevant to our area would be farmers, churches, and local governments.
During the almost 2 hour webinar in which I participated yesterday, there were lots of tips given related to the application that do not show up on the website. That said, I’ve added the email@example.com email to the bottom of the handout. If someone needs help with the application, we can direct them to resources and share more forms and information.
I’ve reached out to our two local banks; talked to one and waiting for a call back from another. The feds have loosened some regulations for Community Banks, so customers who need financing are encouraged to call their local lenders and talk to them. I’ve sent info about this program to them, so that if the Bank can’t help, the Loan Officers are aware of this resource.
There are no fees to apply for this direct SBA funding, just the business’ time. Once an application is COMPLETE, loan decisions can be made within 21 days. Learn more from the SBA at https://www.sba.gov/.
There is also a recorded presentation on filling out the SBA EIDL Application that will cover the same EIDL application overview: https://vccs.zoom.us/rec/play/7JB8cbypqjo3S93A5QSDB_cqW465LaKs0SIbqPVZxEnmUnFRZ1rwMuNBNuCL-OOwBuzaQZSyXq31vV2k?continueMode=true
RestoreYourEconomy is your resource for up-to-date information related to COVID-19 and its economic impacts. It is managed by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) with generous support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and IEDC’s Economic Development Research Partners program. https://restoreyoureconomy.org/
Immerge has put together this directory of local Shenandoah Valley Businesses to support them during this time. The Business Listing contains local businesses in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This includes Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren, Highland, and Bath Counties: https://www.shoplocalshenvalley.com/
If you would like your business listed on the site, use the Submit Info form: https://www.shoplocalshenvalley.com/submit
#TheValleyStrong is an initiative being coordinated by the Harrisonburg Radio Group: https://thevalleystrong.com/. Businesses have the opportunity to add their business listing to become part of the Business Resource Directory and the Harrisonburg Radio Group has produced PSAs for this program. Their territory covers Shenandoah, Page, Rockingham, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro and Highland. Submit your business at https://thevalleystrong.com/add-listing/
Some people will receive their Stimulus Check on a prepaid debit card if the IRS couldn’t direct deposit the payment. This may be unexpected and the recipient may throw it away, thinking it a scam. Below is an email with a good link describing how to use the debit card, in case you get calls. From the document:
I received an Economic Impact Payment VISA prepaid debit card from the government in the mail. Is this a scam?
This is not a scam. The government is sending some people Economic Impact Payment Cards if they qualified for a stimulus payment and the IRS couldn’t direct deposit the payment.
Your Economic Impact Card will come in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services” along with important information about the card, instructions for activation, fees, and a note from the U.S. Treasury. The card itself will have the words “VISA” and “DEBIT” on the front and the issuing bank, “MetaBank, N.A.”, on the back and should look like this:
A45. Some payments may be sent on a prepaid debit card known as The Economic Impact Payment Card The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A.
If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. Information included with the Card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information.
Treasury, IRS launch new tool to help non-filers register for Economic Impact Payments
IRS.gov feature helps people who normally don’t file get payments; second tool next week provides taxpayers with payment delivery date and provide direct deposit information
WASHINGTON – To help millions of people, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return.
The non-filer tool, developed in partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, provides a free and easy option designed for people who don’t have a return filing obligation, including those with too little income to file. The feature is available only on IRS.gov, and users should look for Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here to take them directly to the tool.
“People who don’t have a return filing obligation can use this tool to give us basic information so they can receive their Economic Impact Payments as soon as possible,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The IRS and Free File Alliance have been working around the clock to deliver this new tool to help people.”
The IRS reminds taxpayers that Economic Impact Payments will be distributed automatically to most people starting next week. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will receive the payments automatically. Automatic payments will also go in the near future to those receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits.
How do I use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool?
For those who don’t normally file a tax return, the process is simple and only takes a few minutes to complete. First, visit IRS.gov, and look for “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” Then provide basic information including Social Security number, name, address, and dependents. The IRS will use this information to confirm eligibility and calculate and send an Economic Impact Payment. Using the tool to get your payment will not result in any taxes being owed. Entering bank or financial account information will allow the IRS to deposit your payment directly in your account. Otherwise, your payment will be mailed to you.
“Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info” is secure, and the information entered will be safe. The tool is based on Free File Fillable Forms, part of the Free File Alliance’s offerings of free products on IRS.gov.
Who should use the Non-Filers tool?
This new tool is designed for people who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who don’t receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits. Others who should consider the Non-Filers tool as an option, include:
Lower income: Among those who could use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool are those who haven’t filed a 2018 or 2019 return because they are under the normal income limits for filing a tax return. This may include single filers who made under $12,200 and married couples making less than $24,400 in 2019.
Veterans beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients: The IRS continues to explore ways to see if Economic Impact Payments can be made automatically to SSI recipients and those who receive veterans disability compensation, pension or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and who did not file a tax return for the 2018 or 2019 tax years. People in these groups can either use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info option now or wait as the IRS continues to review automatic payment options to simplify delivery for these groups.
Social Security, SSDI and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries with qualifying dependents: These groups will automatically receive $1,200 Economic Impact Payments. People in this group who have qualifying children under age 17 may use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info to claim the $500 payment per child.
Students and others: If someone else claimed you on their tax return, you will not be eligible for the Economic Impact Payment or using the Non-Filer tool.
Coming next week: Automatic payments begin
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 and chose direct deposit of their refund will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and $500 for each qualifying child. Individuals who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, SSDI or who receive Railroad Retirement benefits but did not file a return for 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive a payment in the near future.
Coming next week: Get My Payment shows Economic Impact Payment date, helps with direct deposit
To help everyone check on the status of their payments, the IRS is building a second new tool expected to be available for use by April 17. Get My Payment will provide people with the status of their payment, including the date their payment is scheduled to be deposited into their bank account or mailed to them.
An additional feature on Get My Payment will allow eligible people a chance to provide their bank account information so they can receive their payment more quickly rather than waiting for a paper check. This feature will be unavailable if the Economic Impact Payment has already been scheduled for delivery.
More Information on Economic Impact Payments
The IRS will post additional updates on IRS.gov/coronavirus on these and other issues.
Here are two additional releases:
IRS extends more tax deadlines to cover individuals, trusts, estates corporations and others – https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-extends-more-tax-deadlines-to-cover-individuals-trusts-estates-corporations-and-others – The July 15 filing and payment extensions generally now apply to all taxpayers that have a filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers qualify for the extra time. This means that anyone, including Americans who live and work abroad, can now wait until July 15 to file their 2019 federal income tax return and pay any tax due. The July 15 extension also applies to estimated tax payments and 2016 unclaimed refunds.
IRS urges taxpayers to use electronic options; outlines online assistance – (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-urges-taxpayers-to-use-electronic-options-outlines-online-assistance) – Now more than ever, the IRS stresses the use of IRS.gov web tools. The release also has a note about paper tax returns.
*4/14/20 Update: The following programs are, for the most part, centered on local government efforts; local government needs to be a partner in them. With these programs, a private business would not be an eligible applicant. They are, however, useful for community economic development projects. For a full list of available resources beyond the following, check out CSPDC’s Grant Resource Guide at https://www.cspdc.org/grant-resource-guide/
Original 4/10/20 message: I hope everyone is doing well under these extraordinary and uncertain times. Like many of your localities, the CSPDC office is closed to the public and staff is teleworking. During this time, we are preparing for the funding that is being put into place for local and regional recovery efforts . Please let us know of any programs that you are hoping to pursue for community and economic development efforts and how the CSPDC can best help you.
We know that state and federal agencies are quickly making changes to grant programs to extend open application deadlines, add new funding in programs that will help communities recover, and speed up those application processes. The new guidelines for most grant programs have not been released yet. As soon as they are, we will get that information to you. A summary of the funding breakdown in the economic stimulus bill is attached (available here: 032520 Title-By-Title Summary FINAL). Below are some updates that we can offer on some grant programs that we often use.
GO Virginia – The March 17 meeting of the State GO Virginia Board was postponed. It will now be held electronically on April 17 beginning at 12:30 pm. Information for remote participation may be found here. Agenda and meeting materials will be available on the DHCD website on Monday, April 13. During the meeting, the GO Virginia program’s COVID-19 response will be discussed by the Board. Chairman Farrell and Vice Chairman Davenport intend to recommend a proposal to the GO Virginia State Board that would redirect statewide competitive GO Virginia funds for a statewide, region-led response to the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed guidelines will include a recommendation to reduce the normal 1:1 match by half and to waive local match requirements given the economic distress and budget challenges facing all localities and regions. The full proposal will be included in the board packet on April 13.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is making available current CDBG funding to small cities, towns and rural counties to respond to local needs related to COVID-19 response. The CDBG program will assist units of local government and communities in response to the health and economic impact of COVID-19 by supporting planning grant, open submission and urgent need recovery activities. Additional details are available from the CDBG COVID-19 Fact Sheet and the CDBG COVID-19 Response Document. Localities planning to apply for COVID-19 CDBG funding are strongly urged to contact Matt Weaver at 804-371-7011 or firstname.lastname@example.org early in the planning process.
Economic Development Administration – The CARES Act includes $1.5 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA). This supplemental funding is intended to help mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Economic adjustment assistance can be used to help rebuild impacted industries such as tourism or manufacturing supply chains, capitalize local funds to provide low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes, and support other locally-identified priorities for economic recovery. Last week, CSDPC staff had a call with Virginia’s EDA representative and the Director of the EDA Philadelphia Regional Office. We are now waiting for the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to be released for the details of funding. However, we understand that a reduction in the current 1:1 required match is likely.
Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) – ARC has launched a web page dedicated to providing resources including national, regional, and state resources, webinars, and other information. They are assisting grantees on meeting project goals and timelines due to the current situation. To date, we have not heard of any new funding through ARC or changes in match requirements, but that could change. The ARC communities in the CSPDC region include the counties of Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington.
USDA Rural Development – The bill provides $25 million to support the Distance Learning and Telemedicine program. This increase will help improve distance learning and telemedicine in rural areas of America. Additionally, $100 million is provided to the ReConnect program to help ensure rural Americans have access to broadband, the need for which is increasingly apparent as millions of Americans work from home across the country. The bill also includes $20.5 million to support$1 billion in Business and Industry loans.
Finally, I wanted to share with you a publication called Disparate Impact of COVID-19 Across Virginia. The Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development analyzed which localities in Virginia will likely be hit the hardest by the impacts of the pandemic. To show the differing impact to local economies, they mapped the job shares of industries with the highest risks of being adversely affected. Our own Bath County was ranked as being the most vulnerable. Buena Vista, Waynesboro, and Harrisonburg were also in the top 20.
I wish you and your locality staff the best. Please do not hesitate to let us know how the CSPDC can assist you.
Elizabeth L. McCarty, AICP – Deputy Director – Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission
112 MacTanly Place, Staunton, VA 24401
The Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has resources on COVID-19 for small businesses that may help at https://www.virginiasbdc.org/covid-19/. At that page is a survey. The Chamber encourages all small businesses affected in Virginia to fill out the survey that will allow the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to collect data on the impact COVID-19 is having on business revenue and employment. The input and response from small businesses throughout the Commonwealth is critical to have enough data to meet federal requirements which will allow access to disaster loan funds at the federal level. Please consider viewing the page and filling out the survey.
The above link provides an excellent summary of Virginia Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 (EO 53), effective at midnight on Tuesday, March 24 stating that certain non-essential businesses must close or have restricted operations. The link also provides the Virginia Public Access Project’s (VPAP) COVID-19 Dashboard – this dashboard provides a timeline of confirmed cases each day and a statewide map showing the number of cases by locality. There are many more resources at the link, such as Small Business Administration (SBA) webinar times, that may be helpful, too.
Thank you for everything that you are doing to support our community. We know that the pandemic threatens not only local residents, but the health of your organizations as well. We pledge to do everything in our ability to support you, including bolstering our grantmaking activity. Below is the first of a series of short surveys designed to help guide our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please take a few minutes today to share what you are seeing and experiencing. Your responses will make a difference.
CLICK HERE FOR OUR VERY BRIEF SURVEY: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc_qn9ArAlTZzrNhELtCmJ4j0lFgnDAfC-UxWmfdUol8oPWhQ/viewform
We are postponing the launch of our 2020 nonprofit workshop series until the summer or fall. Additionally, we made some important decisions last week regarding our grantmaking activities which you can find below. Thank you again for sharing with us your perspective and understanding of how our neighbors and residents are faring in this “new normal.” 2020 Community Grants Program:
- We are moving forward as quickly as possible. Ideally, we will distribute grants ahead of schedule, which in prior years has been early-June.
- Following CDC recommendations, we have cancelled our annual grants ceremony. We will deliver grant checks by mail.
- We also recognize that nonprofit organizations submitted their grant applications before the pandemic became a reality. The priorities of every organization have most likely changed. If you submitted a grant application, you will have an opportunity in the survey to update us as to your preferred use of a grant.
COVID-19 Local Response Fund
- We announced to the community on Monday that we have established a new fund to aid in the local response to the pandemic. Thanks to a generous gift of $100,000, our COVID-19 Local Response Fund is in place and already receiving additional donations.
- It is critical that we have an open and active channel of communication with you so that we can make the best possible decisions concerning the distribution of these resources. You are our eyes and ears across the community. As such, you are our best source of information for understanding the local impact of the pandemic on residents and your organization. This and subsequent brief surveys will serve as the foundation for our channel of communication with you, but we also encourage you to contact us at any time.
The Highland County Chamber of Commerce continues to look for solutions to get through these uncertain times. We are reaching out to local, state and national government officials and organizations to locate resources to help alleviate financial strain. We will update this page as we know more. If you have suggestions or feedback, please email email@example.com. Thank you.