2020 Chamber COVID-19 Resources
With the unfortunate postponement of the 62nd Annual Highland County Maple Festival until further notice due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Highland County Chamber of Commerce is offering this page as a health and economic resource guide. Please check back often as we plan to update the page frequently.
UPDATED 11/23/20 10:39 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.
Not having the Maple Festival in March has put economic stress on the community. The Chamber has reached out to members to see if they have surplus items they are looking to sell. We have compiled this additional list here.
The Chamber is excited to announce a new page on our website that connects you directly with participating 2020 Maple Festival Vendors. In the aftermath of having many events like the Maple Festival postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, any support you can show these vendors is greatly appreciated. Please share and provide help as you can to our talented and amazing Arts & Crafts, Food and Information Booth Vendors who are a critical role in making the Maple Festival a success each year. Thank you! See our 2020 Maple Festival Connector page.
FULL EXECUTIVE ORDER WITH DETAILS CAN BE FOUND BY CLICKING HERE:
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov
Governor Northam Announces New Statewide Measures to Contain COVID-19
Includes limit of 25 individuals for in-person gatherings, expanded mask mandate, on-site alcohol curfew, and increased enforcement
RICHMOND—As COVID-19 surges in states across the country, Governor Ralph Northam today announced new actions to mitigate the spread of the virus in Virginia. While the Commonwealth’s case count per capita and positivity rate remain comparatively low, all five health regions are experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases, positive tests, and hospitalizations.
“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” said Governor Northam. “Everyone is tired of this pandemic and restrictions on our lives. I’m tired, and I know you are tired too. But as we saw earlier this year, these mitigation measures work. I am confident that we can come together as one Commonwealth to get this virus under control and save lives.”
Governor Northam shared a new video to update Virginians on the additional steps the Commonwealth is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which is available here.
The following measures will take effect at midnight on Sunday, November 15:
- Reduction in public and private gatherings: All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.
- Expansion of mask mandate: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.
- Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses: All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor.
- On-site alcohol curfew: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served as in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.
Virginia is averaging 1,500 newly-reported COVID-19 cases per day, up from a statewide peak of approximately 1,200 in May. While Southwest Virginia has experienced a spike in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases, all five of the Commonwealth’s health regions are currently reporting a positivity rate over five percent. Although hospital capacity remains stable, hospitalizations have increased statewide by more than 35 percent in the last four weeks.
On Tuesday, Governor Northam announced new contracts with three laboratories as part of the Commonwealth’s OneLabNetwork, which will significantly increase Virginia’s public health testing capacity. Contracts with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, and Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk will directly support high-priority outbreak investigations, community testing events, and testing in congregate settings, with a goal of being able to perform 7,000 per day by the end of the year.
The full text of amended Executive Order Sixty-Three and Order of Public Health Emergency Five and sixth amended Executive Order Sixty-Seven and Order of Public Health Emergency Seven will be made available here.
For information about COVID-19 in Virginia, visit vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.
# # #
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
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. 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 email@example.com 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/
If you’re a Highland County Resident and COVID-19 has financially impacted your ability to pay rent, mortgage or utilities, check out this announcement from the Highland County Department of Social Services. FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE UNTIL EXHAUSTED OR BY DECEMBER 31, 2020! Please call the Highland County Department of Social Services at 540-468-2199 for more information!
There are two local grant opportunities available now in Highland County!
A recovery grant fund for rural nonprofits has recently become available! The deadline for this grant opportunity is October 30th! Grant amounts up to $10,000 are available to help cover the operational costs of nonprofits providing essential social services. For more information, please see the link below.
Our Rural Commitment.
900 Grants. $18 million.
As part of our continuing commitment to elevate our impact in rural America, LISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe's Rural Relief Small Business Grants program.
The application period is now open. Apply here. Applications must be submitted by Monday, November 2nd at 11:59PM ET. (Additional periods in 2020 and 2021 listed below)
Who is eligible?
Only small businesses located in rural communities are eligible at this time. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. A community is defined as the city/town/village where your business address is located. If the business is mobile (a food truck, fishing boat, ride share driver, etc) please use the address where your vehicle is stored during non-business hours.
All potential applicants are encouraged to review our FAQ and grant information before applying.
Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the relief funding program at this time, but may be eligible for later rounds of funding.
How it works
Applications are being accepted in “rounds”. You must submit a new application for each round in order to be considered for funding in that round. Below are the dates of upcoming rounds:
- October 26 - November 2, 2020
- November 26 - December 2, 2020
- December 29, 2020 - January 5, 2021
- January 26 - February 2, 2021
We will support small businesses and enterprises affected by Covid-19 across the country, especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital.
Applications will be reviewed based on criteria designed to prioritize particularly challenged businesses, and the final grantees will be randomly selected from the top scoring applicants.
More information is available at https://www.lisc.org/covid-19/small-business-assistance/rural-relief-small-business-grants/.
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
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 Coronavirus 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 to receive one-time assistance with their past due Dominion Energy electric bill balances up to $1,000. Learn more at https://www.vachamber.com/foundation/small-business-relief-program/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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/
Got some time on your hands? Check out how making a short video for the #2020Census could win you $30,000. Learn more, and submit your entry by May 7th at https://accelerate.census.gov/video-challenge/ #CensusVideoChallenge.
Learn more, or get counted in the 2020 Census today: https://2020census.gov/
● The census counts every person living in the United States, regardless of age or
citizenship status, every 10 years in years ending in 0.
● It’s in the Constitution.
● It’s about money, power, and data.
● Every 10 years we help decide how taxpayer dollars come back to our communities. The
2020 Census will help to distribute billions of dollars in federal resources to your
● Our community gets resources based on census population counts, that help pay for
hospitals, emergency services, schools, roads, and more.
● An accurate and complete census helps businesses, community leaders and elected
officials make informed decisions every day.
● For the first time, people can respond online and by phone, in addition to the mail-in
option. Your response impacts funding for your community for critical services for the
next 10 years.
● The next decennial census happens in 2030.
It’s safe and confidential:
● Your data is protected and it’s confidential. Federal law protects your responses, which
cannot be shared with law enforcement, immigration agencies, or housing authorities.
COVID-19 & the 2020 Census:
● The 2020 Census is underway and the most important and safe thing you can do is
respond online, by phone, or by mail. It has never been easier to respond to the 2020
● Responding now will minimize the need for the Census Bureau to send census takers out
into communities to follow up with households.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.