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COVID-19 Update #3
Top News

Hello Friends

Once again, I want to provide you with the most accurate and the most up to date information as we navigate through this pandemic. We can all do our parts by following the advice from the medical community and by following orders from our local and state governments. It is important that we continue practicing social distancing and self-quarantining, if necessary. We are all in this together. We must work together to slow the spread of COVID-19

 

                Support for Affected Workers                 

The Virginia Employment Commission will waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible. Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19 or if they have been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer. You may click here or more information on how to file a claim.

In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer. For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, the Virginia Employment Commission will give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.
 

Claims can be filed online at www.vec.virginia.gov or over the phone at 866-832-2363. Make sure unemployment insurance claims are filed on the official site ending in .gov.

If you are totally or partially unemployed, file a claim with the VEC either online a twww.vec.virginia.gov or by phone at 866-832-2363. The VEC will notify you regarding your benefit and contact you directly to resolve any issues.

 


Postponement of Elective Surgeries

Governor Northam and State Health Commissioner Norm Oliver has directed all hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures to help conserve supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). A press release on this announcement can be found here, and the full text of Order of Public Health Emergency Two is available here.

 

Closure of State Parks for Overnight Stays

Governor Northam authorized the Director to close state park campgrounds, cabins, and bath houses through April 30, effective at checkout on Friday morning.

This recommendation will make the official status of all state parks in Virginia day use only. Further information on State Park policies related to COVID-19 can be found here.


Virginia Medicaid

The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) is working with Governor Northam, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and other state agencies to take immediate actions to help fight COVID-19. DMAS is committed to increasing access to health care for the over 1.5 million Virginia Medicaid members and the thousands of low-income residents expected to seek coverage due to concern about the spread of COVID-19. Further information on that action can be found here.

 

  K-12 School Closure Additional Information and Resources

The Virginia Department of Education has published a number of documents in regards to Executive Order 53 and the closure of Virginia K-12 schools.

A general update can be found on the DOE COVID website. DOE has also published an updated list of FAQs. Additionally, DOE has published a parent handbook. Finally, DOE has provided guidance for communities on setting up emergency child care for essential personnel. Read the Child Care Guidelines here.

 

Guidance for Day Care Centers:

The Administration issued new guidance directing day care centers to limit their classrooms to 10 people, including teachers. Additionally, day care centers should practice staggered recess and only feed kids in their individual classrooms. You can find more information here.
 

Increased TANF Flexibility

The U.S. Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released program instruction in reference to how the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program can support people affected by COVID-19. For more information on this program click  here.

 

Federal Housing Finance Agency

The U.S. FHFA has directed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency. The foreclosure and eviction suspensions apply to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family mortgage. More information on the announcement can be found here.

 

Corporate, Sales, and Individual Taxes

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can request to defer the payment of state sales tax due March 20, 2020 for 30 days. When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties

The Virginia Department of Taxation is extending the due date of payment of Virginia individual and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020.

More information on deferring payment and how-to file can be found here.


Department of Corrections

Today, the Department of Corrections announced that they are now manufacturing sneeze/cough guard masks for use by Virginia DOC staff and offenders. These are not medical grade masks but they will aid in the effort to keep COVID-19 out of the state’s correctional facilities. There are still no known cases of COVID-19 among offenders and staff in Virginia’s prisons. Read the full press release here.  To keep updated on DOC COVID-19 click here.

 

U.S. Census Bureau Operations

The Census Bureau has announced a variety of changes to their operations, in an effort to protect the health and safety of their staff and the public. Further information on those changes can be found here.

 

Farmers Markets in Virginia

The Governor’s Office and VDACS (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) are NOT requiring farmers’ markets and other direct sales markets (such as breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries and tasting rooms) to close for business. 

The guidance provided means that these markets may operate in a capacity that ALLOWS delivery and/or takeout services. On-site browsing or shopping is NOT an option under the intent of this order. 

 

Farms and Agribusiness

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has published a number of operational guidelines for various farms and agribusiness, including Pick-Your-Own Farms and Farm Stands. Those guidelines can be found here

 

My staff and I continue to monitor the situation and will share updates as they become available. Please do not hesitate to email us, if you have any concerns or questions.  deljward@house.virginia.gov  


Wishing the best for you and your family  

 

                                                     Helpful links

Governor's Office Updates:
https://www.governor.virginia.gov/

Commonwealth of Virginia:
https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus-updates/

Virginia Department of Health:
http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/


 

How to reach me during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Email Address:
deljward@house.virginia.gov

 

 As always, it is a pleasure to serve you. Thank you.
 
Sincerely,
Delegate Jeion A. Ward
Virginia House of Delegates
Ninety-Second House District





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