COVID-19 Business Assistance

A public service announcement about supporting local businesses

COVID-19 is impacting our economy in unprecedented ways, and its impact on local businesses, both small and large, is becoming more evident each day. The Rockbridge County Office of Community Development, its staff, the County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors are diligently working to provide the most update to date information and resources available to our business community during these trying times.

County staff is available to assist business owners in finding opportunities for assistance. Please contact Sam Crickenberger or Brandy Flint in the Office of Community Development at (540) 464-9662 for additional information or email them at covidbusinessassist@rockbridgecountyva.gov.

Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista Information 

For information regarding COVID-19 in Rockbridge County, please visit the County website at https://www.co.rockbridge.va.us/589/Covid-19, for Lexington http://lexingtonva.gov/community/covid_19.htm, and for Buena Vista https://www.buenavistava.org/covid-19/.

For information on how to support downtown businesses in Lexington please visit Main Street Lexington’s website https://www.mainstreetlexington.org/staying-safe-and-supporting-local.html

Governor Northam Information:

The following business resources are currently available:

Small Business Assistance: 

  • Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board: Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board Small Business Layoff Aversion Grants
  • The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity would like the business community’s input regarding impacts of COVID-19. Please take a few moments to complete a short survey. The results will be shared with State and Federal partners. The deadline to respond to the survey is Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7RMY8SH
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources can be accessed at https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources. As of March 19, 2020, small businesses in Virginia are now eligible to apply for financial assistance due to the impact of COVID1-19. The Small Business Administration has implemented a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EID) declaration. EID loans offer financial options for overcoming these hard times. Small businesses and non-profits statewide are now able to apply for a loan of up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses.  Businesses wishing to submit a loan application should visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. If a business does not have access to a computer or smartphone, please call SBA at 1‐800‐659‐2955 for assistance.
  • SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). https://www.score.org.
  • Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF). SCCF is now offering loans to small businesses through disaster relief fund. Visit their website for more information. https://stauntonfund.org/.
  • Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center’s Business Resource Guide regrading COVID-19 - https://www.valleysbdc.org/covid-19/.

Private Sector Businesses (small and large businesses):

  • The Virginia Department of Emergency Management Private Sector Team published a survey for the private sector to submit issues they are experiencing and offers of assistance to Virginia (donation, in-kind contribution, discounted, or contracted). That survey can be accessed at https://arcg.is/1amrze. The Team also has a Private Sector Portal with useful information. http://bit.ly/VaPrivateSector.
  • The Governor is authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs. Governor Northam is directing all employers to follow U.S. Department of Labor guidance on workplace safety. https://bit.ly/39Zub3c.
  • Utilities - The State Corporation Commission issued an order directing utilities it regulates, such as electric, natural gas and water companies in Virginia, to suspend service disconnections for 60 days to provide immediate relief for any customer, residential and business, who may be financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has issued COVID-19 guidance for businesses: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html.
  • Internal Revenue Service - Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses - https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/disaster-assistance-and-emergency-relief-for-individuals-and-businesses.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus. OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 – Developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help employers respond in the event of coronavirus in the workplace. Temporary OSHA Guidance on Respiratory Protection Standard – This guidance provides suggestions and options to help increase the availability of N95 filtering facepiece respirators for healthcare providers. COVID-19 Webpage – Provides infection prevention information specifically for employers and workers. For more U.S. Department of Labor information and resources, visit our U.S. Department of Labor page. https://www.vachamber.com/u-s-department-of-labor-covid-19-resources/.

For Employees:

  • UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE – expanded time, amounts and those covered.

    The unemployment insurance program, administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), provides temporary financial assistance to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Under normal circumstances, individuals who meet a strict set of employment-related criteria can receive weekly payments over a period of 12 to 26 weeks, but efforts are underway at both the state and federal level to expand eligibility, increase payments, and extend the duration coverage.

    As a result, all Virginians who have experienced job or income loss as a result of the Coronavirus crisis are encouraged to file an application for unemployment insurance using the VEC’s online portal, selecting “Lack of Work” as their reason for separation. Please note, recipients will be required to access the portal each week to claim their unemployment insurance payment.

    Detailed instructions for individuals applying for unemployment insurance benefits can be found here. An FAQ on unemployment benefits can be found here.
  • Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Director Contact: Sharon Johnson - 540-442-7134 - sjohnson@vcwvalley.com 

For Residents, Businesses and Communities:

March 20, 2020 Statement from Senator Mark Warner:

Dear Friend,

As Virginia begins to feel the major economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, I am focused on making sure small businesses and their workers have the support they need to get through this crisis.

That’s why I’m writing to update you on important new resources that just became available to small businesses who are suffering from the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Virginia recently received a statewide disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration (SBA), unlocking emergency long-term, low-interest loans for small businesses.

If you are a small business owner who needs assistance during this outbreak I encourage you to take action immediately. First, read this SBA fact sheet. Then, visit the SBA website to begin your application.

My office stands ready to help however we can during this time. If you run into a problem once you have submitted your application, or if you need help with another issue related to the federal government, I encourage you to contact my office at: 202-224-2023.

I also want to give you a brief update on what I am working on in the Senate to deal with this crisis:

  • Earlier this month, I voted to pass a bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding bill to make sure Virginia has the resources it needs to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
  • On Wednesday, I voted to pass to a second coronavirus economic relief package that guarantees free coronavirus testing and expands benefits for Americans impacted by this crisis.
  • I am also working to ensure loan forbearance is available to businesses and individuals. So far, I have successfully pushed bank regulators to ease restrictions that would prevent banks from offering this assistance.
  • This week, I put forward a proposal to create a coronavirus liquidity facility that would provide low-interest loans to small and medium-sized businesses, including potential loan forgiveness and other incentives to keep businesses open and keep workers on the payroll.
  • On March 11, I joined with my colleagues in a letter to the IRS urging them to extend the tax-filing deadline. Today, IRS pushed the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, giving taxpayers and small businesses additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. For more information you can visit the IRS’ Coronavirus Tax Relief page.

For a complete list of my actions in response to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit the coronavirus updates page on my website.

As someone who’s spent more time in business than I have in the Senate, I know this is an exceptionally tough time for businesses and their workers. We will get through this, and I’m doing everything I can to try to make sure no one loses a job, misses a paycheck, or is forced to close down their business because of this crisis.

If you want to share your thoughts about an issue that’s important to you, you can send me an email any time using the form on my Senate website. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you.

The Office of Community Development will continue to update this list as new resources become available.