COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

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Governor Northam Launches Return to Earn Grant Program to Help Virginians Transition Back to Work

Bonuses of up to $1,000 available to new hires earning at least $15 per hour

VIRGINIA BEACH—Governor Ralph Northam today announced a new $3 million investment to pilot the Return to Earn Grant Program, which will match payments from eligible small businesses to provide new hires with up to $1,000 to support their transition back into the workforce. While many companies are offering hiring bonuses, the Return to Earn Grant Program will serve businesses with less than 100 employees that may not have the resources to provide this financial support. The initial launch of this program will be funded through Virginia’s federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) set aside and additional recovery funds may be allocated based on demand.

“Many Virginians who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic still face a variety of barriers to returning to work like access to affordable child care, transportation, and a living wage,” said Governor Northam. “These bonuses will serve as an incentive for unemployed workers to get back into the workforce while also helping employers fill vacant jobs. The Virginia Return to Earn Grant Program is about empowering the true catalysts of our economic comeback—Virginia’s workers and small businesses.”

Read The Full Release

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Governor Northam Lifts Mask Mandate to Align with CDC Guidance, Announces Virginia to End COVID-19 Mitigation Measures on May 28


RICHMOND - Governor Ralph Northam lifted Virginia’s universal indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Governor Northam also announced that Virginia will ease all distancing and capacity restrictions on Friday, May 28, two weeks earlier than planned. The updates to Virginia’s mask policy are reflected in amendments to Executive Order Seventy-Two and will become effective at midnight tonight along with previously announced changes to mitigation measures.

The CDC guidelines state that fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.

Read The Full Release 

Virginia Invests Over $203.6 Million to Expand Access to Child Care, Increase Support for Providers

Families with household income of up to 85 percent of the state median income with children five and younger now eligible to receive subsidies


RICHMOND - Governor Ralph Northam announced that an additional $203.6 million in federal stimulus funds and expanded eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy Program will help further stabilize Virginia’s early childhood care and education system, provide child care assistance to additional families as they seek stable employment or return to work, and deliver critical operational and technical resources to new and returning child care providers.

Read The Full Release 

What's the American Rescue Plan Act and what does it mean for business owners?

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $1.9 trillion in relief and economic stimulus for those affected by the coronavirus. The new law includes:

  • Additional funds are allocated for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, and now allows businesses to apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG. Friendly reminder! Looking to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant? You will need to be registered in the U.S. government’s System for Award Management,
  • $15 billion additional for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including NEW $5 billion for Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance payments for those hardest hit
  • NEW: $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants
  • NEW: $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.

Learn more about the American Rescue Plan Act 

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Telework!VA Offers FREE Telework Assitance to Businesses

This past year has shown industries across the board the importance of teleworking - so how's your teleworking program?
Telework!VA is a one-stop resource for FREE assistance in implementing a successful telework program for your business. 

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RCAHD Provides Update on Local COVID-19 Vaccine Availabilityvac

(ROANOKE COUNTY, VA - January 11, 2021)   The following information about local availability of the COVID-19 vaccine was provided by the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District (VDH):

We know the demand is great and we at the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts (RCAHD) are working with our vaccine providing partners (i.e., Carilion, Lewis Gale, some of our local pharmacies) to try to expand as many possibilities as we can to deliver the vaccine. It’s going to take time and we have limited supply. It is good news that people are interested in receiving the vaccine, but we are not able to handle the volume of calls we are currently receiving. We believe we may have over 50,000 eligible recipients in Phase 1b in the RCAHD service area. Please be patient as we get these processes up and running. 

  • If you are over 75 and can stay home and stay safe, please do.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have the ability to stay home and be safe, we are asking you to delay receiving your vaccine for the moment.
  • It is important for us to get vaccines to our public-facing, frontline essential workers who should be at the front of the line because they don’t have the option to stay home.
  • If you can stay home and defer your vaccine for a few weeks, it will help us all, and would be the biggest gift you can give to your community right now.
  • There is a link on our website to allow people over age 75 who are interested in receiving the vaccine to let us know of their interest, but RCAHD is not generally registering this group for vaccines at this time. 

The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts are overwhelmed with phone calls and inquiries, but the health of the public is a priority to us. We are thrilled by the huge numbers of people who have expressed that they are ready for the vaccine. Please be patient as we develop the framework to get everyone vaccine that wants one. In the meantime, nothing is more important than continuing to practice the 3 Ws: Wash your hands, Watch your distance and Wear a mask.  We expect to have more information about the enrollment process later this week or next week. Stay tuned to local news media where we will broadcast updates widely.

More Information:

Follow the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts on Facebook for the latest developments

See Roanoke County's COVID-19 Vaccine web page for more information.

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seal_blueGovernor Northam Announces $65.8 Million to Increase Child Care Access, Help Providers

New funding will continue child care provider incentive grant program established in April

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam [announced on Oct. 21] $65.8 million in new funding to increase access to child care and support child care providers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This new investment is supported by $58.3 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars as well as a reallocation of $7.5 million in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. First Lady Northam made the announcement during a virtual meeting of the Children’s Cabinet.

“Our ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery depends upon having a child care system that is both accessible and operational,” said Governor Northam. “Early childhood educators have been on the frontlines since COVID-19 pandemic started, going above and beyond to keep their doors open, ensure children are safe, and even fill in the gaps with remote learning as schools have reopened. This new funding will help them continue to support working families and enable more programs to safely provide in-person child care.”

Read the full release
Guide to COVID-19 child care resources in Virginia 
Health and safety guidelines for child care centers

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Note: The following information is courtesy of economic development colleagues, Business Oregon.

Para español, descargue esta este documento.

Operational Planning During Crisis

  • First off, DO NOT panic; you are not alone. Seek the advice of people you trust and then think things through carefully.
  • Be proactive and respond, do not be reactive. Deal with what is in front of you and that which you have control over. Let the rest go. Worry and fear never solves the problems and can actually exacerbate them.
  • Nobody wins if your business fails, so involve your partners and employees in the solution.
  • No one will manage your business like you do. It is important that you stay active in the day-to-day management. The outcome of your business is dependent on the decisions you make.
  • Preserve thy capital. Living to fight another day is priority #1.
  • You don’t have to come up with all of the solutions. Seeking the advice of others and holding a brainstorm meeting can be very helpful. Work with your CPA, Small Business Development Center, financial institution, key employees and even other business owners to come up with ideas. In turn, share with others what is working…and what is not working.
  • Who are your key employees? Do they know the plan? Now is not the time to hide or to go silent; it is the time to communicate, communicate and communicate some more.
  • Work with key employees and involve them in implementing the plan. Many of them will have sound solutions that you might not have thought of. Some of the best solutions can be developed and implemented by those closest to the problem and who have a vested interest in a positive outcome.

Financing a Business During Crisis

  1. Cash Flow Planning
  2. Managing Cash Flow
  3. Increase Cash Inflow
  4. Managing Payments
  5. Lower Cash Outflow
  • Cash flow modeling is the critical tool. Work with your CPA and or Small Business Development Center in putting together a cash flow plan. Stress test it for a 25% and 50% reduction in revenue. Develop a weekly cash flow model going out a minimum of three months, possibly six. Longer is less useful and not as critical. Not that you shouldn’t look out further, but first focus on what is immediately in front of you. Use the cash flow projections to help develop your survival strategy.
  • Pay attention to your financials. They are neither good nor bad, just a tool to show you where you are. They are like indicators on your vehicle. Pay attention to them.  Manage your business based on what you are seeing. Work with your CPA or financial professional to better understand them and to understand what actions can impact them.
  • Work with your partners to get through this. It should not be a surprise to anyone that companies may be starved for cash. Talk to you bank/credit union, suppliers, customers and start working on solutions driven by your cash flow modeling. For instance, if through your modeling it looks like a key to your survival is getting extended terms from say 45 to 90 days that may become a specific request of your vendors to extend their terms to you. Conversely, get your big customers to expedite payments.
  • Do an honest assessment of how long your business can stay viable with little or no revenue.
  • Build up an emergency cash reserve fund and keep it as strong as possible. Cash is king.

Other Crisis Considerations

  1. Insurance
  2. Staffing
  3. Long Term Decisions
  • Are you properly insured? Review your business insurance policy, understand your coverage and exclusions, especially business interruption. There may be a number of relatively low cost insurance options to address business interruption and closures due the state and federal disasters. 
  • Are they up-to-date? Are there ways to reduce the cost and yet maintain adequate insurance coverage?