Coronavirus Update from Del. Jason Miyares

Virginia Beach Delegate Jason Miyares, 82nd House of Delegates District, provides information on the current coronavirus pandemic….

Last week was the week that changed  America, and the cost to our economy, our business owners, our employees, our health care workers, our seniors and so many others are just being calculated.  This crisis is a significant disruption to our work, our economy, and our daily lives. It is a challenge unlike anything we’ve faced in modern Virginia history. Anyone who tells you they know how this will play out isn’t telling you the truth.
But I do know that this Commonwealth has endured for more than 400 years. War did not break us. Famine and prior diseases have not broken us. We will get through this and come out the other side better for it.
We are Virginians.   
I wanted to take a moment to share with you several resources related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As your state Delegate, I want to ensure that you have the necessary information to keep you and your family updated, safe, and healthy.
A State of Emergency was declared for Virginia on March 12th. Since then, numerous local and state agencies have been impacted. Below is helpful information in one, convenient place.
General Closings/Cancellations
The Supreme Court of Virginia has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings to suspend through April 6th. This includes a suspension in eviction hearings. If you have ongoing matters before the courts, you may wish to reach out to your attorney or the appropriate clerk’s office for specific questions.
The DMV has closed its service centers through April 2nd. Virginians with business before the DMV are encouraged to perform their transactions online. For those who must appear in person for license renewal or other similar business, a 60 day deadline extension will be granted for all expirations occurring before May 15.Click here for more details.
The Virginia State Police have also been instructed to not enforce the state’s vehicle inspection program for 60 days. If your vehicle inspection is about to expire, you have an additional two months to drive without fear of a citation. Click here for more information.
The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has ordered all publicly regulated utility companies to suspend disconnections for a period of 60 days.
Governor Northam has banned gatherings of 10 or more people across the Commonwealth, leaving most restaurants to function in a “take-out/delivery” mode if they remain open. He also announced Friday that some Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations will be suspended, and restaurants can deliver beer and wine with meals. Learn more here.
School Closings
The Governor has ordered all public schools in Virginia to close until Friday, March 27th. Some schools will be closed for longer periods of time. 
The Federal Department of Education announced that “the Department will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.”
In Virginia there will be no Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, and I expect more information to be forthcoming on that matter soon. 
Should further action regarding school closure be deemed necessary, that information will be disseminated by local media.
The standard one week waiting period for unemployment benefits has been waived If you or someone you know has lost their job or had a significant reduction in hours due to Coronavirus, this information from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) will help answer questions about unemployment benefits. 
I realize that it’s not an easy thing for some of us to ask for help. Rest assured, this is not a hand-out. It’s a hand up, a lifeline to keep families afloat until the tide turns.
Please note that VEC offices are closed to the public. Online and phone services remain open, and the Commission is adding to their call center capacity daily.    
Small Business Assistance
If you’re a business owner, the Small Business Administration has been given authority to grant low-interest loans to all parts of Virginia. If that sort of assistance can help your small business keep the lights on, I encourage you to click the link below and fill out the application. 
COVID-19 Information
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding Coronavirus, including recommendations on social distancing and precautions for high-risk individuals. Click here to access that information
You can also keep up to date with various health and safety measures being recommended by state officials by clicking here.
For a comprehensive list of actions taken by Governor Northam, click HERE.            

Photo courtesy of The Republican Standard                                                

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