The Latest Info For Virginia Small Business on COVID-19: Non-Essential Closures

Date: March 23, 2020

Gov. Northam puts out a new directive

3/24

Governor Northam Orders Statewide Closure of Certain Non-Essential Businesses

Earlier today Governor Ralph Northam issued an Executive Order to close certain non-essential businesses, ban all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year.

This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Non-Essential Business Closures

Professional businesses not listed below must utilize telework as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such businesses must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities, including CDC, OSHA, and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Recreation and entertainment businesses including, but not limited to: theaters, fitness centers, personal grooming businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

All dining and congregation areas must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services.

Retail businesses who are considered essential may remain open during normal business hours.  All essential retail establishments must, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.

Any brick-and-mortar retail business who are not designated essential must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.

To learn whether your business falls into one of these categories, read the Governor’s full press release where examples are listed.

Businesses in violation of this order may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Three can be found here.

Additional guidance and a Frequently Asked Questions guide can be found here.

NFIB will continue to make every effort to share relevant information with members. Please continue to check the NFIB Virginia website.

 Virginia has been granted disaster status, which allows small businesses to receive a disaster loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For more information or to apply, click here. 

 TAX PAYMENT DEFERMENTS

Governor Northam has deferred February’s sales tax payment due on March 20, 2020 and income tax payments due on May 1, 2020 by 30 days.  You must still submit a waiver request or file your income taxes.  You can find additional details below in our update from March 19, 2020.  Here are the tax bulletins provided by the Department of Taxation here and here .

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or wish to share your story. 

Nicole Riley, Virginia State Director
[email protected]
804.377.3661 (office)

Sharon Sykes, Grassroots Manager
[email protected]
804.344.3669

 

 

Governor Northam Announces Deferred Tax Payments & SBA Loans Now Available

March 19, 2020 – At his daily COVID-19 press briefing Governor Northam announced the following measures to address the impact of the coronavirus situation on employers and employees:

TAX PAYMENT DEFERMENTS

SALES TAX PAYMENTS

  • February sales tax payments which are due Friday, Mar 20, 2020 can be deferred for 30 days.
  • However, you MUST file a request. The Tax Department intends to be liberal in granting the deferments
  • Businesses will be charged interest.  Unfortunately, the Administration must have General Assembly approval to suspend interest. The Governor hopes to address this when the General Assembly comes back for Reconvene Session on April 22, 2020.
  • When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties.

INCOME TAX PAYMENTS

  • Whether you’re an individual or business that typically files individual or corporate income taxes, you must still file by the May 1st deadline.
  • However, they’re allowing for deferment of payment until June 1, 2020.
  • Please note that interest will still accrue (unless legislative action is taken), so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so.

SBA DISASTER LOAN UPDATE

SBA has approved Governor Northam’s application to open up low-interest federal loans to Virginia’s small businesses affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis.  These loans can be up to $2 million to pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. To submit a loan application through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

Finally, we’d like to hear about your challenges during this time.  We are in constant contact with the Governor’s economic team and legislators to keep them updated on what small businesses are experiencing so they are informed when making policy decisions related to COVID-19.  Please feel free to email either myself ([email protected]) or Sharon Sykes, our Grassroots Manager, ([email protected]).  Or you may call our office at 804.377.3661. 

Gatherings of groups of people that impact some small businesses

March 18, 2020 – Governor Ralph Northam announced additional measures affecting businesses that primarily interact with the public. 

To contain the outbreak, Northam said the state would ban gatherings of 10 or more people, in line with federal guidelines.  All restaurants, fitness centers, and theaters are mandated to significantly reduce their capacity to 10 patrons or close.  However, restaurants are permitted to stay open to offer takeout and delivery services.  The governor’s office said the 10-customer cap was indefinite but would be re-evaluated in two weeks.

The ban exempts grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, manufacturing plants, and distribution centers, as well as transportation hubs like airports and bus depots.

Northam also issued an emergency order allowing law enforcement agencies to enforce the ban inside restaurants, gyms, and theaters. Violations may result in immediate suspension of one’s Department of Health operational permit and criminal misdemeanor charges.

For small businesses that want to apply for SBA small business emergency loans the President announced recently, Governor Northam’s Administration has already begun the application process to open up these loans to affected Virginia businesses.  In our discussions with the Governor’s Office yesterday, they hope to have everything finalized in the next couple of days. Businesses may apply for loans up to $2 million to cover expenses such as fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. You’ll find a link to the SBA’s website below.

To offer state assistance to impacted employers, Governor Northam stated regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Employers who do slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits. The Governor is also authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. The funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs. As NFIB gets additional information, we will pass along those details.

Finally, we’d like to hear about your challenges during this time.  We are in constant contact with the Governor’s economic team and legislators to keep them updated on what small businesses are experiencing so they are informed when making policy decisions related to COVID-19.  Please feel free to email either me ([email protected]) or Sharon Sykes, our Grassroots Manager, ([email protected]).  Or you may call our office at 804.377.3661. 

Also, we encourage you to visit the following websites to learn additional information related to the coronavirus situation including what’s happening in Washington DC and Richmond. 

Federal, State, and NFIB Resources:

NFIB Coronavirus Resources:  www.NFIB.com/coronavirus

Virginia State Government:              https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus-updates/

Virginia Department of Health:              http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus/

SBA Small Business Loan Information: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

Virginia Employment Commission FAQs for Employees regarding Unemployment benefits:

https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/Frequently-Asked-Questions-from-Workers-Regarding-COVID-19.pdf

CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers:              https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-business-response.html

 

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