Covid-19 Information

As we enter this new time, we understand that many people are experiencing difficult circumstances. Fortunately, there are some resources available for people who are struggling during this time of crisis. The list below is organized by type of assistance and is being updated regularly. If you don’t find what you are looking for, please reach out via the live chat on the bottom right below or email us at mromeo@vcwblueridge.com.

What do you need information about?

Virginia Department of Health

Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC)

Locality Specific Information

Tax Filing Deadline

The State Corporation Commission issued an order directing utilies 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, resident and business, who may be financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Roanoke Gas

Appalachian Power

Dominion Energy

  • Dominion Energy has temporarily suspended all service disconnections for non-payment and they are also reconnecting residential customers whose services were shut off. More information can be found on their website at: https://www.dominionenergy.com/company/coronavirus. 

Cox Cable

Comcast

  • Comcast is offering free internet for two (2) months to low income families. This is in addition to all Xfinity hot-spots being free to the public during this time. For more information on their offers, visit https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19.

Verizon

Sprint

T-Mobile

K-12 School System Meal Programs

General Food Resources

  • Caps on WIC and SNAP matching dollars at local farmer’s markets have been eliminated. Farmer’s markets remain open and are allowing drive through pickup, while still following social distancing. Some are also allowing online and phone orders. To find your closest market, visit https://www.vafma.org/virginia-markets/.
  • LEAP continues to monitor their response to the COVID-19 outbreak and have changed several of their policies regarding their open markets. For more information, review their COVID-19 outbreak statement at https://mailchi.mp/11a7e0c049fd/health-resilience-leap-markets-response-to-corona-virus.
  • Emergency benefits will be made available to Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants during the months of March and April,as part of a provision set forth by the Families First Coronavirus Responses Act of 2020. Under this provision, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) will issue the emergency benefits to any household not already receiving the maximum benefits. The emergency benefits will allow the household’s current monthly allotment to increase to the maximum allotment for a household of that size. You can apply at https://commonhelp.virginia.gov or by phone to (855) 635-4370.
  • All Kroger stores in the Mid-Atlantic region will dedicate the first hour of operation to seniors and other at-risk customers on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. These at-risk and senior customers can visit the store between 7-8 AM on those days.
  • If you need access to meals for your children while they are out of school, you can text “FOOD” to 877877 to receive a list of food distribution locations closest to you.

Restaurant Offers

  • Quizno’s is currently offering a free kids meal with a $12 purchase through April 7, 2020.
  • Rocky Mount Burger Company is working with STEP to prepare bagged lunches for children in Franklin County. Visit http://www.stepincva.com for more information.
  • The Cheesesteak Factory and Jerk House in Salem, VA is offering free meals to children, no questions asked.
  • Wokology will prepare packed lunches and bring them to individuals in need. For more information, message them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wokologyUSA/.
  • Our Daily Bread Bakery and Bistro in Salem, VA is providing free meals to children and families in need.

Supportive Organizations

Camp Hope

  • The YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge is providing Camp Hope, an emergency full-day care program for school-age children, for essential personnel during this challenging time. For more information: http://ymcavbr.org/forms/camp-hope/

Evictions on Hold

  • Governor Northam requested and the Supreme Court of Virginia granted a judicial emergency in response to COVID-19. This emergency response includes a prohibition on new eviction cases for tenants who are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19. All non-exempted court deadlines are tolled and extended for a period of 21 days.

Foreclosure and Eviction Notices

Higher Education

  • Virginia Western Community College is currently offering all of their programs virtually. There is a wide variety of short-term credentialed courses as well as traditional credit programs. For more information about their course offerings, visit their website at http://www.virginiawestern.edu.
  • Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is currently offering all of their programs virtually. There is a wide variety of short-term credentialed courses as well as traditional credit programs. For more information about their course offerings, visit their website at http://www.dslcc.edu.
  • Tooling U-SME is a leading provider of online manufacturing training, offering programs in areas of Machining, Welding, Industrial Maintenance, Mechatronics, Additive Manufacturing, Robotics, and others. To find out more about their online offerings, visit their catalog at http://www.toolingu.com/catalog.
  • Opx Solutions, LLC is a performance improvement company specializing in manufacturing operations. They will be offering free online webinars during this time. To register and review the webinar offerings, visit their website at http://opxsolutionsllc.eventbrite.com.

K-12 School System Information

Online Activities

  • The Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence, Mo Willems, is offering Lunch Doodles everyday at 1:00 PM virtually. To find out more information, visit their website at  https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems.
  • Kodable is an online resource for software programming and coding for kids. Visit their website at http://www.kodable.com for more information.
  • Code.org is a website that helps children learn to code – with a special section devoted to Star Wars. For more information, visit their website at http://www.code.org/starwars.
  • Seussville is an online learning resource with fun activities related to Dr. Seuss characters. For more information, visit their website at http://www.seussville.com.
  • 123 Homeschool4me is an online resources with hundreds of worksheets, activities, and more for all ages. To find out more, visit their website at http://www.123homeschool4me.com.
  • FunBrain is an online website that has educational resources in the form of games, a virtual playground, and videos. To find our more information, visit their website at http://www.funbrain.com.
  • The USGS has online activities about the science of earthquakes for kids on their website. To find out more information, visit their website at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/kids.
  • Math Playground is an online resource with hundreds of math games, logic puzzles, and fun brain builders. For more information, visit their website at http://www.mathplayground.com.
  • Virtual Musical Instruments is a website offering the possibility of learning and creating music by playing musical instruments online. For more information, visit their website at http://www.virtualmusicalinstruments.com.
  • The Institute for Excellence in Writing is offering a free, digitized three-week program of English language arts instruction. For more information, visit their website at https://iew.com/three-weeks-of-language-arts-instruction-from-iew.
  • Google Arts and Culture allows you to visit all of the National Parks virtually. For more information, visit their website at http://artsandculture.withgoogle.com/en-us/.
  • Virtual Field Trips are available through many of the nation’s zoos, parks, and more. For a list of what is offered, visit http://shorturl.at/hyBKT.

Anyone that has been laid off from their place of employment due to facility closings or reductions in force from COVID-19 should file a claim for unemployment insurance through the Virginia Employment Commission. You will need the following information to file an initial claim:

  1. Your full Social Security Number
  2. The accurate employer names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of employment within the last 18 months.
  3. The name and local number of your local union hall, if you obtain work through a union.
  4. Your Alien Registration number if you are not a US citizen.
  5. If you have any Non-Virginia employers you must have an accurate mailing address, phone number, and dates of employment for them.
  6. You will be asked to select a method of payment: VA Debit Card or Direct Deposit. If you select Direct Deposit, you will need to have your Routing Number (First 9 digits located at the bottom of your checks) and your Account Number (5-17 digits, its exact location varies from bank to bank).

There are two ways to accomplish this:

  1. The best and fastest way to file is online through http://www.vawc.virginia.gov.
  2. The phone number to the call center for initial claims processing is 1-866-832-2363. Due to the overwhelming number of claimants with the COVID-19 outbreak, the call center is experiencing longer wait times than usual.

Unemployment Insurance legislation is changing daily and we will update this website with further information to us as it comes. As of now, Governor Northam has announced the following:

  • No waiting for unemployment benefits. The one-week waiting period has been waived to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.
  • Enhance eligibility for unemployment. Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if an employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. If a worker has 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, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits. 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.
  • Fewer restrictions. The work search requirement for individuals affected by temporary closures or reductions in force due to COVID-19 has been waived.

A Frequently Asked Questions page has been set up through the Governor’s office for workers with questions regarding their individual situation and employment.

Public Transportation

  • Valley Metro has suspended all fares through at least April 24th. For more information, please contact Valley Metro at 540-982-2222.
  • The Mountain Express will also be free until further notice.

Vehicle Inspections

COVID-19 Business Assistance Funding

  • Virginia Career Works – Blue Ridge has limited funding available for small businesses (250 employees or less) to assist in employee retention and layoff aversion activities due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. This funding can go to small businesses to assist them in paying for additional cleaning supplies, cleaning services, or the ability to stand up teleworking operations by the purchase of equipment, software, or other items that are necessary for employees to work remotely. The application window will be 9:00 AM March 30, 2020 through 5:00 PM April 3, 2020. Apply here: https://vcwblueridge.com/covid-19-funding/

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

State Tax Deadlines

  • Businesses impacted by COVID-18 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 due date for individual and corporate income taxes will now be June 1, 2020. Interest will continue to accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadline should do so.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce

  • The Virginia Chamber of Commerce continues to be an advocate for businesses during this time. They have created a resource page that can be found at https://www.vachamber.com/covid-19/.

Business Resources by Specific Localities

Carilion Clinic

  • Carilion Clinic is offering a wide range of information and updates surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak in Southwest Virginia. For more information, visit their COVID-19 page at https://carilionclinic.org/coronavirus.

Lewis Gale Health System

  • Lewis Gale Health System is offering a wide range of information and updates surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak in Southwest Virginia. For more information, visit their COVID-19 page at http://www.lewisgale.com/covid-19.

Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP Coverage

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has developed a fact sheet for questions related to Medicaid and CHIP Coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak. The flyer can be found at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/03052020-medicaid-covid-19-fact-sheet.pdf.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has developed a fact sheet for questions related to Medicare Coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak. The flyer can be found at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/03052020-medicare-covid-19-fact-sheet.pdf.
  • On March 20, 2020 Governor Northam announced actions related to Medicaid and FAMIS insurance:
    • Co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19 related treatments are eliminated
    • Medicaid members will not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
    • Medicaid members will be able to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
    • Pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services are waived and automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place are enacted.
    • Telehealth services are now expanded and Medicaid reimbursement is now allowed for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.

Mental Health Resources

  • The CDC’s main resource page for mental health resources for the COVID-19 outbreak can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html.
  • Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare continues to be a resource in the community for those seeking assistance with mental health resources. To make an initial appointment, please call (540) 343-3007. For existing customers who wish to schedule an appointment, please call (540) 344-1723.
  • Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare also offers a 24-hour Crisis Services Hotline, which can be reached at (540) 981-9351.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a page devoted to managing stress associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak. To find out more information, please visit https://www.ptsd.va.gov/covid/COVID_managing_stress.asp.
  • For managers, providers, and community leaders, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has also developed a page devoted to managing stress associated with the COVID-19 virus outbreak. To find out more information, please visit https://www.ptsd.va.gov/covid/COVID_providers_comm_leaders.asp.
  • For healthcare workers that continue to provide services and see patients during this time, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a page devoting to managing stress associated with the COVID-19 virus outbreak. To find out more information, please visit https://www.ptsd.va.gov/covid/COVID_healthcare_workers.asp.
  • The CDC has developed tips for emergency responders to ensure their health and wellness is being taken care of during this time. To see the tips and information, visit https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/responders.asp.
  • To assist in helping parents and guardians care for an explain the COVID-19 outbreak to children, the CDC has developed resources that can be used during this time. For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/helping-children-cope.html.
  • For those that need assistance coping with a disaster or traumatic event, the CDC has developed online resources for use. For more information, visit https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/index.asp.

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