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CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19 UPDATES

These are unprecedented times and our Chamber is first and foremost a community connector. It is always important to rely on our greater network of organizations, departments and contacts - and times like this prove those built relationships incredibly valuable. Therefore, we will not take time to replicate efforts but instead share the amazing resources others have compiled and add to them as we go. This page will be a place of local, regional and state updates and info sharing as we all navigate these challenging days and weeks.

The Chamber will continue to make decisions on programming in weekly rotations and updates will be emailed at least weekly or more as necessary.

Thank you to the following regional partners for sharing their resources: Hanover County and Economic Development, Town of Ashland, Retail Merchants, ChamberRVA, the Regional Economic Development Partnership team, Chickahominy Health District, local Elected Officials, Market Ashland Partnership, Dominion Energy Innovation Center, Downtown Ashland Association and others.

Please keep in mind that information continues to change quickly; we will do our best to keep this page current.

FREE PPE TOOL KITS FOR REOPENING

If your business needs Personal Protection Equipment to reopen, please consider registering for a PPE Starter Tool Kit. These kits are intended and based on local companies with 25 or less employees, though larger companies can register (but kits will not be any larger). Kits will be distributed as long as supplies last and are being distributed across the RVA Region.

To receive a kit, you must register online in advance at: www.forwardrva.com


PPE Starter Tool Kits must be picked up in person on Wednesday, May 27 or Thursday, May 28 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The closest distribution spot for Hanover & Ashland businesses will be at Virginia Center Commons food court, 10101 Brook Road, Glen Allen, via curbside pickup.

PPE Starter Tool Kits will include: Facemasks, Gloves, Hand Sanitizer, Decals & signs indicating compliance with safety recommendations, Important Saftey Information, and more.

This PPE Starter Tool Kit program is an RVA Regional effort. Richmond region business associations, community organizations, and governmental leaders have come together to form ForwardRVA - a coalition focused on creating an innovative reopening, safe operations and future planning. The Hanover Chamber of Commerce is proud to be part of this effort and will be helping to staff the VCC pickup center.

For more information visit https://www.forwardrva.com/

Or contact Melissa Haley at melissa@hanoverchamberva.com or 804-442-2094.


VA's Governor Ralph Northam - Updated May 15th

  • Moving into a Phased Recovery --- A 3 Phase plan, called Forward Virginia Blueprint, to reopen our economy and lift restrictions was first released on 5/4. If testing results for covid-19 continue to decrease the Phases will be as follows:
    • Phase 1 - potentially begins May 15th - "safer at home" direction especially for those most vulnerable to health issues, gatherings of 10 people stays in place, face coverings when in public, easing personal care services restrictions (like hair salons) to allow customers by appointment, allowing restaurants to have dine-in options (with masks for employees and seating spread farther apart), social distancing and remote working practices continue
    • Phase 2 - potentially begins 2-4 weeks into phase 1 if cases continue decreasing - social gatherings of 50 allowed, further easing of restrictions, social and health safety practices continue
    • Phase 3 - potentially begins after another 2-4 weeks if cases continue decreasing - social gatherings of 200 likely allowed, further easing of restrictions with continued safety practices; could last many weeks.
    • NOT ALL AREAS will reopen on 5/15, due to health statistics. Please check the Governor's site (below) to see more specific details and updates.
  • Statewide Stay-At-Home order effective March 30 will remain in place until June 10, 2020.

https://www.governor.virginia.gov/


Hanover County Economic Development - Daily updates to numerous local and regional and state resources with a focus on business news and tools. This also includes CDC information, State links related to Governor Northam's Newsroom and support for affected workers.

https://www.hanovervirginia.com/grow-your-business/covid-19-information-and-resources/


Unemployment & Hiring


Chickahominy Health District - Hotline:  804-365-3340 to answer health questions related to COVID-19. The District includes Hanover, New Kent, Goochland and Charles City http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/chickahominy/. As a note, King William is part of the Three Rivers Health District http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/three-rivers/.


Hanover County Updates - Closings, modified services and alert information for many offices including Circuit Court, Library, Parks & Rec, DMV Select, Jail and others.

https://www.hanovercounty.gov/1024/COVID-19-Coronavirus

Hanover residents who have questions or need specific assistance can get help by calling one of four important County phone numbers:

  • Chickahominy Health District Covid-19 Hotline (listed above)
  • Hanover County Community Resources 365-4300
  • Hanover Community Services Board– Mental Health 365-4222
  • Hanover Social Services 365-4100 

    Hanover residents that are facing financial challenges are also reminded to apply for food assistance (SNAP), temporary financial assistance (TANF) or health insurance benefits (Medicaid) through Hanover Social Services. For more information on these programs you may call the Social Services Call Center at 1-855-635-4370 or apply on line at www.Commonhelp.Virginia.Gov 


    Town of Ashland Updates - Posts and updates shared on their website often

    https://www.ashlandva.gov/

    • Town Council Election: A recording of the recent Candidate Forum and absentee voting information to “Vote at Home” is available on the Town's homepage.


    Sheriff's Office Updates -

    • Our HCSO deputies, lead by Sheriff Colonel David R Hines, are working diligently to keep our county safe. Read an update from the Sheriff here, also published in the Mechanicsville Local. 
    • Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They’re setting up web sites to sell bogus products and using fake emails, texts, and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information. Tips to help keep the scammers at bay can be found in the SHEILD newsletter on the HCSO SHEILD Program website


    U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Since the Hanover Chamber is a association member of the US Chamber, all of their resources, detailed blogs, webinars and conference calls are available to our local chamber members individually.


    Tax, Fee & Other Payments - Discussions about relief and/or delays on various payments are still in process around the region and state; more updates upcoming.

    • Federal tax filings and payments have been delayed until July 15th, 2020.
    • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can also request to defer the payment of VA 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 Virginia Department of Taxation has extended the due date of payment of Virginia individual and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020. Please note that interest will still accrue, so taxpayers who are able to pay by the original deadlines should do so.
    • Hanover County, as of March 25th, 2020, is deferring all penalties and interest on transient occupancy taxes as well as water and sewer payments until May 23rd.


    Funding & Legislation Links

    **4/23/2020: Currently, both the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) grant funds have been used to their full extent. It seems likely that Congress will approve further funding for these programs, but that is not guaranteed or known at this time. Local Small Business Administration (SBA) contacts recommend businesses and organizations continue to work with their bankers and the SBA site to complete any applications in process or new submissions.

    **PPP and EIDL funding reopened on 4/27 but is not expected to last long. Please be in quick contact with your area bankers to apply. Contact our Chamber office if you need a connection to a bank or banker.

    ChamberRVA is excited to announce the creation of a RVA Small Business Relief Fund, a new program intended to provide unrestricted grants to qualifying businesses in the Richmond Region impacted by COVID-19. This effort is a partnership between ChamberRVA and Facebook, which generously contributed $250,000 to seed this first round of funding. The RVA Small Business Relief Fund aims to provide immediate financial assistance to Richmond Region small businesses to support rent, employee salaries, and similar operating costs as a stop-gap relief pending the release and distribution of anticipated federal and state aid. Applications will open Wednesday, May 13 at 9:00 a.m. and close Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. More information about the program, including the eligibility criteria for small businesses that can apply, can be found at www.chamberrva.com/relief.

    SBA Payroll Protection Plan - Approved as part of the national CARES Act on 3/27 for businesses with less than 500 employees and in business since at least 2/15/2020. Loans of up to 2.5x the average monthly payroll costs or up to $10M. Applications will be made through local banks who are certified SBA Lenders. Changes and clarifications to this program and the application process continue; please stay in contact with your local bankers.

    • Here is a 4-page overview of this program, provided by the US Chamber of Commerce
    • SBA Certified banks in Hanover include: Atlantic Union Bank, M&T Bank, Sonabank, Village Bank, Virginia Commonwealth Bank. We suggest you take time to refresh a relationship with your/these commercial bankers to submit applications.

    The Town of Ashland is working to assist small business as they begin opening during phase 1 and 2. The Safety Enhancement Grant is a program of our Economic Development Authority, and intended to help businesses in Town as they serve the public under the new guidelines established by the Governor in Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. This program is open to any business in the Town of Ashland who is current on their taxes and business license. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and we encourage interested businesses to reach out to us if they have any questions about the process. Town website https://www.ashlandva.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=402

    Safety Grant Overview
    Safety Grant Application 

    U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans, EIDL - could offer disaster relief loans of up to $2 million for merchants and businesses adversely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19); all of VA is included. Applications are submitted directly to the SBA website (website reworked as of 3/30). Note: Advice by the SBA is that any applications submitted prior to 3/30 should be resubmitted.

    US Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Grant ProgramThe US Chamber of Commerce has announced a special program for COVID-19 Relief for small businesses in certain, harder-hit jurisdictions. The US Chamber's Foundation is providing $5,000 supplemental grants. For our area, businesses who employ 3-20 people and are in the zip codes 23005, 23047, 23162 or 23015 may be eligible. See the savesmallbusiness.com website for more details.

    Retail Merchants An RVA resource keeping detailed, daily updates of legislation. Their website also hosts a useful discussion board. https://www.retailmerchants.com/retail-help-coronavirus/ 

    FamiliesFirst Coronavirus Response Act - Passed/Approved this week- to provide support for employees affected by the economic impact of the Coronavirus including paid sick and family leave and availability of unemployment insurance.


    Surveys for Businesses & Business Owners (Updated as needed)

    Please make your voice, and the voices of our Hanover/Ashland area, heard. 

    Richmond Region Survey

    The following survey is intended to gather data from the 9 jurisdictions in and around the Richmond Region - including Hanover County and the Town of Ashland. The survey will take 10 minutes or less and will close on Friday, April 10th.

    Survey goals:

    • Understand the impact of COVID-19 on business operations;
    • Understand the financial resources needed by businesses to continue operations through the COVID-19 pandemic; and 
    • Understand the financial resources needed by businesses to re-open if they have suspended/closed operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Data gathered will help our Region to be more responsive to this pandemic and better prepared to aid our community in rebounding in the months to come.

    Click Here to Take the Survey!

    If the link does not work, copy/paste: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GreaterRichmondCOVID-19BusinessSurvey

    Updated Richmond Federal Reserve Bank Survey - emailed directly to members 5/1


    Working from Home

    As many of us transition and continue to work remotely or work from home, we may encounter a few new challenges. Here are a few resources on safe teleworking, electronically speaking:

    IBM cloud struggles

    https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/news/ibm-cloud-struggles-suffers-small-outage-dallas/ 

    Microsoft and other clouds remote work struggles

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/03/12/remote_work_struggles/ 

    Dangers of & Fixes for RDP without VPN (Remote Desktop Protocol without a Virtual Private Network); we suggest you connect with you IT provider for more on this topic. (Don't have an IT provider? Check our member directory.)

    https://www.itprotoday.com/compute-engines/dangers-using-rdp-without-vpn 

    https://www.liveconsulting.com/news/remotely-working-why-vpn-is-more-secure-than-remote-desktop-protocol/

    https://www.ericom.com/whatis/rdp/ 

    https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/other-blogs/mcafee-labs/rdp-security-explained/ 

    https://openvpn.net/for/remote-desktop/


    Supporting our local Restaurants, Personal Services and Companies

    Click over to our Coronavirus Member News page for updates submitted by our members. Many of our eateries are offering take-away service, retailers are still accepting online orders (often with special discounts) and many services (nonprofits too) are continuing to operate as best as possible. We, along with area partners, are working on a listing of various food, retail and services in the Hanover/Ashland area. Consider supporting local vendors whenever possible. Check our Member Directory and contact places directly!


    A Letter from Hanover Chamber VA's Director | Friday, March 20, 2020

    Dear Chamber Members and Friends,

    The past days have challenged us all in new ways. Navigating a pandemic has changed our businesses, homes and community on a daily, and often hourly, basis.

    As we navigate, know that your Chamber is still here for you.

    I have spent this week participating in Regional and Local partner conversations, gathering facts and resources and speaking with businesses across our area. These are unprecedented times and our Chamber is first and foremost a community connector. It is always important to rely on our greater network of organizations, departments and contacts - and times like this prove those built relationships incredibly valuable.

    Take a moment to look through our Coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage – which does not aim to replicate efforts but instead share the amazing resources others have compiled and add to them as needed. You will find info about business tools, Hanover County closures and procedure changes, Town of Ashland updates, government supported financial resources, legislation, CDC links, affected worker tools, a health hotline and much more. Know we will keep sending and sharing pertinent information.

    I also want to encourage you to share your voice and experience. The webpage includes 2 surveys you can participate in – one from a VA level for small businesses (especially those under 100 employees) and the other from the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank to gather data for our area in the next few weeks (all size businesses). Further, I would welcome your feedback individually; my contact info below reaches me as I work from home or at the office.

    Though we may be “social distancing” we are still connected. It is essential for our public health that we continue to follow guidelines for virus containment, but this does not mean we are truly alone. Nor should we lose hope in the incredible strength, creativity and resiliency of our community! Many businesses continue to function and even thrive – and I truly believe our comeback will be incredible when the time is right. Which does not make light of the challenges in front of us - For now, we walk each day, we stick together and we do our best to support the industries and individuals most affected. My heart breaks with too many who are losing jobs and those affected by illness or caring for a loved one who is ill.

    My ask of you, if I may, is twofold. First, to think about someone you’ve met through your Chamber connections and give them a call or send them an email. This is the time to check-in on one another and let compassion lead us. Whether it’s a retail shop owner who could use your support, a parent suddenly in the weeds of homeschooling, or a colleague experiencing one of many other life challenges outside of this virus. Second, don’t forget about the plethora of carry-out, e-certificate or shipping options provided by our many restaurants, retailers, personal services and nonprofits. Use our online Member Directory and their Facebook pages to contact places specifically.

    Sending you all my best,

    Melissa

    - - -

    Melissa Miller Haley

    Hanover Chamber of Commerce

    Executive Director

    melissa@hanoverchamberva.com

    804-442-2094


    9097 Atlee Station Road, Suite 117, Mechanicsville VA 23116

    804-442-2093 | info@hanoverchamberva.com

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