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06.23.2020 Combined Federal, VA and NC Government Resources for COVID-19 By: Hon. David B. Albo, Jordan E. Chillon, Matthew M. Cobb, Patrick A. Cushing, Nicole Pugar Lawter, Sarah M. Patterson, Elizabeth O. Rafferty & Richard A. "Rick" Zechini

Virginia Resources Updated: June 24, 2020
North Carolina Resources Updated: June 23, 2020

COVID-19 Key Resource List (Virginia):

Commonwealth of Virginia Official COVID-19 Website

This website is a comprehensive resource that provides information pertaining to official actions, guidance, updates, and information about the novel coronavirus. 

Updates from the Governor

Governor Northam is holding Facebook Live briefings at 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays to provide an update to the public on the actions his administration is taking to combat and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia and to support Virginians during this very difficult time.

Williams Mullen COVID-19 Legal Updates

Williams Mullen attorneys continue to serve our clients by assembling a legal resource page with alerts on federal and state actions related to COVID-19. An email sign-up is available so you can have legal alerts and updates sent as soon as they are published.

Recent Updates

On Tuesday, June 23, Governor Northam announced that all of Virginia will move into Phase 3 on Wednesday, July 1. 

The Phase 3 guidance includes the following:

  • Residents are still safer at home, telework is still strongly encouraged and citizens need to continue practicing physical distancing.
  • Face coverings are still required inside public places.
  • Social gatherings may have up to 250 people.
  • Capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail stores will be removed  but physical distancing is required.
  • Outdoor venues may open at 50% capacity up to 1,000 people.
  • Gyms and fitness centers may open at 75% capacity.
  • Personal grooming services still need to follow physical distancing requirements and safety measures.
  • Swimming pools may open at 75% capacity and institute physical distancing between swimmers.
  • Recreational sports are allowed with physical distancing.
  • Overnight summer camps remain closed.
     

Here is a link to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders and Directives.

COVID-19 Additional Resources (Virginia):

Department of Taxation: www.tax.virginia.gov

  • Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can request to defer the payment of state sales tax due 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 is extending the due date of payment of Virginia individuals and corporate income taxes. While the 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.
     

Department of Health: www.vdh.virginia.gov

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 information.
  • Share the Facts about COVID-19 resource.
  • What to do if your sick resource.
  • What to do if you have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A daily update of the number of the number of Virginians tested, the number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
     

Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid): www.dmas.virginia.gov

  • Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.
  • Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
  • Permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
  • Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
  • Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.
     

 Department of Motor Vehicleswww.dmv.virginia.gov

  • Virginia’s 75 DMV offices, as well as mobile units are closed to the public.
  • Online services will remain available, and anyone needing to renew a license or vehicle registration is encouraged to do so online.
  • For those who cannot renew online, or whose license or registration expires before May 15, DMV will grant a 60-day extension.
  • Virginia Department of State Police to suspend the enforcement of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections for 60 days.
     

Virginia’s Judicial System: http://www.courts.state.va.us/

  • From Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 26, non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings in all district and circuit courts are suspended absent a specific exemption, by order of the Virginia Supreme Court. The clerk's office will still be open.
     

Virginia Employment Commission http://www.vec.virginia.gov/

  • Governor Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period for benefit payments.
  • Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if their 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 to receive 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.
  • Virginia Employment Commission will give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.


COVID-19 KEY RESOURCE LIST (North Carolina):

North Carolina Official COVID-19 Website

This website is a comprehensive resource of North Carolina’s response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Williams Mullen COVID-19 Legal Updates

Williams Mullen attorneys continue to serve our clients and have helped by assembling a legal resource page with alerts on federal and state actions related to COVID-19. An email sign-up is available so you can have legal alerts and updates sent as soon as they are published.

Recent Updates:

On May 20th, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 141 and announced that North Carolina would move into Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan. Phase Two, referred to as “Safer at Home,” began on May 22nd at 5pm and continues until at least June 26th.

Highlights of Phase Two:

  • Lifts the statewide Stay at Home Order.
  • Allows restaurants to open for on-premises dining with limits on occupancy and other specific requirements.
  • Allows child-care businesses to open to serve all children, as long as they follow state health guidelines
  • Allows overnight camps to operate, following specific public health requirements and guidance.
  • Allows personal care, grooming, massage, and tattoo businesses to open with specific requirements.
  • Allows indoor and outdoor pools to open at 50% occupancy, following specific public health requirements.
  • Allows mass gatherings, but limits gatherings to ten people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Allows sporting and entertainment events to occur in large venues for broadcast to the public, so long as the mass gathering limit is followed.
  • Teleworking continues to be encouraged whenever possible.


Phase Two Requirements

General Retail Requirements

The capacity limit for retailers is unchanged from the previous order and is equal to the lesser of the following:

  • 50% of stated fire capacity (retail businesses that do not have a stated fire capacity must limit customer occupancy to twelve customers for every thousand square feet of total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers).
  • The number of people in the store so that everyone can stay six feet apart.


Other requirements include:

  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers, such as at deli counters and near high-demand products.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing (staying at least six (6) feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Just as with the previous order, Executive Order 141 preempts local orders regulating maximum capacity of retail operations.


(The Phase 1 requirement to provide hand sanitizer, when available, was moved to a recommendation in the guidance document).

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidance document for retailers can be found here.

Restaurants

Restaurants are allowed to open under the Phase Two Order subject to capacity restrictions that limit occupancy to the lesser of the following:

  • 50% of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every one thousand square feet of the location's total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
  • The number resulting when people are spaced in groups so that they can stay six feet apart.
  • The number required so that customers sitting at a table are not within six feet of any customers sitting at another table. In addition, each group of customers sitting at a counter should be separated from other groups by six feet.


The other requirements that apply are as follows:

  • No more than ten people at the same table, unless they are members of the same household.
  • Restaurant workers are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when they are within six feet of another person.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage reminding attendees, customers, and workers about social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others) and requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Increase disinfection during peak times or high customer density times, and disinfect all shared objects (e.g., dining tables, booths, counters, payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders, and reusable menus) between each use.
  • Promote frequent use of handwashing and hand sanitizer for wait staff and food service staff throughout the shift and upon reporting to work. Hand washing must at least meet the requirements specified in the North Carolina Food Code Manual.
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at high-traffic areas for customers, such as a cash register or place where customers wait to be seated at their table.


The Order provides that people do not need to be family members to sit at the same table and do not need to stay six feet apart. Nor are wait staff required to stay six feet away from customers.

The Order also provides that the business immunity provision included in recently enacted COVID-19 legislation applies to restaurants.

The NC DHHS guidance document for restaurants can be found here.

Personal Care, Grooming, and Tattoo Businesses

Personal Care, Grooming, and Tattoo Businesses can open under Phase Two, subject to the capacity limits defined as the lesser of the following:

  • 50% of stated fire capacity (or, for spaces without a stated fire capacity, no more than twelve customers for every one thousand square feet of the location's total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers or guests).
  • The number of people in the store so that patrons can stay six feet apart.


In addition, the following apply to these business operations:

  • Arrange seating so that groups of customers are separated from one another by six feet.
  • Workers shall wear face coverings when they are within six feet of another person.
  • Post the maximum occupancy in a noticeable place.
  • Post signage requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
  • Immediately isolate and remove sick workers.
  • Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection on high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Ensure that all equipment that comes into direct personal contact with customers and all furniture in service areas (such as chairs, capes, and the shampooing area in a barber shop or salon) is completely cleaned and disinfected between each customer.
  • Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers, such as at cash registers and waiting areas.
  • Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when they are within six feet of another person.


The NC DHHS guidance document for these businesses can be found here.

What remains closed in Phase Two:

  • Public playgrounds.
  • Bars and nightclubs.
  • Movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, amusement parks, arcades, and skating rinks
  • Bingo parlors and other gaming establishments
  • Visitation at long-term care facilities remains restricted, except for certain compassionate care situations.
  • The following facilities that operate within an indoor space: exercise facilities, gyms, fitness studios, martial arts facilities, dance studios, trampoline and rock-climbing facilities, roller skating rinks, ice staking rinks, and basketball courts.


The Order specifically provides that it does not create a private right of action by any party against the “State of North Carolina, its agencies, departments, political subdivisions, or other entities, or any officers, employees, or agents thereof, or any emergency management worker (as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-l 9.60) or any other person.”

Mass Gathering Ban

Mass gatherings are still prohibited and defined as an event or convening that brings together more than ten people indoors or more than 25 people outdoors at the same time in a single confined indoor or outdoor space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, or meeting hall. This includes parades, fairs, and festivals. The mass gathering limit does not apply to retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, childcare, day camps, and overnight camps. The prohibition on mass gatherings does not include gatherings for health and safety, to look for and obtain goods and services, for work, or for receiving governmental services. A mass gathering does not include normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls, and shopping centers. It also does not apply to the exercise of First Amendment rights.


Definitions Applicable to Executive Order 141

The Order provides that personal care and grooming businesses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Barber Shops
  • Beauty Salons (including but not limited to waxing and hair removal centers)
  • Hair Salons
  • Nail Salons/Manicure/Pedicure Providers
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Tanning Salons
  • Massage Therapists (except that massage therapists may provide medical massage therapy services upon the specific referral of a medical or naturopathic healthcare provider)


Restaurants include, but are not limited to, cafeterias, food halls, dining halls, food courts, and food kiosks. Locations within other businesses or facilities, including, but not limited to airports, shopping centers, educational institutions, and private or members-only clubs where food and beverages are permitted to be consumed on premises.
 

Overview of NC’s 3-Phase Reopening Plan

As background, the three phases of the re-opening plan rely on North Carolina’s progress on certain measurable factors. Below are the factors and in parenthesis the result needed for each factor to continue moving forward in re-opening the state:

  • COVID-like syndromic cases (decrease or sustained level)
  • Number of cases (decrease or sustained level)
  • Number of cases as a percentage of the number of tests (decrease or sustained level)
  • Hospitalization numbers (decrease or sustained level)
  • Testing (5,000 to 7,000 per day)
  • Ability to conduct tracing (500 professionals performing tracing)
  • Supply of PPE (greater than a 30-day supply)


What to expect in Phase Three:

State health officials continue to monitor these factors. Assuming that the factors continue to be met, restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships, and entertainment venues would be allowed to increase their capacities. Also, the number of people allowed at gatherings would increase. In addition, businesses that remain closed under Phase Two, such as entertainment venues, would be able to open.

Presumably, although it’s not completely clear, the next step after Phase Three would be lifting all restrictions. However, the Governor made it clear that if there is regression in meeting these factors, then moving back a phase would be possible. A link to the Governor’s presentation of the 3-phase plan can be found here.

For more information on Executive Order 141, the Governor’s Office created a guidance document, which can be found here.

On Saturday, May 30th, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 142 (Evictions and Utility Disconnect Moratoria Order). This Order places a moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants and prohibits utility disconnects and late fees.

Evictions Moratorium:

  • Expires June 19th.
  • Prevents residential landlords from initiating eviction proceedings against residential tenants for nonpayment or late payment of rent.
  • Prevents commercial landlords from using “self-help” eviction procedures or terminating the leases of their commercial tenants.
  • Prevents residential and commercial landlords from assessing late fees, interest, or other penalties for late payment or nonpayment.
  • Prevents the accumulation of additional interest, fees, or other penalties for existing late fees during the effective period of the order.
  • Requires residential and commercial landlords to give tenants six months, after the executive order ends, to pay outstanding rent that became due during the effective period of the Order.
  • Specifically states that residential and commercial tenants are still responsible for paying their rent.
  • Evictions for reasons other than late payment or nonpayment, such as evictions related to health and safety, can take place.


Utility Shutoff Moratorium:

  • Effective through July 29th.
  • Prohibits utility disconnections for all residential customers.
  • Prohibits billing or collection of late fees, penalties, and other charges for failure to pay.
  • Provides that, once the moratorium ends, utilities must give customers the chance to set up a repayment plan for charges that became due during the effective period of the Evictions and Utility Disconnect Moratoria Order.
  • Sets the default term to six months for cases where the utility and customer cannot agree on the terms of a repayment plan.
  • States explicitly that customers are ultimately responsible for the cost of the utilities that they use.


For more information on Executive Order 142, the Governor’s Office created a guidance document, which can be found here.

Municipal and County Restrictions:

Several local governments across North Carolina have implemented their own restrictions. Below is a list of 27 communities who have passed such restrictions, and a link to the local order.

Buncombe County Order

Cabarrus County Order

City of Fayetteville Order

Greensboro Order FAQ's

City of Greenville Order

City of Lexington Order

City of Winston-Salem Order

Columbus County Order

Dare County Order

Durham County Order (Updated April 24th)

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Order

Forsyth County Order

Gaston County Order

Guilford County Order

Haywood County Order

Henderson County Order

Madison County Order

Mecklenburg County Order

New Hanover Order (Revised: April 13,2020)

Orange County Order

Pitt County Order

Rutherford County Order Press Release and FAQs

Swain County Order

Town of Beaufort Order

Town of Kernersville Order

Village of Clemmons Order

Wake County Order (Updated April 15th)


COVID-19 Additional Resources (North Carolina):

NC Department of Revenue (DOR): https://www.ncdor.gov/

  • NC DOR extended the April 15th tax filing deadline to July 15th for individual, corporate, and franchise taxes to mirror the deadline change from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • NC DOR will not charge penalties to those filing and paying their taxes after April 15th as long as they file and pay their tax before the new July 15th deadline.
  • Taxpayers who pay taxes after April 15th will be responsible for paying interest on these payments at the statutory rate of 5%. However, the Governor and legislative leaders have stated that they support waiving that requirement via legislation.
  • NCDOR encourages taxpayers to use online and free services to pay their taxes this year. Most taxpayers can file online for free here.
     

NC Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/

  • COVID-19 case count.
  • Numbers to call or text for COVID-19 assistance.
  • COVID-19 symptoms and health tips. 
  • Past COVID-19 briefings. 
  • COVID-19 overview page can be found here.
  • Information on the testing and treatment of COVID-19 can be found here.
     

NC Department of Commerce: https://www.nccommerce.com/

  • North Carolina Employment Security Division is publishing instructions and guidance to help employers and employees understand the new changes to the state’s unemployment systemrelated to COVID-19 here.
  • The changes to the state’s unemployment system were ordered by Governor Cooper on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in his Executive Order 118.
  • The Department of Commerce recommends the fastest and most efficient way to file for assistance is online here.
     

NC Judicial Branch: https://www.nccourts.gov/

  • Most court proceedings are postponed to June 1, 2020. 
  • Effective April 2nd, court proceedings can be conducted by remote audio and video transmissions and service of court documents can be done by email.
  • Also effective April 2nd, the deadline for payments of most fines and fees is extended by 90 days, and clerks are not to report failures to pay court debt to the DMV.
  • Appellate court deadlines that fall between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020, inclusive are extended for 60 days.
  • Grace period for filing deadlines, so that documents subject to filing deadlines from March 16th to April 17th can be filed before the close of business on April 17, 2020. (this does not apply to appellate courts but does apply to Business Court).
  • To find local announcements, changes, and administrative orders by county please see the COVID-19 Updates page.
     

NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv

  • Some NC DMV driver license offices closed starting Wednesday, March 18.
  • See if an office is closed here.
  • Find what services can be conducted online here.
     

NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: http://www.ncagr.gov/

  • Information on food safety can be found here.
  • FAQ’s about COVID-19 and agriculture, essential businesses and critical infrastructure, and facility updates can be found here.
     

Department of Insurance https://www.ncdoi.gov/

  • Guidance for insurers regarding coverage and cost sharing requirements related to COVID-19 can be found here.
     

Golden LEAF Foundation - Rapid Recovery Loan Program https://ncrapidrecovery.org/

  • Funding will provide loans to help small businesses suffering economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Businesses are eligible for bridge loans of up to $50,000 with six months of no interest and no payments. These loans are intended to support businesses until they are able to secure an SBA loan or other long-term assistance.
  • If not repaid in six months, the loans will automatically convert to a term loan.
  • Applicants must be small businesses affected by COVID-19 and have at least one employee.
  • Nonprofit organizations are not currently eligible.


COVID-19 Additional Resources (Federal):

Department of Homeland Security:

FDIC and Other Bank/Lending Regulators:

  • All federal agencies that regulate all U.S. financial institutions issued a written statement on Sunday, March 22, 2020: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2020/fil20022.html
  • In it, these agencies provided the following sweeping guidance to all financial institutions nationwide:
    • The agencies encourage financial institutions to work prudently with borrowers who are or may be unable to meet their contractual payment obligations because of the effects of COVID-19.
    • The agencies view loan modification programs as positive actions that can mitigate adverse effects on borrowers due to COVID-19.
    • The agencies will not criticize institutions for working with borrowers and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize all COVID-19 related loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs).
    • Citing bank-related accounting methodology from both GAAP and FASB perspectives, the agencies explain that short-term modifications made on a good faith basis in response to COVID-19 to borrowers who were current prior to any relief will not automatically be characterized as TDRs.  This has the historic impact of freeing up banks to temporarily defer monthly payments or extend maturity dates with the fear of hobbling a banks’ loan portfolio or requiring additional capital reserves with TDR designations. 
    • Note that the agencies provide an example of “short term modifications” as being six-month deferrals. 
    • Note also the agencies suggest that such modifications should be available only to borrowers who are “current” which they defined as “less than 30 days past due” before the implementation of a modification. 
       

US Small Business Administration: