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02.09.2022 Combined Federal, VA and NC Government Resources for COVID-19 By: Hon. David B. Albo, Matthew M. Cobb, Patrick A. Cushing, Nicole Lawter, Sarah P. Sonnenberg & Richard A. "Rick" Zechini

Virginia Resources Updated: August 26, 2021
North Carolina Resources Updated: February 9, 2022

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. The Department of Social Services has recently launched a website to streamline access to resources and guidance for citizens.

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 May 14, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 79 regarding the ending of “commonsense public health restrictions due to COVID-19” as of May 28, 2021.  The E.O. recommends Virginians continue to practice safety measures and wear masks as recommended by Centers for Disease Control guidance.

If an individual is not fully vaccinated they should continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors in a crowded area; if an individual is fully vaccinated the CDC recommends wearing a mask in areas of “substantial high transmission.” There are some settings where masks are required, including some federal, state, and local office buildings. Employers and employees must follow mask requirements provided in the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) Final Permanent Standard.

On August 12, 2021, Governor Northam issued a Public Health Emergency Order which requires universal masking in all indoor settings in all public and private K-12 schools. This order is consistent with mitigation strategies recommended by the CDC.

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

If you have business or industry specific questions, please feel free to reach out to our Government Relations team.

COVID-19 Additional Resources (Virginia):

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.
  • Information on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for businesses and benefits for workers previously not covered by traditional unemployment insurance.
  • 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 his or her employer, he or she may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if he or she must stay home to care for an ill family member and is not receiving paid family medical leave from his or her employer.
  • Virginia Employment Commission will give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.


Department of Health: www.vdh.virginia.gov

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 information.
  • Share the Facts about COVID-19 resource.
  • A daily update of the number of Virginians tested and 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 recipients do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
  • Permitting Medicaid recipients 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 already are in place.
  • Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.


Secretary of Commerce and Trade: https://www.commerce.virginia.gov/covid-19/

  • Resources for Virginia businesses impacted by COVID-19 including federal loan and tax relief programs for small and large businesses.
  • State Agencies resources for businesses.
  • The ReBuild Virginia grant fund is administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and provides support to small business and non-profits who were impacted by COVD-19. Funds can be used to meet financial obligations and operating expenses as well as offset additional costs of operating as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Additional information and the application can be fund here.


COVID-19 KEY RESOURCE LIST (North Carolina):

North Carolina Official COVID-19 Website

This website is a comprehensive resource concerning North Carolina’s response to 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.

State Regulation

Governor Roy Cooper announced that effective September 1, 2021, workers at agencies that are part of the Governor’s Office or are headed by members of the Governor’s Cabinet who are not fully vaccinated must submit to regular testing for COVID-19. In addition, effective August 2, 2021, face coverings will be required for all Cabinet agency workers who are not fully vaccinated. The face covering requirement for unvaccinated Cabinet agency workers applies in any indoor space, within a state government office, building, or facility, that is that is controlled by an agency that is either part of the Governor's Office or is headed by a member of the Governor's Cabinet. Cabinet agency workers who are fully vaccinated and wish to avoid testing and the wearing of masks must have their vaccination status verified. These provisions, which apply to roughly 55,000 state employees, are included in Executive Order 224

The Governor encouraged other agencies of state government, local governments, private businesses, and organizations to adopt the measures included in EO 224. He added that all public and non-public schools should require all students, school staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings at all K-12 schools.

Here is a link to the FAQ document on EO 224. 

Governor Cooper announced earlier in July 2021, that the executive order requiring masks in certain settings (e.g., schools, prisons, health care facilities, public transit and childcare) would not be extended and would expire at the end of July 2021. As a result, the decision on whether to require masks in schools will be made at the local level. 

Immunity Provisions

Section 4.14 of SB 704, enacted during the 2020 legislative session, provides immunity to essential businesses with respect to claims from a customer or employee for any injuries or death alleged to have been caused as a result of the customer or employee contracting COVID-19 while doing business with or while employed by the essential business, so long as there was no act or omission of the essential business constituting gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm. This provision is applied to restaurants (even though they originally were not open as “essential businesses”).

Section 3D.7.(a) of SB 704 includes an immunity provision for health care providers that is almost identical to the essential business immunity provision.

Later in the 2020 legislative session, HB 118 was approved by the General Assembly. This legislation provides immunity for individuals, governmental entities, corporations, nonprofit corporations and other legal entities (collectively “person”) from legal claims alleging that the person’s act or omission resulted in a third party’s contraction of COVID-19. Any act or omission that constitutes gross negligence, willful or wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing is not covered. The immunity applies to claims arising on or after July 2, 2021, and continues in effect as to claims arising no later than 180 days after the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116 (the executive order issued by the Governor declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19).

The immunity provision in this legislation has a few attributes of note that are not present in the immunity provision included in SB 704. First, it applies to a universe of entities beyond just essential businesses. Second, it is not limited to claims from customers or employees. And, lastly, it is effective for a longer period of time (claims arising no later than 180 days after the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116 vs the expiration or rescission of Executive Order 116).

Local Government Regulation

On August 6, 2021, NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) transitioned to using the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Transmission Map (Map) to track COVID-19 activity in North Carolina counties. The Map is updated daily and measures the level of community transmission in each county using a combination of total cases per 100,000 population and percent positivity in the last seven days.

The Map categorizes the level of community transmission in all 100 counties as either: High, Substantial, Moderate, or Low. CDC guidance recommends that everyone wear a mask in all indoor public spaces if you live in areas of High or Substantial levels. As of February 7, 2022, all 100 NC counties have a High level of community transmission. 

The CDC COVID Data Tracker can be found  here.
 

COVID-19 Additional Resources (North Carolina):

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 system related to COVID-19, which can be found here.


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

  • 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

  • Find out about extensions and 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.

 

COVID-19 Additional Resources (Federal):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

United States Department of Labor: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/control-prevention#health

Travel Advisories: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/