COVID-19 Update - Volume 6

I hope you are continuing to stay healthy as we all do our part to flatten the curve.  My staff and I continue to field constituent questions and share information on the latest updates as we weather this pandemic.
 
Thank you to everyone who joined my COVID-19 virtual town hall last Tuesday. This crisis is affecting everyone, and I appreciated hearing stories about how it's impacting my constituents lives and how we can help. Thanks to CBS6's Laura French, you can listen to the livestream here or a wrap up here.
 
We will be holding a second virtual town hall focused on Charles City and Hanover next week. See below for details.
 
Yesterday, Governor Northam announced that he is asking the General Assembly to move the May General Election and all special elections scheduled for May 5th to the November 3rd General Election date to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, the Governor proposed the following measures:
 
  • There will be one ballot in November.
  • Voters who are qualified in November will be able to vote in November. An individual who was not qualified in May but is qualified in November will be able to vote.
  • All absentee ballots already cast will be discarded. Virginians will have an opportunity to vote for local elected officials in November.
  • Those officials whose terms are to expire as of June 30, 2020 will continue in office until their successors have been elected on the November 3, 2020 and have been qualified to serve.
We will vote on this proposal during Veto Session on April 22nd. 
 
The Governor will also exercise his statutory authority to move the June 9th primary elections to June 23rd.
 
The Governor also issued an Executive Directive to grant relief to restaurants and distilleries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by authorizing Virginia ABC to defer annual fees for licenses and permits that would be up for renewal through June. The Governor also directed the Virginia ABC to allow establishments with mixed beverage licenses, such as restaurants and distilleries, to sell mixed beverages through takeout or delivery, effective at midnight Thursday. 

VEC Announces Changes in Unemployment Compensation Due to CARES Act 

 
Yesterday, Virginia Employment Commission announced that increased benefits under the federal CARES Act will start to be paid as soon as next week. Payments will be increased by $600 retroactive to March 29th and automatically in conjunction with weekly claims through July 31st. 
 
Part-time, self-employed, contract, freelance, and gig economy workers who are not eligible under traditional unemployment insurance may be eligible under the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. To be eligible for this new program, workers must first apply through traditional unemployment. If found ineligible for traditional unemployment, applicants will be contacted by phone (text or voice message) on how to file the supplemental information to apply under the new PUA program. VEC will announcing more details on the start date for this new program later this week.  
 
Please note that after completing an initial claim, claimants must file a weekly certification each following week in order to be paid at 1-800-897-5630 or on VEC's website.
Second Virtual COVID-19 Town Hall 

 

Please join me and other community representatives to discuss your concerns and questions on coronavirus on Tuesday April 14th at 5:30pm.
  
Representatives from the following organizations have confirmed:
-Central Virginia Legal Aid Society
-Senior Connections
-Thrive Virginia
-Hanover County Superintendent
-Hanover County Dept. of Community Resources
-Charles City County Superintendent

There is a limited capacity to the call bridge. Call information will be sent after registration. 
 
Register for the event here. You can also view the event on my Facebook page, here.

In the Community: YWCA Richmond

 

Unfortunately for many families, sheltering in place is not safe.  And often, domestic violence gets worse in times of crisis. YWCA Richmond continues to provides critical services to women and children dealing with domestic violence during this heightened time of anxiety, including emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling and other services. 

If you or someone you know needs domestic violence or sexual assault support, please call the 24-Hour Regional Hotline, 804-612-6126.

In addition, YWCA recently re-opened its Sprout School to provide affordable childcare for essential workers.  For more information, email sprout@ywcarichmond.org

But like all non-profits providing essential services right now, YWCA Richmond needs your help, as it had to postpone one of its largest and most popular fundraisers - the Outstanding Women Awards Luncheon - to October.  If you usually purchase a ticket or table, consider doing so now to help fund YWCA Richmond's critical work here. Or, consider making a donation here

My staff and I continue to monitor events and will share updates as they become available. Although our offices are closed, our team is still working remotely. As always, you may contact us at (804) 698-7509 or district09@senate.virginia.govYou can also stay informed about General Assembly activities and the latest coronavirus updated by following me on Twitterliking my Facebook page, and following me on Instagram
 
Sincerely,
Signature
Jennifer L. McClellan
Senate of Virginia, 9th District