Covid-19 Updates

INFORMATION ON COVID-19 IN VIRGINIA AND RESOURCES FOR ECONOMIC RELIEF FOR PRODUCTION INDUSTRY MEMBERS

As of June 1, 2020:

Virginia is currently open to all safe, responsible production, following the suggested best health and safety practices set forth by the Virginia Department of Health, and Governor Northam’s Guidelines for All Business Sectors. Production falls under manufacturing, pertinent guidelines are included on pages 1-4 of the Governor’s Guidelines document under ‘All Businesses’.  

The Virginia Film Office places the highest priority on the health and safety of our film community members.  As localities continue to enact measures toward easing public health restrictions, please stay tuned for updates and links to best practices and suggested guidelines.

A note from Andy Edmunds, Director of the Virginia Film Office.

Virginia film industry members: Please consider taking our Industry Survey to help us measure the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and to inform the VFO of industry needs now and in the future.

For all resources, FAQs, and live developments, please visit: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus-updates/.

Public Health Restrictions:

Highlights:

All Virginians are required to wear face coverings in public indoor settings to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

All localities entered Phase I of the Governor’s Forward Virginia plan for easing public health restrictions.  Full details available via the aforementioned link, highlights below:

  • Stay at Home order changed to Safer at Home order, which means Virginians should still stay home when possible, and that Virginians who are vulnerable, like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, need to continue saying at home except for essential reasons.
  • Strict re-opening guidelines for non-essential businesses, including:
    • Brick and Mortar Retail
    • Restaurants and Beverage Services
    • Farmers Markets
  • The 10-person gathering limit established in Executive Order 53 will remain in place for any public gatherings (businesses/industries allowed to operate in Forward Virginia plan excluded).

The guidelines include a variety of industry-specific measures, requirements, and details.  Please refer to the Governor’s website and detailed plan for any and all questions.

 

Economic Relief Resources:

For guidelines for affected businesses, please visit: https://www.commerce.virginia.gov/covid-19/

Virginia

Governor Northam announced the following actions to protect working Virginians impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak:

Workers (full FAQ here):

    • No waiting for unemployment benefits. Governor Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers can receive benefits as soon as possible.
    • Enhanced 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 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.
    • Fewer restrictions. For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, Governor Northam is directing the Virginia Employment Commission to give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.

To begin an unemployment claim, please visit:http://www.vec.virginia.gov/node/11699

Small businesses:

    • Virginia received a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Small businesses and non-profit organizations located throughout the state can now apply for a loan of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses.
    • Regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Employers who do slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
    • The Governor authorized rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs
    • To support small restaurants, Virginia ABC is waiving regulations to allow restaurants to deliver beer and wine via take-out and delivery.
    • Governor Northam directed all employers to follow U.S. Department of Labor guidance on workplace safety.

To submit a loan application for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit their website.

Employers:

    • Regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Employers who do slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits.
    • The Governor is authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs.

Federal

Congress’s latest coronavirus relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history and will allocate $2.2 trillion in support to individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic and economic downturn.

For a Virginia Production Alliance seminar on navigating the CARES Act as a small business or freelancer, click here.

Flow-chart on how to best navigate the benefits: DGA Flow Chart for Creative Workers

Highlights:

Direct payments: Americans who pay taxes will receive a one-time direct deposit of up to $1,200, and married couples will receive $2,400, plus an additional $500 per child. The payments will be available for incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples.

Unemployment: The program provides $250 billion for an extended unemployment insurance program and expands eligibility and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs pay. It also extends UI benefits through Dec. 31 for eligible workers. The deal applies to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.

Small business relief: $350 billion is being dedicated to preventing layoffs and business closures while workers have to stay home during the outbreak. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during coronavirus can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance. If employers maintain payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.

 

List of Resources:

The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee White Page on Set Safety Guidelines

Virginia.gov

Virginia Department of Health

SAG-AFTRA

IATSE

DGA

Variety Article Re: Production Industry Relief Initiatives

Virginia Employment Commission

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Business Resources from Virginia Tourism Partnership

Federal Updates