Coronavirus Resources for Washington County Families
Current VDH Information for Washington County
In addition to the above VDH data, Ballad Health publishes a weekly scorecard (scroll Ballad's Facebook page)
Important Info
    • Guidelines for Those Fully Vaccinated: The CDC still recommends precautions for now, but current guidelines loosen some restrictions for those fully vaccinated (2 weeks after final shot).
    • Health Insurance: Open Enrollment in the the federal health insurance marketplace is available from now until August 15. Find more information at
    • Volunteer: The Virginia Medical Reserve Corps needs volunteers to help with vaccination clinics. You do not need to be a medical professional to help. If you are or have been a qualified medical provider you can volunteer to be a vaccinator.
    Local Vaccination information
    How do I get a vaccine appointment?
    Four Options
    Vaccination Locations
    Washington County & Bristol
    Vaccination Locations in Washington County:

    • CVS Pharmacy - 801 E Main St, Abingdon, VA. Register online or call 276-628-8119.
    • Falcon Pharmacy – 795 Cummings St, Abingdon, VA. Please call 276-258-5251 to schedule an appointment.
    • Food City – 151 Cook St, Abingdon, VA. Please call 276-628-2580 to schedule an appointment.
    • Glade Pharmacy – 33472 Lee Hwy., Glade Spring, VA. Please call 276-429-2004 to schedule an appointment.
    • Kroger Pharmacy - 466 Cummings St. Abingdon, VA. Register online or call 276-628-2300 to schedule an appointment.
    • Michael's Pharmacy – 101 Charwood Dr, Abingdon, VA. Please call 276-676-2900 to schedule an appointment
    • Pharmhealth Express Pharmacy & Wellness – 27255 Lee Hwy., Abingdon, VA. Please call 276-739-7748, ext. 4 to schedule an appointment.
    • Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems – 319 5th Ave, Saltville, VA. Please call 276-496-4492 to schedule an appointment.
    • Walgreens - 668 W Main St., Abingdon, VA. Register online or call 276-496-4492 to schedule an appointment.
    • Walmart - 16032 Fifteen Mile Blvd., Abingdon, VA. Register online or call 276-619-4843 to schedule an appointment.
    • Washington County Health Department – 15068 Lee Hwy. # 200, Bristol, VA. Please call 276-676-5604 or 276-696-0110 to schedule an appointment
      Vaccination Locations In Bristol:

      • Ballad Health – Ballad Health Medical Associates patients can use Ballad's online registration system or call their physician's office directly. This can be a Ballad Health primary care office, specialty clinic, or urgent care center.
      • Bristol Va. City Health Department – 205 Piedmont Ave, Bristol, VA. Please call 276-642-7335 for an appointment.
      • Food City - Please call 276-645-0044 (1320 Euclid Avenue) or 276-669-2388 (100 Bonham Road) to schedule an appointment.
      • Kroger Pharmacy. 31 Midway St, Bristol, VA. Register online or call (276) 642-0032
      • Sam's Club - 21483 Market Center, Bristol, VA. Please call 276-466-7390 for an appointment.
      • Walgreens -1460 Lee Hwy., Bristol, VA. Register online or call 276-642-0738 for an appointment.
      • Walmart - 21531 Market Center, Bristol, VA. Register online or call 276-466-0290 for an appointment.
      • Providers are NOT billing for COVID-19 vaccines.
      • COVID-19 vaccines are FREE; you will not NOT receive a bill.
      • Do NOT share your personal information with anyone who says they need it for a vaccine bill.
      • Do NOT pay or send money or a check to these individuals
      If you have only received one dose, please keep in mind that the recommended interval between Moderna vaccine doses is 28 days. For Pfizer vaccine doses, it's 21 days. The same vaccine must be given for both. Remember that it will take 1-2 weeks for your final vaccine to take full effect. During this time continue wearing a mask outside your home. The CDC publishes Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines and Guidelines When You've Been Fully Vaccinated.
      The Virginia Department of Health launched a very helpful COVID-19 vaccination dashboard to track vaccine distribution by locality and demographics across the Commonwealth. Here are responses to frequently asked questions about Virginia's COVID vaccine distribution.
      Safer at Home - Virginia loosens limitations on some gatherings
      NEW - starting May 15, sports and entertainment venues in Virginia may begin to operate with expanded capacity and social gathering limits will increase. Recreational sporting events will be able to have more people in attendance and the midnight ban on alcohol sales will be lifted. The Governor cited the increase in vaccinated Virginians - half of all adults have at least one shot - as the reason for the easing of restrictions.
      Details of current protocols are at

      Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Visitation
      Families who have not been able to see their loved ones in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic may now be able to visit in person. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced in early March that health care facilities in Virginia can expand visitation practices for residents and their families.
      Virginia Coronavirus Update
      Virginia state actions and support for citizens: economic, employment, utility, transportation/DMV, childcare, education, courts and jails, and other information, in addition to health updates.

      The Virginia Open Data Portal offers current data about COVID-19 by locality and health district across Virginia. Data sets include, disease spread by Zip Code, hospitalizations and deaths by locality, by age, testing results, key hospital measures, and outbreaks.
      COVIDWISE App from the Virginia Dept. of Health
      The COVIDWISE app is available for Virginians.
      • This app provides updates, testing information, and other relevant knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • It will help warn you if you have been exposed.
      • The app does not track user data, privacy is protected
      Virginia Department of Health
      Updates and maps the toll of Covid-19 across Virginia.
      Offers up-to-date information about what to do & how. Here's the Va. Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information Center. Here's the Va. Department of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Progress Summary.

      Local COVID-19 Testing Sites - Testing is available for everyone experiencing symptoms or anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19:
      • Visit this Department of Health web page for Coronavirus testing sites around Washington Co. and the region. Testing is available in Abingdon, Bristol, Meadowview, Saltville, Marion, and beyond. Testing is by appointment only at all sites. Click on the "More Info" link at each site listing for telephone numbers to make your appointment and testing hours.
      • Ballad Health Remote Testing Sites: Please call 833-822-5523 to be screened if you are concerned you may be ill with COVID-19. This Ballad Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
      • CVS Pharmacies - 801 E. Main St., Abingdon, 276-628-8119 and 31 East Valley Dr., Bristol, VA, 24201, 276-669-4640, offer drive-through testing.
      • Walgreens Pharmacies - 668 W Main St, Abingdon, VA 24210, (800) 925-4733, and their Bristol, TN, stores, offer drive through testing.

      The Virginia Department of Health is Still Hiring Contact Tracers to conduct and oversee the COVID-19 contact tracing process. Interested applicants will find a listing of open positions (scroll all the way down the page to the orange box). With the virus caseload smaller, contract tracing has become far more effective again and Virginia has one of the most effective programs.

      The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) has a data dashboard to provide up-to-date statistics on the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the Commonwealth, ventilator usage, current hospital bed availability, and metrics on the number of hospitals experiencing challenges obtaining or replenishing critical inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other needed medical supplies.
      Federal Government
      March 8 Post-Vaccination Guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
      Here's the CDC's specific guidance for what fully vaccinated people can do:

      • "Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;
      • "Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
      • "Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure to COVID-19 if asymptomatic"
      The CDC said fully vaccinated people should continue to take these COVID-19 precautions:
      • "Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
      • "Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
      • "Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
      • "Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
      • "Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
      • "Follow guidance issued by individual employers
      • "Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations"
      Open Enrollment for Affordable Care Act Coverage
      No Insurance or Unhappy with Your Current Policy?
      Open Enrollment in the the federal health insurance marketplace is available from now until August 15 so that uninsured people can buy a plan and those who want to change their marketplace coverage can do so.
      American Rescue Plan (ARP) - March, 2021
      NEW - Individual benefits - the new March, 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP):
      • Child Tax Credit Increased and Pre-paid by American Rescue Plan
        The American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6, and $3,000 for other children under age 18. This is a benefit for families. Parents need not be paying any tax to file and receive this benefit.
        Children 17 years old and younger, (previously only 16 years old and younger), will now be covered by the Child Tax Credit. Credit amounts will be made through advance payments during 2021. These changes are very significant and will lift 4.1 million children above the poverty line — cutting the number of children in poverty by more than 40 percent. (See more, scroll way down to "Family Economic Relief," below. Detailed explanation of new child tax credit benefits - here.)
      • Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) available to far more low-paid workers not raising children (so-called "childless workers") - details here.
      • Numerous Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP Insurance Benefits Added - here (scroll to bottom for chart).
      • Mortgage Relief Assistance
      • The law prioritizes those homeowners that have experienced the greatest hardships, leveraging local and national income indicators to maximize intended impact. Applicable funding uses include delinquent mortgage payments to minimize foreclosures in the coming months, alleviate emergency shelter capacity, and mitigate potential COVID-19 infections.
        Small Business Assistance:
      • PPP loans: The agreement includes some $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program loans which are available starting January 15. PP application deadline is extended to May 31st. Eligibility for the loans was expanded to include nonprofits and local newspapers, along with TV and radio stations. Also, $15 billion would be reserved for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, which have been struggling due to pandemic-forced closures. (See SBA in FINANCIAL CRISIS, TAX & EMPLOYMENT & BUSINESS RESOURCES section well below.)
      • Child care centers: The measure includes $10 billion for child care centers to help providers safely reopen.
      • Vaccines: $68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and assist states with conducting testing. $20 billion of that amount will make the vaccine free to anyone needing it.
      • Broadband access: $7 billion to increase access to broadband Internet, including a new Emergency Broadband Benefit to help millions of students' families and unemployed workers afford the broadband they need during the pandemic.
      • Education: $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening, including, $2.75 billion for private K-12 education.
      • Agriculture: $13 billion for farmers , including money under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for growers and livestock, dairy and poultry producers.
      • Medical bills: Patients will be required to receive a "true and honest cost estimate" three days before any scheduled procedure and that billing disputes would be subject to arbitration.
      Washington Co., VA Covid-19 Update
      Updates on Washington County office closures, solid waste schedule changes, voting and voter registration and more.
      Family Care, Illness, and Prevention
      CDC Covid Safety Health Guidelines to Reduce Community Transmission
      Here's information and a video from the Center for Disease Control showing proper method to prevent virus spread.
      Social Distancing
      Your best chance to stay well and keep our community health services from being overwhelmed. Here's how to do social distancing and self-quarantining right. At these link, you can see how Washington Co. and all Virginia localities are doing with carrying out social distancing, (not well). Here is why social distancing must be maintained over what seems a long time.
      NEW - Key changes coming in Virginia restrictions on May 15:
      • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 100 people for indoor settings and 250 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
      • Entertainment venues: Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people, up from 30 percent capacity or 500 people. Outdoor venues will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity—up from 30 percent—with no specific cap on the number of attendees. Theater productions can now have 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors, or 30% capacity, whichever is lower.
        School theater and musical performances can also now be held among students, teachers, administrators, and other school staff. Those events must follow the state's COVID-19 restrictions for performances, which include social distancing, masks, cleaning protocols and more.
      • Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at indoor recreational sporting events will increase from 100 to 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events will increase from 500 to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less. Events, such as cross country races or marathons where physical distancing of runners can be maintained, may include no more than 100 runners per grouping.
      • Alcohol sales: Restaurants may return to selling alcohol after midnight, and dining room closures will no longer be required between midnight and 5 a.m. Patrons may be seated at the bar for service, provided a minimum of six feet is provided between parties.
      The text of the executive order is here. Gov. Northam anticipates Virginia could dial back more restrictions in June.
      Face Coverings
      Center for Disease Control advises how to make, wear, wash and store simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus. Wearing a face mask is one way of showing you care about protecting others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as a voluntary public health measure. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators - in short supply and reserved for hospital personnel and first responders. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing. Face mask FAQs from the CDC.

      Mounting evidence shows that face masks reduce COVID transmission. Virginia Tech researcher Linsey Marr, studied recent analysis and says, "I would be comfortable sending my kids back to school if everyone's wearing masks and they're staying as far apart as possible." Here are three hints for more effective DIY masks.
      Improve mask safety.
      Governor Northam's statewide requirement for wearing face coverings
      Governor Northam's order requiring wearing face coverings is grounded in science and data, including recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Face coverings do not take the place of public health guidelines to maintain six feet of physical distancing, increased cleaning and sanitation, and washing hands regularly.

      Face coverings have been found to protect others from virus transmission from the wearer, not the wearer from transmission from others. Wearing a mask, is part of a regimen that protects yourself and others. Conversely, others wearing face coverings serve to protect you. The CDC has new mask recommendations, regarding fit and recommending two-overlapping masks.

      A face covering includes anything that covers your nose and mouth (a mask, scarf, or bandana). Medical-grade masks and personal protective equipment should be reserved for health care professionals. Under the Governor's executive order, any person age ten and older must wear a mask or face covering at all times while entering, exiting, traveling through, and spending time in the following public settings:
      * Personal care and grooming businesses
      * Essential and non-essential brick and mortar retail including grocery stores and pharmacies
      * Food and beverage establishments
      * Entertainment or public amusement establishments when permitted to open
      * Train stations, bus stations, and on intrastate public transportation, including in waiting or congregating areas
      * State and local government buildings and areas where the public accesses services
      * Any indoor space shared by groups of people who may congregate within six feet of one another or who are in close proximity to each other for more than ten minutes

      Exemptions to these guidelines include while eating and drinking at a food and beverage establishment; individuals who are exercising; children under the age of two; a person seeking to communicate with a hearing-impaired person, for which the mouth needs to be visible; and anyone with a health condition that keeps them from wearing a face covering. Children over the age of two are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering to the extent possible.

      A study, comparing nations mandating use of face masks, undertaken by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, indicates that face coverings dramatically lower COVID-19 death rates.
      Feeling Sick?
      If you're not feeling well or think you have been exposed to COVID-19, consult with your Primary Care Physician or:
      • Ballad Health's Nurse Connect: 833.822.5523
      • Washington County Health Department: 276.676.5604
      • Many insurers are offering telemedicine with no copayments.
      COVID-19 Testing Sites
      Testing is now available for everyone experiencing symptoms or anyone who has been exposed to someone with COVID-19:
      • Visit this Department of Health web page for Coronavirus testing sites around Washington Co. and the region. Testing is available in Abingdon, Bristol, Meadowview, Saltville, Marion, and beyond. Testing is by appointment only at all sites. Click on the "More Info" link at each site listing for telephone numbers to make your appointment and testing hours.
      • Ballad Health Remote Testing Sites: Please call 833-822-5523 to be screened if you are concerned you may be ill with COVID-19. This Ballad Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
      • CVS and Walgreens pharmacies in Abingdon and Bristol offer drive-through testing.
      • Here are COVID testing FAQs from the Va. Department of Health. Virginia is one of seven states exploring use of rapid antigen testing (results coming in 20 minutes).
      Dialysis Patients
      Possible Prescription Drug Cost Relief
      Pfizer RxPathways connects eligible patients to a range of assistance programs that offer insurance support, co-pay help, and medicines for free or at a savings. One of these programs provides eligible patients with their Pfizer medicines for free.
      Sick Leave
      The U.S. CARES ACT establishes paid leave for employees to stay home to take care of their child or if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. An employee laid off on March 1, 2020 or later, and subsequently rehired by the same employer, is eligible for paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, so long as the employee was employed for at least 30 of the last 60 calendar days prior to layoff. Talk to your employer.
      NEW-Virginia Crisis Counseling Program (VA C.O.P.E.S)
      The Virginia Crisis Counseling Program is called Virginia C.O.P.E.S. which stands for compassionate, optimistic, person-centered, empowering support. The program is part of the federal and state behavioral health response to the current state of emergency. The program's main focus is supporting the mental and emotional well-being of those impacted by the pandemic as well as directing callers to community resources.
      VA C.O.P.E.S can be reached by phone or text at 877-349-6428.
      Crisis Counselors are available during the following times to take calls:
      Monday-Friday 9am-9pm
      Saturday-Sunday 5pm-9pm
      Spanish speaking counselors and other translation services are available.
      Highlands Community Services
      Offering current clients tele-health mental health counseling. HCS offices are closed, but Crisis Services are always available; call 276 525-1557 and press 7, 8:30 am-5:00 pm. After hours, call 1 866 589-0269. Access points to additional mental health services are listed here.

      Community Services Boards (like Highlands Community Services) across Virginia have transitioned from some in-person strategies to working remotely. Many Virginians may be in need of additional mental health or behavioral health support and services. Linked here is a document that is updated periodically with activities and resources from local Community Service Boards.

      On-line national mental health/counseling resources from the Virginia Dept. of Health.
      National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
      1-800-273-8255, or the Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990.

      Abuse Alternatives 24-hr. Hotline
      423-764-2287 or 800-987-6499, TTY/Hearing Impaired: 423-652-9750.
      Talking With Children
      How to Talk to Children about the coronavirus.
      Support for Child Education & Development
      • The COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development Resource Guide from the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child is packed with resources and ideas. This guide provides insight and recommendations on how to navigate child development in these challenging times, featuring an assortment of vetted COVID-19 Resources on a range of issues from child care, to housing, to health care and medical information.
      • Virtual Virginia offers distance learning resources for parents and students.
      • For Grandparents & others - Caribu - to keep contact with kids, not in your household. You share a screen with the children. Caribu has a library of books you can read together and simple games to play together. It's like Facetime and it's FREE through the summer!
      • Here are some fun ideas for families - Free Fun For All.
      Donate Blood
      We are facing a shortage of blood donations. Marsh Regional Blood Center continues to seek donations at mobile sites across region that are open and safe.
      Food Assistance
      Dial 2-1-1
      For emergency "safety net" help in Virginia

      Virginia Dept. of Social Services has launched COVID-19 Virginia Resources, a mobile app and website designed to streamline access to critical and actionable resources from 2-1-1 Virginia, CommonHelp, and a myriad of other state and federal agencies. Clink on this link to download on your device.
      Emergency SNAP Benefits
      The new COVID Relief Act funds an additional $13 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP (formerly food stamps). Work requirements for SNAP families are waived. The $300/week supplemental federal unemployment compensation does count as income when calculating SNAP benefits. Emergency benefits will be automatically loaded to recipients' SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. Eligible households include SNAP participants who are not already receiving the maximum allotment as part of their regular monthly benefit. Virginia has also applied to the federal government to allow families who are receiving SNAP to use online purchasing options.

      In early January, former president Trump ordered a 15% increase in SNAP benefits for the first six months of 2021. President Biden extend that increase through September. Biden's order also allows states to increase SNAP emergency benefits for those most in need: Very low-income households, already receiving the maximum monthly benefit, did not see any increase. Biden's order calls for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to find ways to give these families an increase. Biden's order also asks the USDA to re-examine the SNAP benefit formula, which is 30 years old and doesn't correctly calculate the current cost of a nutritious diet.

      Another part of Biden's order focuses on the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT), which helps low-income families with school-age children by providing them with food dollars equal to the value of meals missed due to COVID-19–related closures of schools, daycares and other facilities. The current cap is low, $5.86 per child per school day, but the executive order will raise that cap by approximately 15%.
      USDA Commodity Food Program
      Seniors over 60, participating in the USDA Commodity Food Program, are no longer required to sign for the food they receive. Additionally, participants are able to receive 2 boxes every other month rather than one box monthly, to minimize physical contact.
      NEW - the American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides $37 million in additional funds to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for low-income seniors. Additional ARP funds will support nutrition programs, community-based support programs and the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
      Women Infant & Children Program
      NEW - The American Rescue Act legislation passed March 10th allows the Sec. of Agriculture to temporarily boost the value of cash vouchers for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) up to $35 per month for women and children for a four-month period during the pandemic. That increase is expected to be authorized soon.

      WIC (Women, Infants & Children): Applicants and WIC participants no longer must come into the clinic to enroll or re-enroll or to pick up their WIC EBT cards or paper coupons; Virginia has also deferred certain requirements used to determine nutritional risk. The program will permit appropriate substitutes for the types and amounts of certain WIC-prescribed foods if their availability is limited.
      Safe Grocery Shopping Tips
      Grocery shopping is one of the hardest times to maintain social distancing, and we all need to eat. Some stores offer special, early hours for elderly customers. Most chain grocery stores offer pick-up and delivery services. You order the products you want online, pay with a credit or debit card, and select whether you want to pick up your groceries at a drive-up point at a time of your choosing for free or a fee of about $5 -- think of it as a fee for saving you shopping time -- or have your groceries delivered (for a larger fee, varying according to your location).
      Tips for Take Out
      1. Keep surface sanitization and social distancing in mind: Take a few minutes to create a safe food environment for when the food arrives by cleaning any surfaces it will touch.
      2. Pay (and tip) in advance to minimize person-to-person interaction with the driver or restaurant takeout clerk.
      3. Ask the driver to leave the food at the doorstep. Wait until the driver is at least 6 feet away before picking up the food.
      4. Remove the food from the takeout containers, and dispose of them properly.
      5. After disposing packaging, wash your hands thoroughly.
      6. Wipe counters and other surfaces where you unpacked the food.
      Farmers Markets
      Abingdon Farmers Market Guidelines and additional information here.
      Winter Market – January, February & March – 1st & 3rd Saturday 10 am – 12 noon. Check here for updates.

      Glade Spring Farmers Market is closed until spring 2021. Check here for updates.
      Provides food to 800-900 families every month. They are responding to much higher needs as people are laid off of work. Food Pantry hours are 10:00 AM-1:00 PM Monday & Friday, and 5:00-7:00 PM on Tuesday evenings at 798 Hillman Hwy., behind St. John Lutheran Church. They offer Financial Crisis Assistance to people in need and Neighbor to Neighbor assistance for paying electric bills, (276) 628-4813. Faith in Action's New Life Thrift Shop accepts donations at their Hillman Hwy location, only, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 am-3:00 pm.
      Providing hot meals Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 10am-1pm - take away only - at their Abingdon Distribution Center. They operate a mobile food pantry that has 13 different drop-offs in communities throughout southwest Virginia. Abingdon Distribution Center, 21452 Gravel Lake Road, Abingdon, VA 24211. Phone: (276) 628-9266.
      Washington County Public Schools-Feeding Program
      Washington County Public Schools are serving meals free of charge to any child under 18 years old, including those not yet in school. Please see the press release.
      Meal Distribution Pick Up Only Menu
      In-School Menu on hold.
      Operates a Meals-on-Wheels program. You can also pick up meals or have them delivered. Call 276-628-3911. Meals on Wheels will be operating with a No Contact Delivery Method to ensure the safety of our volunteers at 300 Senior Dr., in Abingdon. July 1, 2020 Phase 3 Criteria are in effect. Masks, hand sanitizer, temperature check and Social Distancing MUST be adhered to. New Volunteers, call for more information 276-628-3911.
      District Three Government Co-operative
      Home Delivered Meals and Senior Medical Transportation will continue operations with extra precautions, such as wellness check calls, before the driver arrives at the home.
      COVID-10 Medicare Scams Training: This 30 minute training on COVID-19 Medicare scams is for SMP staff, partners, and volunteers, as well as Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers.
      Farmers Market Fresh for Seniors (60 and up) is sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture, Virginia Division of the Aging and Rehabilitative Services, District Three Governmental Cooperative and local governments. Eligible participants are given nine- $5.00 coupons (totaling $45.00) to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown by local certified farmers. Pick up an application form from any local Senior Center or any District Three Senior Services office. You can request an application by calling 276.783.2598 and leaving your name, number, and mailing address or print an application here.

      Through local senior centers, District Three Governmental Cooperative offers programs for home-delivered meals, chores and residential repair, money management, transportation services, legal assistance, insurance counseling and more.
      Glade Spring Senior Center
      Operates a food pantry. They package and deliver food in the community on the third Monday of the month. The food pantry is open on the third Wednesday of each month.
      Friendship Café (Thursdays) District Three Governmental Cooperative, provides free meals for seniors 60 and older on Thursdays at the center.
      Southern Manna Soup Kitchen operates on Fridays 11am-1pm , serving 50 community members with fresh, homemade meals.
      It's a God Thing! - One Way Ministries
      Offers a drive-through food pantry. Check here for calendar of distribution days, 101 W Laurel Ave. in Damascus, Phone (276) 475-3318
      Programs authorized under the Older Americans Act, including support for nutrition programs, community-based support programs and the National Family Caregiver Support Program will receive new money from the March 10 COVID Relief Act. The new law also provides $37 million to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for low-income seniors.
      Help with Utility Bills
      NEW - Utility Shut Off Moratorium Extended
      NEW - The new March 10 American Rescue Plan provides $4.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, to help families with home heating and cooling costs. Virginians apply here.

      The General Assembly passed an extension of the moratorium on utility shutoffs of electricity, water and gas service for customers affected by the pandemic. The moratorium will continue until 60 days after the end of the declared state of emergency or until economic or public health conditions improve. A repayment plan program will be established for customers who owe money during the moratorium.

      Don't just stop paying your bills! Call your utility (including internet) to ask for delay ("forbearance") of your payment due date, if you need to do so because of loss of employment or income.

      If your utility shuts off your connection, click here, for a list of resources for help with utility bills and places to make your case.

      Contact Faith in Action for help with utility bills through Financial Crisis Assistance to people in need and Neighbor to Neighbor assistance for paying electric bills, (276) 628-4813.
      Wifi Access
      • You can access free wifi service from your car in the parking lots of Washington County public schools and public libraries.
      • Xfinity offers free wifi at dozens of hot spots around Washington Co., which you can find mapped at this link.
      • Xfinity will not disconnect your internet or mobile service for nonpayment, and will not impose late fees if you call Xfinity to let them know that you can't pay your bills during this period. Xfinity is offering a Visa prepaid card worth about two months of internet service to eligible university students needing internet service. No upfront fees or installation costs.
      Family Economic relief
      Dial 2-1-1
      For emergency "safety net" help in Virginia.
      NEW - COVID-19 Relief Payments from the American Rescue Plan (ARP - March, 2021)
      Those eligible will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,400 for individuals or $2,800 for married couples, plus $1,400 for each dependent. Unlike the prior rounds of Economic Impact Payments, families will get a payment for all their dependents claimed on a tax return, not just their qualifying children under 17.
      Normally, a taxpayer will qualify for the full amount if they have an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 for singles and married persons filing a separate return, up to $112,500 for heads of household, and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses. Payment amounts are reduced for filers with incomes above those levels. This third round of Economic Impact Payments is expected to be distributed quickly.
      NEW - Child Tax Credit Increased and Pre-paid by American Rescue Plan (ARP)
      The credit amount has been increased. The American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6, and $3,000 for other children under age 18. This is a benefit for families. Parents need not be paying any tax to file and receive this benefit.
      Children 17 years old and younger, (previously only 16 years old and younger), will now be covered by the Child Tax Credit.
      Credit amounts will be made through advance payments during 2021. Individuals eligible for a 2021 Child Tax Credit will receive periodic payments from July 1, to December 31, 2021. This change will allow struggling families to receive financial assistance now, rather than waiting until the 2022 tax filing season to receive the Child Tax Credit benefit.
      The credit is now fully refundable. By making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, low- income households will be entitled to receive the full credit benefit, as significantly expanded and increased by the American Rescue Plan.
      To facilitate the disbursement of Child Tax Credit advance payments during 2021, the American Rescue Plan requires the IRS to establish an online portal for taxpayers to update relevant data for mid-year payment adjustments (for example, the birth of a child during 2021). In addition to this online tool, the Treasury Department and the IRS will carry out a sweeping public awareness campaign to reach all Americans who may be eligible for this financial assistance.
      Filing for Unemployment Compensation
      Online application for unemployment benefits.
      Enhanced & Expanded Unemployment Compensation
      NEW - The American Rescue Plan (ARP - March 2021) waives federal income taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 by middle- and lower-income taxpayers. The tax relief extends to both workers who received benefits through federal unemployment programs as well as those who received traditional benefits through their state unemployment insurance fund. Federal unemployment benefits will remain at $300/week.

      NEW - Enhanced Federal Unemployment Compensation Payments Extended Through September 6th. Self-employed people and gig workers will also receive extended assistance. benefits will extend through Sept. 6. The first $10,200 in unemployment payments will be nontaxable for households with incomes under $150,000.

      The new Federal U.S. COVID Relief Act allows part-time employees and self-employed persons (who may not have paid into unemployment compensation) to receive unemployment benefits, similar to the U.S. CARES Act. Gig workers like Uber drivers, freelancers, and contract workers should also be eligible for benefits, if they are unable to work because of COVID-19. "Frequently asked Questions for Workers Regarding COVID-19."

      File a claim for unemployment compensation at the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) website or call 1-866-832-2363, 8:15 am to 4:30 pm, Monday- Friday, and Saturday between 9:00 am-1:00 pm. You will likely receive quicker determination of benefits applying on-line, because VEC call centers are currently overwhelmed. The unemployment application website has been improved to accommodate a higher number of people filing for claims. If you can't get through, try the website at off-peak times. Here are detailed "step by step" instructions for how to apply for unemployment compensation.

      Select "Lack of Work" as your reason for separation. Here are resources for individuals applying for unemployment insurance benefits due to COVID-19 and FAQ on claims related to the coronavirus.

      The VEC directs, "no claim for unemployment insurance may be filed or processed until an actual lay off from employment has occurred, or until there has been an actual reduction in hours. If you will be filing because of a reduction in hours, you will not receive benefits unless your gross earnings are less than your weekly unemployment benefit amount."

      U.S. Congress passed the COVID Relief legislation granting half the enhanced unemployment benefit that expired December 26th. The new law will add $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government on top of whatever base amount a worker receives from the state.

      Document your attempts to file your claim. Note date and time you called, how long you waited, the name of any person you spoke with. Online, take screenshots of the website. This evidence might eventually help you collect benefits dating back to when you first attempted to file for them. If your claim is denied, you can appeal. Contact legal aid advocates who can help you through the process at low or no cost. Call your local elected official or local media to let them know how the process isn't working.
      For Those Receiving Unemployment Compensation
      Governor Northam directed that the one week waiting period and the requirement to conduct a weekly job search both be suspended.
      The VEC's Virginia Workforce Connection connects with potential employers, search for jobs, find training opportunities, and research wage data along with industry and occupational trends. Questions?

      Please note, recipients will be required to access the portal each week to claim their unemployment insurance payment. The VEC recommends filing claims on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday of each week. To complete and submit a weekly claim payment request, call 1-800-897-5630 or visit
      COVID Workplace Safety Rules implemented by the Virginia Dept of Labor & Industry
      Virginia is the first state in the nation to issue mandatory workplace safety rules in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to mandating social distancing, the rules require all employers to:
      • assess their workplaces for potential exposure to the virus,
      • mandate face coverings for employees in customer-facing positions or when social distancing isn't possible,
      • sanitize common areas daily,
      • provide easy and frequent access to handwashing and hand sanitizer,
      • notify employees within 24 hours if a coworker tests positive for the virus, and
      • bar employees known or suspected to be positive for COVID-19 from returning to work for for at least three days after symptoms subside, at least 10 days after they were first diagnosed or until they test negative for the virus.
      The regulations, which were implemented the week of July 27, set more stringent requirements for jobs deemed medium, high, or very high risk.

      High and very high risk jobs are defined as those in which there is a high probability an employee will come in contact with people known or suspected to be infected with the virus, such as health care workers and first responders.

      Medium risk jobs are defined as those that "require more than minimal occupational contact" with other employees or the general public, such as workers in settings like restaurants, grocery and retail stores, correctional facilities, factories and plants.

      For workers in those two categories, employers would be required to provide training addressing the regulations, screen employees for the virus at the beginning of each shift and provide appropriate personal protective equipment, including appropriate respiratory protection.

      The maximum penalty for violating the rules is set at $13,000, but "willful and repeat" violations could result in fines up to $130,000. The rules include whistleblower protections that bar retaliation against employees who raise complaints either publicly or with the Department of Labor and Industry.
      Avoid Foreclosure - Mortgage Payment Forbearance
      • NEW - American Rescue Plan (ARP - March, 2021) prioritizes homeowners who have experienced the greatest hardships. Applicable funding uses include delinquent mortgage payments to minimize foreclosures in the coming months, to alleviate emergency shelter capacity, and avoid potential COVID-19 infections.
      • Federal government extends mortgage forbearance and foreclosure relief for homeowners:
      • Extends the foreclosure moratorium for homeowners through June 30, 2021;
      • Extends the mortgage payment forbearance enrollment window until June 30, 2021 for borrowers who wish to request forbearance;
      • Provides up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance, in three-month increments, for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2020.
      Federally backed mortgages, or about 70% of borrowers, are eligible for the additional forbearances and protections from foreclosure. Specifically, if you have a home loan through the Federal Housing Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you can enroll in a forbearance until June 30. If you have a mortgage from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you can also delay your payments.

      The easiest way to find out if you're eligible is to check with your lender. If you're unsure who your lender is, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a guide to figuring that out.

      Rules vary, however, depending on what kind of government-backed loan you have. If your mortgage is from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you can delay your payments for up to 15 months. But you'll have to enroll with your lender by the end of February! Here's information on the program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
      Avoid Eviction - Deferment of Rent or Mortgage, &
      Rent Relief
      NEW - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) extended its ban on evictions until the end of June. To be eligible for the housing protection, renters must earn $198,000 annually or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers; demonstrate that they've sought government help to pay the rent; declare that they can't pay because of COVID-19 hardships; and affirm they are likely to become homeless if evicted. You can get help to make rent payments and avoid eviction here. SWVA Legal Aide Society can offer low-income tenants legal advice and assistance.

      Stay. Home. Virginia. is an up-to-date information web page to help you navigate the rent or mortgage crisis. Working towards the goal of you, "staying safe at home - staying IN your home."

      Report: "Despite a New Federal Ban, Many Renters Are Still Getting Evicted," September 15, 2020. Here's federal and state protection information for tenants.

      NEW - Rental Assistance coming: Emergency rental assistance, including emergency housing vouchers for people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, and victims of human trafficking is included in the March 10 COVID Relief Act.

      Virginia statewide moratorium on evictions.
      Evictions are only allowed if the tenant refuses to apply and cooperate with the landlord's application to the rent and mortgage relief program. Virginia has a rent relief program to help tenants in need. Landlords apply, but must work with tenants to make the application. Ask your landlord to apply and cooperate with writing the application.

      Landlords are required to notify tenants about rent relief programs, but would be allowed to proceed with an eviction if the tenant is denied aid, the programs runs out of money, or it takes the state or longer than 45 days to make a payment. Landlords who own more than four rental units are also required to offer to enter into a payment plan if the tenant provides a signed statement certifying hardship due to the pandemic.

      Don't just stop paying your bills! Call your lending institution, landlord, utility (including internet) to ask for delay ("forbearance") of your payment due date, if you need to do so because of loss of employment or income.

      Contact legal aid advocates about tenants' and mortgage payers' rights.

      (See "Relief for Tenants" section, immediately below.)
      Relief for Tenants
      Rent Payment Assistance for households and landlords to avoid eviction
      On February 16, Virginia allocated $160 million in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds, part of the recent federal stimulus package, into the Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) to increase housing stability across the Commonwealth. The state will make additional funding available (up to a total of $524 million) based upon need. The program is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
      NEW - The American Rescue Plan (ARP - March, 2021) nearly doubles the initial funding to expand the reach and impact of the existing Emergency Rental Assistance program. Rental assistance includes $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers for people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence and victims of human trafficking.

      Since June, 2020, the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP) has distributed over $83.7 million in 24,294 rent and mortgage payments for households throughout the Commonwealth. Families with children represent the majority of households assisted by the program.

      The new ERA funding does not include mortgage relief, so the RMRP that has been operating since June will become the RRP and will no longer accept applications for assistance with mortgage payments. On February 16, the federal government announced an expansion and extension of federal forbearance and foreclosure relief programs. (See section above for information about this program.)

      Submit a landlord-initiated application here. Virginia law requires landlords to work with their tenant to apply for this assistance. Tenants can check their eligibility by completing the self-assessment or by dialing 2-1-1 from their phones. Tenants may be eligible for rent arrears payments back to April 1, 2020 and up to three months of payments into the future. The total payments may not exceed 15 months of rental assistance per household.
      Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program works in partnership with local nonprofit programs.

      Tenants and homeowners are encouraged to know their rights and responsibilities and pay their rent and mortgages on time if they are able. See for additional information and resources.

      State legislation (effective July 1, 2020) caps late fees at 10 percent of the periodic rent or 10 percent of the remaining balance due, whichever is less. This new law prevents cascading late fees, allows charges only on the amount due, and sets a maximum late fee percentage for the first time in Virginia. (Contact legal aid advocates, for information about tenants' rights.) Here's a list of new laws, approved by the 2020 General Assembly, which help tenants in Virginia.

      Tenants, sick or out-of-work, should ask for forbearance (delay) on rental payments. Request that the skipped monthly payments be payed over time, rather than in a single balloon bill of all missed payments required as soon as you resume making payments.
      People Inc. is offering Rental Assistance
      For families affected by COVID-19. Call the People Inc. Rental Assistance hotline toll free at 833-437-0114 for more information and to apply.
      Housing Programs, Services and Resources
      The Virginia Housing Development Authority, partnering with Governor Northam, created, a website for housing-centered information about programs, services and resources to help those who have experienced job or income loss and other impacts due to COVID-19. This source includes guidance on how to work with landlords, financial institutions and others to sustainably utilize temporary eviction and foreclosure protections during this crisis. Also, resources are listed for homeless Virginians.
      Student Loans, Consumer Debt & Health Insurance:
      Payment Relief for Student Loan Borrowers
      Student loan freeze extended until September 30. For most federal student loan borrowers, the U.S. CARES Act offers substantial relief by automatically suspending monthly payments, and reducing interest to 0%, through September. This legislation directs federal debt collection agencies to suspend the garnishment of wages, tax refunds, Social Security benefits, and other collection actions on federally-held student loans.

      Borrowers should log on to their student loan servicer's website to access their account. From there, they should see that there is no payment due. If the system is still showing a payment due, contact the servicer to confirm that a payment is not required. Here are FAQ about student loan forbearance - loan suspension benefits.

      NEW - The new March 10th federal COVID Relief Act provides that any student loan forgiveness passed between Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 1, 2026, is tax-free (rather than having the forgiven debt be treated as taxable income).

      NEW - Thousands of students defrauded by for-profit schools will have their federal loans fully erased, reversing a Trump administration policy that had given them only partial relief. The change could lead to $1 billion in loans being canceled for 72,000 borrowers. Students who received only partial awards will be reimbursed for any payments made on the loans and have their eligibility for federal student aid reinstated. The U.S. Department of Education said it also would ask credit bureaus to remove any negative ratings tied to the loans.

      Virginia has secured relief options for more than 200,000 Virginians with privately held student loans, through the CARES Act - debt relief details and cooperating creditors. Detailed information here about this college debt relief and how to find out if your loan is government backed or privately held.
      Forbearance (Delay) for Consumer Debt
      You may also negotiate forbearance on credit card debt by calling your creditor. Many lenders say they are offering similar assistance for numerous other types of loans. Banks may offer assistance including refunds on fees, deferred payments, with no negative credit bureau reporting, to include deposit accounts, credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and small business loans.
      Lose Your Health Insurance?
      AugThere are some options. One is to pay out of pocket to keep your old benefits through what's knows as COBRA, but that can be expensive. You are eligible by special open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace to purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Unemployment insurance counts as part of your income.

      NEW - American Rescue Plan - Expands and Makes More Affordable - Coverage Through the Affordable Care Act

      No Insurance or Unhappy with Your Current Policy?
      Open Enrollment in the the federal health insurance marketplace is available from now until August 15 so that uninsured people can buy a plan and those who want to change their marketplace coverage can do so.
      If you already have a marketplace plan, update your enrollment or application, reselecting your plan choice, in order for the changes to take effect and reduce premiums for the rest of the year (applying to coverage for May 1 going forward).

      NEW - April 1st - The American Recovery Act provides relief to low and middle income families who fell above previous income cutoffs for the Affordable Care Act. Also those who who purchase health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges and who currently choose policies with lower premiums but high deductibles. Most of the nearly 14 million people enrolled in plans sold on the marketplaces would pay less under the new provisions — with the option to use those savings to buy a different plan with a lower deductible. Apply or change plans here.

      NEW - The American Recovery Plan (ARP) will increase the affordability of health care for the unemployed to continue their former health care coverage. Those receiving unemployment benefits, who are typically ineligible for subsidies on the exchange, will become eligible this year. The ARP will pick up 100% of the cost of premiums for those on COBRA, the program allowing recently unemployed workers to privately purchase coverage offered by their former job, often at a high cost

      NEW - Many people, including immigrants, can now qualify for Medicaid:
      • No longer is a ten-year work history required for Virginia's immigrant community to be eligible for Medicaid.
      • If you have applied for health coverage in the past but have been denied, don't be afraid to apply again.
      • Rules have changed for green-card holding adults and many more are now eligible for Medicaid in Virginia.
      • Connect with an Enroll Virginia navigator to learn about your health coverage options available through Medicaid/FAMIS (CHIP) or the Marketplace.
      Check with Washington Co. Department of Social Services to see whether your family qualifies for Medicaid or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). Losing your job is considered a life event that enables you to enroll in your state-level health care exchange system set up under the Affordable Care Act.
      Pregnant and Uninsured?
      Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP - March 2021) States have a new option to extend Medicaid coverage for post-partum women from the current 60 days to a full year. States that elect this option must provide full state plan benefits throughout the enrollee's pregnancy and post-partum period and cannot limit benefits to only those that are "pregnancy related." The new option is available to states for 5 years, beginning April 1, 2022. Ask your state delegate and state senator to ask that Virginia adopt this coverage.
      Virginia Health Insurance Companies' Updates
      The Virginia Association of Health Plans (VAHP) maintains a summary of individual health insurance company responses to COVID-19 in Virginia.
      Federal Taxes
      Here's up-to-date guidance from the Internal Revenue Service to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the Coronavirus.
      Virginia Income Taxes
      Filing without penalties with an extension ended November 1st.
      Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS) - Washington County
      Gov. Northam has relaxed requirements, ended co-payments, and extended services for Medicaid and FAMIS healthcare services and more. The DSS office is currently closed to the public. Access information on programs and benefits online. Call (855) 635-4370 for medical assistance only. Washington Co. DSS has installed an agency drop box outside the building where people can drop off paperwork. It will be checked several times throughout the day.

      The $600/week additional federal unemployment assistance does not count as part of your income for eligibility for Medicaid and FAMIS services.

      If you need replacement EBT SNAP benefits, call your DSS worker first, leaving a message if necessary. If you can't connect with your worker, call 1-866-281-2448. (More about SNAP benefits under "Food & Utilities")

      The state DSS has a new website, which makes it easier to find the information you need to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency. It covers a variety of subjects including resources for food, domestic violence, feeling sick and more.

      Increased access to health care for Virginia's Medicaid members and thousands of low-income residents:
      • Eliminate 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.
      • Ensure current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
      • Permit Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
      • Waive pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services, and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
      • Expand access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.
      • Medicaid/FAMIS information can be found here.
      Child Care

      Governor Northam directed the Department of Social Services to modify Virginia's Child Care Subsidy program, to increase support and flexibility for enrolled families and providers. The modifications:
      • Expanding eligibility for school-aged children currently designated for part-day care to full-day care.
      • Increasing the number of paid absences from 36 to 76 days for both level 1 and level 2 providers.
      • Automatically extending eligibility for families due for eligibility predetermination in the near future by 2 months and temporarily suspending the requirement for face-to-face interviews.
      NEW - Expansion of the Child Care Subsidy Program establishes a new short-term eligibility category for parents seeking financial assistance for child care while they are looking for employment and temporarily expands income eligibility guidelines for families with young children. The new income eligibility levels allow families with a household income of up to 85 percent of the state median income to apply if they have a child under age five, or not yet in kindergarten, to qualify. Additional federal funding will support families and child care providers by:
      * Waiving co-payments for families in April, May, and June.
      * Increasing absence days so providers and families can manage occurrences where child care providers may temporarily need to close or children may need to quarantine.
      * Building the foundation for a statewide mental health consultation program to assist child care providers in helping children through this difficult time.
      * Issuing a fourth round of child care stabilization grants to eligible open providers.
      * Providing funding for grants and contracts to support increased access to child care in underserved communities.
      * Supplementing the state's innovative child care educator incentive program so that eligible educators in child care centers and family day homes receiving public funding such as the Child Care Subsidy Program are now eligible for up to $2,000 this year to strengthen quality and reduce turnover.

      Visit Families can learn more about expanded eligibility and how to apply here.
      Domestic Violence Hotline
      Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to report their case to the hotline serviced by the Department of Social Services: 1-800-838-8238.
      Small Business Administration (SBA) > PPP-Paycheck Protection Loans are BACK
      While the SBA is not a local agency, local businesses will be eligible for an economic injury disaster loan. SBA COVID-19 Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources. And here's a new Coronavirus Relief Options website.

      NEW - The American Rescue Plan (ARP) will fund Virginia's small business support and capital access programs, provide collateral support, facilitate loan participation, and enable credit guarantee programs. It will boost the state's venture capital programs and provide funding for technical support and assistance. ARP extends a number of critical tax benefits to small businesses that are intended to help businesses through to the recovery while keeping up their payrolls and still taking steps to protect health outcomes for employees. For example, businesses can take dollar-for-dollar tax credits equal to wages of up to $5,000 if they offer paid leave to employees who are sick or quarantining. Paid Leave Credits are a powerful incentive to encourage the offer of paid sick and family leave, which will help keep the virus under control by ensuring sick employees can stay home. Check with your accountant about this and other tax credits and benefits.

      The application window for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans is open for lenders with $1 billion or less in assets. PPP reopened initially for community financial institutions (CFIs) to make loans to first-time PPP borrowers. CFIs were allowed to make second-draw loans to borrowers starting January 20. Borrowers can apply for first- and second-draw loans until May 31, 2021 or until the $284 billion appropriation is exhausted.

      NEW - $7.25 billion in new money for the PPP in the March 10th COVID Relief bill allows more nonprofits to apply, including those groups that engage in advocacy and some limited lobbying. It also allows larger nonprofits to be eligible.

      Eligibility – First Draw Borrowers
      • Eligible small entities, that together with their affiliates (if applicable), have 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors—can apply. Entities with more than 500 employees in certain industries that meet SBA's alternative size standard or SBA's size standards for those particular industries can also apply.
      • Businesses with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodation and Food Services sector) or eligible news organizations with no more than 500 employees per physical location, as well as housing cooperatives, 501(c)(6) organizations, or destination marketing organizations with no more than 300 employees.
      Eligibility – Second Draw Borrowers
      • Previously received a first-draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses
      • Has no more than 300 employees; and
      • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
      Next Steps
      Borrowers should contact their lender to determine when they will begin accepting applications and the process to submit an application. Borrowers are urged to evaluate their eligibility for a first or second draw loan based on the criteria published by the SBA and Treasury.

      For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit:

      Here's a helpful side-by-side comparison of SBA's Economic Disaster Loan with the Paycheck Protection Loans, available through banks and credit unions. Additional information and applications for each kind of loan are linked at the end of the comparison sheet.

      While you await the opening of the lending portal, you should begin to familiarize yourself with the applications, assess your eligibility for a first draw or second draw loan and gather information needed to complete the application, which can be found at Form 2483 – First Draw Borrower Application or Form 2483-SD – Second Draw Borrower Application.
      NEW - SBA Restaurant Grant Program: In the new March 10 COVID Relief Act, the Small Business Administration will receive $25 billion for a new grant program for "restaurants and other food and drinking establishments." Grants would be up to $10 million per entity and $5 million per physical location, with a maximum of 20 locations. The legislation sets aside $5 billion of the total money to be targeted to businesses with less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019. The bill includes another $1.25 billion for the Small Business Administration's Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.
      People Inc. is offering Small Business Loans
      People Incorporated may still offer forgivable U.S. Small Business Administration microloans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Microloans may be offered for any amount starting at $500 up to $50,000. They may be for terms from six months to six years.
      Rapid Response Funds to Assist Small Business
      Rapid Response is a federal program to help workers, companies, and communities experiencing layoffs and closures and provide strategies to avert layoffs. This includes connecting workers and businesses to information, partners, new employment opportunities, funding, and training programs that can help lessen the impact of layoffs or avert layoffs all together.

      The Additional Rapid Response Assistance for COVID-19 available through the state provides funding to help businesses avert layoffs by providing assistance in sanitization of work spaces, implementing telework options to support social
      distancing that the company has not supported prior, or other innovative strategies that help keep employees on the job. Businesses may apply for assistance through their regional workforce boards. See "FIND THE WORKFORCE DIRECTOR FOR YOUR JURISDICTIONS" at the end of this link.
      Offer Help - How to Volunteer
      Volunteer - Virginia Medical Reserve Corps
      There is a statewide effort in collaboration with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to recruit volunteers in the fight against COVID-19. You don't need to have medical skills to volunteer MRC volunteers will be the backbone of contact tracing and keeping the vaccination clinics running smoothly as Virginia continues moving past the pandemic.

      The MRC is a force of dedicated volunteers who support the community in the event of a public health emergency. Local units are comprised of teams of medical and public health professionals and community members who volunteer their time, skills, and expertise to support ongoing public health initiatives and assist during emergencies.

      They need a wide range of skills. Only about half of the volunteers have professional medical experience. It's not at all required, but some training is available at higher education institutions for Virginians who want to learn basic medical skills. Health professionals in intensive care or medical-surgical units can also get further training, and short courses are available on ventilator usage.

      Nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students are particularly encouraged to apply. Non-medical volunteer positions that are needed include logistics, communication, coordination, technology and other support. MRC is working with colleges and universities to get students involved – especially those enrolled in medical or health degree programs. For information or to sign up to become an MRC volunteer, please visit Volunteer for the Southwest Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.
      Donate your time, contribute money or goods. To local private, non-profit agencies assisting our neighbors in need.

      Faith In Action needs our help with monetary donations, which can be made online or mailed to: Abingdon Faith in Action, PO Box 2419, Abingdon, VA 24210. They are accepting non-perishable food and personal items and mentioned needing saltine crackers and diapers, particularly size large. Donations can be dropped off at their physical location behind St. John Lutheran Church: 798 Hillman Hwy. NE, Abingdon, VA 24210 Phone: (276) 628-4813.

      The Community Center of Abingdon: Operates a Meals-on-Wheels program, serving almost 1000 meals a week. The Center cancelled all of their events, including Bingo, a fundraiser that pays for the Meals-on-Wheels program. They hope to reopen bingo later during the Governor's phased reopening. If you are younger, healthy and considered lower-risk for contracting COVID-19, consider volunteering to deliver meals. Many of their volunteers are older and we can help protect them by assisting in this way. Monetary donations can be dropped off or made online.

      Feeding Southwest Virginia: Non-perishable food can be dropped off at their office located near Domino's Pizza at Exit 17: Abingdon Distribution Center, 21452 Gravel Lake Road, Abingdon, VA 24211. Phone: (276) 628-9266.

      Glade Spring Senior Center: They are in need of two large freezers. If you are able to assist with this, contact Jerry Ferguson at 276-356-1151. Donations can be made to: Town Square Food Ministries, Box 338, Glade Spring, VA.

      Help the Arts! Please consider a donation to the arts in Washington County - hard hit by the social distancing requirements and non-existent tourist trade:

      * Barter Theatre - you can stream some of this season's shows, on demand.
      * The Arts Depot

      * Holston Mountain Artisans Cooperative

      Suggest other private, non-profit agencies -
      Local Government & Private Non-profit agencies Responding to Covid-19
      Mountain Lynx Transit
      Mountain Lynx Transit limits vehicle capacity to no more than 9 passengers due to social distancing. All transit vehicles are limited to no more than 10 people. Passengers are asked to not sit beside each other and the seat behind the driver will remain open at all times. If you are feeling ill, please be responsible and do not ride public transit.
      Virginia Employment Commission
      The Abingdon DMV is open. The office will be open by appointment only to focus on services needed in person. Residents are encouraged to utilize online and mail services when available.

      DMV is offering most current 8-yr credential holders who are required to renew in person between Sept 2020 and Dec 2021 the option to obtain a new 2-yr driver's license or ID online, temporarily suspending the requirement for them to visit.

      Real ID deadline enforcement deadline has been extended from Oct 1, 2020 to Oct 1, 2021. That means that starting October 1, 2021, Virginians who wish to use their state-issued driver's license or identification card to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility must present a REAL ID compliant version. Otherwise, they'll have to present another federally acceptable form of ID, such as a valid U.S. passport. Real ID compliant driver's licenses can be obtained from DMV by presenting the proper identification.
      Virginia Department of Corrections
      State Employee Memo from Governor Northam
      Read here.
      Voter Information
      You can register to vote, apply for an absentee ballot, or vote "absentee-in-person" with assistance from the Washington County Voter Registrar.
      United Way of Southwest Virginia
      Offers a Community Resource Guide or suggests use of 2-1-1 Virginia, a free service that can help you find the local resources you need. Call 1-800-230-6977 or visit the 2-1-1 website."
      For those with access to Facebook, United Way of Southwest Virginia is circulating an online fundraiser: "COVID-19 Response Fund for Southwest Virginia." Donate if you are able -- for questions, please contact Mary Anne Holbrook, Director of Community Relations, at (276) 525-4075. United Way of Southwest Virginia is accepting donations to establish the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a resiliency and social innovation initiative.

      United Way of Southwest Virginia is forming a regional advisory council comprised of donors to the fund, business and nonprofit organizations, and health and human service agencies to develop the response strategy for Southwest Virginia. United Way of Southwest Virginia will form strategic public-private partnerships with community organizations to meet the needs of individuals affected. Both immediate and long-term, these efforts will focus response efforts on vulnerable populations, including children, families, and the ALICE population. ALICE, an acronym coined by United Way that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed represents men, women, and families who work hard and earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living.

      You may make a gift three ways to United Way of SWVA: Online at COVID-19 Relief Fund, mail to COVID-19 Relief Fund, P.O. Box 644, Abingdon, VA 24212, Text 71777 with the word SWVARELIEF through Mobile Cause. Mary Anne Holbrook, Director of Community Relations, at (276) 525-4075.
      People, Incorporated
      Offers assistance with a number of issues that may be more urgent during this health crisis. The state and federal eligibility rules may have changed in response to COVID-19, so call and ask. All services are still available in some form although centers and offices are not currently open to the public. (276) 623-9000
      • Housing
      • Section 8 Rental Assistance
      • Senior Housing
      • Homeless Intervention Program
      • Community Economic Development
      • Business Development and Loan Services
      • Low Interest Consumer Loans (household expenses, car purchases, bill consolidation, etc.)
      • Dislocated Worker Program
      People Inc. offering RENTAL ASSISTANCE
      Call the People Inc. Rental Assistance hotline toll free at 833-437-0114 for more information and to apply. Details here.

      Employment and training programs for eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own or have received an official layoff notice. Early Head Start (children up to 3) and Head Start (children 3 to 5).

      The centers are currently closed, but services are still provided in other settings. Early childhood education, health, nutrition, social services, parent education, family development, and parental involvement for income-eligible families.
      Washington County Public Library
      All WCPL locations will remain closed until it is safe to reopen. While the library is closed, late fees will not accrue, and holds will not expire. Book drops are closed. Please keep all materials until the library reopens. The digital collection is available 24/7. You can access eBooks, eAudios, and eMagazines, plus online classes, and more with your library card. They will be frequently adding eBooks and eAudio for adults, teens, and children to OverDrive during the period that libraries are closed. Check back often for new titles! WCPL offers many online resources that are accessible from your home.

      Library staff are still available remotely to provide research assistance. Though our buildings are closed, you may access the wireless internet with your own laptop or device while in the library parking lot.
      Virginia Highlands Community College

      Lift Your Spirts
      "What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love for Virtual Orchestra," a video serenade to raise your spirits created by a virtual orchestra of 74 Berklee School of Music (and dance) students away from school because of the virus.
      Read the values WIN stands for in Washington County. Join 600 WIN members here. Membership is FREE.
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