Update on state functions affected by pandemic

Published 9:20 am Friday, March 27, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

I wanted to take a moment to share with you several resources related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As your Delegate, I want to ensure that you have the necessary information to keep you and your family updated, safe and healthy.

The Republican leadership wrote to Governor Ralph Northam last week asking him to extend tax filing and payment deadlines for individuals and businesses. While the governor didn’t go as far as we asked, he did take significant steps to keep more money in the pockets of struggling businesses and families.



The Supreme Court of Virginia has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings to suspend through April 6. This includes a suspension in eviction hearings. If you have ongoing matters before the courts, you may wish to reach out to your attorney or the appropriate clerk’s office for specific questions.


The DMV has closed its service centers through April 2. Virginians with business before the DMV are encouraged to perform their transactions online. For those who must appear in person for license renewal or other similar business, a 60-day deadline extension will be granted for all expirations occurring before May 15. More information can be found at the following website: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/general/#covid19.asp

The Virginia State Police have also been instructed not to enforce the state’s vehicle inspection program for 60 days. If your vehicle inspection is about to expire, you have an additional two months to drive without fear of a citation.


The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has ordered all publicly regulated utility companies to suspend disconnections for a period of 60 days.


Governor Northam has banned gatherings of 10 or more people across the commonwealth, leaving most restaurants to function in a “take-out/delivery” mode if they remain open. He also announced Friday that some Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations will be suspended, and restaurants can deliver beer and wine with meals. You can learn more on the web at: https://www.abc.virginia.gov/library/covid19/bole-covid-19-response-v7.pdf


The standard one week waiting period for unemployment benefits has been waived. If you or someone you know has lost their job or had a significant reduction in hours due to the coronavirus, information found at www.vec.virginia.gov/node/11699 will help answer questions about unemployment benefits.

I realize that it’s not an easy thing for some of us to ask for help. Rest assured, this is not a hand-out. It’s a hand up, a lifeline to keep families afloat until the tide turns.

Note that VEC offices are closed to the public. Online and phone services remain open, and the commission is adding to their call center capacity daily.


If you’re a business owner, the Small Business Administration has been given authority to grant low-interest loans to all parts of Virginia. If that sort of assistance can help your small business keep the lights on, I encourage you to visit the website listed below and fill out the application. disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/


The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding coronavirus, including recommendations on social distancing and precautions for high-risk individuals. That information can be found on the web at: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/frequently-asked-questions

For a comprehensive list of actions taken by Governor Northam, visit his website frequently at: www.virginia.gov/coronavirus-updates/. Let me say this in closing. This crisis is a significant disruption to our work, our economy, and our daily lives. It is a challenge unlike anything we’ve faced in modern Virginia history. Anyone who tells you they know how this will play out isn’t telling you the truth.

But I do know that this commonwealth has endured for more than 400 years. War did not break us. Famine and plagues have not broken us. We will get through this and come out the other side better for it.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.