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LATEST COVID-19 NEWS FROM THE CITY AND STATE - CLICK ON HEADLINES FOR THE FULL RELEASE

Nonprofit Grants Application Now Open

April 27, 2021

​In March, $6 million in funding to the Virginia Beach Pandemic Relief Partnership was designated to United Way of South Hampton Roads to provide grants to assist nonprofits with operational costs and expenses in the wake of the pandemic.


Statement from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula on Federal Action Regarding Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

April 23, 2021

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted their recommended pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following the recommendation of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that the vaccine should be cleared for use by all adults.


Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Contractor Assume Management of COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Virginia Beach Convention Center

April 23, 2021

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and its contractor, AshBritt, are assuming responsibility for the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at the Virginia Beach Convention Center (VBCC) starting Monday, April 26. It will operate for at least the next 45 days.


Department of Human Services Hosting Drive-Thru Food Pantry on April 27

April 19, 2021

The Virginia Beach Department of Human Services (DHS) along with its partner, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, will hold a third drive-thru food pantry for Virginia Beach residents at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 27 in the parking lot of the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater, 3550 Cellar Door Way.

  • Virginia Beach Already Moving into Phase 2: Appointments Available This Week - Monday, April 5, 2021
  • Virginia Beach Already Moving into Phase 2: Appointments Available This Week

    April 5, 2021

    Virginia Beach community mass vaccination program is closing in on 100,000th vaccine.

    The time has come: anyone 16 and older who lives or works in Virginia Beach is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This transition to Phase 2 comes on the heels of the move to 1C last week and is well ahead of the April 18 deadline Governor Northam set.

    "We actually have appointment slots available for Phase 2 qualified individuals starting this week. People who pre-register today may receive invitations to schedule appointments within a few hours," said Robert Engle, emergency planner with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH). "We will continue to prioritize those eligible in Phase 1 as we move into Phase 2, and continue the focus on equity and reaching our vulnerable populations," he said. Those efforts include targeted advertising in multiple languages, working with community partners to schedule vaccination clinics, and opening large, state-run Community Vaccination Centers in targeted areas.

    "This is a major milestone for our community," said Mayor Robert M. "Bobby" Dyer. "It's a testament to the incredible partnership between the City and VBDPH, and especially to the dedication of the scores of volunteers who have been showing up day after day to get shots in arms. We could not have gotten to this day so soon without our incredible volunteers or without the City redeploying staff to make sure everything was covered."

    Everyone who lives or works in Virginia Beach should pre-register so they can be notified when they are eligible for vaccination and an appointment is available. Pre-registration may be completed by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages. Videoconferencing in American Sign Language is also available via vaccinate.virginia.gov.

    Virginia Beach residents and workers who have received an invitation to schedule an appointment in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) and have had difficulty finding an available timeslot should select 23451 as the zip code and "limited clinic" as the clinic type. Keep checking VAMS as new clinic appointment slots are continually being added. If you are having trouble finding your invitation email, search "CDC" in your inbox. Residents or workers having problems scheduling an appointment should email the Health Department at VaccinateVB@vdh.virginia.gov.

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  • LATEST COVID-19 NEWS FROM THE CITY AND STATE - CLICK ON HEADLINES FOR THE FULL RELEASE - Thursday, April 1, 2021
  • LATEST COVID-19 NEWS FROM THE CITY AND STATE - CLICK ON HEADLINES FOR THE FULL RELEASE

  • Virginia Beach Opens Vaccinations to Residents in Phase 1c - Thursday, April 1, 2021
  • Virginia Beach Opens Vaccinations to Residents in Phase 1c

    April 1, 2021

    Individuals who qualify for Phase 1c and have pre-registered are now being invited to schedule vaccination appointments and the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH) expects to transition to Phase 2 soon. Anyone 16 years old and older who lives or works in Virginia Beach and would like to be vaccinated should pre-register at Vaccinate.Virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). To date, 173,352 doses have been administered, 113,709 have had at least one dose and 60,671 people are fully vaccinated in Virginia Beach.

    "People who successfully pre-registered for phases 1a and 1b have been sent invitations to schedule an appointment, so email us at VaccinateVB@vdh.virginia.gov if you are still waiting," said Bob Engle, emergency coordinator for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health. "We have approximately 6,000 people registered for phase 1c, so we expect to quickly transition to phase 2. We're encouraging everyone to go ahead and pre-register."

    Those who have received an invitation to schedule an appointment in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) and have had difficulty finding an available timeslot should select 23451 as the zip code and "limited clinic" as the clinic type. Keep checking VAMS as new clinic appointment slots are continually being added.

    People who work in the following broad job fields qualify for phase 1c:

    • Energy: Electric industry, petroleum industry (including gas station workers), natural gas industry, and renewable energy
    • Water, wastewater, and waste removal: Water and utility, recycling removal, plumbers
    • Housing and construction: Hotel (traveler accommodations), HVAC technicians, hardware stores and similar retail stores, housing construction, house painters, electricians, housing and real estate services
    • Food Service: Restaurant (servers and back of house)
    • Transportation and Logistics: Shipyard, maritime, welcome center, road construction industry, air traffic controllers and TSA, airline pilots, flight crews, airline ground crews, airport personnel, car retail and repair
    • Institutions of Higher Education: Faculty and staff
    • Finance: Insurance carriers and related activities, accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services
    • Information Technology and Communication: Internet/cell phone technicians, workers responsible for infrastructure construction or restoration, data center operators
    • Legal Services: Workers supporting operations of the judicial system, including lawyers and others providing legal assistance. (Note: judges and judicial workers are included in the "Continuity of Government" group in Phase 1b.)
    • Public Safety: Engineers, emergency communication centers
    • Hair Stylists: Barbers, stylists, hairdressers

    For additional information visit vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine.

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  • Governor Northam Announces Limited Capacity Increases for Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings, Some Entertainment Venues as Vaccinations Rise - Friday, March 26, 2021
  • Governor Northam Announces Limited Capacity Increases for Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings, Some Entertainment Venues as Vaccinations Rise

    March 23, 2021

    Approximately one in four Virginians vaccinated with at least one dose.

    Governor Ralph Northam today announced that as COVID-19 vaccinations continue to rise in Virginia, certain sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate with additional capacity and indoor and outdoor gathering limits will increase starting Thursday, April 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus. More than two million Virginians, or approximately one in four people, have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

    “With increased vaccination capacity and our health metrics continuing to trend the right direction, we can safely take these targeted steps to ease certain mitigation measures,” said Governor Northam. “Virginians have come so far over the past year, and now is not the time to simply throw the doors open or let down our guard. While some capacity limits will be increased, we must all remember to stay vigilant and work together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.”

    The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued mitigation strategies like physical distancing, teleworking, and universal mask requirements. Key changes in the Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:

    • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 50 people for indoor settings and 100 people for outdoor settings. Social gatherings are currently limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
    • Entertainment venues: All indoor and outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity. Indoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity or with a maximum of 500 people, an increase from the current cap of 250 people. Outdoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity, with no specific cap on the number of attendees. These venues were previously limited to 30 percent capacity or up to 1,000 attendees, whichever was fewer.
    • Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at recreational sporting events will increase from 25 to 100 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for indoor settings, and from 250 to 500 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for outdoor settings.
    • In-person graduation and commencement events: Last week, Governor Northam issued preliminary guidance on safe in-person graduations and commencements, which included a cap of 5,000 people or 30 percent of the venue capacity for outdoor events, whichever is less. Events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing.

    The full text of Fourth Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here. Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

    Virginia has now administered more than 3.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and is currently giving approximately 50,000 shots per day. Virginians are strongly encouraged to make sure they are pre-registered at vaccinate.virginia.gov, or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA, to ensure that the Virginia Department of Health has all the relevant information to reach out when individuals are eligible to schedule vaccination appointments.

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  • Volunteer Vaccinators Needed - Monday, March 15, 2021
  • Volunteer Vaccinators Needed

    March 15, 2021

    Are you a licensed medical professional certified to give shots? Use your skills to volunteer with Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and help provide COVID-19 vaccines for the community.

    If you are a currently licensed physician, physician's assistant, nurse (RN/LPN/NP) or EMT (paramedic/advanced/intermediate) and would like to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations, your skills are urgently needed.

    The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (DPH), in partnership with the City of Virginia Beach, is now working to vaccinate Virginia Beach residents four to six days a week. This more intensive schedule is taking a toll on volunteers who comprise about half of the vaccination clinic's operational staff. Additionally, as vaccine supply increases, more vaccinators will be required to continue to quickly and efficiently inoculate Virginia Beach residents.

    Virginia Beach EMS is now recruiting volunteer vaccinators to assist with administering COVID-19 shots.

    Volunteer Vaccinator Requirements:

    • Complete an EMS volunteer application at VBEMS.com/VolunteerVaccinator (select "Create Account")
    • Provide your credentials/certifications for verification
    • Complete a brief EMS orientation over the phone
    • Complete several brief online training courses (total time required is 2-3 hours)
    • Consent to a background check performed by the Virginia Beach EMS (at the department's cost).

    "Virginia Beach EMS has long been a volunteer-driven agency and volunteers are the lifeblood of this operation," said Ed Brazle, Virginia Beach EMS Chief. "The giving spirit of these people during this difficult time has been tremendous, but we can't ask them to keep up the current pace over the next several months, and more hands will help make our clinic sustainable in the long term."

    Provided prospective candidates complete all training and required checks, they should be approved to begin vaccinating within 10 business days. Volunteers will be credentialed by EMS with ID cards and asked to submit their availability. Shifts will be scheduled by EMS with notification in advance of the vaccination clinic. Volunteers should be able to commit to a minimum of two shifts per month. Clinics generally run Monday-Friday.

    Signing up to volunteer at the vaccination clinics does not obligate volunteers to provide any additional services to EMS. Email questions to vaccinators@VBgov.com.

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  • Department of Human Services Reopening to the Public on March 15 - Monday, March 8, 2021
  • Department of Human Services Reopening to the Public on March 15

    March 8, 2021

    The Department of Human Services (DHS) will reopen its doors to the public once more on Monday, March 15, under modified conditions. Day Programs such as SkillQuest, Beach House, and the Day Treatment program will remain closed until further notice.

    "We are pleased to reopen our doors once again and serve our clients through more traditional means and in a manner that is safe for all involved," said DHS Director Aileen L. Smith. "Our dedicated staff have worked diligently throughout the pandemic, whether from the office or at home, to serve the needs of our community. We look forward to continuing that work, providing access to vital programs and services that impact the daily lives of families and individuals in Virginia Beach."

    Although the Department will be open to the public, customers are encouraged to connect with services electronically whenever possible to limit the number of people in the facilities at any given time. In the event a face-to-face meeting is necessary, it should be scheduled by appointment and held in a setting where social distancing can be maintained to the greatest extent possible. Exceptions will be made in the event that crisis intervention or an immediate response is required.

    In accordance with Governor Northam's executive order requiring face coverings to be worn while in public, we respectfully ask that any visitors do so as they are able. In the event an individual is not able to wear a face covering under any of the exemptions outlined in the order, we will accommodate their needs in a manner that is safe for all involved. We will not deny services, however we may provide those services through alternative means when necessary and appropriate to do so.

    For a complete list of programs and services, and any deviations from normal operations, please visit VBgov.com/DHSReopen.

    For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeach, twitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

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  • Libraries to Reopen for Limited In-Person Services on March 15, 2021 - Monday, March 8, 2021
  • Libraries to Reopen for Limited In-Person Services on March 15, 2021

    March 8, 2021

    Beginning Monday, March 15, Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) will expand services by adding limited in-person visits at all locations except at the Windsor Woods Area Library, which remains closed for renovation. Customers will be able to come into the buildings to browse and check out materials as well as access computers, printers and internet, and other services.

    Safety Measures

    • Face coverings are required.
    • A limited number of customers may be admitted at a time, based on each branch's size, to ensure proper social distancing.
    • Customers are asked to keep visits to one hour to maximize library access for all residents.
    • Some spaces and furnishings may be unavailable, including the children's rooms at Kempsville, Princess Anne and the TCC/City Joint-Use Library.

    Branch hours vary by location; visit www.VBgov.com/locations-hours for details.

    Digital Resources & Programs
    Digital options, including e-books, music, magazines, movies and more are available at www.VBgov.com/digital-library. Virtual programs for all ages are also available at www.VBgov.com/library-events.

    About Virginia Beach Public Library
    Virginia Beach Public Library includes a central library, a joint-use library in partnership with Tidewater Community College, seven area libraries and a public law library. Services include workforce development and job-search support, small business resources, computer and technology classes, early literacy classes and outreach, and local history archives and programs. In addition to books, music, magazines and movies in tangible and digital formats, the library provides online research tools accessible from home or work, and a variety of specialty collections. Visit www.VBgov.com/libraries for more information.

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  • In-Person City Council Meetings to Resume March 2 - Thursday, February 25, 2021
  • In-Person City Council Meetings to Resume March 2

    February 25, 2021

    COVID-19 Precautions and Procedures in Effect for In-Person Attendance

    Following several weeks of meeting virtually as part of ongoing COVID-19 public health and safety precautions, City Council will resume meeting in person effective Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6 p.m. the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The Virginia Beach Convention Center is located at 1000 19th Street at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

    The following protocols and procedures for in-person attendance and citizen engagement will be in effect in order to comply with current state Executive Order restrictions:

    In-Person Attendance

    City staff member in-person attendance will be limited, and staff will accommodate speakers both in-person and virtually via WebEx. Anyone wishing to speak in person should register with the City Clerk prior to start of the meeting. Speakers will be required to wait in Suite 4 of the Convention Center until called into the meeting room to speak. Upon conclusion, speakers will exit the room and return to Suite 4 to view the remainder of the meeting. In-person speakers will be required to follow physical distancing and safety protocols, including wearing a face covering while in the Convention Center.

    Citizen Comment Registration

    Citizens are urged to provide their comments in advance via email or virtually during the meeting via WebEx. Anyone wishing to speak virtually, via WebEx, must follow the two-step process provided below:

    Step 1: Register for the WebEx meeting here or at: https://vbgov.webex.com/vbgov/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1aba56b760743d7822e70c49e93a5a3d

    Step 2: Register with the City Clerk's Office by calling 757-385-4303 prior to 5 p.m. on March 2, 2021.

    Citizens requiring accommodations to these requirements are encouraged to participate through electronic means or to contact the City Clerk to discuss accommodations. Please visit www.vbgov.com/government/departments/city-clerk/city-council for the most updated meeting information. Public comment is always welcome by the Council through their group e-mail account at citycouncil@vbgov.com.

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  • Governor Northam Increases Capacity Limits for Outdoor Sports and Entertainment Venues as COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Infection Rates Continue to Fall, Vaccinations Rise - Thursday, February 25, 2021
  • Governor Northam Increases Capacity Limits for Outdoor Sports and Entertainment Venues as COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Infection Rates Continue to Fall, Vaccinations Rise

    February 24, 2021

    Indoor capacity limits to remain in place, overnight summer camps can open May 1 with mitigation measures.

    Governor Ralph Northam today announced that as COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continue to decline and vaccinations rise in Virginia, certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate at increased capacity starting Monday, March 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.

    “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of all Virginians, hospitalization and positivity rates across the Commonwealth are the lowest they have been in nearly three months,” said Governor Northam. “As key health metrics show encouraging trends and we continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts, we can begin to gradually resume certain recreational activities and further reopen sectors of our economy. Even as we take steps to safely ease public health guidelines, we must all remain vigilant so we can maintain our progress—the more we stay home, mask up, and practice social distancing, the more lives we will save from this dangerous virus.”

    The Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued strict health and safety protocols including physical distancing, mask-wearing requirements, gathering limits, and business capacity restrictions. The current modified Stay at Home order will expire on February 28, 2021.

    Governor Northam is beginning to ease public health restrictions by taking steps to increase capacity limits in outdoor settings, where evidence shows the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 is lower. The key changes in the Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:

    • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
    • Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
    • Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
    • Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.

    The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.

    The full text of Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here. Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

    Last week, Governor Northam amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to increase the number of spectators permitted at outdoor youth sporting events to 250.

    Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

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  • Virginia Beach Health Department Warns of Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines - Friday, February 12, 2021
  • Virginia Beach Health Department Warns of Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines

    February 12, 2021

    The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH) is warning residents of bad actors who may be attempting to take advantage of people anxious to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. VBDPH advises residents to be aware of potential scams related to the vaccine.

    Bad actors may register website domains related to COVID-19. These fake websites and applications may claim to provide an opportunity to register for a vaccine, provide testing results, or other resources, however, they are used to steal credentials, bank account information, or to infect your devices with malware.

    The health department has been made aware of scam emails attempting to convince the recipient to reveal sensitive information (i.e. bank account information) by demanding payment in order to receive a vaccine. Other scams may be designed to compel the recipient to open a malicious link or attachment, allowing them to potentially access the recipient's system. Clever phishing emails will look legitimate and will likely impersonate well-known and trusted entities. Never open any link or attachment from a source that you cannot clearly identify as being legitimate.

    Tips and warning signs:

    • Legitimate vaccine appointment invitation emails from VBDPH will be sent from VaccinateVB@vdh.virginia.gov.
    • You should never be asked to pay for a vaccine or for early access to a vaccine. Vaccines are free to all residents.
    • The VBDPH will never ask for your Social Security number, driver's license number or bank information in order to receive a vaccine.
    • You may be asked to provide health insurance information, but insurance is not required to receive the vaccine.
    • Scammers may pose as legitimate businesses or organizations related to the distribution of the vaccine, including the VBDPH, in an effort to steal your personal or financial information.
    • Before clicking on any links, ensure that any email you receive related to the vaccine is coming from a legitimate source before clicking links or opening attachments. You may also hover your mouse over links to see where they lead to ensure the URL is legitimate.
    • Anything that conveys a sense of urgency to click a link or provide information should be regarded as suspicious
    • Continuously update your passwords and update any default unsecure settings. Ensure backup protocols are in place with your devices
    • Never give out your personal information, including banking information, passwords Social Security Number, etc. over the phone or via email.

    If you believe you have been targeted for a vaccine-related scam or suspected fraud, please contact the Virginia Department of Health at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).

    For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and related resources in Virginia Beach, visit the state's website at vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine or the City's emergency site at emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus.

    For more information about COVID-19-Related Phone Scams and Phishing Attacks, visit cdc.gov/media/phishing.html or fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/beware-fraudulent-coronavirus-tests-vaccines-and-treatments.

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  • Virginia Beach Health District Will Expand COVID-19 Vaccination to “Phase 1b” Recipients - Thursday, January 21, 2021
  • Virginia Beach Health District Will Expand COVID-19 Vaccination to “Phase 1b” Recipients

    January 21, 2021

    Beginning, Monday, Jan. 25, the Virginia Beach Health District will move into Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccinations. Phase 1b is the second group eligible to receive the vaccine, and includes frontline essential workers, anyone age 65 and older, and those individuals age 16-64 years with high-risk medical conditions.

    Virginia Beach will begin closed “point of dispensing” (POD) COVID-19 vaccination clinics specifically for Phase 1b priority groups next week. Residents in Phase 1a will still be provided opportunities to receive the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to the general public and these are not public events.

    Individuals who fall into Phase 1b must pre-register to receive the vaccine through a new online portal that will also be available beginning Monday, Jan. 25. To access the portal, visit https://www.vbgov.com/vaccinatevb (the link is not currently live) and input your personal information. To get ready, registrants must have a working email address. Chrome is the preferred browser for the portal. Residents may contact the City’s 311 Citizen Services call center with any questions and for assistance with pre-registration. Dial “311” within Virginia Beach city limits. Callers from outside the city limits can dial (757) 385-3111 to reach 3​11 Citizen Services. Once pre-registered and when you are eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment, you will receive an email from the Virginia Department of Health and/or the CDC with a link to the online scheduling system.

    “Providing the COVID-19 vaccine to citizens is our top priority. There is high demand for the vaccine and we are taking every measure to safely and effectively distribute it as quickly as possible to aid in the mitigation of COVID-19,” said mayor Robert M. “Bobby” Dyer.

    “While the vaccine brings us steps closer to ending this pandemic, it will still be months before it is widely available to the general public,” said Virginia Beach District Health Director Dr. Demetria M. Lindsay. “Continuing to adhere to COVID-19 prevention practices remains very important as we work our way through the vaccination process.”

    Some 1a and 1b employees may be scheduled to receive the vaccine through their employers. Vaccination planning teams are reaching out to coordinate with employers in Phase 1b. However, if you qualify for phase 1b, you may still pre-register on your own, you are not required to wait for your employer.

    Individuals 65 years and older and those 16-64 years with high-risk medical conditions should pre-register through the online portal.

    As availability of the vaccine increases, Virginia Beach will move to the other phases. The complete definitions of all phases, data and other information, are on VDH’s Vaccine Response website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/. Anyone can use this eligibility tool to find out which vaccination phase they fall under.

    The goal is to add more distribution points as the vaccine becomes more widely available so Virginians who fall into 1c and later phases can get the vaccine from a local pharmacy, primary care physician, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)/free clinic, local health department or other clinic that is participating as a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider.

    In the meantime, it is important to remain vigilant in COVID-19 prevention. Continue to protect yourself and others: cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash your hands often and well, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid gatherings with anyone who is not a member of your household and get a flu shot.

    You can learn more about the vaccine, its safety and answers to frequently asked questions at VDH’s website and CDC’s website.

  • Virginia Beach Department of Human Services Will Temporarily Close to The Public on Monday, Jan. 25 - Thursday, January 21, 2021
  • Virginia Beach Department of Human Services Will Temporarily Close to The Public on Monday, Jan. 25

    January 21, 2021

    Due to increased COVID-19 transmission rates as indicated in data by the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services will temporarily discontinue public access to our facilities effective Monday, Jan. 25.

    Staff will continue to work on site at various locations as well as working remotely to meet the service needs of citizens via telehealth (video), by phone, or out in the community in low exposure settings where social distancing is possible. 24/7 programs and emergency response services will continue to operate.

    The hotlines listed below will be staffed to answer calls, as well as our main program phone numbers during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless otherwise noted. We are committed to providing a timely response to all members of our community.

    Emergency Hotlines:

    • Adult Protective Services (APS) – to report suspected neglect or abuse of adults
      757-385-3550 Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 888-832-3858 available 24/7
    • Child Protective Services (CPS) - to report suspected neglect or abuse of children
      757-385-3400 or 800-552-7096 available 24/7
    • Emergency Mental Health Services - 757-385-0888
    • Adult Outpatient Mental Health Services (including Same Day Access) - 757-385-0511
    • Child & Youth Mental Health Services - (including Same Day Access) 757-385-0850
    • Developmental Services - 757-385-0600
    • Emergency Mental Health Services - 757-385-0888 (available 24/7)

    Eligibility Benefits Programs
    Applications for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, (TANF), Childcare Subsidy and Energy Assistance can be found online at CommonHelp.Virginia.gov. Paper SNAP applications are available near the drop box at our offices at 3432 Virginia Beach Blvd. Individuals who are not able to complete an application online can call 855-635-4370 for assistance.

    EBT cards can be collected in person at our main building at 3432 Virginia Beach Blvd., or at the Housing Resource Center, 104 N. Witchduck Road.

    Essential services will continue to be offered with modified conditions. For full details about connecting with our services during this closure, please visit VBgov.com/DHS-COVID-Operations. Additional information and resources are available online at DSS.Virginia.gov, DBHDS.Virginia.gov, and CommonHelp.virginia.gov.

    For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeach, twitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

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  • COVID-19 Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief Program Application Deadline is Jan.31 - Wednesday, January 20, 2021
  • COVID-19 Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief Program Application Deadline is Jan.31

    January 20, 2021

    The application window to apply for the COVID-19 Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Relief program will close on Jan. 31. The relief program provides direct financial assistance to households where an occupant has been financially impacted through loss of employment or a reduction in work hours, or has been furloughed due to COVID-19.

    "Since we began offering this program last July, we have been able to provide more than $800,000 of direct financial relief to 1,610 Virginia Beach households," said Department of Human Services Director Aileen L. Smith. "I would strongly encourage any member of our community who may be eligible to submit an application if they have not already done so. All applications will be considered, and our team will work with individuals who have unique circumstances to determine their eligibility until the application window closes on Jan. 31."

    To be eligible for consideration, potential beneficiaries must provide proof of eligibility criteria:

    • Provide proof of established Virginia Beach residency as of March 1, 2020.
    • Be unemployed, furloughed, or have experienced a reduction in hours at any time after March 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of a Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) award letter or bank statement showing VEC deposits will meet this requirement.
      • Applicants who have since secured new employment or had their employment restored are eligible to apply.
    • Provide a copy of their 2020 real estate and/or personal property tax bills.

    Other application considerations:

    • Maximum residential real estate tax relief is $500 or billed total, whichever is lower.
    • Maximum personal property tax relief is $250 or billed total, whichever is lower.
    • Only one application per household.
    • Applicants are responsible for any accrued late fees, penalties or interest.
    • Self-employed or gig workers may be eligible if they can provide sufficient documentation of loss of work.
    • You may only claim a primary residence – no rental or second properties.

    Additional information, including necessary documents for proof of eligibility and applications, can be found online at VBgov.com/COVID19TaxRelief. For questions about eligibility or accepted documentation, please email VBTaxRelief@vbgov.com.

    For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeach, twitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

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  • Governor Northam COVID-19 Briefing | January 6, 2021 - Saturday, January 9, 2021
  • Governor Northam COVID-19 Briefing | January 6, 2021

    Click here for the latest update on Virginia's COVID-19 response and vaccine distribution: Governor Northam COVID-19 Briefing | January 6, 2021

  • Select Virginia Health Districts to Begin COVID-19 Phase 1B Vaccinations Monday, January 11th - Saturday, January 9, 2021
  • Select Virginia Health Districts to Begin COVID-19 Phase 1B Vaccinations Monday, January 11th

    January 8, 2021

    In line with Governor Northam’s directive this week to increase flexibility and speed up vaccine distribution in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced the select health districts that will begin Phase 1b vaccinations the week of January 11th.

    The number of people in priority group 1a — healthcare personnel and people living in long-term care — differs across geographic regions. While many localities remain focused on 1a vaccinations, 11 health districts will begin gradually adding vaccination opportunities for the following groups: frontline essential workers, people age 75 and older, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters or migrant labor camps. Overlap of vaccination of groups is needed to ensure people are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    All areas of the Commonwealth are expected to move to Phase 1b before the end of January.

    The following health districts will begin Phase 1b vaccinations the week of January 11th:

    • Alexandria
    • Arlington
    • Cumberland Plateau
    • Fairfax
    • Lenowisco
    • Lord Fairfax
    • Loudoun
    • Mount Rogers
    • New River
    • Prince William
    • Roanoke City/Alleghany

    Moving forward, local health districts will announce as they move into Phase 1b. This information will also be available on the VDH COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.

    “This is an important step that will provide increased flexibility to health districts across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Danny Avula, MD, MPH newly appointed COVID Vaccine Coordinator. “The Governor has made it very clear that the state should not be holding anyone back — if health districts are ready and able to begin Phase 1b vaccinations, they must be able to do so.”

    “We are excited to begin vaccinating more people as we continue to work to put this pandemic behind us,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “The number of calls to our VDH hotline and to our local health departments asking about vaccines is evidence that people want this protection. Our goal is to get shots into arms as quickly as possible. Vaccines are our best hope to get back to normal.”

    It will take several weeks to months to vaccinate Virginians who fall into Phase 1b. The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available. Vaccine supply in the United States is still very limited. Currently the federal government is allocating about 110,000 doses of vaccine to Virginia a week. The amount of vaccine available in the United States will depend on the capabilities of the manufacturers to produce the vaccine safely and is expected to increase later gradually over the next months.

    To determine your local health department and to check your health district’s website for additional information, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/local-health-districts/.

    Click here for more information about Virginia’s Phase 1b Guidance. For more information about Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.

  • Governor Northam Announces New Steps to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts - Thursday, January 7, 2021
  • Governor Northam Announces New Steps to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

    January 6, 2021

    Governor Ralph Northam today announced new actions to support the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution program and accelerate the pace of vaccinations across Virginia.

    Governor Northam is taking the following steps to help providers increase the rate of vaccinations as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible:

    1. Vaccination goal. Governor Northam set an initial goal of vaccinating 25,000 Virginians each day when supply allows.
    2. ‘Use it or lose it’ model. Medical facilities will be required to put the vaccine they receive into arms as soon as possible, or risk having future vaccine allotments reduced.
    3. Danny T.K. Avula to lead vaccination efforts in Virginia. Governor Northam appointed Dr. Avula, who serves as director of the Richmond City and Henrico County Health Departments to coordinate work between state officials, local health departments, hospitals, and private providers.
    4. Expanded priority groups. Governor Northam announced that K-12 teachers and child care workers will be among the next priority groups to receive vaccinations after Group A, and outlined the populations that will be included in Groups B and C.
    5. Elevating the Virginia National Guard. As the Commonwealth receives more doses, the Virginia National Guard will provide logistical support and help local health departments will administering vaccines.

    “Getting Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to end this pandemic, rebuild our economy, and move our Commonwealth forward,” said Governor Northam. “By setting clear goals and appointing Dr. Avula to spearhead our vaccination program, we will have a clear vision of how this effort—the largest public vaccination campaign in modern history—is progressing. I plan to get vaccinated when my turn comes, and I encourage Virginians to do the same.”

    Governor Northam also announced the next priority populations to receive vaccinations, based in part on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recommendations form the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The Virginia Department of Health is developing an online portal to help people understand how to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

    Group B includes frontline essential workers in specific industries, K-12 teachers and staff, childcare providers, adults age 75 and older, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps. Additional information about Group B, which is expected to start near the end of January, is available here.

    Group C includes other essential workers, adults age 65 and older, and people age 16-64 with certain medical conditions or disabilities that increase their risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Additional information about Group C is available here.

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  • Governor Northam Commits Additional $20 Million to Rebuild VA Economic Recovery Fund - Tuesday, December 29, 2020
  • Governor Northam Commits Additional $20 Million to Rebuild VA Economic Recovery Fund

    December 29, 2020

    Funding will fulfill pending grant awards for over 300 eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

    Governor Ralph Northam today allocated an additional $20 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund to meet demand for the program and fulfill pending grant applications. This new funding will bring the program total to $120 million and will enable more than 300 small business and nonprofit organizations that applied before the last round of funding was exhausted in early December to receive grants. Eligible applicants that are still in the pipeline have been notified via email that their applications have been re-opened.

    Earlier this month, Governor Northam announced that Rebuild VA had fully committed the $100 million in federal funds previously allocated to the program, which provided grants to 2,500 small businesses and nonprofits whose normal operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 45 percent of the available funding was awarded to nearly 1,000 small businesses and nonprofits located in low-income and economically disadvantaged communities and about $50 million was awarded to women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses. To date, Rebuild VA has received nearly 20,000 applications and the average grant award was $35,636.

    “Small businesses and nonprofits are among those hit hardest by the pandemic, and many are bracing for an uncertain few months ahead as the virus surges and we await the widespread availability of the vaccines,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia’s small business community remains diligent in protecting the health and safety of their employees and customers, and we must continue to support them in every way we can. With Congress finally acting on a long-overdue relief package, I am also grateful that Virginia businesses will now have another opportunity to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program in the near future.”

    Administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD), Rebuild VA launched in August with $70 million in CARES Act funding. Governor Northam directed an additional $30 million to the program in October and SBSD expanded eligibility so that businesses with less than $10 million in gross revenue or fewer than 250 employees could apply.

    “Getting these dollars to more small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by COVID-19 is a top priority for our administration,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The large number of applicants still in the pipeline for Rebuild VA funding demonstrates the tremendous need for this and additional financial support.”

    For additional information on Rebuild VA, please visit governor.virginia.gov/RebuildVA.

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  • Governor Northam Announces Over $6 Million in GO Virginia Grants to Stimulate Economic Growth, Address Ongoing Impacts of Pandemic - Wednesday, December 23, 2020
  • Governor Northam Announces Over $6 Million in GO Virginia Grants to Stimulate Economic Growth, Address Ongoing Impacts of Pandemic

    December 23, 2020

    Funding supports 11 projects that foster innovation, expand workforce development programs, and grow portfolio of business-ready sites.

    Governor Ralph Northam today announced two allocations of Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants, totaling more than $6 million.

    The first allocation will support two statewide projects and six regional projects that grow Virginia’s business-ready sites portfolio, provide additional capacity to expand talent pipelines in key industries, and support the growth of startup businesses engaged in coastal resiliency and life sciences initiatives.

    The second allocation was awarded to three projects through the Economic Resilience and Recovery Program that was created by the GO Virginia Board in April to quickly deploy resources that will help communities mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will leverage an additional $6.5 million in local and other non-state resources to assist with ongoing economic diversification and growth efforts throughout the Commonwealth.

    “These projects leverage the assets of each region and forge innovative partnerships that will help tackle some of our most pressing challenges,” said Governor Northam. “GO Virginia is providing exactly the kind of investment we need to move our economy forward, drive private-sector growth, and continue our progress toward an equitable and sustainable recovery in the months ahead.”

    “The GO Virginia regional councils are demonstrating that we can approach our economic recovery strategically even amid this incredibly challenging year,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These awarded projects will help address the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic while supporting job creation and new investment in high-growth sectors.”

    “GO Virginia has succeeded in creating a framework for strategic thinking in at the regional level,” said GO Virginia Board Vice Chair Nancy Howell Agee. “The mission of the program is perhaps even more relevant today than it was when we announced our first grant. Growing and diversifying regional economies while creating high quality jobs for Virginians is a goal we share with our partners across the Commonwealth.”

    Since the program began in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 149 projects and awarded approximately $52.2 million to support regional economic development efforts. The 24-person GO Virginia Board includes members of the Governor’s cabinet, the business community, and the General Assembly. Additional information about the GO Virginia program is available at dhcd.virginia.gov/gova.

    2020 ROUND FOUR STATEWIDE GRANT AWARDS

    Virginia Bio Connect
    $1,599,653
    Region 2: City of Roanoke
    Region 4 (lead): Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, and Powhatan and the city of Richmond
    Region 5: City of Virginia Beach
    Region 7: Counties of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William
    Region 9: Counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, and Orange and the city of Charlottesville

    Virginia Bio Connect aims to create jobs in the bioscience industry by forming four new “BioHubs” to serve existing and emerging life science companies. Virginia Bio Connect will offer programming and collaboration with established partners and help close the talent gap by facilitating job connections, internships, and network opportunities. This initiative will also create a statewide virtual entrepreneur-in-resident network that brings together experts from diverse backgrounds with life science industry expertise to support early-stage life science companies.

    Launching a Coastal Resilience and Adaptation Economy
    $2,937,163
    Region 5: Counties of Accomack and Northampton, the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, and the town of Chincoteague
    Region 6 (lead): Counties of Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex and the towns of Tappahannock, Urbanna, and West Point

    The Coastal Resilience and Adaptation Economy initiative will lay the foundation for a long-term, high-paying industry cluster by supporting business plan competitions and accelerator services. The initiative will form an industry/education consortium to engage with the broader business community about the risks and economic impacts of sea level rise and build capacity for adoption of resilient practices.

    2020 ROUND FOUR REGIONAL GRANT AWARDS

    Wildwood Natural Gas Extension
    $527,600
    Region 1: Counties of Carroll and Grayson and the city of Galax

    The Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority will provide natural gas access to the Wildwood Commerce Park to position the site for future industrial development opportunities.

    Central Virginia Community College Career and Technical Education Academy
    $266,000
    Region 2: Counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell and the city of Lynchburg

    Central Virginia Community College has partnered with 10 regional high schools and industry stakeholders to develop career pathways training models and launch four new credentialing programs. The Career and Technical Education Academy aims to build a broader pool of job-ready talent in the region and will enable students to pursue well-defined career education that leads to high-paying job opportunities.

    LaGrange Industrial Park Master Planning and Preliminary Engineering Report
    $76,992
    Region 6: Counties of Essex, King and Queen, and Middlesex and the town of Tappahannock

    Essex County will work with King and Queen and Middlesex counties, and the town of Tappahannock to improve 29 acres in the LaGrange Industrial Park and increase the site’s marketability. This project will escalate the site from a Tier 2 to at least a Tier 3 in accordance with the Virginia Business Ready Site Program, providing a business-ready site for new firms in the region’s targeted industry sectors and laying the foundational groundwork for the creation of a Regional Industrial Facility Authority.

    Regional Robotics Innovation Hub
    $73,000
    Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk

    The Hampton Roads Alliance will conduct trend, situational, and supply chain analyses to identify best practices and competitive niches to accelerate and interconnect technology innovation. These analyses focus on key Hampton Roads industries including manufacturing, digital shipbuilding and repair, distribution and logistics, water technologies, modeling, and simulation.

    RVA-757 Connects I-64 Corridor Talent Pipeline: Today and Tomorrow Initiative
    $90,000
    Region 4: Henrico County and the city of Richmond
    Region 5: Counties of Isle of Wight, James City, and York and the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg

    RVA-757 Connects will develop a strategy to create jobs for the Hampton Roads and Richmond regional talent pool. This initiative will focus on the region’s priority industry sectors, identify the major trends that will impact the talent pool of tomorrow, and develop a plan of action for the future.

    Venture Central
    $300,000
    Region 9: Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville

    Venture Central will work with firms that have high-growth potential in targeted industry sectors, connecting entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to a network of service providers that will improve the startup and survival rate of firms in the region. Through a partnership with the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce, Venture Central will help entrepreneurs start and grow new ventures through a physical front door with concierge-style services and a network of support organizations with access to space for meetings, lectures, and events. This initiative will also include targeted programming, such as pitch nights, mentoring, and accelerator activities.

    ECONOMIC RESILIENCE AND RECOVERY GRANTS

    Capital Region Small Business Development Center Launch
    $30,500
    Region 4: Counties of Chesterfield, Goochland, and Henrico, the city of Richmond, and the town of Ashland

    Small Business Development Center (SBDC) business advisors will provide confidential one-on-one business advising and group training to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. Virginia Community Capital (VCC) is serving as host to the Capital Region SBDC for the Greater Richmond area.

    Virginia Virtual Maritime Trades Training
    $100,000
    Region 5: Cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk

    This project seeks to address the high demand for training in shipbuilding and ship repair by investing in virtual training at Tidewater Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, and the Apprentice School. The investment will allow for greater social distancing among trainees and minimize touch points on manufacturing equipment and training mockup structures. The simulations will put students in realistic job settings where they can work scenarios replicated in a safe environment without the risk of injury, damage to equipment, loss of materials, or exposure to COVID-19.

    Regional Business and Professional Connector Platform
    $76,500
    Region 9: Counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Madison, Nelson, and Orange and the city of Charlottesville

    The Connector Platform is a cloud-based interactive mobile application and website platform with a region-wide interactive search and filtering functionality that allows users to find regional business data, resources, and services. It will include a dedicated COVID-19 information and resources page, a central business location for individuals and businesses to connect, a business referral network, a resource map, an education center, an events calendar, a job board, and more.

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  • Virginia Now Planning for 370,650 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine by December 2020 - Friday, December 18, 2020
  • Virginia Now Planning for 370,650 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine by December 2020

    December 18, 2020

    The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) was informed late yesterday by Operation Warp Speed that, like other states, Virginia’s estimated allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses will be less than initially planned for the next few weeks. Virginia is now planning to receive 370,650 doses of vaccine in December 2020 from two manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna. This is down from the previously expected 480,000 doses.

    Virginia’s health care personnel (HCP) and long-term care facility (LTCF) residents remain top priority groups. Eighteen Virginia hospitals received initial shipments of the Pfizer vaccine this week, and they began dispersing a total of 72,125 doses to frontline healthcare workers. Virginia has already placed an order for 146,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which if approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), will begin arriving the week of December 21.

    CDC and Operation Warp Speed provide regular estimates to states for vaccine distribution planning; these estimates remain subject to change. VDH is working closely with the CDC to ensure a smooth and equitable vaccine deployment.

  • Governor Northam Presents Budget Amendments to Restore Progressive Agenda, Provide Relief to Virginians, and Bolster Economic Recovery - Thursday, December 17, 2020
  • Governor Northam Presents Budget Amendments to Restore Progressive Agenda, Provide Relief to Virginians, and Bolster Economic Recovery

    December 16, 2020

    Governor Ralph Northam today addressed the Joint Money Committees of the General Assembly to share his proposed amendments to the 2020–2022 biennial budget. The Governor’s proposed budget provides funding for Virginia’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, bolsters the Commonwealth’s economic recovery, and continues restoring the bold, progressive agenda advanced during the 2020 legislative session.

    The Governor’s budget delivers on his signature priorities by making key investments to support early childhood, K-12, and higher education; boost funding for historically black colleges and universities; increase access to quality, affordable housing; transform African American historical and cultural sites; expand high-speed broadband; and reform the criminal justice system. The budget also funds Virginia’s aggressive pandemic response and ensures Virginians will have widespread access to the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available.

    Importantly, this budget invests in the future while maintaining sound financial stewardship. The Commonwealth’s strong economic fundamentals and the Northam Administration’s focus on prudent management and budget stability have protected Virginia from cutting services, like many other states. While states need additional federal relief, this budget enables the Commonwealth to continue navigating the pandemic—regardless of what happens in Washington.

    The Governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below and the key highlights of the Governor’s budget amendments can be found here.

    AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY:

    Good morning, Chairwoman Howell, Chairman Torian, Chairwoman Watts, Speaker Filler-Corn, and members of the General Assembly, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the privilege of speaking with you this morning.

    I would like to recognize Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring, my wife Pam, and members of our Cabinet and staff.

    We’d rather all be meeting in person today. But it is much safer to meet this way, as the covid-19 pandemic starts its tenth month and cases rise.

    And before we turn to today’s business and discuss our budget proposals, I’d like to give a short update on the pandemic. Throughout the long months of this health crisis, Virginia has done comparatively well. Our efforts to bend the curve early on worked, and the virus spread through the Commonwealth slowly for most of the past ten months.

    Unfortunately, the spread is increasing around the country and here in Virginia too. Our percent positivity has doubled in the past month, as have our daily new case counts. More people are being hospitalized, and unfortunately, more are dying. Virginia is still doing better than about 45 other states, on a per capita basis. But this virus is spreading fast, and we all need to continue to be as careful as possible. Wear a mask, avoid social gatherings, stay six feet away from others, wash your hands.

    Vaccines are now being deployed in Virginia. Health care workers got the first shots yesterday. And while it will take months to vaccinate everyone, we can now start to look to the future with hope. We’re all tired, but this is not the time to let down your guard or be reckless.

    We have crafted this budget against the backdrop of the pandemic. The plan I will present to you today is intended to help Virginians navigate the next phase of the crisis, and perhaps, its final months. It will position us to recover as quickly as possible as we rebuild our economy in a post-pandemic world. And it’s about advancing the progressive agenda that we all embarked upon together a year ago.

    Now, if it feels like we just did this budget exercise, well—we did. In August, I called the General Assembly into special session to deal with the pandemic’s effects on our revenues and budget. The budget I proposed then focused on preserving liquidity to deliver services and pay our bills. It ensured that we did not destabilize our financial footing by using one-time money to pay for recurring expenses.

    It preserved financial options, because we cannot predict the future, especially in a pandemic. It made targeted investments to help guide Virginia through the crisis. And it restored funding for priorities that will make Virginia stronger, such as investments in historically black colleges and universities and African American historical and cultural sites; stable and affordable housing; broadband access; and reforms to modernize our criminal justice system. I thank you for your diligent work, returning to me a budget that aligned with our shared priorities. I was pleased to sign that budget just over a month ago.

    The budget I present today preserves our focus on flexibility, targeted investments, and help for Virginians. While we believe an end to this crisis—and a rebounding of our economy—is in sight, we are not there yet.

    We must continue to make choices that help Virginians get through these times. You will see investments in vaccination, affordable housing, skills training, and early childhood education, for example.

    We have put a special focus on the second year of the budget, which starts next July. By then, we hope most Virginians will be vaccinated, and our society—and economy—will have begun returning to more normal activities.

    Helping support this recovery takes investment and planning as well, and you will see that in this budget. When we crafted the last budget in August, our team of outside economic advisors had met, and agreed on a new economic forecast for Virginia. It was recessionary—while Virginia’s revenues did not take as great a hit from the pandemic as we expected early in the year, we did see a slowing economy and revenue losses, and that was expected to continue.

    That team of advisors met again last month, to revise the forecast again in light of current conditions. Our economic picture is now more stable, and we can expect more revenue over the coming year and a half than was predicted in August. This is good news.

    Based on the expert advice of economists and business leaders, our team now estimates $1.2 billion in additional revenue in this biennium. We all need to understand how important this is: Revenues are exceeding official forecasts, even during a pandemic. This is in sharp contrast to other states.

    Other states have laid off workers, cut services, and even borrowed money to pay the bills—actions that will weaken their financial pictures for years to come. But in Virginia, our finances are solid, and the actions we have taken have kept our triple-A bond rating secure. We are one of only 13 states that hold this rating, and it’s because we laid out a long-term financial plan, and we have stuck to it, in good times and bad. We must continue this work.

    These additional revenues are what allow us to help Virginians who need it, and prepare for recovery. You’ll see throughout this budget that our spending decisions are focused on supporting people now, and building foundations for the future.

    Part of that foundation is a healthy reserve fund. That is why I am allocating $650 million to our reserves. This level of reserve funding will get us to the goal of having 8 percent in reserves by the end of my term. This is more than any previous governor of either party.

    It’s important to note that these are dollars we had previously earmarked for reserves, then unallotted. They come from one-time cash balances, which is why they should not be used to pay for ongoing programs. Instead, putting them in reserves makes sure they’re accessible if revenues don’t grow as quickly as expected, so we won’t have to make budget cuts.

    While we expect to turn a corner on this pandemic in the coming months, if there is anything we have learned this year, it is to prepare for the unexpected. Putting these revenues in reserves gives us flexibility.

    It’s important that we don’t promise one-time resources for ongoing spending. That’s why we’re using $100 million to reduce unfunded liabilities in the Virginia Retirement System. This one-time investment will focus on the retirement plan for public school teachers, the state employee health insurance credit program, and benefits for our first responders. This is sound fiscal policy that will keep VRS on a more solid footing—and importantly, it means our public servants can feel more secure about their future benefits.

    For thousands of Virginians, the pandemic has meant lost jobs, lost income, and serious financial struggle. My administration has worked throughout this pandemic to help those folks who need it.

    We have distributed $3.1 billion dollars in federal CARES Act funding, helping individuals, businesses, health care providers, and local governments around the Commonwealth. That includes $1.3 billion to our localities, who have used it for innovative responses to the crisis.

    We’ve seen small business support programs, hazard pay for health and public safety workers, technology investments, and a thousand other ways to help Virginians navigate this pandemic. I am hopeful that Congress will act soon to pass new legislation to provide additional assistance.

    We took steps to make it as easy as we could to apply for unemployment, upgrading a system that was a generation old. We worked to put a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for those having trouble paying their rent or mortgage.

    We have dispersed more than $40 million in federal CARES Act funding to the Rent and Mortgage Relief Program to help more than 13,000 households, and we have earmarked $100 million to help people having trouble paying their utility bills during this crisis.

    We know that just as individuals and families are struggling, so are our small businesses. We distributed nearly $100 million to help 2,500 small businesses across the Commonwealth survive.

    While programs to help people with rent and utility payments continue, it’s also important to look ahead, and help unemployed Virginians get back on their feet. And to continue helping those who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, this budget devotes $25 million to maintaining our historic investment in the Housing Trust Fund. This builds on the $85 million we put into that fund this biennium, an unprecedented investment in helping make sure people have stable housing.

    As we invest in Virginians, we want to help those who are struggling get back on their feet. That’s why this budget partially restores funding for the G3 program, which we “unallotted” in April from the original budget.

    G3—Get a Skill, Get a Job, Give Back—is a program I have championed since before I became Governor. It helps people get job skills training in high-need fields, through our community colleges. Even more importantly, it provides the financial aid necessary to help people get that training. G3 will provide free community college for certain low- and middle-income Virginians who enroll at our two-year colleges in pathways that lead to a high-demand job. These pathways include the skilled trades, healthcare, technology, early childhood, and public safety. For those folks who have seen their jobs disappear during this pandemic, G3 could be a lifeline. That’s why I have prioritized this important investment.

    That is also why we’re allocating $30 million to restore financial aid increases at public colleges and universities across our Commonwealth. We had proposed these increases last winter, but unallotted them. We’re also restoring our plan to increase Tuition Assistance Grants for students at private institutions to $4,000.

    For Virginia State University and Norfolk State University, our public historically black colleges and universities, which have long been underfunded, we’re proposing additional assistance to help support student access and success. While it is wonderful to open the newspaper this morning and see news of major philanthropic gifts to VSU and other HBCUs, this is in addition to, not in place of, state support that is still necessary.

    And for George Mason University and Old Dominion University, we’re restoring funding to address enrollment disparities, increases in transfer students, and support educational program development.

    I thank the General Assembly for working with us to ensure that some of our CARES act funding has gone to ensure people whose jobs have been impacted by the pandemic can get the training and credentials they need.

    I have also maintained our historic level of funding for broadband in this budget—$50 million in each year. For G3 to work, for our students to access virtual classrooms, for businesses to survive, for Virginians to access telehealth—they need broadband internet. It is as critical now as electricity was in the last century. Increasing broadband access has been a priority since I took office, and the pandemic has simply highlighted how necessary it is.

    Now I’d like to turn to our public schools. Of all the services administered by state and local governments, our schools have been the most disrupted by this pandemic. Early in the spring, schools quickly shifted to a virtual format. School divisions across Virginia have spent this fall working to balance learning with safety, trying to find the right combination of in-person, virtual, or hybrid learning.

    Often the way children attend school has changed week by week, as local school boards and divisions respond to the evolving health situation in their local communities. I know this has been hard on every student, every teacher, every parent, and every school administrator in Virginia. I continue to be impressed with how school staff, students, and families have risen to meet these challenges.

    As families have faced decisions about the best way to safely educate their child, school divisions have seen some drops in enrollment. We understand that every family must do what’s best for their children. We also expect enrollment numbers to rebound once the pandemic has subsided and in-person learning becomes the norm again. While these enrollment declines normally would result in less state funding that would devastate our public education system. That is why this budget helps school divisions, students, and teachers.

    This budget accounts for the reduction in enrollment but also protects school divisions with funding to ensure they don’t suffer from any loss of funding under the enrollment formulas that drive the allocation of state dollars. We’re budgeting more than $500 million over two years to help schools weather this temporary decrease.

    I also know that the challenging nature of this school year is hitting students especially hard. It is not easy for children to be separated from their friends, or to miss the school activities they enjoy. I believe our students need help now, more than ever. That is why I am providing $26.6 million in this budget to increase the number of school counselors. We have pushed for more school counselors for a long time, and this will ensure we have one full-time school counselor for every 325 students. Let’s get it done. The mental health of our students is too important to wait for another budget year.

    So is the education of our littlest learners. This budget restores funding for early education, including a pilot program to provide three-year-olds access to early childhood education programs, and grants to address pay equity issues for early childhood educators. Early childhood education has been a priority for me since I was in medical school. The majority of brain development occurs in these early years. We want every child to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

    Our teachers have gone above and beyond this year, adapting to new ways of connecting with their students, while protecting their own health and that of their families. My budget provides a 2 percent bonus for instructional and support positions. That is consistent with budget language from the General Assembly that says when our revenues get better, our teachers deserve to be rewarded—a goal we share.

    We have worked for a long time to raise teacher pay. We were all proud in 2018 to give our teachers the largest single-year pay raise in 15 years. And last year, I proposed adding a three percent pay raise on top of that. While we had to unallot the money for that raise, teachers deserve it. So if we see our revenues improve as we expect next month, I’ll push to change this one-time bonus into a permanent pay raise of at least 2 percent. It is a small way to say thank you for your devotion to educating our children.

    The budget also includes a bonus for state employees, adjunct faculty, and state-supported local employees. That includes local mental health workers and social workers, some state-supported law enforcement officers, and others. Workers in every government agency have had to adapt to changes this year. For some, it meant working from home.

    For others, like our DMV workers, it has meant plexiglass barriers, masks in the office, and other new challenges. This is one simple way to say thank you.

    I am grateful for every public servant in Virginia’s workforce. But our elections officials have had a particularly grueling year. They held multiple elections during a pandemic, and they did it successfully and smoothly. I am grateful to them. It is time to update our state voter registration system—a system that benefits everyone, no matter who you vote for. In a world where we have to worry about cyber attacks and bad actors, this is an investment in security so we stay ahead of them. I have included $16.7 million for this.

    We all are heartened by the news of vaccines that are starting to be put into arms as we speak. This is the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. Vaccines are the only way we can end this pandemic and get back to a more normal life. But to do that, we must vaccinate millions of Virginians. That’s a lot of shots in a lot of arms. It will take a great deal of time, effort, and money. That money should come from the federal government. But we’ve all learned not to wait. So in this budget, I have provided $90 million to support this vaccination effort and ensure we have the supplies, staffing, and other infrastructure needed to vaccinate eight million Virginians.

    The Virginia Department of Health has been planning for this mass vaccination effort for months, and they have hit the ground running as vaccine doses were shipped into the Commonwealth just this week.

    We don’t always pay as much attention as we should to our public health departments, and the vital work they do. Under Virginia’s system, both the state and local governments have a role in operating our health departments. But the formula we use to determine how much the state pays for those local health departments hasn’t been updated in a generation—years in which Virginia has changed from a rural state to an urban and suburban one.

    With this formula frozen in time, places that have seen their economies change—like Lee and Wise counties in the coalfields, or cities like Petersburg and Richmond—are stuck paying more than they should. Updating the formula is an equity issue, and we’re going to get it done this year. We’ll also make sure that no local health department gets less funding as a result.

    And while the pandemic is the greatest public health crisis we have faced in modern times, we know that every day, Virginians face personal health issues—and sometimes, public policy can help them live healthier lives.

    For example, maternal and neonatal mortality rates have changed little since 2004, and we also have seen an alarming racial disparity; Black mothers are more than twice as likely to die from complications from pregnancy as other mothers are.

    Countless advocates have said: If you want to improve maternal health, expand the services you cover for pregnant women and new mothers. You should cover services by doulas. Doulas provide non-clinical support to pregnant women through their pregnancy and after they give birth, and multiple studies show they improve health outcomes for the mother and the baby. For that reason, this budget provides $2.4 million for doula services for pregnant women.

    We are also providing $4 million over two years to expand access to long-acting reversible contraceptives. LARCS help women be in control of their own reproductive decisions, and that’s a good thing.

    This budget also lays the groundwork to legalize marijuana in the Commonwealth. We know that laws to ban marijuana historically were based in discrimination, and criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities. Virginia has studied the experience of other states—including taxation, banking, criminal justice, licensing, and regulation. Our path forward will lead with social equity, public health, and public safety. This session is the time to get this done.

    Reforming our marijuana laws is one way to ensure that Virginia is a more just state that works better for everyone. It also will eventually bring in tax revenue that can be used to further make sure we are providing equitable access to opportunity.

    For example, just half of the potential annual revenue could pay for two years of quality Pre-K to every one of Virginia’s most vulnerable three- and four-year-olds—children who deserve the best start in life.

    As we consider ways to make our criminal justice system more fair and equitable, we must talk about improving our system of expunging past crimes from people’s records.

    I have put $20 million into this budget, so it will be ready when we conclude the important discussion of how best to conduct expungements. Like marijuana legalization, this is a priority that needs action in this session.

    This is an important step toward modernizing our criminal justice system. We are also proposing to add four judges to Virginia’s Court of Appeals, along with support staff, to ensure the court can hear more appeals cases in a timely manner under an increasing workload.

    2020 has been a landmark year. Not only has the pandemic upended our lives and our society, we have seen mass protests against racial injustice. These protests have sparked change, both in our systems and in our symbols.

    We use statues and monuments as symbols to tell the story of who we are as a people. But for too long, our monuments have told only part of the story. Monuments to the Confederacy are legacies of a Lost Cause mentality that has burdened Virginia for too many years. This year, finally, those monuments are coming down.

    This budget includes funding to install a new statue to represent Virginia in the U.S. Capitol. Already a commission has voted to replace the current statue, and they will soon propose a replacement that reflects what Virginia is today. This is difficult work, and it must be guided by trusted voices that the community respects.

    I have provided almost $11 million to help the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, working with the city of Richmond, lead the work to redefine the public art of Richmond’s Monument Avenue, now that 7 of the 8 Confederate statues have been removed, and the last one will come down soon. The VMFA is one of the world’s leading museums, and is an ideal partner in this work.

    Monuments and statues are not the only ways we tell the story of who we are. Cultural and historical sites are an important and meaningful part of our complicated past.

    Here in Richmond, efforts have been underway for some time to preserve the site knowns as the Devil’s Half-Acre, or Lumpkin’s Jail, in Shockoe Bottom. It was part of a notorious market selling enslaved human beings. My budget includes $9 million for preservation work and to help turn it into the Slavery Heritage Site.

    I’ve also included funding to help restore and return headstones from Columbian Harmony Cemetery. It was an historic African American burial ground in Washington, D.C.

    People buried there included two sons of abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Elizabeth Keckley, confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln; Phillip Reid, who helped create the statue of Freedom atop the U.S. Capitol dome; many Black Union Army veterans; and one of D.C.’s first Black policemen.

    In the 1960s, the cemetery was moved to make way for commercial development. The stones were sold. To dump their grave markers, or sell them for scrap stone, is dehumanizing—and that was part of the goal. Some of them found their way across the Potomac to our shores.

    Now that those head stones are on Virginia land, it’s our duty to help get them back to the graves they were meant to mark. We have worked with the descendant community, as well as D.C. Mayor Bowser and Maryland Governor Hogan, to make this happen. My budget includes $5 million for this project.

    Along with these investments in historic resources, we’re restoring funding for targeted environmental protection and sustainability. The last time I was in New York City to meet with our bond rating agencies, they all asked me the same question: what is our plan for climate resilience? How, they asked, is Virginia preparing for the very real problem of climate change?

    We have made a number of investments in our administration to increase coastal resilience. To build on those, in this budget, we are restoring nearly $12 million for water quality, air quality, and land conservation initiatives at natural resources agencies. This includes DEQ Staffing to make sure the permitting process moves more quickly. These are important investments to ensure that we don’t fall behind in protecting these critical assets.

    We are also targeting $1 million to develop a hardwood forest habitat program that will encourage landowners to regenerate hardwood trees, and support the watershed improvement program. These investments in agricultural sustainability will reap benefits long into the future.

    The pandemic has limited our ability, and desire, to travel the way we used to. We all know, it is safer to stay home. But as we look past the pandemic, our roads and our railways still need investment. It’s an important priority to ensure that people and goods can move more easily and efficiently around the Commonwealth.

    That’s why this budget invests $50 million in our rail to Roanoke initiative, providing the Department of Rail and Public Transportation the resources needed to buy right of way to help make this project happen. This is an important down payment on extending passenger rail connections in Southwest Virginia.

    The pandemic has shown us that much work can be done from anywhere--but that means transportation access is more important than ever. Already we have folks who work in Northern Virginia or D.C., live and work remotely in Fredericksburg or Richmond, and just take the train north when they need to visit the office. There’s no reason people can’t also do that from Roanoke—and beyond. We just have to make it happen.

    Together with the planned expansion of the Long Bridge over the Potomac River from Virginia into D.C., this will make rail travel around the Commonwealth easier, and it will ensure that Southwest Virginia shares in the greater flexibility these connections will bring.

    The pandemic has taught us to prepare for the unexpected, and help people get through this crisis. That is what this budget does. It provides targeted support to help people, and lays a foundation for recovery as we move into the next phases of the pandemic.

    When we started this year, we could never have predicted what was in store. It has been one of the most difficult years of many of our lives. But I am proud of how Virginia has handled the crises of this year. When it became clear the pandemic was not going to end in two weeks, or a month, we acted quickly to freeze all state hiring and discretionary spending. That saved more than $350 million.

    We worked with you in the legislature to set aside the historic investments in Virginia’s future we had planned, so we could have maximum flexibility in our budget. Our revenues dipped, but not as much as we feared.

    We came together this fall to focus our state resources on helping Virginia get through this crisis. And now, we look forward to an eventual end for this pandemic, and the hard—but welcome—work of getting Virginia’s economy back on its feet.

    As we wrote this budget, our decisions were driven by one question: how much will this help Virginians?

    We will reach the other side of this pandemic. And I am confident that this budget will help us get through this, and rebound more quickly. I look forward to working with you all in the upcoming General Assembly session to ensure we provide Virginians the help they need, and invest in their future.

    I’d like to end with a thank you. For months now, Virginians in all corners of this state have been doing the right thing.

    Of course, there are some folks whose antics grab the headlines. But most people just want to live their lives. They want to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy. They want their kids to do well in school, they want good jobs to put food on their tables. They want their communities to be safe and healthy as well.

    And we’ve seen so many people taking care of each other. From our nurses and doctors, to our teachers, our grocery store workers, the bus drivers—to every Virginian who pulls that mask out of their pocket and puts it on before they go into the store.

    Virginians care about each other. That has been a bright light in a dark year, and I am grateful every day for the people of this great Commonwealth.

    Thank you, and happy holidays.

    # # #

  • Virginia Department of Health Public Town Hall - Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccine: You Ask. The Experts Answer. - Monday, December 14, 2020
  • Virginia Department of Health Public Town Hall - Virginia’s COVID-19 Vaccine: You Ask. The Experts Answer.

    December 14, 2020

    The Virginia Department of Health is holding a public town hall where community and medical leaders will answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.

    Live broadcast and streaming on local stations at:

    • WAVY10 / wavy.com
    • FOX43 / wavy.com

    For more information, see: VDH COVID Vaccine Town Hall Flyer

  • Governor Northam Announces New Mitigation Measures to Slow COVID-19 Spread - Thursday, December 10, 2020
  • Governor Northam Announces New Mitigation Measures to Slow COVID-19 Spread

    December 10, 2020

    Virginians should stay at home from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., wear masks in indoor and outdoor settings, limit social gatherings to 10.

    Governor Ralph Northam today announced new, targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 as new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in all areas of the Commonwealth. Executive Order Seventy-Two directs Virginians to stay at home between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., implements a universal mask requirement, and lowers the limit on social gatherings from 25 people to 10 people. The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14 and remain in place through January 31, 2021, unless rescinded or amended.

    “New daily case numbers are higher than they have been at any previous point in the pandemic, and while the trends in Virginia are better than most of the country, we are taking action now to slow the spread of this virus before our hospitals get overwhelmed,” said Governor Northam. “We already have strong public health measures in place, and with these additional steps, we can turn this around. Virginians, if you don’t have to be out, stay at home. Whenever we are around other people, we all need to wear a mask, indoors and out.”

    “These are common-sense things we can all do to take care of each other and stay safe. This is not about getting people in trouble—this is about everyone doing their part and reducing opportunities for people to get sick.”

    The following mitigation measures will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14:

    • Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.
    • Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
    • Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
    • Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
    • Teleworking: Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.

    While Virginia’s new cases per capita remain lower than 43 other states, all of the Commonwealth’s five health regions are experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases, positive tests, and hospitalizations. Virginia is currently averaging more than 3,700 new COVID-19 cases per day, up from a statewide peak of approximately 1,200 in May. Statewide test positivity rate is at 11 percent, an increase from 7 percent approximately one month ago. More than 2,000 Virginians are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 statewide, an increase of over 80 percent in the last four weeks.

    The full text of Executive Order Seventy-Two, which incorporates earlier Executive Orders Sixty-Three Sixty-Seven is available here.

    For information about COVID-19 in Virginia, visit vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus.

    # # #

    Notifications

    Vaccination Info

    Anyone 16 and older who lives or works in Virginia Beach is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Anyone who lives or works in Virginia Beach and wishes to receive a COVID-19 vaccine no longer need to wait for an invitation from the Health Department to schedule an appointment.

    Residents seeking first-dose vaccine appointments:

    • Search for available vaccination locations at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) site Vaccinate.Virgina.gov
    • Appointments can also be made at the CDC site VaccineFinder.org, using the VBCC zip code 23451
    • Call the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) hotline at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682)
    • Appointments at the VBCC will be available Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:20 p.m.
    • Minors under the age of 18 will need to have a parent or guardian with them at the vaccination site in order to receive the vaccine.

    Anyone who already received their first dose vaccine at the Virginia Beach Convention Center will still be able to get their second dose at the same location and should schedule their second dose vaccine through the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).

    Starting April 26, the Pfizer vaccine will be administered for all first doses, however, anyone who received a first dose of Moderna will still be able to get the second dose Moderna vaccine.

    Virginia Department of Health Vaccination Information

    Virginia’s Unified Command, which oversees the Commonwealth's response to COVID-19, has established a Vaccine Unit to coordinate COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Information about the COVID-19 vaccination program is changing frequently so please check the site often for updates.

    For daily updated number of vaccination doses administered and number of people vaccinated throughout the state:

    Virginia Department of Health Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

    VDH is working on a registration system for facilities located in Virginia that want to provide COVID-19 vaccine. VDH is currently enrolling a variety of providers to administer COVID-19 vaccine. These include hospitals, long term care facilities, urgent care centers, and local health departments.

    More information about vaccine availability will be communicated as it becomes available.

    For the VDH Vaccination FAQs, click here: VDH Vaccination FAQs

    The Virginia Department of Health and medical experts from across the state have participated in virtual town halls to discuss the vaccine roll out and to answer questions.

    Vaccinate Virginia Town Hall - Feb. 10, 2021


    Vaccinate Virginia Town Hall - Dec. 16, 2020


    Reopenings

    Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

    • The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, will take the first steps to welcome guests back starting June 19, 2020.
    • New safety measures have been developed to keep guests, staff, volunteers, and animals safe, while complying with all state and local regulations concerning COVID-19.
    • Online reservations are required to create a touch-free payment process. Make reservations.
    • Limiting capacity with timed tickets, both for members and general admission
    • Requiring guests 10 and older, staff, and volunteers to wear face coverings (in accordance with the Virginia Governor's Executive Order 63)
    • Creating one-way paths throughout the Aquarium
    • Providing additional hand sanitizing stations around the Aquarium
    • Increasing sanitation procedures for high-contact surfaces in the Aquarium
    • Not accepting reservations between 1 to 2 p.m. each day so staff can conduct additional thorough cleaning and sanitization
    • Complying with all state and local regulations concerning COVID-19
    • Detailed information about the new procedures, including frequently asked questions, can be found here.

    Update: July 31, 2020

    Governor Ralph Northam outlined new actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the Hampton Roads region, which has seen a recent increase in new cases, hospitalizations, and positive tests.

    COVID-19 Beach Regulations

    The regulations are posted at each beach access and enforced. They include (updated as of July 31, 2020):

    • Stay 6 ft. apart – Please maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person (with the exception of family members)
    • Stay 10 ft. apart from other participants when playing any recreational sports
    • Wear a face covering when appropriate distancing is not possible and when entering restaurants, shops and public buildings
    • 50 people or less in groups
    • No large coolers – 39 quarts or less
    • No alcohol
    • Beginning at midnight on Friday, July 31, restrictions will prohibit the on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room.
    • All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
    • Indoor dining in these establishments will be limited to 50 percent capacity.
    • Public and private in-person gatherings over 50 people will be prohibited, down from a previous cap of 250 people.

    The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Eight and Order of Public Health Emergency Eight is available here. Read the order in Spanish here.

    Commissioner of the Revenue

    • The Commissioner of the Revenue's office is now offering citizens the opportunity to schedule online appointments for most services, including DMV Select.
    • All visitation to the Commissioner's office is by appointment only.
    • With online appointment scheduling, taxpayers can book an in-house appointment for most services offered at City Hall.
    • Citizens may schedule appointments now at: vb311.force.com/appointmentscheduler.
    • Use the convenient QR code below or visit www.vbgov.com/cor to schedule an appointment.

    Reminder: Citizens are strongly encouraged citizens to conduct business online or by phone, email and fax. Face coverings are required for conducting business inside City Hall, per the Governor's Executive Order 63.

    For more information, please contact the Commissioner of the Revenue's office at (757) 385-4251 or coradmin@vbgov.com.


    City Treasurer

    • The City Treasurer’s Office is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of the Lynnhaven location.
    • The Lynnhaven Office opening has yet to be determined. The Lynnhaven drop box will continue to be picked up daily.
    • Face coverings are required for conducting business inside City Hall, per the Governor’s Executive Order 63.
    • For more information, contact the City Treasurer’s office at (757) 385-4445 or visit www.vbgov.com/treas.

    General District Court

    ​​​​​​​​​​​​​The General District Court Clerk's Office staff is available to answer general questions and to assist you as you do business with the Court. Hours of operation are Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. with telephone operators on duty from 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


    Circuit Court

    The Clerk's Office is open. For those of you who do not want to come into the Courthouse, there will be two lock boxes on the steps of 10B for drop offs, one for civil or criminal filings, and one for deed/land record recordings.

    The lock boxes will be checked several times during the day for paper filings, and we will handle those documents as if they were brought in at the counter.

    ​Note: Boxes will be available from 8:15am till 4:00pm Monday - Friday

    The Satellite Office location of the Circuit Court Clerk's Office at 1804 Princess Anne Road, Va. Beach, VA, will be closing permanently March 12, 2021 at 2:30pm.


    Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

    On Feb. 24, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam announced that as COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continue to decline and vaccinations rise in Virginia, certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate at increased capacity starting Monday, March 1. He amended Executive Order Seventy-Two with the next steps of the “Forward Virginia” plan to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus.

    Governor Northam is beginning to ease public health restrictions by taking steps to increase capacity limits in outdoor settings, where evidence shows the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 is lower. The key changes in the Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two include:

    • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 25 people for outdoor settings, while remaining at 10 persons for indoor settings.
    • Entertainment venues: Outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues will be able to operate with up to 1,000 individuals or at 30 percent capacity, whichever is lower. If current trends continue, these venues may be able to operate at 30 percent capacity with no cap on the number of people permitted to attend starting in April. Indoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. All entertainment venues were previously limited to a maximum of 250 individuals.
    • Dining establishments: The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol will be permitted until midnight, extended from 10:00 p.m. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms still must be closed between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
    • Overnight summer camps: As of May 1, overnight summer camps will be able to open with strict mitigation measures in place. Registration can begin now.

    The new guidelines will be effective for at least one month and mitigation measures may be eased further if key health metrics continue to improve. Current guidelines for retail businesses, fitness and exercise, large amusement venues, and personal grooming services will remain in place. Individuals are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking if possible.

    The full text of Third Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine is available here. Updated guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

    Last week, Governor Northam amended Executive Order Seventy-Two to increase the number of spectators permitted at outdoor youth sporting events to 250.

    Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

    # # #

    Virginia Beach Housing Resource Center - VBgov.com/housing

    • Families and individuals experiencing homelessness or in imminent danger of losing their housing should, as always, call the Regional Housing Crisis Hotline, (757) 227-5932, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Referrals will be conducted by phone
    • Triage and screening for homeless services remain closed to walk-ins, however the following services will reopen under modified operations and with precautions in place, including:
      • Requiring all staff, volunteers and guests 10 and older to wear face coverings (in accordance with the Virginia Governor's Executive Order 63).
      • Maintaining 6-feet social distancing, increased cleaning and sanitization (especially high-contact surfaces) and providing hand sanitizing stations throughout the building.
    • Partial Reopening of Day Services Starting July 13 - Laundry, showers, housing support, and one meal for unsheltered adults (ages 18 and older) available:
      • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 7 to 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 to 3 p.m.
      • Wednesday, 7 to 11:30 a.m.
      • Capacity is limited and services will be available on a first-come, first-served basis
      • Individuals may access Day Services once each day
      • Day Services will close from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for additional thorough cleaning and sanitization.
    • Health Center Now Accepting Appointments - Southeastern Virginia Health System, the health services provider at the Housing Resource Center, is accepting patients by appointment only:
      • Monday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      • Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon
      • currently closed on Wednesday.
    • Telehealth appointments are also offered when appropriate.
    • Comprehensive primary care health services offered for adults and children include exams, immunizations, health education, nutrition counseling, medication assistance, and lab services.

    Call (757) 385-2437 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

    Department of Human Services

    Effective March 15, 2021, the Department of Human Services will reopen to the public. Clients are asked to connect with us virtually or by appointment to the greatest extent possible. We recognize that emergencies do happen, and we will accommodate all individuals in a manner that is safe for all involved.

    SkillQuest, Beach House, and our Day Treatment Programs will remain closed until further notice. Our 24/7 programs, such as group homes and intermediate care facilities, are currently closed to visitors.

    The hotlines listed below will be staffed to respond to inquiries during regular business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, unless otherwise noted.

    Emergency Hotlines:

    • Adult Protective Services (APS) – to report suspected neglect or abuse of adults
      757-385-3550 Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 888-832-3858 available 24/7
    • Child Protective Services (CPS) - to report suspected neglect or abuse of children
      757-385-3400 or 800-552-7096 available 24/7
    • Emergency Mental Health Services - 757-385-0888
    • Adult Outpatient Mental Health Services (including Same Day Access) - 757-385-0511
    • Child & Youth Mental Health Services - (including Same Day Access) 757-385-0850
    • Developmental Services - 757-385-0600
    • Emergency Mental Health Services - 757-385-0888 (available 24/7)

    Eligibility Benefits Programs
    Applications for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, (TANF), Childcare Subsidy and Energy Assistance can be found online at CommonHelp.Virginia.gov. Paper SNAP applications are available near the drop box at our offices at 3432 Virginia Beach Blvd. Individuals who are not able to complete an application online can call 855-635-4370 for assistance.

    EBT cards can be collected in person at our main building at 3432 Virginia Beach Blvd., or at the Housing Resource Center, 104 N. Witchduck Road.

    Essential services will continue to be offered with modified conditions. For full details about connecting with our services during this closure, please visit VBgov.com/DHS-COVID-Operations. Additional information and resources are available online at DSS.Virginia.gov, DBHDS.Virginia.gov, and CommonHelp.virginia.gov.

    For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeach, twitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

    Updated March 8, 2021

    Libraries to Reopen for Limited In-Person Services on March 15, 2021

    Beginning on Monday, March 15, VBPL will open for limited in-person visits, except for Windsor Woods area library, which is closed for renovation. Limited services include browsing and checking out items, accessing computers and printers, and applying for library cards. For more information on services, see our COVID-19 FAQ page. See our Locations and Hours for more details.

    Safety Measures

    • Face coverings are required.
    • A limited number of customers may be admitted at a time, based on each branch's size, to ensure proper social distancing.
    • Customers are asked to keep visits to one hour to maximize library access for all residents.
    • Some spaces and furnishings may be unavailable, including the children's rooms at Kempsville, Princess Anne and the TCC/City Joint-Use Library.

    Branch hours vary by location; visit www.VBgov.com/locations-hours for details.

    Digital Resources & Programs
    Digital options, including e-books, music, magazines, movies and more are available at www.VBgov.com/digital-library. Virtual programs for all ages are also available at www.VBgov.com/library-events.

    Parks & Recreation

    Effective Nov. 16, the max capacity for any rec center activity will be limited to 22 patrons or less. For the latest information, please refer to our Parks & Rec FAQ.

    All 7 rec centers are open with new health and safety guidelines in place including online reservations for all rec center activities. See below for details and resources for a safe visit to your community rec center.

    • For more updates on recreation centers and Parks & Rec programs, please read the FAQ document at VBgov.com/parks.

    Princess Anne Athletic Complex, 4001 Dam Neck Road, and City View Park, 2073 Kempsville Road:

    Complete details on the rec center reopenings, including modified operating hours, will be posted at VBgov.com/reopen.

    Planning & Community Development

    Offices will continue to operate by appointment only until further notice.

    • Compete details will be posted at VBgov.com/planning
    • Site plan release/surety posting
    • Limited DSC comment review meeting
    • Residential alterations not exceeding 500 square fee
    • Residential interior alteration
    • Commercial interior alterations less than 2,500 square feet for Use Groups B, M, S, and F.
    • Appointments will be scheduled in one-hour increments. To schedule an appointment please call (757) 385-4621.
    • Staff continues to encourage submittals be dropped off in the building vestibule drop box or online.
    • In-person meetings will be limited to 10 or fewer individuals, with larger meetings continuing to be held virtually.

    For more information, visit VBgov.com/Planning.

    Virginia Beach Police Department

    • The Police Department is open to the public.
    • The Police Department is urging residents to use an online system to notify police of non-emergency crimes: Call 385-5000 and request non-emergency police services.

    Online reporting for the following crimes can be submitted via : https://eprodmz.vbgov.com/MainUI/submissions/SubmissionsMain.aspx

    • Larceny from vehicle – Property taken from a vehicle with a total value less than $500
    • Larceny – Property taken from a location other than a vehicle with a total value less than $500 (Include gas drive offs in this category)
    • Destruction of private property
    • Obscene Phone Call/Communication
    • Annoying Phone Calls/Harassing Communication​​​​​

    For emergencies, a crime in progress, or any incident in which someone was injured, please call 911


    Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services

    • Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services (VBEMS) has reopened the Basic Life Support (BLS) Academy enrollment.
    • VBEMS is now accepting applications for volunteers to become EMTs, serve on the Support Services Team, as well as the Marine Rescue Team.
    • For more information and details on how to apply, please visit the VBEMS website at www.vbems.com/join or call (757) 385-1999.


    Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office

    As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office is taking every possible precaution to safeguard the health and safety of every person living and working inside the Virginia Beach Correctional Center. In consultation with health officials and federal, state and local leadership, they are closely monitoring the situation and taking proactive measures to reduce the potential for an exposure in the jail.

    • On-site friends, family AND ATTORNEY visitation for inmates at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center is CANCELED for the foreseeable future.
    • For additional information, visit vbso.net/coronavirus.

    Purchasing Office

    • Will conduct most Pre-Bids and Bids virtually.
    • Those attending bid openings are asked to wear face coverings.The public is required to remain in the reception area while waiting for a meeting to begin.
    • Access to employee offices will not be allowed unless an individual meeting request is made.
    • There is a drop box at the front of the building to drop off box for bid proposal submissions.
    • Visit VBgov.com/purchasing for contact information.

    The Real Estate Assessor's Office will reopen to the public on Monday, July 13 by appointment only. Citizens are strongly encouraged to conduct business online or by phone, email, and fax, however, appointments will be considered to assist when necessary.

    Visit VBgov.com/realestate or contact the Real Estate Assessor's Office at 757-385-4601 or assessor@vbgov.com.

    Reminder
    Governor Ralph Northam's Executive Order 63 currently requires Virginians to wear face coverings in public indoor settings, including state or local government buildings when accessed for the purpose of securing public services, to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    For the latest information, please visit emergency.vbgov.com/coronavirus and follow us on facebook.com/CityofVaBeach, twitter.com/CityofVaBeach and instagram.com/cityofvabeach.

    The Virginia Department of Health has an online complaint form to report violations of Executive Order 63 (Face Coverings) and Executive Order 65 (Phase Two Easing of Certain Temporary Restrictions). The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has the authority to enforce Executive Order 63 and section A of Executive Order 65. VDH will review your complaint and forward it to your Local Health Department.

    If you have observed violations of Executive 63 or Executive Order 65 and wish to file a complaint, fill out this report form as completely as possible:

    Complete one report for each location where the incident occurred. Please be advised that any information you provide may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, Virginia Code Section 2.2-3700, et. seq.

    Closures

    • 19th Street North and South Parking lots are temporarily closing at 9PM to new entry.
    • 9th Street garage, 25th Street garage, and 31st Street garage will temporarily close at 11PM.

    This section includes changes to schedules and operations of City services, facilities and events. Staff are working with event holders, especially for those scheduled during the next 30 days, to identify any cancellations or postponements. The list does not include private events. If you do not see an event here and for the most accurate information, please contact event organizers directly to confirm status.

    Cancellations

    In accordance with Governor Northam's Executive Orders as local directives enacted to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), most City sponsored events have been either cancelled or rescheduled, unless orders are amended or rescinded by further executive order.

    Updates on events:

    In accordance with Governor Northam's Executive Orders 53 and 55 as well as local directives enacted to protect the health and safety of Virginians and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), most City buildings remain under modified operations.

    Updates on facility operations:

    UPDATE FEB. 25, 2021: In-Person City Council Meetings to Resume March 2

    COVID-19 Precautions and Procedures in Effect for In-Person Attendance

    Following several weeks of meeting virtually as part of ongoing COVID-19 public health and safety precautions, City Council will resume meeting in person effective Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 6 p.m. the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The Virginia Beach Convention Center is located at 1000 19th Street at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

    The following protocols and procedures for in-person attendance and citizen engagement will be in effect in order to comply with current state Executive Order restrictions:

    In-Person Attendance

    City staff member in-person attendance will be limited, and staff will accommodate speakers both in-person and virtually via WebEx. Anyone wishing to speak in person should register with the City Clerk prior to start of the meeting. Speakers will be required to wait in Suite 4 of the Convention Center until called into the meeting room to speak. Upon conclusion, speakers will exit the room and return to Suite 4 to view the remainder of the meeting. In-person speakers will be required to follow physical distancing and safety protocols, including wearing a face covering while in the Convention Center.

    Citizen Comment Registration

    Citizens are urged to provide their comments in advance via email or virtually during the meeting via WebEx. Anyone wishing to speak virtually, via WebEx, must follow the two-step process provided below:

    Step 1: Register for the WebEx meeting here or at: https://vbgov.webex.com/vbgov/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1aba56b760743d7822e70c49e93a5a3d

    Step 2: Register with the City Clerk's Office by calling 757-385-4303 prior to 5 p.m. on March 2, 2021.

    Citizens requiring accommodations to these requirements are encouraged to participate through electronic means or to contact the City Clerk to discuss accommodations. Please visit www.vbgov.com/government/departments/city-clerk/city-council for the most updated meeting information. Public comment is always welcome by the Council through their group e-mail account at citycouncil@vbgov.com.


    For updates on other City public meetings, please check the Events Calendar on the City website at VBgov.com/Events.

    This section includes changes to schedules and operations of City services, facilities and events. Staff are working with event holders, especially for those scheduled during the next 30 days, to identify any cancellations or postponements. The list does not include private events. If you do not see an event here and for the most accurate information, please contact event organizers directly to confirm status.

    Modifications

    Virginia Beach Animal Care & Adoption Center is open for business.

    The public is welcome to come in to adopt and reclaim pets.

    In order to facilitate social distancing, we ask that guests wait outside/in their car and please use the Facebook appointment feature to schedule a time to come in to meet/adopt a specific pet, browse the selection of pets currently available, or look for a missing pet. We will use Facebook messenger to communicate with you.

    Interested adopters: We will send you a word document questionnaire to fill out and send back prior to your appointment. We will also take your proof of current rabies/city license (for current household pets) and lease (with pet policy)/mortgage statements electronically.

    To contact VBACAC:
    Phone: 757-385-4444, option #2
    Email: VBPDAC@vbgov.com
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/VBAnimalCareandAdoptionCenter/

    Virginia Beach Human Services has implemented modified operations and had discontinued public access to building facilities.

    • Staff will continue to work on-site at various locations as well as working remotely to meet the service needs of our citizens via telehealth (video), by phone, or out in the community in low exposure settings where social distancing is possible.
    • For detailed information on how to access services, including SNAF, TANIF, Medicaid, Energy Assistance, Child Care Subsidy, Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and emergency hotlines, click here.

    Virginia Beach Department of Health

    For information on Department of Health hours for Clinics, Pharmacy, WIC Program and Dental, please visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/virginia-beach/hours/.

    • Vital Statistics will be closed. Vital Statistic services will be available at the Norfolk Health Department for funeral directors/runners ONLY. The public should process their requests online through the Virginia Department of Health website.
    • Environmental Health will be offering limited services by appointment only, Monday – Friday from 8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Transactions are available over the phone or online. For more information, please call (757) 518-2700, option #3 or visit our website for applications at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/virginia-beach/forms-and-applications/.

    VB Strong Center:

    • Please call to schedule telehealth visits for: individual appointments, intake and support services, class registrations.
    • Contact the VB Strong Center at 757-507-7200, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Mon. - Fri. or visit https://thevbstrongcenter.org/.

    Pathways Center has suspended client visitation until further notice.

    Waste Management has temporarily discontinued walk-in service.

    Phone service will be limited, and delays can be expected.

    For faster service, customers are encouraged to contact us through email at waste@vbgov.com, website at www.vbgov.com/wastemgt, or the SeeClickFix phone app.

    This section includes changes to schedules and operations of City services, facilities and events. Staff are working with event holders, especially for those scheduled during the next 30 days, to identify any cancellations or postponements. The list does not include private events. If you do not see an event here and for the most accurate information, please contact event organizers directly to confirm status.

    Be Aware

    Federal Agencies Warn of Emerging Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.

    The FBI, HHS-OIG, and CMS have received complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) and money through various schemes. We continue to work diligently with law enforcement partners and the private sector to identify cyber threats and fraud in all forms.

    Visit the FBI website for information about potential fraudulent activity: https://www.fbi.gov/news/press...


    Recognizing Legitimate Contact Tracers from Potential Scams

    The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) encourages all Virginians to respond and engage with legitimate contact tracing calls and emails while remaining vigilant against scams. The Commonwealth employs contact tracers to notify individuals who have been exposed to known cases of COVID-19. Contact tracing saves lives by preventing the spread of COVID-19, so we encourage every Virginian to do their part and answer calls, text messages, or emails from the Commonwealth’s contact tracers, while also remaining aware of potential contact tracing scams.

    Important information to know:

    • When a contact tracer is calling you, caller ID will read “VDH COVID Team.”
    • Contact tracers will not ask for money or information such as a Social Security Number (SSN), bank account details, or credit card numbers.
    • The Commonwealth does not charge individuals for contact tracing services.

    VDH News Release re: Legitimate Contact Tracers

    Malicious Website

    A malicious website pretending to be the live map for "Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases" by Johns Hopkins University is circulating on the internet waiting for unwitting internet users (PDF) to visit the website (corona-virus-map[dot]com). Visiting the website infects the user with the AZORult trojan, an information stealing program which can exfiltrate a variety of sensitive data. It is likely being spread via infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements and social engineering. Anyone searching the internet for a coronavirus map could unwittingly navigate to this malicious website.

    Please make sure to exercise caution when opening emails from outside organizations even if those organizations may seem reputable. Information on how to identify e-mail phishing and ransomware attacks can be found in the Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (PDF) guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

    Home Sanitizing Scam

    A post on NextDoor alerts of a scam involving men going door-to-door to sanitize homes. According to the post, two men wearing white uniforms are saying they are with the City and they need to sanitize your home. They will ask you to leave so they can spray inside but once inside, they will rob the home. The NextDoor post reports that it happened on Hoylake Drive near Edwin and the person says they reported it to the police. The police do not have any record of calls describing this kind of activity.

    How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of COVID-19 Scams

    Read the full FBI article

    If you believe you were a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, or think you have information of suspicious activity by a vendor, please report it:

    • Call the Norfolk Field Office at (757) 455-0100 or 1-800-CALL-FBI
    • Submit a tip to the FBI online at tips.fbi.gov
    • If it’s a cyber scam, submit your complaint to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov
    • Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or at justice.gov/DisasterComplaintFraud

    Possible Utility Scam

    ​Virginia Beach Public Utilities was notified that some customers are receiving calls from someone claiming to work for the City. The caller advises that Public Utilities will be turning the customer's water off imminently for non-payment and requests payment over the phone. Virginia Beach Public Utilities is not currently turning customers' water service off for delinquency, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virginia Beach Public Utilities urges residents to never give personal or banking information to an unverified or unsolicited caller.

    Resources

    FAQs

    Money

    City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program

    The City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program provides financial assistance to qualifying residential customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Virginia Beach City Services Bill includes charges for solid waste collection, storm water, sanitary sewer, and water services. The pandemic relief program will provide financial assistance to qualifying applicants based on the services charged on their monthly bill. Relief is not guaranteed and is dependent on availability of funding.

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to establish an account in the City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program database in order to receive updates on the status of the application. The email used to establish the account is the email that will receive application status updates. Due to program demand, application status updates are only available through the online application portal.

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Applicant must be a Virginia Beach resident with an active City Services account
    • Applicant must be listed as an account holder on the requested City Services account
    • Account must have been active from March 2020 or later
    • Account must have an unpaid balance due from March 2020 or later (prior balances are ineligible)
    • Applicant has been unemployed, furloughed, or laid off in March 2020 or later

    Application Requirements

    • Proof of unemployment, furlough, or lay off in March 2020 or later (one of the following)
    • Valid award letter for unemployment benefits from Virginia Employment Commission
    • Valid award letter for self-employed individual through the CARES Act
    • Verification of job loss from employer on letterhead confirming termination, furlough, or lay-off
    • Copy of most recent City Services Bill matching the account number entered on the application (bill’s due date must be March 2020 or later)
    • Service address must match the address on the application and on the proof of unemployment
    • Applicant must confirm that information provided is true and correct
    • Application must be complete, and all required documents must be valid and legible

    PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU MUST CREATE SEPARATE ACCOUNTS TO APPLY FOR THE CITY SERVICES BILL PANDEMIC RELIEF PROGRAM AND THE REAL ESTATE AND PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF PROGRAM. YOU MAY USE THE SAME EMAIL ADDRESS BUT, A UNIQUE PASSWORD IS REQUIRED TO CREATE EACH ACCOUNT.

    For more information and to apply for the City Services Bill Pandemic Relief Program, please visit www.vbgov.com/CSPandemicRelief.

    If you experience trouble with the application, please take a look at the common application errors.

    Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP)

    The Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) is designed to support and ensure housing stability across the commonwealth during the coronavirus pandemic. Depending on availability of funds and household need, the RRP may provide financial assistance for rent payments for eligible households. Tenants can apply to receive funds to pay delinquent rent arrear payments back to April 1, 2020, and up to three months of payments into the future to maintain housing stability. The total payments may not exceed a total of 15 months of rental assistance per household. Landlords may also apply for assistance on behalf of tenants.

    To determine eligibility for RRP: Visit dhcd.virginia.gov/eligibility or call 2-1-1

    For landlords who need to submit an application on behalf of a tenant: virginiahousing.com/rentrelief.

    Short-Term Mortgage Assistance Program

    The Short-Term Mortgage Assistance Program is available to help prevent the foreclosure of eligible low- and moderate-income homeowners in Virginia Beach who have experienced loss of employment income due to COVID-19. The program provides eligible households with short-term assistance to pay mortgage payments that were delinquent on or after April 1, 2020. Assistance is provided one time and payments are made directly to the mortgage company. This program does not provide rental assistance.

    For more information on the Short-Term Mortgage Assistance Program, including eligibility requirements and to complete a pre-screening questionnaire, visit: vbgov.com/mortgageassistance.


    Homeless Prevention and Related Programs – Coordinated Intake and Referral (For people experiencing homelessness/about to become homeless):

    • Eligibility: Persons experiencing homelessness or immediately at risk of experiencing homelessness within two weeks (pandemic related or not)
    • Description: Screening and referral for available programs based on the individual’s situation; not guaranteed assistance.
    • How to apply: Call the regional Housing Crisis Hotline – phone 227-5932- the Hotline is operated by ForKids, Inc; it makes referrals for in-depth assessment and then referral to appropriate/available programs or services
    • Deadline: there is no deadline. This is an ongoing service.

    The application period for the Real Estate & Personal Property Tax Relief Program closed on Jan. 31, 2021.

    CARES Act Arts & Cultural Relief Grants

    The application period for the CARES Act Arts & Cultural Relief Grants closed on Nov. 15, 2020.

    The application period for the CARES Act Community Organization Grants closed on Oct. 1, 2020.

    CARES Act Business Assistance Grants

    The City of Virginia Beach recognizes that small businesses are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To encourage businesses to continue their operations and help mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic, the City has established a system to award monetary grants to assist businesses with costs incurred during the pandemic. These grants are intended to provide immediate financial relief for expenses already incurred by the businesses and are funded through an allocation of funds provided through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

    The application period for the CARES Act Business Assistance Grants closed on Dec. 7, 2020 at 5 p.m.

    Virginia Beach Pandemic Relief Partnership

    The Virginia Beach Pandemic Relief Partnership assists Virginia Beach residents and small businesses who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

    This is a partnership between the City, The United Way of South Hampton Roads, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and LISC Hampton Roads to provide assistance with:

    • Food access
    • Utility payments
    • Rent or mortgage assistance
    • Childcare
    • Healthcare costs
    • Job training
    • Small business grants

    For more information and to apply for assistance, visit vbrelief.org.

    Residents

    COVID-19 testing may be available at your doctor’s office, urgent care center, pharmacy, or other healthcare clinic. Some testing sites in Virginia are offering community testing events, such as drive-thru testing, Each site has different policies and procedures for testing and billing; please reach out to the individual site for information about testing availability.

    Your doctor will decide if you need a test for COVID-19. If they decide that testing is needed, they might collect samples to test you or tell you where you can go to be tested. Not everyone needs to be tested Most people who have COVID-19 are able to recover at home without medical care.

    Costs
    Many health insurance plans cover the cost of testing and related health care costs. For specific information about your health insurance coverage, call your insurance company. Most insurance covers testing cost without a co-pay.

    Uninsured or under-insured people in Virginia with COVID-19 symptoms can get tested through the state public health lab for free. Please contact a free clinic, federally qualified health center, or emergency department to have the specimen collected. Your local health department can help you get connected with one of these places for testing.

    Testing Sites

    The Virginia Department of Health has an interactive COVID-19 Testing Sites Map which provides information of known locations of various COVID-19 test sampling sites and does not constitute endorsement by VDH.

    There may be additional sites that offer test sampling that are not included on the map and the status of listed sites are subject to change (may no longer perform COVID-19 testing services).

    DMV Reopening Plan

    To minimize customer volume at DMV offices and testing sites, appointments are required for specific services generally necessitating in-person service. Customers should use alternate service methods, such as online or by mail, when possible.

    DMV does not charge a fee for appointments. Please ensure that you book directly through the official Virginia DMV website. DMV cannot guarantee appointments made through third-party sites.

    • Customers are limited to one appointment per person.
    • Multiple appointments made by the same person will be canceled.
    • Customers who arrive late may need to reschedule.
    • Please do not bring other people with you to your appointment unless you need them to conduct your transaction or for personal assistance.
    • DMV can only allow a limited number of people in an office at one time.

    For a complete list of customer service centers open to the public and services currently being provided, visit https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/general/#appointments.asp.

    For details on DMV operations, visit https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/.

    • The United Way provides food assistance. Contact their hotline at (757) 858-7777, or fill out an online form at unitedwayshr.org/coronavirus and a case manager will contact you.
    • For a list of food pantries open in Virginia Beach, click here. Changes in the list can occur at any time. Please call before going. Most pantries will have pre-packed non-perishable boxes.
    • PLEASE NOTE: As of Aug. 10, 2020, the food pantry at The Gathering @ Scott Memorial is closed temporarily due to COVID exposure.
    • The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, is no longer scheduling drive-through food distributions. It has reverted back to normal operations where it distributes food to partner agencies, such as food pantries.
    • To find partner agencies, search by your zip code here.


    Weekly Meal Distribution

    The Chapel Pantry at Eastern Shore Chapel is providing single-serving frozen meals for distribution to anyone who may struggle with cooking or preparing meals for themselves.

    • Location: Eastern Shore Chapel, 2020 Laskin Road
    • Meals are free for pickup every Monday from 12 - 2 p.m.
    • Healthy, delicious meals, ready to reheat in a microwave oven
    • No qualification requirement
    • No reservations are required
    • Meals may be picked up on a client’s behalf for delivery, as needed.
    • Meals will be packed as six meals per individual.
    • Drive-thru distribution
    • For more info, contact Kay O’Reilly at koreilly@easternshorechapel.org.

    Virginia Beach Department of Human Services (VBDHS) has discontinued public access to building facilities until further notice. Staff will continue to work on site at various locations as well as from remote locations to meet the service needs of our citizens via telehealth (video), by phone, or out in the ​community in low exposure settings where social distancing is possible.

    Financial Assistance:

    • Medicaid (Medical Assistance): Apply online at www.CommonHelp.virginia.gov​ or call Cover VA at (855) 242-8282 or the Enterprise Call Center at 855-635-4370.
    • Food Assistance (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Child Care Subsidy, and Energy Assistance: Apply online at www.CommonHelp.virginia.gov​ or call 855-635-4370. ​
    • For those who cannot apply online or by phone, we’re offering appointments for curbside pick-up of SNAP EBT cards and paper applications for SNAP benefits are available near the drop box at 3432 Virginia Beach Blvd.
    • City of Virginia Beach Water Assistance Program: Call 757-385-3431
    • ​To report case changes, inquire about the status of benefits, and for general questions regarding SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, and Energy Assistance, call 757-385-4306.
    • Child Care Subsidy: Call 757-385-3351.

    Emergency Hotlines:

    • Adult Protective Services (APS): To report suspected neglect or abuse of adults, call 757-385-3550, Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Or, 888-832-3858 for all calls outside of regular business hours
    • Child Protective Services (CPS): To report suspected neglect or abuse of children, call 757-385-3400 or 800-552-7096, Available 24/7
    • Emergency Mental Health Services: Call 757-385-0888

    Behavioral Health & Developmental Services:

    • Adult Outpatient Mental Health Services (including Same Day Access): 757-385-0511
    • Child & Youth Mental Health Services (Including Same Day Access): 757-385-0850
    • Developmental Services: 757-385-0600
    • Emergency Mental Health Services: 757-385-0888 (available 24/7)
    • Informational Warmline: 757-385-0978 (available M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

    To address the routine and non-emergency needs of our citizens, VBDHS has created additional pathways for citizens to communicate with our essential service staff members by using the email addresses listed below. These accounts will be monitored daily Monday through Friday and responses will be provided within one business day.

    Accessible Information for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafblind

    Virginia Beach Department of Health

    For information on Department of Health hours for Clinics, Pharmacy, WIC Program and Dental, please visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/virginia-beach/hours/.

    The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program continues to accept new applicants to apply for services. WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education and breastfeeding support. Remote WIC services are available for new families to enroll in the program. Appointments will be conducted over the phone. To be eligible for the WIC program, applicants must meet categorical, residential and income guidelines.

    To apply, call your local WIC office:

    • Pembroke WIC Office: (757) 518-2789
    • Norfolk Avenue WIC Office: (757) 491-5183
    • Indian River WIC Office: (757) 424-9970
    • Oceana WIC Office: (757) 491-5928

    More information about the WIC Program acan be found at the VDH website: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/virginia-beach/women-infants-and-children-wic/ or their Facebook page at https://m.facebook.com/VirginiaBeachWIC/.

    211 Virginia

    • 2-1-1 is Virginia’s central source for information and referrals for essential health and human service needs.
    • Online: at 211virginia.org, people can search for resources, view important alerts, and find out how to contact 211 by email, chat or phone.
    • Phone: people can dial 2-1-1. This is a free phone number that provides information about local resources such as food assistance, shelter, utility assistance, and health care. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When someone dials 2-1-1, a trained professional listens to the situation and suggests sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in Virginia. All referrals are confidential.
    • Organizations that provide ongoing services to the general public are encouraged to add their organization to the 2-1-1 database through the link “Update/Add Your Agency” at the top of the 2-1-1 website.
    • New time-limited services that are open to the general public during this health emergency, can be sent to 211admin@councilofcommunityservices.org.

    Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Resources

    Virginia Poverty Law Center - information on a variety of important resources to assist with navigating through the pandemic including protections for tenants, temporary changes to public housing policies, and loss of income during the pandemic.


    Homeless Prevention and Related Programs – Coordinated Intake and Referral (For people experiencing homelessness/about to become homeless):

    • Eligibility: Persons experiencing homelessness or immediately at risk of experiencing homelessness within two weeks (pandemic related or not)
    • Description: Screening and referral for available programs based on the individual’s situation; not guaranteed assistance.
    • How to apply: Call the regional Housing Crisis Hotline – phone 227-5932- the Hotline is operated by ForKids, Inc; it makes referrals for in-depth assessment and then referral to appropriate/available programs or services
    • Deadline: there is no deadline. This is an ongoing service.

    Customer Service Updates:

    At this time, Public Utilities is is not disconnecting water service due to nonpayment. To avoid water service termination once service turn-offs for nonpayment are resumed, please continue to make regular payments on your account.

    Public Utilities is not accepting walk-in customers and the call center (385-4631) is only accepting urgent and emergency calls until further notice.

    Urgent and emergency calls include:

    • Water turn-on requests for new service
    • Water turn-off requests for moving out
    • No water complaints
    • Low water pressure complaints
    • Burst pipes or other emergency turn-offs
    • Meter leaks
    • Hazardous meter lids

    Routine requests can be submitted online at www.vbgov.com/puonlineservices or by email at vbwater@vbgov.com and will be processed as soon as possible.

    Volunteer Opportunities

    • The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is recruiting volunteers for its COVID-19 response. They accept volunteers with and without medical certifications. Anyone interested should register at https://www.vamrc.org.
    • If you would like to volunteer with one of the many voluntary agencies that have stepped up to assist our community at this time, visit Volunteer Hampton Roads at https://www.volunteerhr.org/coronavirus.

    Donation Opportunities

    • If you would like to make a monetary donation to assist people impacted by COVID-19, United Way of South Hampton Roads has established a Coronavirus Recovery Fund. Please visit https://unitedwayshr.org/coronavirus/ or you can text COVID to 41444 to make a donation.
    • If you would like to make a food donation, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore has changed their donation process in response to COVID-19. For up to date information on food donation visit, https://foodbankonline.org/covid-19/

    The Virginia Department of Health has an online complaint form to report violations of Executive Order 63 (Face Coverings) and Executive Order 65 (Phase Two Easing of Certain Temporary Restrictions). The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has the authority to enforce Executive Order 63 and section A of Executive Order 65. VDH will review your complaint and forward it to your Local Health Department.

    If you have observed violations of Executive 63 or Executive Order 65 and wish to file a complaint, fill out this report form as completely as possible:

    Complete one report for each location where the incident occurred. Please be advised that any information you provide may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, Virginia Code Section 2.2-3700, et. seq.

    United Way of South Hampton Roads

    If you are in need of assistance as a result of Coronavirus, please click on the link below or call the United Way Coronavirus hotline: (757) 858-7777

    If you reach a voicemail due to call volume, please leave a detailed message and you will receive a return call promptly.

    https://unitedwayshr.org/coronavirus-help/

    Businesses

    The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development has developed a collection of national, state, and local resources available to businesses and employees: COVID-19 Business Resources

    In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

    SBA Debt Relief

    • The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    SBA Bridge Loans

    • Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

    For information on all the above relief funding options, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options.

    SBA Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic

    • For information on all COVID-related state tax relief for income taxpayers, visit the Virginia Tax website.

    Virginia Department of Health Guidance for Food Establishments Regarding COVID‐19

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed interim guidance for businesses and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‐19). This inforamtion summarizes key CDC recommendations and provide VDH‐specific recommendations or details for food and food establishments.


    Guidance for Flushing Building Plumbing Systems after Prolonged Shutdown

    Public water supplies are safe and unaffected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. However, water quality within buildings that have been vacant or have seen little use during the pandemic restrictions may be impacted due the closure. To make sure stagnant water is fully removed before employees return to work, it’s important that building owners thoroughly flush their establishment’s plumbing systems before reopening. These practices are recommended for schools, daycares, lodging, offices, places of worship, event venues, retail, libraries, museums, restaurants, gyms, healthcare and other facilities which have remained closed during the COVID-19 shutdown. To flush water systems in closed buildings, Hampton Roads utility directors advise owners and property managers to follow these steps:

    For more details and guidance for large businesses, check with The Environmental Science, Policy, and Research Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.


    Guidance for Grease Control Device (GCD) Cleaning after Prolonged Shutdown

    Regular grease control device (GCD) maintenance and cleanings are necessary to help prevent fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from entering the sanitary sewer system. Please review the below document to ensure your food service establishment is staying in compliance with the City of Virginia Beach’s FOG Ordinance.

    Contacts

    Information Hotlines

    • The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health hotline: 757-683-2745 (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 - 5 p.m. Messages will be monitored over the weekend).
    • The Virginia Department of Health hotline: 877-ASK-VDH3

    Department of Human Services Emergency Hotlines

    • Adult Protective Services (APS) – to report suspected neglect or abuse of adults
      • 757-385-3550, Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      • 888-832-3858 for all calls outside of regular business hours
    • Child Protective Services (CPS) – to report suspected neglect or abuse of children
      • 757-385-3400 or 800-552-7096, Available 24/7
    • Emergency Mental Health Services - 757-385-0888

    Videos

    VB411 In the Know - Housing Assistance, March 1, 2021

    VB411 In the Know - VB Pandemic Relief Partnership, Dec. 2, 2020

    VB411 in the Know - Halloween Guidelines - Oct. 22, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Financial Assistance Programs - Sept. 3, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - COVID-19 Relief Programs (Real Estate, PPT & City Services Bill) - July 27, 2020

    Mayor Bobby Dyer: Together We Can Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 - July 27, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Recreation Centers Reopening, June 17, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Phase Two Reopenings, June 10, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Hurricane Preparedness During the Pandemic - June 3, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Mental Health Services, May 14, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Meals Tax Holiday, May 6, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Volunteer & Donation Opportunities, April 28, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - COVID-19 Emergency Website, April 22, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Resources for Businesses, April 8, 2020

    Coronavirus Update from Mayor Bobby Dyer - April 4, 2020

    VB411 In the Know - Human Services Modifications, April 1, 2020

    Coronavirus Update from Mayor Bobby Dyer - March 20, 2020

    Coronavirus Update from Mayor Bobby Dyer - March 20, 2020