Need-to-know resources for Fairfax County businesses during COVID-19 emergency

Fairfax County and Northern Virginia have one of the strongest local economies in the nation, but the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency is creating hardships and challenges for many in the community, including businesses. Continuing business operations in today’s situation is challenging and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) and other members of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance are working to assist businesses with information and access to critical resources.

A message from Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

The FCEDA, like other economic development organizations in the region, has shifted to working virtually until at least April 1, and our staff is working full-time with businesses of all kinds to offer assistance and direct them to resources. For assistance, click here to go to the Contact Us page of our website. You can also email the FCEDA at info@fceda.org, or call 703-790-0600 to leave a voice message to be connected with our staff.

The Stephen S. Fuller Institute at George Mason University yesterday published an initial projection of the impact of the emergency on the regional economy. The upshot: “The Washington region’s economy will…contract in the last three quarters of 2020, primarily because of decreased consumer spending and lost productivity.” Read more in this Washingtonian story about the survey.

“We will get through this together. And when it is over, we will be even more resilient,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA.

Below is information and links to local, regional, state and federal resources for managing a business during the crisis.

Community webinar and business counseling 

Karen Smaw, the FCEDA’s director of business diversity investment and entrepreneurship, will be part of a webinar Monday, March 23, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. entitled “Keeping Your Workforce and Business Healthy During (and After) the Coronavirus Outbreak: A Whole Community Approach.” Click here to register. Also presenting will be representatives from the county Department of Health, the Department of Economic Initiatives and the Community Business Partnership. The county government is producing the webinar with the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

The FCEDA coordinates appointments with SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. In-person mentoring sessions and appointments have been suspended through April 17, but SCORE counselors/mentors are available via phone, email and a variety of video-conferencing services. To get in touch with SCORE to set up an appointment for business counseling, e-mail us at  business-diversity@fceda.org.

Fairfax County government 

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday declared a local state of emergency in response to the coronavirus situation. This was primarily a financial mechanism that provides for greater flexibility and authority for the County to purchase hard-to-find resources and supplies. It also increases the authority granted to the County to protect the health and safety of the community and provide emergency assistance in such a rapidly evolving incident.

Fairfax County posts information continuously updated information for businesses affected by the coronavirus.

This page has a wealth of information, including on these topics:

  • disaster loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration;
  • organizations that can offer business counseling;
  • local emergency assistance and food programs; and,
  • a dashboard set up by the Fairfax County Business Emergency Operations Council to share information among the business community.

County residents are encouraged to sign up for coronavirus-related text message alerts from the Fairfax County Health Department in order to stay current with important updates. To receive these alerts, text FFXCOVID to 888-777. The Health Department set up a call center at 703-267-3511 to handle coronavirus questions. It is open 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

In addition, residents can send specific questions or concerns related to the virus to ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov. This email account will be staffed Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce webinar series on business continuity

The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce is continuing its free webinar series focused on business continuity planning to provide the business community with the most up-to-date best practices and insights on managing your business through unexpected events. Two more sessions remain:

  • How HR and Business Leaders Can Prepare for the Coronavirus; March 19, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET. Register here.
  • Growing Through Challenges When Remote; March 26, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET. Register here.

Community Business Partnership

The Community Business Partnership (CBP) is a non-profit organization working in collaboration with a number of local, regional and national organizations to promote small business growth in Fairfax County.

All CBP in-person workshops and events are cancelled until at least April 10. Meantime, clients can visit www.ed2go.com/cbponline as a resource for continued business knowledge. In addition, CBP staff are now pivoting to provide full time and virtual in-person counseling. For information and counseling sessions, sign up here.

State government  

In addition to his March 12 declaration of a state of emergency in response to COVID-19, Gov. Ralph Northam outlined measures and state resources to ensure the health and safety of all Virginians on this Commonwealth website.

Federal government

President Donald Trump on March 13 declared a national emergency to deal with the virus emergency. Learn what federal government agencies are doing in response to coronavirus at www.usa.gov/coronavirus.

U.S. Small Business Administration

The SBA on March 12 announced Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue.

The SBA Guidance for Business and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease includes these programs and information:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
  • Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Preventing Stigma Related to COVID-19
  • Share Facts about COVID-19
  • CDC coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage
  • Information on coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Prevention, Symptoms and FAQ

U.S. Department of Labor

The DOL has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus, including:

Workplace Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to coronavirus in the workplace.

Wages, Hours and Leave

The Wage and Hour Division is providing information on common issues employers and workers face when responding to COVID-19, including the effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Find out more, including about “Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities” and “Injured Federal Workers,” by clicking here.

Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance 

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is a member of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance (NOVA EDA), which jointly markets the region in other areas. Each organization is working with businesses affected by the emergency in their locality. Below is a list of those communities and COVID-19 online resources.

March 19, 2020