From the Director: Coronavirus causes emergency situations for Arlington business community

These are unprecedented times. Like so many other economic development offices, Arlington is working through the effects and global impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Arlington Economic Development, a division within the Arlington County Government, is continuing to monitor the spread of the coronavirus in the region and following the lead of local and state authorities. Both Arlington County Government and Virginia Governor Northam have issued a state of emergency in response to the spread of the coronavirus and asked people to avoid any gatherings of more than 10 people. 

“Public health relies on every individual using common sense and making responsible decisions,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “We can and will get through this difficult time. But we must work together to do so.” 

Under the direction of the Governor, Arlington restaurants have closed their dining rooms, and quite a few are providing meals on a takeout basis. Other businesses, such as gyms, theatres and shopping malls have closed as well. The Governor has asked that any business that cannot maintain gatherings of fewer than 10 people close, with the exception of essential services such as health care and grocery stores. 

For the business community, and especially our small business community, these actions can be devastating if not catastrophic. More than 90% of Arlington County businesses employ 50 people or fewer, and some have already had to make very difficult decisions when it comes to employees. The Small Business Administration has administratively declared an economic disaster for Arlington County as well as for our neighboring jurisdictions in Alexandria and Fairfax.  

We in Arlington Economic Development are committed to providing our business community with the resources it needs to weather this global situation. The Governor’s Office has declared that regional workforce teams will be activated to support employers that slow or cease operations. Employers who do slow or cease operations will not be financially penalized for an increase in workers requesting unemployment benefits. The Governor is also authorizing rapid response funding, through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, for employers eligible to remain open during this emergency. Funds may be used to clean facilities and support emergency needs. Locally, the Arlington County Treasurer will not impose penalty and interest for those affected by the COVID-19 situation for tax due dates between now and April 30. We are also collaborating with our regional partners in the NOVA EDA to study the short- and long-term economic impact of coronavirus. We will be sharing those results once the study is complete. 

Arlington is a resilient community. We have weathered hardships before and learned the lessons to come out even stronger on the other side. But to echo the thoughts of Governor Northam, we must work together to do so. We will continue to share available resources with our business community. In the meantime, we ask all of you in the business community to make responsible decisions for the health and welfare for yourselves, your employees and your neighbors in Arlington. 

Topic: COVID-19 Resources, Economic Update, From the Director
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