Virginia Chamber of Commerce Weekly COVID-19 Update: June 26, 2020

A Message from Virginia Chamber President & CEO, Barry DuVal

On July 1, all regions of the Commonwealth are expected to transition into Phase Three of re-opening as part of the Governor’s “Forward Virginia” plan. Under this phase, restaurants and non-essential retail will be able to fully re-open without capacity restrictions and gatherings of up to 250 will be permitted. More information on the guidelines associated with this phase can be found below.

The Safety and Health Codes Board of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry met on Wednesday to consider a new emergency regulation that would set out additional requirements for Virginia employers related to workplace safety due to COVID-19. The Board was also tasked with considering comments that were offered during the brief 10-day window the Board allowed for input from the public.

Over 3,300 comments were submitted to the Board for consideration. After meeting for close to eight hours, technical difficulties, and motions to delay, the Board has agreed to meet again for final consideration of the standards at some point next week.

The Virginia Chamber submitted a comment letter to the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry and the Safety and Health Codes Board as part of the public comment process to voice our strong concerns about placing additional burdens on Virginia businesses and inconsistencies with federal regulations within the proposed standards. 

The Board will meet again next week to consider additional changes to the emergency standard and vote for final approval. If the Board approves the standards, they could go into effect by July 15, 2020. You can view the proposed emergency standards here. 

As the discussion around the process for re-opening k-12 schools continues, leadership from the Northam Administration announced yesterday that the authority to determine the individual strategy for each district will be determined by the local school boards. While local school boards will have the responsibility of developing the process that works best for their district, they are encouraged to utilize the guidelines put forward by the Northam Administration earlier this month. These guidelines are available on the Virginia Department of Education’s website

This week, the Virginia Chamber is pleased to recognize sPower for its significant contributions to support COVID-19 relief efforts, helping communities across the Commonwealth. 

As communities across the country are faced with the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, sPower, a leading renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) with an office in Glen Allen, announced a $500,000 commitment to support emerging Covid-19 needs in local communities where it develops and operates. Beginning in March, sPower staff began reaching out to local leaders, chambers of commerce, non-profits, educational institutions and others to identify specific needs in communities. The company has adopted a ‘hyperlocal’ approach to giving, as COVID-19 has impacted communities in varying ways. Grants have included direct donations to food banks; food for seniors, first responders and families; healthcare supplies; small business support and wireless access to communities with limited broadband. More information on this week’s “Member Spotlight” can be found below.    

Best regards,
Barry DuVal
President


Member Spotlight: sPower

As communities across the country are faced with the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, sPower, a leading renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) with an office in Glen Allen, announced a $500,000 commitment to support emerging Covid-19 needs in local communities where it develops and operates. Beginning in March, sPower staff began reaching out to local leaders, chambers of commerce, non-profits, educational institutions and others to identify specific needs in communities. The company has adopted a ‘hyperlocal’ approach to giving, as COVID-19 has impacted communities in varying ways. Grants have included direct donations to food banks; food for seniors, first responders and families; healthcare supplies; small business support and wireless access to communities with limited broadband.

sPower has made the following donations in Virginia: 

  • In Virginia, where the company is building a 620 MWdc solar project, contributions were made in Spotsylvania County to Mary Washington Healthcare to fund personal protective equipment for front-line medical workers and to the Community Foundation to support childcare for essential workers.
  • Charles City County – The company supported the food bank at the local high school, feeding more than 100 local students and their families each week consistently. sPower also partnered with Cul’s Courthouse Grille, by purchasing meals for first responders over five Fridays in April and May.
  • Fauquier County – sPower funded donations to Community Touch, Inc, a transitional housing organization with its COVID-19 outreach efforts and the Fauquier Community Food Bank & Thrift Shop. The company also provided $3000 worth of gift certificates to local first responders from a local business, Grioli’s Italian Grill and Pizzeria.
  • Surry County – The needs of the community varied from support for small businesses, to homeless services and protective equipment. sPower contributed to Rushmere Community Development, to assist Brother’s Keeper homeless services, First Baptist Church Spring Grove to aid their mask-making efforts, the Virginia Diner to feed more than 100 seniors eight lunches, Just for Kicks Cupcakes to supply treats to First Responders and to Crater Regional Workforce Initiative to provide small business grants.

Learn more about sPower’s efforts to support communities across the nation here

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