Watch: Gov. Northam announces grant fund for small businesses impacted by COVID-19

Posted at 11:38 AM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 06:50:12-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Gov. Northam announced a new grant fund for small businesses and non-profits that have been impacted by COVID-19 on Monday.

Northam made the announcement in Phoebus on Monday afternoon. He will also be ceremonially signing legislation banning offshore drilling later in the day.

He said the initiative will be called "Rebuild Virginia," and that $70 million from the CARES Act will go to fund it.

Rebuild Virginia will provide up to $10,000 to businesses for things like missed rent, utility payments, to provide PPE and hand sanitizer and other COVID-19 needs.

Northam said the focus will be on giving funds to small businesses that did not receive federal funding. Some examples listed were food and beverage, non-essential retail, entertainment, amusement, private camp grounds, restaurants and more.

The portal will be live online August 1 to give businesses time to get what they need together to apply. According to Northam, selections will mostly be made on a first come first served basis.

“Rebuild Virginia will ensure small businesses survive and thrive,” Northam said.

Northam's visit comes as Hampton Roads continues to see more cases of COVID-19, including nearly 500 cases reported Monday in the area.

Northam has hinted more restrictions could be put back in place. He's scheduled to provide another update on Virginia's response to COVID-19 during a press conference on Tuesday.

He says new restrictions will only be specific to the Eastern area of Virginia. "As I've made decisions in the past, it's been kind of blanket decisions for the Commonwealth," he said. "Now in order to mitigate this, we’re going to have to have a surgical approach and look at specific regions where the numbers are increasing."

Northam says he's considering limiting gatherings to 50 people again and adding guidelines for restaurants and bars. His final decisions will be announced Tuesday. "What we’re seeing is people gathering in these private parties and social gatherings and paying no attention to wearing masks and social distancing," he said. "Between that and our bars and restaurants- that's where the problem is."

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