Virginia Resources Updated: May 26, 2020
North Carolina Resources Updated: May 8, 2020
COVID-19 Key Resource List (Virginia):
Commonwealth of Virginia Official COVID-19 Website
This website is a comprehensive resource that provides information pertaining to official actions, guidance, updates, and information about the novel coronavirus.
Updates from the Governor
Governor Northam is holding Facebook Live briefings at 2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to provide an update to the public on the actions his administration is taking to combat and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia and to support Virginians during this very difficult time.
Williams Mullen COVID-19 Legal Updates
Williams Mullen attorneys continue to serve our clients by assembling a legal resource page with alerts on federal and state actions related to COVID-19. An email sign-up is available so you can have legal alerts and updates sent as soon as they are published.
- On Tuesday, May 26, Governor Northam announced an indoor mask mandate that will begin Friday, May 29th. The mandate applies to ALL brick and mortar retail establishments, all personal care and grooming establishments, inside all places where people congregate, inside food and beverage establishments except when eating, on public transportation and when access state and local government services. Exceptions include eating, exercises, anyone with an underlying health condition and children under 10.
- Enforcement will be done by VA Department of Health not law enforcement. The Governor has also requested that the Department of Labor Industry (DOLI) develop emergency regulations around workplace safety standards as they relate to the current pandemic.
- The Governor also announced that he will be making an announcement regarding NoVA, Accomack and Richmond moving into Phase 1 later this week.
- Here is a link to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders and Directives.
COVID-19 Additional Resources (Virginia):
Department of Taxation: www.tax.virginia.gov
- Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can request to defer the payment of state sales tax due for 30 days.
- When granted, businesses will be able to file no later than April 20, 2020 with a waiver of any penalties.
- The Virginia Department of Taxation is extending the due date of payment of Virginia individuals and corporate income taxes. While the filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020.
- Please note that interest will still accrue.
Department of Health: www.vdh.virginia.gov
- Symptoms of COVID-19 information.
- Share the Facts about COVID-19 resource.
- What to do if your sick resource.
- What to do if you have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- A daily update of the number of the number of Virginians tested, the number of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid): www.dmas.virginia.gov
- Eliminating all co-payments for services covered by Medicaid and Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), including COVID-19-related treatment as well as other medical care.
- Ensuring current Medicaid members do not inadvertently lose coverage due to lapses in paperwork or a change in circumstances.
- Permitting Medicaid members to obtain a 90-day supply of many routine prescriptions, an increase from the 30-day supply under previous rules.
- Waiving pre-approval requirements for many critical medical services and enacting automatic extensions for approvals that are already in place.
- Expanding access to telehealth services, including allowing Medicaid reimbursement for providers who use telehealth with patients in the home.
Department of Motor Vehicles: www.dmv.virginia.gov
- Virginia’s 75 DMV offices, as well as mobile units are closed to the public.
- Online services will remain available, and anyone needing to renew a license or vehicle registration is encouraged to do so online.
- For those who cannot renew online, or whose license or registration expires before May 15, DMV will grant a 60-day extension.
- Virginia Department of State Police to suspend the enforcement of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections for 60 days.
Virginia’s Judicial System: http://www.courts.state.va.us/
- From Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 26, non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings in all district and circuit courts are suspended absent a specific exemption, by order of the Virginia Supreme Court. The clerk's office will still be open.
Virginia Employment Commission http://www.vec.virginia.gov/
- Governor Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period for benefit payments.
- Workers may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if their employer needs to temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19. If a worker has been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and is not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer, they may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In addition, a worker may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.
- Virginia Employment Commission will give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.
COVID-19 KEY RESOURCE LIST (North Carolina):
North Carolina Official COVID-19 Website
This website is a comprehensive resource of North Carolina’s response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Williams Mullen COVID-19 Legal Updates
Williams Mullen attorneys continue to serve our clients and have helped by assembling a legal resource page with alerts on federal and state actions related to COVID-19. An email sign-up is available so you can have legal alerts and updates sent as soon as they are published.
On Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Roy Cooper held a press conference to provide updates on the state’s COVID-19 response and share details regarding Phase 1 of reopening the state. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen went over the factors being used to determine when the state will transition from phase to phase of the reopening process.
The factors are set out below along with what the data currently shows:
- COVID-like syndromic cases (early detection method) – Gradual decline
- Lab confirmed cases – Increasing but starting to level off
- Positive tests as a percentage of total tests – Gradual decrease
- Hospitalization – Largely level and the state has capacity at hospitals
Additionally, the other factors (testing per day, tracing of those exposed and supply of PPE) all look good.
Therefore, the Governor signed Executive Order 138 that goes into effect this Friday, May 8th, at 5 pm and runs through the 22nd of May.
Below is a general overview and analysis of the new order.
Mass Gathering Ban
The Phase 1 Executive Order (Order) retains a ban on gatherings of over ten people, but normal operations at airports, bus and train stations or stops, medical facilities, shopping malls and shopping centers continue to be exempt so long as individuals follow the social distancing recommendations (i.e., wearing a face mask, maintaining at least six feet social distancing, hand washing, regularly cleaning of high-touch surfaces, staying at home if sick) “as much as possible” and “they should circulate within the space so that there is no sustained contact between people.”
Which Businesses May Operate
The Order removes the designation of essential and non-essential businesses. Business operations that were expressly closed in previous orders (personal care and grooming businesses, entertainment facilities and on-premise dining and consumption at bars and restaurants) cannot reopen. In general, any other business may operate so long as it complies with certain restrictions and requirements (discussed below).
The Order provides that personal care and grooming businesses include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Barber Shops
- Beauty Salons (including but not limited to waxing and hair removal centers)
- Hair Salons
- Nail Salons/Manicure/Pedicure Providers
- Tattoo Parlors
- Tanning Salons
- Massage Therapists (except that massage therapists may provide medical massage therapy services upon the specific referral of a medical or naturopathic healthcare provider)
Entertainment facilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Bingo Parlors, including bingo sites operated by charitable organizations
- Bowling Alleys
- Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g., gyms, yoga studios, martial arts facilities, indoor trampoline and rock-climbing facilities)
- Health Clubs, Fitness Centers, and Gyms
- Indoor/Outdoor Pools
- Live Performance Venues
- Movie Theaters
- Skating Rinks
- Spas, including health spas
- Gaming and business establishments which allow gaming activities (e.g., video poker, gaming, sweepstakes, video games, arcade games, pinball machines or other computer, electronic or mechanical devices played for amusement)
Restaurants and bars remain closed for on-premise dining and consumption, but restaurants can continue to provide drive-through, take-out, and delivery. Restaurants are encouraged to comply with the “Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission” (i.e., maintaining at least six feet social distancing, hand washing, regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, staying at home if sick), including the use of face coverings when providing carry-out, drive-through, and delivery services. Any retail or dining component within an entertainment facility may operate solely for retail or dining but must comply with the restrictions otherwise applicable to those operations.
Requirements and Recommendations
The Order includes a series of requirements and recommendations for retail and other business operations.
Requirements Specific to Retail Businesses
- Limit customer occupancy to not more than 50% of stated fire capacity. Retail businesses that do not have a stated fire capacity must limit customer occupancy to twelve customers for every thousand square feet of total square footage, including the parts of the location that are not accessible to customers. (The currently applicable capacity maximum is 20% or five per thousand square feet).
- Limit customer occupancy so that customers can stay six feet apart, even if this requires reducing occupancy beneath the 50% limit stated above.
- Direct customers to stay at least six feet apart from one another and from workers except at point of sale if applicable.
- Mark six feet of spacing in lines at point of sale and in other high-traffic areas for customers, such as at deli counters and near high-volume products.
- Perform frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-Co V-2.
- Provide, whenever available, hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol); systematically and frequently check and refill hand sanitizer stations; and provide soap and hand drying materials at sinks.
- Conduct daily symptom screening of workers, using a standard interview questionnaire of symptoms, before workers enter the workplace.
- Immediately send symptomatic workers home.
- Have a plan in place for immediately isolating workers from the workplace if symptoms develop.
- Post signage at the main entrances that reminds people to stay six feet apart for social distancing, requests people who are or who have recently been symptomatic not to enter and notifies customers of the retailer’s reduced capacity.
To assist with compliance, NC DHHS will make available on its website a sample screening checklist questionnaire and sample signs.
Additional Recommendations Specific to Retail Businesses
Retailers are “strongly encouraged” to do the following:
- Direct workers to stay at least six feet apart from one another and from customers, to the greatest extent possible.
- Provide designated times for seniors and other high-risk populations to access services.
- Develop and use systems that allow for online, email, or telephone ordering, no-contact curbside or drive-through pickup or home delivery, and contact-free checkout.
- High-volume retailers, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, are strongly encouraged to take the following additional measures to reduce transmission:
- Use acrylic or plastic shields at cash registers.
- Clearly mark designated entry and exit points.
- Provide assistance with routing through aisles in the store.
Recommendations for All Businesses (Retail or Other)
All businesses are “strongly encouraged” to:
- Continue to promote telework and limit non-essential travel whenever possible.
- Promote social distancing by reducing the number of people coming to the office, by providing six feet of distance between desks, and/or by staggering shifts.
- Limit face-to-face meetings to no more than ten workers.
- Promote hygiene, including frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer.
- Recommend workers wear cloth face coverings, provide workers with face coverings, and provide information on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
- Make accommodations for workers who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, for example, by having high-risk workers work in positions that are not public-facing or by allowing teleworking where possible.
- Encourage sick workers to stay home and provide support to do so with a sick leave policy.
- Follow the CDC guidance if a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Provide workers with education about COVID-19 prevention strategies, using methods like videos, webinars, or FAQs.
- Promote information on helplines for workers such as 211 and the Hope4NC Helpline.
There are additional measures applicable to the operation of parks and trails, childcare facilities, camps, schools and long-term care facilities.
The Order specifically provides that it does not create a private right of action by any party against the “State of North Carolina, its agencies, departments, political subdivisions, or other entities, or any officers, employees, or agents thereof, or any emergency management worker (as defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-l 9.60) or any other person.”
Local government orders that would restrict state government operations or establish different requirements for the maximum occupancy standard of retail establishments are preempted. This is the case under the current order.
The Governor made it clear, again, that Phase 1 will be extended unless the data shows the state is ready to move to Phase 2. Phase 2 will likely include the opening of more businesses and perhaps moderation of the requirements for retail operations.
For more information on Executive Order 138 the Governor’s Office has created a guidance document, which can be found here.
On Thursday, April 23rd, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 135 extending North Carolina’s Stay at Home Order (Executive Order 121) through May 8th. The Order also extends provisions from previous Executive Orders to conform with the new May 8th expiration date. Executive Order 135 makes no substantive changes to restrictions or prohibitions made in previous Executive Orders. The following sections now expire at 5pm on May 8th:
- Section 1 of Executive Order 118 closing bars and prohibiting in-person dining in restaurants.
- Sections 1,2, and 3 of Executive Order 120 closing certain businesses, requiring local government operations to continue, and imposing visitor restrictions at long-term care facilities.
- All sections of Executive Order 121, including the statewide Stay at Home measures, restrictions on certain businesses, and restricting mass gatherings to no more than 10 people.
- Sections 1 and 2 of Executive Order 131 imposing specific social distancing requirements on retail establishments.
- Prior Executive Orders not referenced in Executive Order 135 remain in effect (e.g., Executive Order 124 which prohibits utility disconnections).
Governor Cooper also set forth a plan to gradually lift restrictions and re-open the state over three phases. Although there are still uncertainties regarding the specifics, the Governor’s Office has stated that the plan is based on the best information available now but could be modified as new information emerges.
The three phases of the re-opening plan rely on North Carolina’s progress on certain measurable factors. Below are the factors and in parenthesis the result needed for each factor to continue moving forward in re-opening the state:
- COVID-like syndromic cases (decrease or sustained level)
- Number of cases (decrease or sustained level)
- Number of cases as a percentage of the number of tests (decrease or sustained level)
- Hospitalization numbers (decrease or sustained level)
- Testing (5,000 to 7,000 per day)
- Ability to conduct tracing (500 professionals performing tracing)
- Supply of PPE (greater than a 30-day supply)
After May 8th and once all of the factors listed above are satisfied, the state will transition to Phase 1. The first phase will modify the Stay at Home Order to allow travel not currently defined as "essential." It’s unclear which businesses will be allowed to reopen of those that are currently prohibited from operating, but “clothing stores, sporting goods stores, book shops, and houseware stores” were specifically identified. The ensuing press release also mentioned ensuring that “any open stores implement appropriate employee and consumer social distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, symptom screening of employees, accommodations for vulnerable workers, and provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation.” Gatherings would continue to be limited to no more than 10 people, but parks would reopen subject to this mass gathering limitation. Local emergency orders with more restrictive measures can remain in place.
After two or three weeks of Phase 1, and if the factors continue to be met, Phase 2 would begin. The state Stay at Home order would be lifted at this point, and restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services, and other businesses could open so long as they follow safety protocols (including the potential need to reduce capacity). This phase would increase the number of people allowed to gather, including at houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity. There has been no guidance regarding the continuation of local government restrictions under this phase.
At least four to six weeks after starting Phase 2, and again assuming that the factors continue to be met, restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships, and entertainment venues would be allowed to increase their capacities. Also, the number of people allowed at gatherings would increase.
Presumably, although it’s not completely clear, the next step after Phase 3 would be lifting all restrictions. However, the Governor made it clear that if there is regression in terms of meeting the factors, then moving back a phase would be possible. A link to the Governor’s presentation of the 3-phase plan can be found here.
On Friday, April 24th, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina K-12 public schools will continue remote learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Overview of Governor Cooper’s Previous Executive Orders amid COVID-19
Executive Order 131, was issued by Governor Cooper on April 9th. The Order tightens social distancing measures statewide and takes effect Monday, April 13th at 5pm. Sections 1 and 2 expire on May 8th at 5pm (Executive Order 135). Sections 1 and 2 of the Order require all retail stores deemed essential businesses pursuant to previous orders to implement new social distancing policies to make shopping safer for customers and employees. Those policies include:
- The maximum occupancy of a store at one time cannot be the greater of either 20% of fire capacity or five patrons per 1,000 square foot (including the non-customer facing portion of the store). Stores must post the maximum occupancy and enforce it.
- Social distance marking requirements at cash registers, high-traffic areas and outside for designated lines.
- Cleaning and disinfecting requirements (frequent and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas with an approved disinfectant).
- These restrictions preempt any local orders that have different maximum occupancy standards or that are otherwise in direct conflict with the new state restrictions.
The Order also sets public health and safety requirements for nursing homes, including cancelling communal activities, taking the temperature of employees and essential personnel when they enter the facility, requiring close monitoring of residents for COVID-19 symptoms, and requiring specific personal protective equipment in the facility. The Order encourages other long-term care facilities to follow the same guidance, and states that these requirements are effective until the Order is repealed.
Finally, Executive Order 131, allows employers to file unemployment claims on behalf of their employees, called an attached claim. This provision is effective 60 days beyond the lifting of the state of emergency.
For more information on Executive Order 131, the Governor’s Office has created a guidance document, which can be found here.
Executive Order 124, was issued by Governor Cooper on March 31st. The Order directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits utilities from collecting fees, penalties, or interest for late payments. These provisions apply to electric, gas, water and wastewater services. The Order also encourages financial institutions to refrain from charging customers overdraft fees, late fees, and other penalties. In line with Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s recent order, Executive Order 124 strongly encourages landlords to delay evictions and encourages lenders to work with property owners to provide loan payment flexibility to avoid mortgage foreclosures. The Order went into effect on March 31, 2020 and remains in effect for 60 days.
Executive Order 121, was issued by Governor Cooper on March 27th and imposed a statewide stay at home order beginning at 5pm on Monday, March 30th. Executive Order 135 extends all sections of Executive Order 121 and they now expire on May 8th at 5pmThe order bans gatherings of more than ten(10) individuals, however airports, bus and train stations, libraries, medical facilities, shopping venues and “Essential Businesses” are exempt but are required to follow social distancing requirements to the extent practicable.
The order also requires all North Carolinians to remain in their homes except for “Essential Activities,” “Essential Governmental Operations” or to work or shop at “Essential Businesses and Operations.” In general, “Essential Activities” include the following:
- Tasks essential to health and safety, such as visiting a health care professional or veterinarian.
- Accessing necessary services or supplies or delivering them to others.
- Outdoor activity that is compliant with social distancing requirements and not in violation of the mass gathering ban.
- To care for or assist others.
- Travel to a place of worship.
- Child custody or visitation arrangements.
- Volunteering at organizations that provide charitable and social services.
“Essential Governmental Operations” includes state and local services needed to ensure the continued operation of government or provide for or support the health, safety and welfare of the public. Each government body determines the operations that fall into this category, but first responders, emergency management personnel, court system personnel, and child welfare staff are included.
The definition of “Essential Businesses and Operations” is broad and includes several business and industry sectors. Among other business operations, the following are included:
- Businesses, non-profits and educational institutions operating in the federal critical infrastructure sectors identified by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19).
- Healthcare and public health operations.
- Human service operations, including childcare facilities, long-term care facilities, adoption agencies, and entitles that provide food, shelter, social services and transportation to the needy.
- Businesses involved in infrastructure, such as construction, telecommunications and other utilities, transportation and supply chain.
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine.
- Religious entities.
- Gas stations, auto repair and auto supply businesses.
- Professional services, including legal, accounting, insurance, engineering and architecture.
- Hotels and motels.
- Financial institutions.
- Home improvement stores.
- Businesses, non-profits and educational institutions that adhere to the social distancing requirements.
No documentation authenticating an exemption to the stay at home order is required. In the areas where a local order is also in place, Governor Cooper has instructed that the more restrictive provisions of the state and local orders would apply.
For more information on Executive Order 121, the Governor’s Office has created a guidance document, which can be found here.
Executive Order 120 was issued by Governor Cooper on March 23rd. Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Order expire on May 8th at 5pm (Executive Order 135). Section 1 prohibits the following businesses from operating: Bingo parlors, bowling alleys, ice skating rinks, indoor exercise facilities (gyms, studios, etc.), health clubs, indoor pools, live performance venues, movie theaters, roller skating rinks, spas, sweepstakes lounges, video game arcades, barber shops, beauty salons, hair salons, nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo shops. Section 2 of Executive Order 120 expressly provides that certain local government offices shall continue to operate, including health departments, registrar of deeds offices and department of social services offices. Finally, Section 3 generally bans visitors at health care facilities, except for health care personnel and during end-of-life situations. This includes long-term care facilities, nursing homes, mental health and disability group homes.
A link to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders can be found here.
The General Assembly convened its 2020 session on April 28th. The session will primarily focus on COVID-19 relief measures and legislation generated from the House Select Committee on COVID-19’s four separate work groups (Health Care, Education, Economic Support and Continuity of States). The Committee was appointed by the Speaker of the House to review current developments and to assist in the preparation of legislative proposals and began meeting March 25th. More information on the Committee and materials from work group meetings can be found here.
Municipal and County Restrictions:
Several local governments across North Carolina have implemented their own restrictions. Below is a list of 27 communities who have passed such restrictions, and a link to the local order.
COVID-19 Additional Resources (North Carolina):
NC Department of Revenue (DOR): https://www.ncdor.gov/
- NC DOR extended the April 15th tax filing deadline to July 15th for individual, corporate, and franchise taxes to mirror the deadline change from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- NC DOR will not charge penalties to those filing and paying their taxes after April 15th as long as they file and pay their tax before the new July 15th deadline.
- Taxpayers who pay taxes after April 15th will be responsible for paying interest on these payments at the statutory rate of 5%. However, the Governor and legislative leaders have stated that they support waiving that requirement via legislation.
- NCDOR encourages taxpayers to use online and free services to pay their taxes this year. Most taxpayers can file online for free here.
NC Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/
- COVID-19 case count.
- Numbers to call or text for COVID-19 assistance.
- COVID-19 symptoms and health tips.
- Past COVID-19 briefings.
- COVID-19 overview page can be found here.
- Information on the testing and treatment of COVID-19 can be found here.
NC Department of Commerce: https://www.nccommerce.com/
- North Carolina Employment Security Division is publishing instructions and guidance to help employers and employees understand the new changes to the state’s unemployment systemrelated to COVID-19 here.
- The changes to the state’s unemployment system were ordered by Governor Cooper on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in his Executive Order 118.
- The Department of Commerce recommends the fastest and most efficient way to file for assistance is online here.
NC Judicial Branch: https://www.nccourts.gov/
- Most court proceedings are postponed to June 1, 2020.
- Effective April 2nd, court proceedings can be conducted by remote audio and video transmissions and service of court documents can be done by email.
- Also effective April 2nd, the deadline for payments of most fines and fees is extended by 90 days, and clerks are not to report failures to pay court debt to the DMV.
- Appellate court deadlines that fall between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020, inclusive are extended for 60 days.
- Grace period for filing deadlines, so that documents subject to filing deadlines from March 16th to April 17th can be filed before the close of business on April 17, 2020. (this does not apply to appellate courts but does apply to Business Court).
- To find local announcements, changes, and administrative orders by county please see the COVID-19 Updates page.
NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv
- Some NC DMV driver license offices closed starting Wednesday, March 18.
- See if an office is closed here.
- Find what services can be conducted online here.
NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: http://www.ncagr.gov/
- Information on food safety can be found here.
- FAQ’s about COVID-19 and agriculture, essential businesses and critical infrastructure, and facility updates can be found here.
Department of Insurance https://www.ncdoi.gov/
- Guidance for insurers regarding coverage and cost sharing requirements related to COVID-19 can be found here.
Golden LEAF Foundation - Rapid Recovery Loan Program https://ncrapidrecovery.org/
- Funding will provide loans to help small businesses suffering economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Businesses are eligible for bridge loans of up to $50,000 with six months of no interest and no payments. These loans are intended to support businesses until they are able to secure an SBA loan or other long-term assistance.
- If not repaid in six months, the loans will automatically convert to a term loan.
- Applicants must be small businesses affected by COVID-19 and have at least one employee.
- Nonprofit organizations are not currently eligible.
COVID-19 Additional Resources (Federal):
Department of Homeland Security:
FDIC and Other Bank/Lending Regulators:
- All federal agencies that regulate all U.S. financial institutions issued a written statement on Sunday, March 22, 2020: https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2020/fil20022.html
- In it, these agencies provided the following sweeping guidance to all financial institutions nationwide:
- The agencies encourage financial institutions to work prudently with borrowers who are or may be unable to meet their contractual payment obligations because of the effects of COVID-19.
- The agencies view loan modification programs as positive actions that can mitigate adverse effects on borrowers due to COVID-19.
- The agencies will not criticize institutions for working with borrowers and will not direct supervised institutions to automatically categorize all COVID-19 related loan modifications as troubled debt restructurings (TDRs).
- Citing bank-related accounting methodology from both GAAP and FASB perspectives, the agencies explain that short-term modifications made on a good faith basis in response to COVID-19 to borrowers who were current prior to any relief will not automatically be characterized as TDRs. This has the historic impact of freeing up banks to temporarily defer monthly payments or extend maturity dates with the fear of hobbling a banks’ loan portfolio or requiring additional capital reserves with TDR designations.
- Note that the agencies provide an example of “short term modifications” as being six-month deferrals.
- Note also the agencies suggest that such modifications should be available only to borrowers who are “current” which they defined as “less than 30 days past due” before the implementation of a modification.
US Small Business Administration: