COVID-19 Virginia Community Resources

COVID-19 is rapidly changing the world. Adapting is difficult, but we will get through this by working together and supporting one another. 


Below are some resources to enable you to help and support your community in this unprecedented era of quarantines and social distancing.

Protecting and Supporting Those Most at Risk

One of the most important things experts say you can do right now if you are younger and healthy is to donate blood. With blood drives canceled nationwide due to COVID-19, there is now a severe national shortage of blood at a time virus patients are set to overburden our hospitals. You can set up an appointment to donate blood on the Red Cross’s website and help ease the burden placed on our healthcare workers. 

It is also vital to practice social distancing to reduce transmission of the virus to vulnerable populations. In order to ensure that the most vulnerable individuals can maximize the time they spend at home, it is also essential that you stock up on supplies without giving in to the urge to panic buy


Our healthcare workers are on the frontlines against this virus, which means they are the most likely to contract it. The federal government failed to provide them with the equipment they need to protect themselves, so we must step up as a community to help them. If you or your business have any gloves, gowns, masks, or other vital equipment, please donate it to healthcare workers. 

If you know how to sew, consider making masks for healthcare workers, using this tutorial created by JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores. You can call a local area hospital to ask how to donate them.

Mitigating the Pandemic’s Financial and Emotional Impact

Restaurants and Hospitality Workers 

The food service industry is one of the hardest hit by COVID-19 and social distancing. Seating and dining areas are closed, leaving a lot of wait staff essentially unemployed. Many restaurants are simply closed for the foreseeable future and others are doing carry out or delivery only.

It is still safe to eat food from restaurants, as health inspections have continued, even if eating in dining rooms is not advisable. So, go ahead and order delivery or takeout if it fits in your budget! It means you don’t have to go to the store for another day, and you’ll be helping local restaurants. 


We’ve compiled ways you can help local restaurants and support local hospitality workers, as well as resources for restaurant owners, employees, and other hospitality workers. 

Small Business Resources 

It’s not just restaurants; this pandemic hit many small businesses in our communities particularly hard. If you have a favorite local small business, see if they sell gift cards so you can support them during this crisis. 

If you own a small business, you may be able to access government relief in the form of loans or other assistance. The US Small Business Administration is granting loans of up to $2 million to individual businesses in order to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19. You can apply for an SBA loan here.

There are also resources available specifically for small businesses in Virginia. You can check the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ website for the most recent COVID-19 updates for Virginia small businesses. Their website contains information about tax deferments and loan applications, as well as the impact and implications of government directives on COVID-19 as they pertain to small businesses. 

Finally, the federal government issued interim guidance for small businesses during COVID-19 that may be helpful to you moving forward during this crisis. 


This crisis is going to affect every person in our Commonwealth. As layoffs mount, and more people become sick or need to care for children forced to stay home from school, many of us will become unable to continue to work normally and provide for our families. The government extended some benefits in order to mitigate the devastating economic impact of the current situation. 

If you are no longer working due COVID-19, you may qualify to apply for unemployment benefits. Due to the changes in federal unemployment guidelines, you may qualify for unemployment if you are no longer working, even if you have not technically lost your job. 

If you think you may qualify, but aren’t sure, go ahead and apply! 

Many people now qualify for paid leave under Congress’s new COVID-19 relief package, the Families First Act. We’ve analyzed the relief package for you, so you can see whether or not you qualify for paid leave. 

The federal government also extended the IRS’s tax filing deadline to June 15. Please note that, currently, this only applies to federal taxes. Virginia’s filing deadline has been changed to July 15. However, if you owe taxes, your deadline to make a payment is still June 1.

We understand that the impact of the quarantine is more than just financial. Being forced to stay at home with loved ones can strain relationships and put emotional burdens on everyone involved. And being forced to be alone in your home can be draining and difficult.


Self-care is important at this time, as is relationship care—whether you are stuck together or separated. This is particularly true for anyone suffering from depression or other mental illnesses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to phone or online counseling services if you feel overwhelmed. The national suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255. 

For some, the negative impact of quarantine will go beyond financial burdens or arguments. Sheltering in place assumes everyone has a safe space to shelter in, but for many Americans this is not true. Experts predict a rise in domestic violence during the quarantine. 

If you are in an abusive situation, you do not need to stay trapped with your abuser. You can get help any time, day or night, from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, via phone or online chat. Virginia-specific support is also available from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. All of these services are free and confidential.  If you wish to support people who are experiencing domestic violence, you can also make a donation to the National Domestic violence hotline.

If you suspect someone you know may be in an abusive situation, just visiting them as a neighbor may help keep them safe. Here are some other ways you can help people who are in abusive situations stay safe during the quarantine. 

In particular, being home with family can be difficult for LGBTQ+ youth who are no longer able to access support from friends and teachers. If you are an LGBTQ+ youth, teen, or young adult and you are now stuck at home with family members who do not support you or you feel overwhelmed, reach out to the Trevor Project. They are available by phone, text, or chat 24/7. If you wish to support the Trevor Project, you can donate to them here.

Local Food Banks

As COVID-19 exposes the many holes in our nation’s social safety net, local non-profits like food banks are preparing to step up to fill increased demand caused by the economic devastation already unleashed on our Commonwealth. While some local food banks are getting support from local governments, all of them still need a lot more help in order to adequately respond to the increased need from our communities. 

Below are ways you can help your local food bank or access their services. You can also contact your local food bank to see about volunteering. While many are in need of volunteers, keep in mind that their volunteer protocol may have changed due to COVID-19. 

Most food banks will be closing their primary locations and changing their methods of operation in order to keep people safe and prevent further spread of the virus. Below are food banks throughout Virginia and information about their individual responses to the virus. 

If you would prefer to donate to a general fund, so that money can be allocated wherever it is most needed in the Commonwealth, you can donate to the statewide food bank COVID-19 response fund. 

More Ways to Help

There are many more ways you can help during this crisis. Some businesses may be able to change production to help meet demands for certain products. For example, if you own one of Virginia’s many fine distilleries, you can produce hand sanitizer to help fill the incredible demand for it created by the outbreak. 

If you’re stuck at home, you can send cards to people in nursing homes or volunteer for online counseling groups like the Trevor Project. You can also offer to help neighbors who may be more vulnerable by going shopping for them. 

Finally, there is one thing everyone can do right now to help our Commonwealth and that is to fill out their census! COVID-19 severely disrupted the census operations, so we all need to do everything we can to make sure the count is as accurate as possible. The more accurate our numbers are, the better prepared our communities will be for the next disaster.