Virginia Employment Commission closes HQ due to COVID-19
VEC closed Richmond office after employee tested positive
The Virginia Employment Commission is temporarily closing its Richmond headquarters office after the fourth VEC employee in three months has tested positive for COVID-19, the VEC announced Tuesday. The closure affects 350 employees who work out of the Richmond office.
VEC call centers and district offices have not been affected and will continue to process unemployment insurance claims, hold administrative hearings and respond to customers. However, approximately 1,000 people who receive a paper check as a method of unemployment payment may see a slight delay, according to the VEC. (About one-quarter of 1% of claimants receive paper checks.)
As of June 25, more than 375,000 Virginians remained unemployed. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
Employees assigned to the East Broad Street location will be required to work from home, although most had been teleworking already, according to the VEC. Employees at the headquarters location primarily work on internal agency functions such as procurement, information technology, finance and accounting.
“Our employees have been working long hours for countless days as a result of the hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” VEC Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess said in a statement. “Most importantly, I want the people we serve to know that we understand how important it is to get their benefits as quickly as possible, and we remain dedicated to helping our fellow Virginians in this time of need.”
The East Broad Street office will undergo a thorough cleaning Tuesday night and the VEC will continue to encourage teleworking. After each COVID-19 case at a VEC office, each office was shut down and cleaned.
The VEC has received more claims during the pandemic than during the past five years combined — and has issued more than $5 billion in unemployment benefits since March.