Department of the Treasury Releases Guidance on Use of Coronavirus Relief Fund

May 6, 2020

The Department of the Treasury released a guidance document for state, territorial, local, and tribal governments on April 22 outlining allowable uses of the Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars provided through the CARES Act.  The requirements included in the statutory language of the CARES Act regarding use of the funds are relatively general and merely stipulate that the funds may be used to assist with the costs of “necessary expenditures” incurred due to the public health emergency that were not included in the most recent adopted budget and were incurred between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

Treasury’s guidance document expands on the definition of “necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency,” and reiterates that the funding may not be used to replace lost revenues.  The document provides a list of examples of eligible expenditures for which Coronavirus Relief Funds could be used, including costs for acquisition and distribution of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, disinfection of public areas, food delivery to vulnerable populations, measures to promote distance learning, expenses related to prevention of transmission of the virus within jails, and the provision of grants to small businesses to mitigate losses associated with required closures.

The guidance document may be found at this link.  A Frequently Asked Questions document is available at this link.

In Virginia, one locality (Fairfax County) meets the population threshold to receive a distribution of funding directly; the remainder of Virginia’s allocation will be sent to the state for potential suballocation to localities.  VACo has been in communication with the Secretary of Finance to offer its assistance in coordinating the use of these funds, so that the state and localities can maximize federal support for the many needs associated with the response to the pandemic.  VACo has communicated with Virginia’s Congressional delegation to underscore its support for the provision of federal funds directly to counties of all sizes in a possible future relief package, and has encouraged additional flexibility in the use of federal funds.

VACo Contact:  Katie Boyle

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