Virginia Further Extends Franchise Renewal Period

On April 2, 2020, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (“SCC”) further extended the deadlines for franchisors to submit applications to renew their existing franchise registrations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows the state’s prior extension dated Monday March 16, 2020. The text of the SCC’s Order is as follows:

EXTENSION ORDERS
On March 17, 2020, in response to the ongoing public health emergency relating to the spread of the corona virus, or COVID-19, the declarations of emergency issued at both the state and federal levels, and the Order Declaring a Judicial Emergency In Response to COVID-19 Emergency issued by the Supreme Court of Virginia on March 16, 2020 (“Judicial Emergency Declaration”), the State Corporation Commission (“Commission”) entered certain orders extending the deadline for certain Eligible Franchises and Eligible Marks to be registered, renewed or exempted for 21 days or such other time period as may be subsequently ordered by this Commission or the Supreme Court of Virginia (“Extension Orders”).

NOW THE COMMISSION, upon consideration of these matters, takes judicial notice that the underlying events and conditions prompting the initial entry of the Extension Orders continue. The Commission hereby ORDERS that the above referenced Extension Orders are extended and remain in effect during the pendency of the Judicial Emergency Declaration, or any similar subsequent declaration, declaration extension or order of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or such other time period as may be subsequently ordered by the Commission.

Unlike the previous extension, this one is open-ended, such that the extension will terminate when the current Judicial Emergency Declaration ends.

The state is also encouraging franchise filers to file only electronic copies of registration documents:

Until further notice the Va. Division of Securities and Retail Franchising (Division) will accept franchise renewal or amendment applications without requiring paper copies of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).  The FDD (clean and marked) may be submitted in PDF format on a CD ROM or USB flash drive.

Along with the CD or USB drive, a paper copy of the Form A application form and a physical check in payment of the renewal or amendment fee is still required at this time.  Other application forms may be included on the digital media.

Here’s to hoping that Virginia will use this opportunity to completely overhaul its franchise filing system, and allow franchisors to submit their applications, and pay the associated fee, entirely online.

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