Coronavirus Updates: What You Need to Know
As we continue to learn more about coronavirus and its impact on our communities throughout Georgia, I have launched a new webpage to keep Georgians up to date on the latest developments as well as the steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your communities.
March 27, 2020 – Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, also referred to as “phase three” of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. This legislation provides:
- For American families, the CARES Act will provide immediate support by putting cash in your pockets. The CARES Act provides $1,200 for an individual, a maximum of $2,400 for a couple filing a joint return, and $500 per child.
These cash payments will be distributed within the next three weeks. Please be on the lookout for more information in the mail and via a public awareness campaign from the Department of Treasury in the coming days.
- For American workers, the CARES Act expands unemployment insurance for individuals who are not typically eligible for unemployment, including gig workers, self-employed, and non-profit employees. It also adds an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance for those who need it.
- For healthcare workers and hospitals, the CARES Act provides $140 billion in support to ensure you have the resources needed to protect yourself and to continue saving lives. This includes new personal protective equipment and ventilators.
- For small businesses and non-profits, you will have access to 100 percent federally guaranteed loans for 8 weeks. If used to maintain payroll, a portion of the loan is forgiven.
If you think you may be eligible for a small business loan, please contact your lender for more information. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is experiencing extremely long wait times, which is why we are encouraging everyone to go through your lender.
March 18, 2020 – Congress passed and the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This supplemental package:
- Ensures free coronavirus testing for all Americans;
- Requires paid sick leave for impacted American workers;
- Includes a refundable payroll tax credit to reimburse—dollar-for-dollar—businesses for paid sick leave and family and medical leave wages paid to employees that are affected by COVID-19;
- Provides $1.25 billion to provide emergency nutritional assistance for senior citizens, women, children, and low-income families;
- Provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits, under certain conditions.
March 6, 2020 – Congress passed and the President signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act to ensure our country is equipped with the resources needed to fight the spread of coronavirus. This emergency funding:
- Provided more than $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more broadly available; to support treatments to ease the symptoms of those infected with the virus; and to invest in vaccine development and to procure vaccines when they are available;
- Allowed $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations which have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
- This funding enabled the Small Business Administration to offer low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses throughout the entire state of Georgia. Read more information in the ‘Small Business Resources’ section below.
Federal Guidelines Extended Through April 30, 2020
On March 16, 2020, President Trump and his administration released new guidelines for Americans to follow through March 30, 2020, to continue to protect the health of our communities. On March 29, 2020, after consulting with doctors and medical experts on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced that he is extending the federal guidelines through April 30, 2020. By following these guidelines, every American can play a critical role in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Slow the Spread of Coronavirus
- Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible
- Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people
- Use pickup or delivery options and avoid eating or drinking in public
- Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits
- Do not visit nursing homes or long-term care facilities
- Practice good hygiene
Do Your Part
- Listen to state and local authorities
- If you feel sick, stay home
- If your children are sick, keep them at home
- Contact your medical provider if you or your children are sick
- If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID—19, keep your entire household at home
- If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people
- If you have serious underlying health conditions, stay at home and away from other people
The White House and the CDC partnered with Apple to launch a new coronavirus website and app that will provide a screening tool for coronavirus symptoms and share the latest information about the outbreak.
Click here to visit the website. To download the app, please visit the App Store and search for the ‘COVID—19’ app.
Remember, it is still the cold and flu season and seasonal allergies are active as well. To recognize the difference between these common illnesses and COVID-19, the symptoms for coronavirus can be viewed here.
How to Stay Healthy
While our government and public health officials continue working to keep our communities healthy, there are actions you and your families can take to stop the spread of this virus.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face
- Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze
- Stay home if you are sick
If you believe you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath – please be sure to contact your health care provider immediately. The CDC recommends calling your provider ahead of time for guidance on how the facility is handling cases. This will help your healthcare provider take the steps necessary to preventing other people from getting infected or exposed.
For more information on how to stay healthy, visit the CDC’s website by clicking here.
Georgia Specific Resources
- To stay up to date on the confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to the Georgia Department of Public Health, visit their website here.
Small Business Resources
On March 18, 2020, Georgia received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), making small businesses in all 159 counties in Georgia eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans if they are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications here.
Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is December 18, 2020.
For more information about resources and services available for small businesses, please visit SBA’s website here.
Tax Filing and Payment Deadline Extended
The Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to COVID-19 by moving Tax Day to July 15, 2020.
The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.
Read more information on the IRS website here.
Questions About Travel
*On March 19, 2020, the State Department issued a Global Level 4 Travel Advisory, advising all U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. Read more here.
If you or your families are planning to travel domestically or abroad, I encourage you to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of State.
- CDC travel health notices can be found by clicking here
- The State Department’s international travel guidance is available here
- Specific country advisories are listed on the State Department’s website here
- Questions about domestic travel can be answered on CDC’s website here
For additional resources, please visit the CDC’s website here or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.