FLASH POLL: Mandatory Mask Order?
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During the COVID-19 pandemic it is important for everyone to be vigilant and follow CDC guidelines. I am coordinating with local, state, and national officials to ensure that our district has aid during this pandemic. Please see the below resources to ensure you and your family are prepared. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact my office here.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
The CDC is updating resources daily and providing important information about COVID-19:
General COVID-19 information tab: here
How to prevent illness: here
Symptoms of COVID-19: here
What to do if you are sick: here
Frequently asked questions: here
The CDC Coronavirus Call Center is available 24/7 at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) for urgent issues related to coronavirus.
Federal Rebate Information
Many U.S. residents and taxpayers are eligible for a rebate up to $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. They may also eligible for an additional $500 per child. A typical family of four is eligible for a $3,400 recovery rebate. For detailed information about how you will receive your check please visit the IRS’ website.
Florida Department of Health
The Florida Department of Health issued a COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard. For up-to-date numbers of positive cases in your area visit the map here.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Resources
If you have recently lost your job due to COVID-19 and need reemployment assistance, please visit the following link: https://www.floridajobsresources.com/
Federal Lost Wages (LWA) Assistance Program
Governor DeSantis has recently announced that Florida is now eligible to participate in the Federal Lost Wages (LWA) Assistance Program. Individuals currently receiving unemployment benefits may be eligible to receive an additional $300 per week. Those who may be eligible for these benefits include individuals who:
-Are eligible, beginning on or after August 1, for State or federal Reemployment Assistance benefits
-Have a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 in an approved Reemployment Assistance program
-Can certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19
State officials are currently working on the implementation process and more information on ways to receive this additional assistance will be made available soon.
To learn more, please visit here.
For information specific to your county, please visit your local Department of Health website or visit the links below:
Executive Orders from Governor DeSantis
Governor DeSantis announced that Florida will enter Phase 2 of Florida’s reopening effective Friday, June 5th. The following guidelines will be in place:
- Restaurants may operate at a 50% capacity inside and full capacity outside with appropriate social distancing.
- Retail establishments may operate at full capacity with responsible social distancing and sanitization protocols.
- Gyms may operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitation.
- Entertainment businesses, including but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, and arcades, may operate at 50% capacity with appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols.
- Para-Mutuel facilities may submit a request to open to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
- Personal services businesses, including but not limited to tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons, and massage establishments may operate while adhering to guidance from the Florida Department of Health.
To read the full executive order, click here.
Tax Exemption for CARES Act Loan Recipients
Governor DeSantis issued an Executive Order waiving taxes on loans issued to small businesses under the CARES Act.
This will enable employers to use the full dollar amount of their loan to support their business and employees.
For more Executive Order information, visit Governor DeSantis’ website.
U.S. Department of State
For up-to-date travel advisories, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website here.
FEMA Disaster Relief
President Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for Florida, freeing up FEMA funds to help our state recover from COVID-19. To see if you qualify for the Public Assistance grant program, please visit FEMA’s website.
Veterans Affairs (VA)
The VA has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for veterans in the face of this emerging health risk. The best way to get the most up-to-date facility information is to check your local VA health facility’s website.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
COVID-19 USDA Funding
The CARES Act included almost $35 billion to help our farmers, ranchers and food suppliers. The USDA is still finalizing their plans to distribute this funding. I sent a letter to the USDA asking that Florida farmers be a top priority for this fund distribution to alleviate their losses from milk they have been forced to dump, and other requests.
Additional USDA COVID-19 Relief Funding Breakdown:
- $9.5 billion to the USDA Office of the Secretary for emergency response funding to support agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, and livestock producers.
- $145.5 million for rural development to provide much-needed financing to business owners that might not be able to qualify for loans on their own, ReConnect Pilot grant programs, and additional funding for distance learning, telemedicine, and the USDA’s broadband program.
- $25.06 billion for the Food and Nutrition Service to help ensure that food from your farms is getting to the tables of everybody who needs it.
- This legislation also replenished the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority by $14 billion.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
The Department of Agriculture announced that they are taking applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This program will provide over $16 billion in direct relief for eligible farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses as a result of COVID-19.
The USDA will also partner with regional and local distributors to purchase over $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat at a rate of $300 million per month. The purchased food will go directly to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits.
Eligible producers of non-specialty crops, wool, livestock, dairy, or specialty crops must have suffered a five percent or more price decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information and the application, please visit here.
The administration has been working to limit the disruption in the H-2A workforce caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Secretary Pompeo and the State Department have authorized consular officers to expand the categories of H-2 visa applicants whose applications can be processed without an in-person interview. With this, we anticipate the vast majority of otherwise qualified H-2 applicants will now be processed without an in-person interview.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS launched a new tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return. Visit their website to apply.
Coronavirus Relief Package
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, March 27, 2020. This bill provides over $2 trillion in economic relief for American businesses and families, and response assistance funding to help our nation combat the Coronavirus. For more information on the CARES Act, click here.
Through the CARES Act, Florida received $8,328,221,072.10 in relief funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
To learn more about how states are receiving aid at this time, visit here.
Social Security benefits will continue to be mailed out during this crisis. You can subscribe to the Social Security Administration’s update here for timely updates on how they are responding to the crisis.
Seniors should know that required minimum distributions for 2020 have been suspended through the end of the year as a result of the crisis.
For everyone paying taxes, the filing deadline has been moved to July 15th.
Economic Impact Benefits
The IRS and Department of Treasury are currently distributing the $1,200 individual stimulus check by direct deposit or US mail.
- If you have not filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, but have received Social Security Benefits during those times, you are still eligible for the benefit.
- If you are not receiving Social Security benefits and did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you can enter your information here to receive your individual stimulus check.