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Coronavirus Daily Update: January 4

January 4, 2021
Press Release

Monday, January 4, 2021

Dear Constituent—

The coronavirus pandemic is developing very quickly, and I know many people have questions and concerns. I will try to answer some of them below.

These are incredibly stressful times for all Michiganders. I am working, along with my staff, around the clock, seven days a week to answer your questions, provide community resources and provide up-to-date, accurate information. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office anytime by calling (810) 238-8627.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated the epidemic order that restricts indoor social gatherings and other group activities, to allow indoor activities where Michiganders can remain masked, including in-person learning at high schools and indoor entertainment venues. Indoor dining is still prohibited. This order is effective December 21, 2020 through January 15, 2021. More information can be found here.

The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative will provide $10 million in grants to meet the needs of Michigan small businesses impacted the COVID-19 virus. Applications for businesses to apply will open on December 15, 2020. Grants will be awarded in the amount of up to $15,000 per eligible business. More information can be found here.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) provided additional guidance to workers and employers who may be affected COVID-19. Michiganders who were on unemployment, went back to work, and are now temporarily unemployed again due to COVID-19 can reopen their claim online. More information can be found here.

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

On December 21, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which includes a nearly $1 trillion emergency relief package to support American workers, families and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. More information can be found here.

On October 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an updated version The Heroes Act. These new provisions are essential to supporting our schools, small businesses, restaurants, performance spaces, airline workers and others. More information can be found here.

On August 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Delivering for America Act, to fund the U.S. Postal Service and prohibit changes to operations until the pandemic has ended. More information can be found here.

On May 12, the U.S. House of Representatives passed The Heroes ActThe Heroes Act includes a number of key policies I have advocated for, including additional direct payments to families and seniors, expanding unemployment insurance, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and funding to prevent water shutoffs. More information can be found here.

On May 15, I introduced a bipartisan bill, The Recharge and Empower Local Innovation and Entrepreneurs Fund for Main Street Act (RELIEF for Main Street Act), with Reps. Evans (D-PA), Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Upton (R-MI). The bill creates a $50.5 billion Small Business Local Relief Program to provide direct federal support to cities, counties and states in order to seed and scale local relief funds and target small businesses with 20 employees or fewer, or with 50 employees or fewer located in low-income neighborhoods. More information can be found here.

Congress has also passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations ActThe CARES ActFamilies First Coronavirus Response Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to help families and health care facilities respond to the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

CORONAVIRUS TESTING UPDATE

The Governor has expanded testing opportunities for Michiganders to access testing in their own backyards. More information can be found here.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a website and app with a coronavirus screening tool and resources to help people protect their health. The website can be found here and the app can be accessed here

 

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE RESOURCES UPDATE

Governor Whitmer signed bipartisan bills restoring many unemployment provisions from her previous executive orders, including extending state unemployment benefits for Michiganders who have lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic from 20 to 26 weeks until the end of the year. More information can be found here.

UIA is now offering telephone appointments for customers with specific claim issues. By scheduling a phone appointment, customers will be able to get assistance with issues at their convenience. Phone appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. – 4:25 p.m. More information can be found here.

The last federal $600 weekly unemployment benefit was paid to Michiganders on July 25. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) provided the state funding to provide six weeks of an additional $300 per week unemployment benefit, covering dates July 26 through September 5. To qualify, claimants must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. More information can be found here.

Additionally, unemployed Michiganders who have exhausted their regular and extended weeks of unemployment eligibility will receive up to 20 weeks of additional benefits, through the Federal Extended Benefits program. More information can be found here.

On May 1, I introduced The Strengthening UI for COVID Impacted Workers and Students Act to expand unemployment insurance for American workers, which was included in The Heroes Act. For more information, visit here.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Individuals should apply online at www.Michigan.gov/UIA or call 866-500-0017 and are encouraged to follow a filing schedule based on last name and use off-peak times (8 p.m. – 8 a.m). The UIA offers resources to help workers resolve online technical issues with their account. More information can be found here.

 

HOUSING UPDATE

Governor Whitmer created the Eviction Diversion Program, which outlines a process for renters to get fast rental assistance or establish a manageable payment plan to help them stay in their homes. The program also includes assistance to landlords. More information can be found here.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have a website to help renters and homeowners understand their housing assistance options. This includes information on mortgage and rental relief as well as resources for additional help that may be needed. More information can be found here. The CFPB has also put out a step by step video here for homeowners that are interested in mortgage forbearance.

The CDC has issued a moratorium on evictions of renters through December 31, 2020 based on non-payment of rent. For individuals that have questions on how this moratorium works or how they can access help, the National Low Income Housing Coalition has put together an overview of the order here, while Michigan Legal Help has more tools and information here.

 

COMMUNITY RESOURCES UPDATE

The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative will provide $10 million in grants to meet the needs of Michigan small businesses impacted the COVID-19 virus. Applications for businesses to apply will open on December 15, 2020. Grants will be awarded in the amount of up to $15,000 per eligible business. More information can be found here.

The SBA has put out a step by step guide for businesses with a PPP loan on how to apply for loan forgiveness. More information can be found here.

The Governor launched the ‘Futures for Frontliners’ program, a tuition-free path to community college for essential, frontline workers who continued working during the COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe orders between April – June 2020. Those eligible must apply for this scholarship before the end of the year. More information can be found here.

The Governor announced low-income residents, seniors, schools and homeless shelters will benefit from the MI Mask Aid partnership that is part of the Mask Up Michigan Campaign. More information can be found here.

Personal Protective Equipment: The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has launched a platform to help re-opening businesses acquire PPE. More information can be found here.

Michigan’s Virtual Food Bank: Seniors in need of food support can sign up for assistance, including meal delivery, delivery of non-perishable food items, and daily wellness-check calls, through the MDHHS coronavirus website, or by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging. More information on the virtual food bank can be found here

Flint Cares Help Centers: The city of Flint is offering resources and services including bottled water and food assistance. Services will continue to be provided from two semi-trailers staged in church parking lots across the city to distribute items directly to cars as residents drive through. For more information please call 810-410-2020 or visit here.