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Platinum Advisors - COVID Update March 17, 2020

 

 

COVID-19 Update
March 17, 2020

Today, many more actions were taken from the federal level on down to the local in response to the public health crisis created by COVID-19.  Below, we have outlined the major actions.

 

Federal

 

  • In the Senate, Leader McConnell has vowed to move the House-passed relief bill quickly and begin work on a follow-up measure. 

 

California

 

This afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed emergency legislation that will provide up to $1 billion in funding to help California mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
 
The funding will:

  • Increase hospital bed capacity and purchase medical equipment to combat the coming surge in COVID-19 patients; 
  • Protect hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities most vulnerable to COVID-19 spread;  
  • Provide lifesaving services to Californians isolating at home; 
  • Support local government to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in homeless populations and provide safe beds for people experiencing homelessness; and
  • Provide funding to clean child care facilities that remain open. 
  • Provide $100 million Proposition 98 General Fund for personal protective equipment and cleaning for schools that remain open.
  • Allow schools to maintain funding despite service disruptions.  

 
State Capitol to Close to the Public
Effective tomorrow, the California State Capitol will be closed to the public.

Latest Press Conference with the Governor
Late this afternoon, following a meeting with California hospital leaders, Governor Newsom and state health officials provided another update on the COVID-19 response.
 
COVID-19 testing

The Governor said that we can expect an exponential increase in testing throughput the state within the next week or two, including scaling up mobile testing all across the state.

Twenty-one state labs are currently conducting tests with three additional labs to be up next week.

Treatment
All UCs are already in clinical trials for treatments. “I’m not here to over-promise but it’s a mitigation strategy as we transition from testing to address some of the treatment needs,” said Newsom.
 
Support for Telehealth
The state put in a formal letter to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, requesting more flexibility to allow for more telehealth increases for capacity and access.
 
SBA Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration will offer low-interest federal disaster loans to specified California counties up to $2 million for employers up to 500 employees. For-profit will have 3.75% interest rates and 2.75% for non-profit businesses. Applicants can apply here.
 
Schools
98.8% of California schools have closed down, with the rest likely to shut down shortly. “Don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week or a few weeks,” said Newsom. “I would plan and assume that none of these schools will open before the summer break. I hope I’m wrong but I believe that to be the case based on all the work we have to do,” he said.
 
State Workers
The Administration will most likely release guidance by tomorrow for state workers working remotely.  The Cabinet Secretary is currently meeting with agency heads and amending the directive based on the response from departments, as there are differing opinions of what positions are “essential vs. non-essential.”
 
National Guard
This evening, the governor also placed the state National Guard on alert to be prepared to perform humanitarian missions across the state including food distribution, ensuring resiliency of supply lines, as well as supporting public safety as required.


Hotels
California will house hundreds of homeless people in Oakland hotels amid the outbreak. The state secured 393 rooms across two hotels, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced, “to get people out of these encampments.”

 

Cities & Counties
Shelter-in-Place Announced Today

 

  • Sacramento County has ordered all residents to stay home except for essential errands or appointments.
  • Monterey County  is requiring people to stay home except for essential needs, effective midnight, Wednesday, March 18 through April 8.

 

San Francisco

 

  • Mayor London Breed announced a moratorium on commercial evictions for small and medium-sized businesses related to financial impacts caused by COVID-19. The moratorium will prevent any small to medium-sized business from being evicted due to a loss of income related to lost revenue or other economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mayor London Breed also announced a declaration to expedite the hiring of health workers to respond to COVID-19. Under this declaration, SFPDH can hire nurses and other front line health care workers more quickly. Typically, the hiring process for nurses takes six months or more. 
  • The City will cover 5 additional paid sick days for private sector workers. Public sector workers will also be permitted to advance their paid time off in the event that they are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 or other public health directives.
  • The San Francisco Department of Public Health announced the City and County of San Francisco will allow cannabis businesses to remain open during the "shelter-in-place" directive.  The Department sent a tweet calling cannabis “an essential medicine for many San Francisco residents.”
  • The San Francisco Board of Supervisors met to conduct business on essential items while working toward doing more work remotely, with virtual meetings streamed on SFGovTV. Board President Norman Yee moved that the Board work towards this goal, along with accommodation for remote public comment.  Both motions passed unanimously.
  • Board President Yee pro forma introduced the agenda changes made today, along with a resolution concurring with health emergency declarations made by the Mayor on March 11th and 13th.
  • Supervisor Mar introduced a resolution urging Congress to order businesses to grant employees 14 days of paid leave during the national health emergency.
  • Supervisor Preston introduced multiple items that sought to address the COVID-19 crisis, including:
    • A resolution calling on the local courts to suspend eviction litigation, apart from cases where the eviction furthers public safety;
    • His previously announced ban on no-fault evictions, along with a request for waiver of the 30-day-rule for this item, acknowledging that while current orders on evictions by the Mayor and Governor are needed, they do not go far enough.
    • A request for an emergency order protecting small businesses from evictions related to the current health emergency. He noted his correspondence to the owners of 555 Fulton Street requesting that unsold condominium units at the property be made available for temporary emergency occupancy, and urged more property owners to do the same.
  • Supervisor Ronen introduced her previously announced her Small Business Stabilization Loan program legislation, which would create a $20 milion to provide for no interest loans up to $15,000 to businesses with gross receipts of under $1million per year; she will ask that the 30-day-rule be waived for this legislation. She also introduced a resolution asking grocery stores to set up special hours for customers who are in vulnerable cohorts under the health emergency.
  • Supervisor Safai introduced a resolution asking Congress to pass an increased immediate family stimulus payment of $5,000 per month during the health emergency.
  • Supervisor Fewer called on residents to volunteer to provide aid to efforts such as food delivery and welfare checks on vulnerable populations, and called on nonprofit organizations to help coordinate this activity, introduced a resolution calling on the Governor to suspend business fees, and to allow restaurants with on-site liquor licenses to sell alcohol with delivery or takeout meals.
  • Supervisor Haney introduced a number of items, including the following:
    • A resolution urging Congress to expand the classes of businesses covered by recent Medical Leave legislation;
    • A resolution in support of State legislation which would protect workers taking emergency leave related to the current health crisis from retaliation by employers;
    • A resolution supporting Rep. Khanna's Earned Income Tax Credit bill;
    • Called on the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to create multilingual hotlines for information on emergency business benefits.
 
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