Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful as we all do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is an uncertain time, but having accurate information and reliable resources can help alleviate some anxiety. The following information is current as of 12 noon on May 1, 2020.
Information for Children, Families and Seniors
The creation of the new Child Care Relief Fund was announced on Wednesday. This fund will provide $130 million in grants to child care providers to ensure that these providers can remain open and offer affordable child care when the economy begins to reopen. Grant recipients are required to reduce their weekly rates by at least 10 percent and to provide care for children of essential workers. They cannot charge a fee to hold a child’s place with the provider. Grants begin at $1,500 for home-based providers and $3,000 for child care centers. The Michigan Department of Education began accepting applications on April 29. For more information visit: www.michigan.gov/childcare.
Information for Small Businesses
On Monday, Gov. Whitmer announced the MI Safe Start Plan for re-opening the Michigan economy. The entire plan was not released, but the governor did share that re-opening will be phased in by region and workplace type. Restrictions have been relaxed for landscapers and plant nurseries, and commercial and residential construction can resume on May 7.
The Paycheck Protection Program received an additional $310 billion and resumed accepting loan applications on April 27. Businesses across Michigan who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are once again able to apply for these forgivable loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Small businesses that are eligible for this program include hospitality and food industry businesses and sole proprietorships. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can also apply. These loans are designed so that small businesses can keep their workers on payroll. The loan may be forgiven if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
Visit MIpaycheckprotection.com to find more information or to apply. These loans will be given on a first-come, first-served basis with funding caps in place.
Governor Whitmer’s latest “Stay Home” order requires employers to provide masks to their employees. Due to a shortage in face masks around the state, Attorney General Nessel has asked law enforcement to exercise some discretion before taking criminal enforcement action against a business. Essential employees are encouraged to provide their own face coverings until their employers are able to supply them.
Other State Services, Resources and Responses
- Existing personal protection orders have had their expirations temporarily suspended under Executive Order 2020-63. By extending these PPOs, vulnerable Michigan residents can feel safe in their homes and not worry about threats from abusers. This order took effect immediately and goes through July 21, 2020.
- On Wednesday, Gov. Whitmer announced the “Futures for Frontliners” program. This program will allow essential workers without a college degree to attain postsecondary education tuition-free. The plan was inspired by the GI Bill and the support it provided for soldiers following World War II. Healthcare workers, grocery workers, workers providing essential child care services, first responders, and delivery workers all qualify.
- Under Executive Order 2020-64, health care facilities must develop protocols to prohibit discriminatory decision-making in situations where critical health care needs exceed available resources. These protocols must be posted online and provided upon request. Health care facilities must also provide sign language interpreters if requested.
- Whitmer signed a trio of executive orders last night to extend the state of emergency through May 28. The state of emergency makes Michigan eligible for different federal funding sources. It also provides immunity for public employees working in a crisis situation. The state of emergency declaration does not affect other executive orders like the “Stay Home” order, which is still scheduled to go through May 15.
- Public accommodation such as theaters, bars, and restaurants are required to either remain closed or continue operating at a limited capacity through May 28. Executive order 2020-69 extends the restrictions a previous EO placed on these businesses. Businesses are not restricted from offering carry-out and delivery service for food and beverages. Up to five people are allowed to be in a restaurant to pick up their orders, but they must remain at least six feet apart. This does not affect essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies.
As we all continue to deal with the pandemic’s effects on the health and welfare of our communities, I will continue to provide up-to-date information for you and your family. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, my team and I are working from our homes. But we still strive to provide responsive service, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at (517) 373-0587 or by email at email@example.com.
67th House District