What You Need to Know About Coronavirus
** THIS PAGE WAS MOST RECENTLY UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2020 **
HOW IS CORONAVIRUS SPREAD?
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- The best way to prevent getting the virus is to avoid being exposed to the virus
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are within six-feet of each other and through respiratory droplets produced when a person infected with virus coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
FIVE STEP PLAN / CONFRONTING COVID-19 & LIVING IN OHIO
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton says Ohioans will be living with COVID-19 prevention measures for the next 18 months. The five-part plan she laid out as scientist work to perfect antiviral treatments and eventually a vaccine includes:
- Social distancing
- Contact Tracing
- Isolation and Quarantine
- Excellent Treatment
STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (washing your hands while singing the birthday song), especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- AVOID crowds of 10 or more people and practice social distancing.
- AVOID touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- COVER your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- If you feel sick or are caring for someone who is, PLEASE stay home.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
The CDC has also recommended taking the following precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19
- Use cloth face covering to help slow the spread of COVID-19
- The cloth face coverings should: fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include MULTIPLE layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
For more information on how to make cloth face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19, please visit here.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
The CDC has identified the following symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Please visit the CDC's website for helpful tips to prevent the spread of illness if you are sick or if you are caring for someone who is sick.
WHO TO CALL IF YOU NEED HELP?
Columbus Public Health: For COVID-19 inquiries call: (614) 645-1519
Ohio Department of Health: The Ohio Department of Health has opened a call center to answer questions regarding COVID-19. The call center is open seven days a week, from 9:00am to 8:00pm, and can be reached at: 1-833-427-5634. The Ohio Department of Health also has a free mobile app that allows you to find local doctors, local emegency care locations, and any other pertinent information.
STATE OF OHIO CORONAVIRUS UPDATES
The Ohio Department of Health has a dedicated website on the coronavirus, including latest developments, educational information, and additional resources. Visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov now.
CITY OF COLUMBUS COMMUNITY RESOURCES
The City of Columbus has compiled a list of resources for residents affected by COVID-19 as well as information on how residents can help and support their fellow neighbors. Visit www.columbus.gov/covid19resources to see the full list.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS
My number one priority is the safety and well-being of my constituents. Listen to my COVID-19 public service annoucements below:
Public Service Announcement #1
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered that all public and private schools (kindergarten through 12th grade) are closed through the remainder of the school year.
During the extended canceling of classes, Columbus City Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch for ALL children age 18 and under, Monday through Friday. More information can be found on Columbus City Schools' website.
Governor Mike DeWine announced that businesses would begin opening up on a rolling basis starting on May 1, 2020. Healthcare providers will be allowed to return to work on May 1st; general office environments, manufacturing, distribution, and construction sectors on May 4th; consumer, retail, and related services on May 12th; hair establishments and bars and restaurants (outside seating) on May 15th; and bars and restaurants (inside seating) on May 21st. Starting on May 26th, gyms, pools, and low-contact sports can resume operations; childcare, in-person church services and day camps will open on May 31st.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was enacted by Congress to provide forgivable loans to America’s small businesses to fund up to 8 weeks of payroll costs, rent, mortgages, and utility payments during the COVID-19 emergency. PPP loans require no collateral or personal guarantees and no fees are assessed on borrowers. Repayment of principal, interest, and fees is deferred for a period of six months to one year, and interest rates set at 1 percent. The maximum size of the loan is 250 percent of an employer’s average monthly payroll cost during the period Feb. 15, 2019 to June 30, 2019, capped at $10 million. PPP loans may be used to cover payroll costs and employee benefits, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities. Payroll costs include salary and wages, employee benefits, and state and local taxes assessed on compensation. For sole proprietors and independent contractors, payroll costs include wages, commissions, income, and net earnings from self-employment. For eligible entities that do not have traditional payroll costs, such as sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed individuals, your payroll costs for purposes of applying for PPP are defined as the net profit amount found on your 2019 IRS Form 1040, divided by 12 to calculate the average monthly net profit, and multiplying that by 2.5. For more information on how to calculate your payroll costs visit https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/How-to-Calculate-Loan-Amounts.pdf.
More information and details, including a program overview, information for borrowers and lenders, and an application sheet can be found at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the request to allow small businesses and nonprofits in the State of Ohio to apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million through the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Loan applications can be completed online at www.disasterloan.sba.gov or applicants can obtain a paper application by calling 1-800-659-2955.
NEW SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION CUSTOMER HOTLINE
SBA has launched a new customer hotline. To reach them, please call: 877-641-8202.
SBA LOAN APPLICATION RECONSIDERATION
Declined applicants can present additional information which may overcome the reason(s) for the decline.
The written reconsideration request must contain all significant new information to overcome all of the initial decline reasons. If the most recent financial statements are older than 12 months, business loan applicants must provide current financial statements. SLOs can accept these requests if the applicant complied with the terms of the decline letter.
The reconsideration decline letter should state the following:
- The reason(s) the applicant was initially declined
- Whether or not the applicant was able to overcome the original decline reason(s) and
- Any new decline reason(s), if applicable.
NOTE: The letter to the applicant should also indicate 30 days to request an appeal of SBA's decision. However, if the decline upon reconsideration contains any new reason not previously conveyed to the applicant, SBA can extend the time frame to a total of 90 days (the standard 30 days plus an additional 60 days), with approval from the CD/PDC.
All required and supporting documents must be included in a single filing. All forms requiring signature must be signed and dated. Incomplete applications will not be accepted by the SBA.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Rd.
Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243
If you were declined a Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and disagree with the decision from the SBA you should request reconsideration by follow the steps below.
Mail your request to the address at the top of the decline letter or
Fax your request to: 202-481-5931 or
E-mail your request to email@example.com
Your request must:
Be in writing and be received as soon as possible (but no later than the DATE THAT IS 3 MONTHS FROM DATE OF APPLICATION DECISION DATE.)
Contain all significant information that will address the decline/withdrawal reason(s).
If you have any questions, please contact 1-800-659-2955 or (TTY) (800) 877-8339
ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched an online tool for individuals and families to ensure timely delivery of economic impact payments for those who did not submit a tax return in 2018 and 2019 OR for those who has a gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019. For more information and to fill out the form now, please visit: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.
The IRS also launched the "Get My Payment" app to help individuals track the status of their economic impact payment. Go to https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment for more information.
PLEASE NOTE: Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their economic impact payments including: individuals who filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019; individuals who receive Social Security, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits; and individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits.
To learn more about economic impact payments or to check the status, go to www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.
American Electric Power (AEP), Columbia Gas of Ohio, and the City of Columbus said they will temporarily suspend disconnection of services for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak. Utility customers who have questions or concerns about their utility service should contact the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at www.puco.ohio.gov/contact-us/. For more information about service disconnection or reconnection, customers should call 1-800-672-2231.
Telephone companies and internet service providers have also agreed to not terminate service for failure to pay a bill because of COVID-19, and they are waiving late fees and opening Wi-Fi hot spots.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new order on March 31, 2020 preventing water shutoffs due to not paying bills during the Coronavirus Pandemic. If someone in Ohio had their water shutoff since January 1st, their water service is required by the Ohio EPA to be reconnected.
Ohioans can apply for unemployment benefits online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at www.unemployment.ohio.gov. It is also possible to file by phone at 877-644-6562 or TTY at 888-642-8203, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov.
- The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation is deferring insurance policy payments for March, April, and May until June 1, 2020.
- The Department of Insurance is requiring employers to continue covering employees under group healthcare policies even if the employee would become ineligible due to a decrease in hours worked per week.
UPDATE: The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) recently announced that in an effort to help streamline unemployment claims and speed up the process of payments, the agency is instituting a new weekly process for Ohioans who have been approved to receive unemployment benefits. Beginning on Sunday, April 26th, individuals filing weekly unemployment claims should do so based on the following schedule:
- If the first letter of your last name is A through H, you should file your claim on Sunday.
- If your last name is I through P, you should file your claim on Monday.
- If your last name is Q through Z, you should file your claim on Tuesday.
- Wednesday, all applicants should file.
- Thursday, all applicants should file.
- Friday, all applicants should file.
- Saturday, all applicants should file.
Additionally, to ensure a more expedited process, individuals filing unemployment claims are strongly encouraged to set their correspondence preference to ‘electronic’ instead of U.S. mail.
For more information, or to submit an initial application for benefits, please visit the ODJFS website at unemployment.ohio.gov.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R.748, provides individuals who lost their jobs because of COVID-19 enhanced unemployment compensation benefits:
- First, it expands unemployment benefits to cover the self-employed and gig workers.
- Second, it extends unemployment benefits from 26 to 39 weeks.
Third, it provides an additional $600 per week for up to four months for furloughed workers.
FORECLOSURE AND EVICTION MORATORIUM
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the temporary suspension of all foreclosures and evictions on HUD-backed properties until the end of April. Similarly, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is suspending all foreclosures and evictions until at least May 17, 2020 for homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Learn more from HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
TAX FILING DEADLINE EXTENSION
The federal income tax filing deadline has been extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all individual taxpayers, corporations, and other non-corporate tax filers, as well as those who pay self-employment tax. Get more information on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) website.
HELPFUL FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is providing recommendations for individuals to mitigate and contain the damage of any financial fallout due to the coronavirus.
GLOBAL LEVEL 4 HEALTH ADVISORY--DO NOT TRAVEL
The Department of State advises 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.
At present the Department of State is making every effort to assist U.S. citizens overseas who wish to return to the United States. As the Covid-19 situation develops, our ability to provide such assistance working with commercial airlines or arranging for evacuation flights may become more limited or even unavailable. In recent weeks, commercial airlines have significantly reduced flight schedules and countries have closed airports and borders with little advance notice. If you wish to return to the United States, you should make arrangements to do so now and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance as needed. There is no guarantee that the Department of State will be able to continue to provide repatriation assistance and transportation options to the United States may be unavailable in the future. If you choose to remain overseas, you should be prepared to remain where you are for the foreseeable future.
U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.
You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.
Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. For emergency assistance, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.
In responding to the spread of COVID-19, I promise to work with my congressional colleagues to address this growing public health crisis in a smart, strategic, and serious manner.
The first step Congress must take is to ensure the government has the resources needed to combat this deadly virus and keep Central Ohioans safe. To that effect, you will be interested to know that I voted in support of the Emergency Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 6074. This piece of legislation provides over $3 billion for research and development of a vaccine and innovative treatment options; $2.2 billion in funding for prevention, preparedness, and response; and $1 billion for the purchase of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. The bill was signed into law by the president on March 6, 2020. Read the full text of the law here.
On March 11th, I joined fellow Financial Services Subcommittee and Task Force Chairs to urge the Trump Administration, regulators, financial services organizations, and credit reporting agencies to protect American consumers and hardworking families from the potential negative impact of the coronavirus.
I convened a March 13th Coronavirus Pandemic Conference Call with community leaders and stakeholders on efforts at the federal, state, and local levels of government to combat the virus. Nearly 20 agencies, corporations, and nonprofits participated in the call, sharing updates on their ongoing efforts to respond to the personal, professional, and financial impacts of the Coronavirus.
The U.S. House of Representatives took an important second step in combatting the Coronavirus by passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201. I supported the piece of legislation because our nation is facing a global pandemic that will affect everyone in some way. H.R. 6201 includes free coronavirus testing, enhanced unemployment insurance benefits, expands paid leave and family and emergency leave, strengthens food security initiatives, and invests in Medicaid. The bill was passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law on March 18, 2020. Read the full text of the law here
Congress took a crucial third step by passing the historic $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748. The bill is the largest financial assistance package in U.S. history and puts American workers, families, and small businesses first. As a cosponsor of the measure, I returned to Washington to help pass the landmark piece of legislation, and I also addressed the nation from the House floor prior to the vote. Signed into law on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act authorizes direct payments for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet during this public health crisis, further expands unemployment insurance benefits, provides $350 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses and first-time funding for nonprofits, assists student borrowers, invests in our healthcare professionals and first responders and helps keep them safe, and institutes strong accountability measures on corporations receiving taxpayer dollars. Read the full text of the law here, and for more information please see the Families First COVID-19 Constituent Service Resources Toolkit.
The same day Congress passed and the president signed into law the CARES Act, I held my Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall to update constituents on the federal response to COVID-19, as well as answer questions and provide helpful resources. The event was open to all residents of Ohio's Third Congressional District and was streamed live on Facebook. An archived recording can be viewed on my YouTube page.
On March 31, 2020, the Trump Administration approved the State of Ohio's request for a "Major Disaster Declaration," following a united effort by the entire Ohio Congressional Delegation and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. The declaration clears the way for more federal assistance and support on the ground to help combat COVID-19.
Following the overwhelming response and participation for the March 13th Coronavirus Community Stakeholders Conference Call and my March 27th Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall, I organized a series of COVID-19 response calls with municipality mayors on April 6th, as well as a daylong series of calls with healthcare leaders, communities of faith, small businesses, housing organizations, and nonprofits.
On April 17, 2020, I joined forces with Congressman Joe Kennedy III (MA-04) to urge that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell "ban the box" that disqualifies small business owners with even minor offenses from critical relief. As it becomes increasingly clear that the Coronavirus Pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, these exemptions only penalize the same communities that have been most prejudiced by a broken criminal justice system. Under the PPP, small business owners are automatically deemed ineligible for a loan if they, within the past five years, have: been convicted, pleaded guilty, pleaded nolo contendere, been placed on pretrial diversion, or been placed on any form of parole or probation.
Five days later, nearly four weeks after the CARES Act became law, I sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza to demand their federal agencies work expeditiously to to ensure a more even, consumer-friendly roll out of the critical programs and funding streams that provide financial assistance to American workers, families, and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
I returned to Washington, D.C. early Wednesday morning (April 22nd) to prepare for Congress’ latest coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency response package, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, H.R. 266. Most notably, I took a lead role in advocating for allocating tens of billions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for community development financial institutions and other non-traditional lenders like non-federally insured credit unions that have historically served communities of color as well as rural and urban areas. The following day, I joined an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of my colleagues in passing the $484 billion piece of legislation that provides additional funding to support more individuals and small businesses impacted by the virus.
Since the very beginning of this public health crisis, I have repeatedly called for expanded COVID-19 testing and to get funding into the hands of more small and minority-owned business owners, including 1099 workers at hair and nail salons, barber shops, and from gig to gig, just like larger organizations. This bill makes progress on both these fronts. However, Congress’ work is nowhere near finished. That was the very same message I delivered on the House floor during the debate of the bill. To see my full remarks, please visit my official YouTube page.
In advance of Governor DeWine transitioning Ohioans back to work, I sent a letter to him outlining four issues of concern for many of my constituents. I want to make sure there are several guardrails in place to protect the lives and livelihood of ALL Ohioans prior to him lifting the stay-at-home order.
As Congress debates next steps to respond to COVID-19, and a potential fifth economic rescue package I introduced the Making Opportunities a Reality for Entrepreneurs (MORE) PPP Act. The bill will ensure that our nation's smallest small businesses, including minority-owned, independent contractors, and 1099 workers, have fairer access to participate in the PPP. In addition, I authored the Help Charities Protect Communities Act, a piece of legislation that would give large nonprofits like American Heart Association, Goodwill Industries International, Inc., YMCA, and whole host of nonprofits access to federal support so that they can continue their important work during this public health crisis. The bill is backed by more than two dozen national nonprofits (and counting). Another bill I authored, the Fair Chance for Small Business Relief Act, would fix a flaw in the SBA PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance Program that disqualified small business owners with even minor offense from critical relief.
BEATTY WEEKLY COVID-19 UPDATES
- For my March 22-March 28 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronavirus, please click here.
- For my March 29-April 5 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronavirus, please click here.
- For my April 6-April 11 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronavirus, please click here.
- For my April 12-April 18 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronavirus, please click here.
- For my April 19-April 25 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronavirus, please click here.
- For my April 26-May 2 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronacvirus, please click here.
- For my May 3- May 9 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronavirus, please click here .
- For my May 10-May 16 weekly congressional update on addressing the coronavirus, please click here.
COVID-19 CENTRAL OHIO GRANTS
To date, Ohio's Third Congressional District has over $232 million in federal funds to confront the coronavirus. Funding was made available through the Emergency Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 6074, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748, two pieces of legislation I supported in Congress.
- $53,174,170 awarded to COTA to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
- $33,916,456 for Central Ohio airports (including John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker International Airport, The Ohio State University Airport, and Bolton Field Airport) to assist in the prevention of, preparation for, and response to COVID-19.
- $6,744,532 in HUD funds for the City of Columbus to expand permanent and temporary housing for low- to moderate-income persons and people who are homeless.
- $2,938,806 for OH-03 community health centers (operated by Columbus Neighborhood Health Center, Heart of Ohio Family Health Center, Lower Lights Christian Health Center, Inc., and The Ohio State University) to screen and test clients, purchase medical supplies, and improve telehealth services.
- $2,189,032 to the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) for clean, safe, and affordable housing initiatives during Coronavirus Pandemic.
- $1,796,385 in HUD funds for Franklin County to expand permanent and temporary housing for low- to moderate-income persons and people who are homeless.
- $882,166 to expand coronavirus (COVID-19) testing at four community health centers across Ohio’s Third Congressional District (Heart of Ohio Family Health Center, Lower Lights Christian Health Center, Inc., Southeast Community Mental Health Center, Inc., and The Ohio State University.
- $262,387 from the National Science Foundation to The Ohio State University to conduct scientific research and modeling related to the ongoing public health crisis.
- $88,522 for the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s to improve response efforts to accidental exposure to household cleaners and disinfectants.
VISITING THE DISTRICT AND D.C. OFFICES
Based upon advice from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Sergeant at Arms and the Governor of Ohio regarding COVID-19, my District and D.C. Offices are closed to the public until further notice to better protect constituents, staff, and visitors. During this time, my staff will be working remotely to serve the constituents of Ohio’s Third Congressional District. Please feel free to contact us if you need additional assistance.