Coronavirus Update -- March 17, 2020
Here's the latest:
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a new executive order in response to COVID-19 that closes restaurants and bars for dine-in customers but allows them to continue takeout and delivery orders. The executive order also includes an expansion of unemployment insurance to help North Carolina workers affected by COVID-19.
The order was effective as of 6 pm today, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Additionally on the state level, the North Carolina Department of Revenue has closed service centers to the public. Taxpayers are encouraged to utilize online and phone services to the greatest extent possible. You can visit their website or call 1-877-252-3052 for assistance.
As I mentioned yesterday, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which ensures free testing for all Americans, requires paid sick leave for all impacted American workers, bolsters unemployment insurance and provides protections for vulnerable Americans. Technical changes were made via unanimous consent last night in the House to address concerns related to small businesses. The Senate will pass this legislation soon and send it to the President for his signature.
Additionally, the Treasury Department has deferred tax payments and waived penalties:
- Families and small businesses can defer tax payments for 90 days. This covers a broad range of Americans, including small businesses that file as individuals who owe up to $1 million, and other categories of small businesses, sole proprietors, and corporations owing up to $10 million.
- Penalties and interest that would otherwise apply during this 90 day period will be waived.
The Trump Administration announced today expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Retroactive to March 6, 2020, Medicare will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country. More information can be found here.
My office has received a number of calls about constituents stranded abroad. The COVID-19 situation varies from country to country. Some people are stranded due to airlines canceling flights. Some people are in countries, like Peru, that have instituted a mandatory quarantine, so that they are not allowed to leave. Each situation is unique.
We can contact the closest Consulate to alert them of stranded US citizens. We can also request a Welfare Check (meaning a visit — not a payment) if someone is in the hospital or needs medical care. The ability to perform welfare checks may be limited due to quarantine restrictions. Please contact my office if you, a loved one or a friend are stranded abroad and we will do everything we can to be of assistance to you.
We will continue to provide updates as we have more information.
Please stay tuned to Coronavirus.Gov for the latest on the federal government's response.