Some updates on the latest on the COVID-19 response in North Carolina and nationwide:

  • Important information for North Carolina veterans:  The Fayetteville VA Coastal Health Care System has announced, effective this morning, it will postpone non-urgent procedures for a minimum of 60-days and implement strict visitor restrictions in order to protect patients and staff. These restrictions are available here. Additionally:
    • Veterans that are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, should contact the VA's Clinical Contact Center at 1-800-771-6106.
    • Veterans are also encouraged to get their prescriptions refilled by mail to limit their exposure. They can either
      • Use MyHealtheVet 
        Or call either the Call center: 1-800-771-6106
        or the Local pharmacy line: 910-488-2120, ext: 5702 

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration granted Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for small businesses that are suffering economic losses due to the coronavirus.  This is a first, immediate step that small business owners can take to apply for relief.  Small business owners can visit the SBA's website here for more information and to apply.  Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

  • But as I mentioned in yesterday's update, it's important for small business owners to know that more help is on the way.  Negotiations between the Senate and the Administration are underway as we speak on a historic, $1 trillion + package of aid for families, small businesses, and others impacted by the crisis.  House leadership is soliciting ideas to be shared with the Senate and the Administration on the economic disaster package they are working on.  Many of us have made this suggestion: direct aid to small businesses in the form of no-interest loans issued through the banks and credit unions to be paid back over a long period of time starting in 2021.  It’s also been our suggestion that any portion of the loan used to keep employees paid should be forgiven  — in other words, that portion used for payroll would, in effect, be a grant.  This is just one of many, many ideas that have been suggested to help small businesses' cash flow and keep their employees paid. 

  • As a reminder, the most important thing you and your families can do to protect yourselves and prevent the spread of the virus is follow the current guidelines on 15 Days to Slow the Spread, which I've included below. 

As always, stay tuned to coronavirus.org and the NC Department of Health and Human Services' website for the latest on the state and federal response to the outbreak.