Here's today's update:
- The President announced yesterday that federal guidelines on social distancing will be extended until April 30th. That means all Americans should avoid groups of 10 or more people, avoid discretionary travel, and consider canceling all social visits in homes. Older residents, and others particularly at risk, should stay home.
- The Governor's statewide stay-at-home order for all of North Carolina goes into effect today.
- A useful frequently asked questions document regarding the order is available here.
- Restaurants that offer curbside pick up, drive-thru or delivery can remain open.
- Businesses that believe they should be considered essential to remain open can file a request with the N.C. Department of Revenue here.
- New Hanover County has issued its own restrictions in conjunction with the Governor's order, more info is available here.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today that small business owners could receive instructions on how to file for federal aid as soon as today. The loans will be available starting Friday, and the Treasury Secretary expects specific guidance to be issued to small business owners tonight or tomorrow.
- The Department of Labor has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document with more guidance to ensure small businesses comply with the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act.
- An update from the U.S. Postal Service for business owners whose businesses have been closed by the crisis:
- In an effort to best serve our business customers, USPS is temporarily modifying how it handles mail that must be returned to the delivery office due to a full box, or the business not being open to receive delivery for an extended period.
- Current postal policy is to return the mail to the delivery office, indicate the date the mail is first returned to be held, and hold for 10 days. In order to accommodate businesses during this challenging time, it will now extend the hold period to 30 days
- Once the business reopens, delivery should immediately resume unless other arrangements have been made. If the business fails to make alternative delivery arrangements or does not submit a request to hold or forward its mail after 30 days, the process of returning mail to the sender will resume.
- An additional update from FEMA for National Flood Insurance Program customers who are experiencing financial hardship because of the outbreak.
- To avoid a lapse in coverage, there is typically a 30-day grace period to renew National Flood Insurance Program policies. However, due to the widespread economic disruption arising from this pandemic, FEMA recognizes that policyholders may not meet the standard deadline.
- This extension will allow additional time for policyholders who may be struggling financially to pay insurance premiums and ensure their policies are not cancelled for nonpayment of premium due to circumstances beyond their control.
- If a policy has an expiration date between February 13, 2020 and June 15, 2020, then the NFIP insurer must receive the appropriate renewal premium within 120 days of the expiration date to avoid a lapse in coverage. Likewise, if a policyholder receives an underpayment notice dated between February 13, 2020, and June 15, 2020, then the NFIP insurer must receive the additional premium amount requested within 120 days of the date of the notice.
- Due to the Governor's stay-at-home order, my office has suspended mobile office hours. For assistance, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-2731 or my Wilmington office at 910-395-0202.
- Harvard Medical School has a useful guide for parents on how to talk to kids about the coronavirus outbreak.
- An update on the Congressional Art Contest: This year, my office has asked students and teachers to submit high resolution photos via email of any art that they would like to be part of the competition. The 1st place winner’s artwork will eventually be shipped to Washington, D.C., where it will remain on display in the Cannon House Office Building’s Capitol Tunnel for one year, alongside the 1st place artwork from every congressional district in the country. For more information on the competition click here. The deadline for art submissions is April 24, 2020. Please send submissions to email@example.com.
For my "good news" story today: the nonprofit Grace Abounds, formerly known as Matthew 25 Wilmington, held a food drive outside Piggly Wiggly in Leland on Sunday. They were collecting non-perishable goods and cleaning products for those who have been laid off as a results of the outbreak of coronavirus as well as the elderly. It's just another of the many stories of North Carolina individuals and families coming together to defeat the crisis.
As always, stay tuned to Coronavirus.gov and NC's Department of Health and Human Services website for the latest on the outbreak.