October 1st, 2020 COVID-19 Update

October 1, 2020 - October 2, 2020

I have two important COVID-19 updates to share with you today, one focused on what’s going on here in Washington and another on some encouraging news in North Carolina, as well.

First, tonight I voted against the latest multi-trillion dollar boondoggle “COVID-19 relief” package crafted by Speaker Pelosi and progressives in the House.  Known as HEROES 2.0, it is very similar to the HEROES Act, which I voted against this past May.  While the price tag is slightly lower – $2.2 trillion this time around – a lot of its most egregious provisions, which have nothing to do with COVID, are still included.

In fact, some provisions are even worse.  It removes $600 million from the initial HEROES Act intended for a grant program for state and local law enforcement.  It extends the $600/week unemployment benefits through the end of January with a phase-out period until the end of March, meaning our employers will have an even harder time finding workers than they already do.  It requires the release of certain prisoners in our jails and prisons just as violent crime in our cities is spiking.

Only slightly more than a month before Election Day, it federalizes elections and imposes impossible new mandates on states that are sure to create even more chaos at the polls.

Of course, none of these provisions actually matter because this bill, like the HEROES Act before it, was never intended to become law.  It’s a messaging bill, put up for a vote on the House floor because House Democratic leadership is feeling the heat.  After months of negotiations with the White House and the Senate, progressives in the House have refused to back away some of their most extreme demands. 

Instead of making good-faith progress and compromises, this vote — just like the one in May — was to placate the radical left in the Democrat conference before House members head home to campaign.  It also gives the Democrats in tough re-elections cover.  Meanwhile, they continue to refuse to allow a vote on a narrowly focused bill that would bring needed COVID-19 relief to families and small businesses.  

However, there is some good news at home in North Carolina.  Effective tomorrow, North Carolina will be entering Phase Three of its gradual reopening.  

Here’s what Phase Three means for North Carolina:

  • Large outdoor venues with seating greater than 10,000 may operate with 7% occupancy for spectators. 
  • Smaller outdoor entertainment venues, like arenas or amphitheaters, may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces to 30% of capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less.
  • Bars may operate outdoors at 30% of outdoor capacity, or 100 guests, whichever is less. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% occupancy, outdoor attractions only. 
  • The limits on mass gatherings will remain at 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. 
  • The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for in-person consumption in locations such as restaurants and outdoor bars will be extended to October 23.  

A Frequently Asked Questions document is available here.  Specific guidance can be found here. The Governor’s Executive Order that goes into effect outlining Phase Three tomorrow will expire on October 23rd, at which point officials will make determinations about the easing of additional restrictions.