Reopening Georgia

Reopening Georgia

Friends, faith over fear and prayer over panic remain important as we love our neighbors as ourselves in this COVID19 battle. We are winning the fight. God is with us.

As we continue the POTUS led successful national efforts to curb COVID19’s impact, we must continue to watch and pray. While as a Georgian, I understand Governor Kemp’s decision on a gradual progression on opening up some of the small businesses, we must use wisdom as we prepare to venture out.

For example you can go to Costco, Sam’s ,Publix, Kroger and all the major retail grocery stores etc. and see thousands of people in and out daily… But when you take a small business owner who has two or three employees and maybe have three or four customers a day, the small business owners can govern and protect their customers just as safely if not better than some of the bigger conglomerates… Remember small business owners like me have so much on the hook; ie. rent, payroll, and income for our sustainability; not to mention supporting our faith based communities and our communities at large.

Let’s consider the what impact on some of our black owned businesses such as barbers, small law firms, small retail stores, etc. who might have five or six customers a day one at a time. So, this is why, with a strong prayer for safety and wisdom, I stand with Governor Kemp‘s decision to shoulder and share the responsibility with the people; letting us work together to do what’s right for our communities while keeping our families, our places of worship, customers and employees safe as well in these times of transition.

My colleague Sharon LeVell, COO of Dunwoody Diamonds USA & LeVell Properties agrees. Sharon is an African-American woman who has been running a company for over 25 years. She is in sync with the governor’s plan: “I support Governor Kemp’s decision on allowing the small businesses to take charge and make good and safe decisions for employees and their customers.

While the first round of health, safety and economics have been horrendous, catching the general public off guard, POTUS, supportive governors, houses of faith and valiant instant responders are leading the charge. We are winning, thank God.

There are many concerns that must be answered. Below is a link to a very lengthy composite of concerns from my collective. Many of these concerns are voiced by some of whom are healthcare workers, business owners, educators, law enforcement officers, pastors and public servants. Many are overwhelmingly sad at the level of fear and distrust that everyone seems to have towards the government’s ability to keep us safe right now. This goes beyond party lines and people really see this pandemic as a matter of life and death. While everyone seems to understand that the government has a heavy burden to weigh the safety of our citizens and the stability of our economy, we all feel like there is a lack of transparency when it comes to decision making that affects our most sensitive members of the population. 

CDC data shows Covid-19 is affecting African Americans at exceptionally high rates. 

The coronavirus pandemic is amplifying preexisting social inequities tied to race, class, and access to the health care system.

Why would the governor reopen businesses that benefit mostly from the black economy? 

Why reopen when there is still a national shortage of PPE, hospital beds, and meds? 

Also, what message are we sending to GA students about education and health when schools are closed and children cannot participate in graduation or promotions, but aestiticians can perform bikini waxes and fitness enthusiasts can work out at Orange Theory or Pure Barre in close quarters.

What plans do you have to prevent crime and mischief when schools will be closed for five months instead of two and children will lack supervision?

If cases spike, what work options will be available for teachers with compromised immune systems if schools reopen in the fall?

Why are we reopening when we are still seeing new cases daily?  How can we flatten the curve when chances for exposure will increase once the shelter in place order ends?

We are not prepared to address a spike in cases. 

Many AA living conditions include elderly, infants and all in between living in close proximity. So, if a young adult member of the household has the virus, s/he is likely to spread it to the elder and/or infant because they are sharing an area of 1,200 sq ft. 

I think there should be some guidelines/best practices communicated for uniformity. This is a new experience for all. Some church leadership, small business owners, etc, don’t have the knowledge to execute a “safe” reopening. And how do we know what’s working or what’s not if every business/church is doing something different 

Concern:

If Epidemiologists and other doctors continue to say “Stay at home, to stay healthy!”  Then why would you( Governor) go against medical experts’ recommendations? 

How do you support your decision, medically?  Please explain your rationale in regards to public health. 

Bottom line: Where is the medical data to support your expedited decision to reopen businesses so soon? 

Concerns:

  1. Why did the Governor make moves to reopen before his initial April 30th date?
  2. An increase of cases will happen and the need for more PPE 
  3. Unknown effect on children in the future 
  4. Shortage of masks & gowns at the VA Hospital 
  5. Has the governor stepped foot in the hotspots of GA and/or interviewed medical personnel at that hospital 
  6. How can you ensure the safety of the business owners
  7. Will there be uniformity in guidelines for ALL businesses 
  8. Healthcare workers will continue to be overextended and exposed to possibly becoming infected

What people would like to see before reopening the state:

  1. Continue to shelter in place unless people exercise high levels of caution (masks, PPE etc)
  2. Bell curve should decrease before reopening the state
  3. More testing sites and rapid testing ( in Dekalb, only 84 test can be performed daily) 
  4. Mandates of specific safety measures (people will not be comfortable going back on the economy without proper and adequate safety measures)
  5. The elderly population needs extra precaution. Assisted Living facilities need to continue their same guidelines, but how can we ensure the facility workers are being safe after businesses reopen? They can then venture out and become infected and possibly infect residents. 

This is actually a brief list and we feel like the government needs a more inclusive approach before reopening. We don’t feel prepared to reopen and don’t share the ability to look at numbers when we actually know names and faces of victims. One life is one too many to die unnecessarily. We want the state to reopen, we just need more structure to support it. 

Interestingly, many of these concerns are already being addressed. Sadly, many are so angry and scared, they won’t ever find out how much is really being done. Answers are available at the following links. We are winning. 

Evangelist Alveda King Reflects On States Opening Back Up Amidst the COVID-19 Shutdown

POTUS GUIDELINES

COVID-19 Faith Community Resources

·       COVID-19 Recommended Preventive Practices and FAQs for Faith-based and Community Leaders

·       Considering Faith, Community, and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis

The Paycheck Protection Plan

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses and eligible nonprofits by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Last week, the Administration issued a FAQ Regarding Participation of Faith-Based Organizations in PPP and EIDL, which clarifies how the affiliation provision impacts faith-based entities.

·        Paycheck Protection Program Loans: Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 4/14)

·        Top-line overview of the paycheck protection loan program 

·        More information for borrowers

·        Borrower Application Form – Updated 4/2

·        Interim Final Rule

·        Interim Final Rule on Affiliation

  • Interim Final Rule – Additional Eligibility Criteria and Requirements for Certain Pledges of Loans – Posted 4/14

·        Applicable Affiliation Rules

·        Find an eligible lender

·        Lender Assistance Hotline: (833) 572-0502

For more information and updates, visit Treasury.gov/CARES and SBA.gov/PayCheckProtection.

Assistance for American Workers and Families

·       Assistance for American Workers and Families

·       Preserving Jobs for American Industry

How to Help – If you or your organization are interested in helping the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, FEMA has established a website with more information. Examples for the private sector include:

  • To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please submit a price quote under the COVID-19 PPE and Medical Supplies Request for Quotation. Full details can be found in the solicitation (Notice ID 70FA2020R00000011). 
    • This solicitation requires registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to be considered for award, pursuant to applicable regulations and guidelines.  Registration information can be found at www.sam.
    • gov.  Registration must be “ACTIVE” at the time of award.
  • If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide us details on what you are offering.
  • If you are a hospital or healthcare provider in need of medical supplies, please contact your state, local, tribal or territory department of public health and/or emergency management agency.
  • If you are interested in doing business with FEMA and supporting the response to COVID- 19 with your company’s non-medical goods and/or services, please submit your inquiry to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Procurement Action Innovative Response Team (PAIR) team at DHSIndustryLiaison@hq.dhs.gov.
  • For all other issues and concerns not related to offering products, services, or donations, please e-mail nbeoc@max.gov.

For additional information please visit FEMA’s website: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/.

30 Days to Slow the Spread

President Trump announced updated guidelines to continue slowing the spread of Coronavirus in America. This 30-day window will be crucial: If every American does his or her part, the latest model suggests we could save 1 million or more U.S. lives. Please click here for more information: 30 Days to Slow the Spread (Español)

If you are a healthcare worker and would like to volunteer to assist in New York City, please find more information here.

The Administration for Children and Families to Release Funding to Support the Child Care and Development Block Grant (HERE)

“President Trump has secured more than $6 billion in funding to help meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable during this time of crisis, including those who need assistance affording child care,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “As part of the President’s all-of-America approach to combating the coronavirus, ACF is providing extra support for human services that Americans—including healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers—may rely on even more in this time of crisis.”

FEMA Announces Funding Notice for Emergency Management Performance Grant Supplemental Allocation (HERE)

The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA are announcing the funding notice for an additional $100 million in supplemental Emergency Management Performance Grant Program funds. The money is available to all 50 states and six territories as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. All applications must be submitted by April 28.

EPA Continues Efforts to Increase the Availability of Disinfectant Products for Use Against the Novel Coronavirus (HERE)

“There is no higher priority for the Trump Administration than protecting the health and safety of Americans,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “EPA recognizes the important role the agency plays in protecting public health and the environment and ensuring that Americans continue to have access to effective and approved disinfectants that can help combat the spread of COVID-19. The flexibilities that we are providing in today’s temporary policy change will help ensure Americans have access to the products they need to protect their families during this public health emergency.”

IRS, Security Summit Partners Warn Tax Professionals on Scams, Urge Additional Security Measures to Protect Taxpayer Data (HERE)

The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry continue to see an upswing in data thefts from tax professionals as cybercriminals try to take advantage of COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments to create new scams.

Federal Banking Agencies to Defer Appraisals and Evaluations for Real Estate Transactions Affected by COVID-19 (HERE)

The federal banking agencies today issued an interim final rule to temporarily defer real estate-related appraisals and evaluations under the agencies’ interagency appraisal regulations. The Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are providing this temporary relief to allow regulated institutions to extend financing to creditworthy households and businesses quickly in the wake of the national emergency declared in connection with COVID-19.

For the most up-to-date information, please see the CDC’s website: www.coronavirus.gov.

Lastly, we have attached a document on Considering Faith, Community, and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis. The document is attached as a pdf and you can share the document HERE.

Direct links to the following temporary programs (or temporary expansions of current programs) are below (including application forms):

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance:  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance

SBA Express Bridge Loans:  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/sba-express-bridge-loans

SBA Debt Relief:  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/sba-debt-relief

And for those folks following the Interim Final Rule (IFR) for the PPP above (with respect to religious liberty issues, etc.), click here:

Link to the full article here.   https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/list-74-actions-taken-by-trump-to-fight-virus-bolster-economy

President Trump continues to mobilize supplies to the frontlines to protect our healthcare workers and combat the coronavirus.

·       Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) deliveries coordinated or currently being shipped by FEMA and HHS:

o   38.2 million N95 respirators

o   32.6 million surgical masks

o   5.5 million face shields

o   4.7 million surgical gowns

o   30.3 million gloves 

o   212,000 coveralls

o   8,600 medical station beds

       Ventilators provided or shipped so far from the Strategic National Stockpile and the Department of Defense:

o   More than 10,800 nationwide

o   4,400 to New York

o   1,558 to New Jersey

o   700 to Michigan

o   600 to Illinois

o   470 to Maryland

o   400 to Louisiana

       FEMA launched Project Air Bridge to expedite imports of critical PPEs.

o   More than 40 Air Bridge flights have taken place as of April 14.

       28 million tablets of Hydroxychloroquine have been shipped across the country from the Strategic National Stockpile.

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT

Also, miraculously, as rescue funds and supplies are depleted, yet soon to be replenished funds. We continue to thank God for blessing our POTUS and all leaders for strength and wisdom. Please pray, stay safe and God bless you.

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