Federal Aid to Fight COVID-19 Already in Corpus Christi
Lending institutions should be prepared by Friday, April 3, to process small business owner applications for paycheck protection loans, announced U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Victoria) at the joint city/county COVID-19 news briefing April 2.
He also announced that Corpus Christi has been granted $1.6 million in a Community Development Block Grant and $800,000 in an emergency shelter grant. The money was officially awarded on the day of the briefing.
“We have some good news in what is a difficult situation,” he said.
The money was part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act commonly known as the CARES Act. Community Development Block Grants are used to improve housing and living conditions and expand economic opportunities for low- to moderate-income people.
Emergency shelter funds are used to protect the homeless from the virus and to help prevent homelessness due to the financial impact of the virus on communities.
Also at the briefing, officials announced the city’s first community acquired cases of COVID-19, closed basketball courts to pickup games, and extended the city and county stay at home order to April 30 to comply with Governor Greg Abbott’s new executive order.
Another addition to the county’s order was to deem churches and religious organizations as essential, again to align with Gov. Abbott’s order.
“When you can work remotely in the religious avenue, that’s what the governor has asked us to do,” County Judge Barbara Canales said. “You should use audio, video or remote services if possible. However if that is not available, there are guidelines that can be employed — the same ones we all employ for social distancing.”
Social gatherings of any number of people are no longer allowed in the county, she continued. The rule of 10 is now reduced to the persons in your household. It also means no more pickup basketball games on city courts. Signage announcing the new restrictions were placed in city parks Thursday.
“This is so we can reduce the spread of the virus,” Canales said. “The orders are very clear that we all have a responsibility to do the right thing. While the order is just a piece of paper, it is the law. We are here to educate and promote public safety, but we must be firm. We must be firm to save lives.”
In his remarks on the payroll program, Cloud said the guidelines should be posted on the Small Business Administration’s website by the next day, April 3.
“Small business has been extremely hurt in this situation,” Cloud said in his remarks. “The idea behind the paycheck protection loans is to help small businesses keep their employees on payroll as we go through this.”
Already protected, are city workers. City Manager Peter Zanoni explained a city council decision made the day before concerning all city employees.
“The city council extended a directive to require telecommuting or working at home whenever possible,” Zanoni said. “If they are not able to do that, the directive keeps them at home on paid administrative leave. The extended directive goes through April 30.”
About 600 people usually report to city hall for work each day. That number is down to around 100 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We will look at that number again and work to have even fewer here” Zanoni said.
The update on the number of cases in the county as of April 2, included seven patients who were infected by community transmission.
“That’s a red flag for our community,” Zanoni said. “That means that they don’t know where they got it. Now it is more important than ever that we be aware of where we are going, be more aware of our surroundings, of not touching our face, of staying place. When you have community spread, that is more of a problem.”
The city and county hold a joint briefing on COVID-19 every day at 5 p.m. in city hall. The briefing can be viewed live online on YouTube.com or the city’s Facebook page. The Facebook page also has recordings of past briefings.
For more tips on how to keep yourself, your work space, and your home safe, visit the COVID-19 resources webpage at CCBizNews.com/covid-19. You’ll also find information on the latest news, closures, cancellations, and public orders along with informational links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
If you think you have the coronavirus, please contact the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District at 361-826-7200, and a representative will give you instructions. Check the city’s webpage for more information.
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