This week at your senate, we continue to remain in recess due to the COVID-19 state of emergency. The date to reconvene has not been determined.
As of Sunday, April 5, 2020, our state faces 1,638 reported cases with 23 in Scott County, 7 in Newton County and 65 in Lauderdale County. That is an increase of 880 cases from last week.
The greatest increase comes in Lauderdale County which had an increase of 50 cases from last week. Due to the sudden spike in cases, the Governor chose to enter an executive order calling for all people to shelter in place. Just a day after entering Executive Order 1465, Governor Reeves entered Executive Order 1466 thereby placing the entire state under a Shelter in Place Order until April 20, 2020. Many of you have asked questions regarding this order and I’ll discuss a few below:
What can I do?
• Do go to the Grocery Store.
• Go to your healthcare appointments and your pharmacy.
• Care for a sick loved one.
• Use delivery or curbside services when available.
• Support your local eateries.
• Go outside, exercise, enjoy nature, go fishing or hunting.
• Participate in individual or immediate family activities.
• Worship but follow the CDC guidelines.
• Stay 6 feet apart when out and about.
• Go to work if your employer is still working.
• Pray for the health professionals, the first responders, those in the grocery business, the delivery drivers, and those fighting this virus
• Do follow the local curfews and be patient.
What should I not do?
• Do no participate in gatherings of 10 or more.
• Do not get closer than 6 feet to others.
• Do not leave your home for non-essential errands.
• Do not visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility.
• Do not go around others if you are feeling symptoms.
• Do not take the entire family to the store. Send just one person.
• Do not attempt to enter closed state parks or closed state lakes.
• It is crucial for everyone to continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC including limiting social contact as much as possible.
I commend our communities for following the guidelines. This weekend was met with concerns by citizens but overall you did take this to heart. There were fewer people on the roads than usual and that can only help curb the spread.
Next, I would like to touch on the assistance out there for our businesses right now. The major program to start this week is the Payroll Protection Program that officially started on Friday. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of approved lenders. The application process started on April 3 for small businesses and sole proprietors, and then independent contractors and self-employed individuals may apply beginning on April 10.
If these funds are used for payroll purposes, it is expected that there will be a forgiveness option at the end of six months.
Another program is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. This is an SBA loan program administered directly via the SBA, and has an emergency fund feature that provides a $10,000 grant that is designed to quickly fund operating cash. The grant is forgivable, but available loans under this program are longer-term but are not forgivable.
Lastly, let’s talk some good news. In times of need, our people step up to the plate. This week I’ve heard of ladies across the counties that are making non-surgical masks. I know of at least two local companies that are ramping up production of hospital masks and gowns.
Next week, I’ll look forward to telling you more about their work after they announce their work formally. Some have asked what else can be done. To that I say for you to stay home, stay safe, stay considerate and remember those on the frontline. In the end, just do what you can.
As we all continue to fight this together, we are all faced with questions of uncertainty. We are a resilient state with hard working citizens, and we must bind together to support each other. As always, thank you for letting me serve you.