As we settle into our new normal, I know that we’re also in a holding pattern. We’re waiting for Georgia to peak in terms of number of infections, currently estimated for the end of April.
We’re waiting for schools to reopen. We’re waiting for the economy to restart. We’re waiting for stimulus checks. We’re waiting for small business assistance from the federal government. We’re waiting for access to more testing, and more ventilators, and more ICU beds, and assurance from our leaders that we are prepared for this pandemic.
When this crisis is over, I hope we emerge with a greater appreciation for our frontline healthcare workers, a drive to better protect our essential workers, and an understanding of the huge healthcare inequities in our state and how we can do better.
The number of people infected with COVID-19 continues to grow. As of noon today, Monday April 13, 2020, there are 13315 people infected, 2589 people hospitalized, and 464 deaths. These numbers have doubled since last week at this time. This is what exponential growth looks like. This is why we shelter in place.
In our community, Piedmont Hospital is opening its new Marcus Tower four months early, on April 13th, to treat the surge of coronavirus patients expected this month. The Tower adds three ICUs and acute nursing units to Atlanta’s capacity, with a total of 132 additional beds. Meanwhile, Governor Kemp has announced plans to convert the Georgia World Congress Center into a temporary hospital unit that can add another 200 beds to Atlanta’s capacity.
In an effort to increase access to rapid COVID-19 testing, the State of Georgia has joined forces with CVS Health. CVS will be operating drive-thru rapid COVID-19 testing, offered by Abbott Laboratories, at a site on Georgia Tech’s campus. At full capacity, the site will be able to conduct up to 1,000 tests per day. More information is available here: www.CVS.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing
The Governor has extended the public health emergency until May 13th. The statewide shelter in place order has been extended until April 30th. Schools will not reopen this academic year.
Voting deadline update
The date for the primary election has been moved to June 9th, 2020. This will be the election for the Presidential Preference Primary, as well as the primary for state and local races. You should have received an absentee ballot request form in the mail last week. If you did not receive an absentee ballot, you can request one here: https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/absentee_voting_in_georgia
You must fill out that form and return it by mail, fax, email (as an attachment to email@example.com), or in-person to the Fulton County Board of Registrar’s Office:
130 PEACHTREE ST SW SUITE 2186
ATLANTA, GA 30303-3460
If mailing your absentee ballot request form, you must attach postage!
Once you receive your ballot, it must be submitted no later than the close of polls on Election Day. Delivery can be either U.S. first class mail or hand delivered by the voter. If mailing, you must affix postage to the ballot envelope. Ballots received after the polls close cannot be counted.
Absentee ballot FAQ
Does this impact voter registration?
Yes. Because the election has been postponed, there is additional time to register and participate in the 2020 primaries. You must register to vote by May 11th in order to vote on June 9th. Register to vote.
Will there be an opportunity to vote early?
Yes. Early voting will begin on May 18th.
I already voted early. Does that vote still count?
Yes. The June 9th primary is for every race: presidential nominee, state, and locals. If you voted early, that vote will count. The secretary of state’s office will reconcile your earlier ballot with the new ballot of races.
I already submitted a request for an absentee ballot. Is it still valid?
Yes. Your request is valid, even with the date change. You don’t need to do anything else.
I submitted a request for an absentee ballot. Can I vote in-person anyway?
Yes; however, you must bring your absentee ballot with you to the polling place or you won’t be able to vote.
Can I still send in the absentee ballot request form I currently have?
Yes. The form is still good.
What happens if there is a runoff?
If there is a need for a runoff, it will be held on August 11th.
Coronavirus Funding Options from the Small Business Administration
Own a small business? You may be eligible for one or all of the following Coronavirus Relief Options available from the Small Business Administration.
This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization, or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19. The loan advance is up to $10,000, and will not have to be repaid.
Apply here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
SBA Express Bridge Loans allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
As part of SBA’s debt relief efforts,
- The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
- The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
The Georgia COVID-19 Hotline is 1-844-442-2681.
- Find a food bank in your area here.
- Find food assistance programs near you here.
- Student meal pick up locations by school-district here.
Resources for Service Workers
- Food service workers can find assistance from The Giving Kitchen here.
- Domestic workers can access emergency assistance funds here.
- Access at-home learning resources from Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Georgia Department of Education here.
Small Business Resources
- Small businesses can apply for SBA emergency loans here.
- SNAP Benefits for all current recipients have been extended through June 2020.
- Apply for SNAP benefits here.
- The Georgia Department of Labor is providing online access to unemployment services, partial claim access for employers and other reemployment services.
- File unemployment and other claims here.
Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report (updated daily at 12 pm and 7 pm)
If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.
As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-656-0116 with questions, concerns, or solutions you may have regarding legislation or other happenings in District 54.
To stay updated, follow me on Twitter and Facebook and follow the Georgia House of Representatives @GAHouseHub on Twitter. Additionally, in-depth information regarding current bills, Georgia’s annual and supplemental budgets, committee meetings, and livestreams from the General Assembly can be accessed via www.legis.ga.gov.
When this is all over, I encourage you and your family to visit our State Capitol and my office, where all constituents are welcome. I look forward to connecting with you!
My office is located at:
18 Capitol Square, SW
409-B Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative.
Representative Betsy Holland
GA House District 54