I’ve gotten several emailed questions this week about when Georgia will reopen. While Governor Kemp’s shelter in place order expires on May 1st, it’s important to remember that  these decisions must be made based on public health data, and not on economic data, as difficult as that may be. While we all understand the desire for a return to normalcy, it’s becoming increasingly clear that loosening the restrictions too soon will negate the good we’ve done to our health system by social distancing.  We need an aggressive plan to increase testing and implement contract tracing before we can even think about returning to normal. 

Also, despite the shelter in place order, many businesses in Georgia are able to remain open. I encourage you to support your local businesses, when and if you are able. A comprehensive guide to which businesses are able to continue in business, and the safety measures they must implement in order to remain in business, is available here: 

https://www.georgia.org/covid19bizguide

Latest COVID-19 Numbers

Increase in COVID-19 Testing

Some encouraging news! The Georgia Department of Public Health released new criteria for getting a COVID-19 test that will hopefully make testing more available to Georgians who need it. All symptomatic individuals are now eligible for testing. Priority will still be given to first responders, health care workers, and long-term care facility staff and residents regardless of symptoms. To be able to get a test through the State of Georgia, you have to get a referral through your doctor OR your local health department (call 844-442-2681 for guidance).

There is also a new Augusta University Health app to get screened by a doctor via your smartphone. This service can be used anywhere in Georgia. If you meet the criteria, you will be sent to a testing center in your area.


Absentee Ballots

Don’t forget to complete and turn in your absentee ballot applications (more info below). The AJC reported this week that ballots will be delivered and counted even if they do not have the required postage. The State Election Board also decided this week to add ballot drop boxes at some locations. 


Update on Small Business Administration Loans

Lapse in Appropriations Notice: SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding. Governor Kemp has requested more money from Congress, but there are no updates as of yet.

EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.


Georgia COVID-19 Emotional Support Line

The Georgia Covid-19 Emotional Support Line provides 24/7 free and confidential assistance to callers needing emotional support or resource information as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emotional Support Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals and others who have received training in crisis counseling.

Stimulus Payment Information

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, your stimulus payment should have been deposited into your bank account.

Those who receive Social Security benefits have also received a payment, delivered in the same way they receive their Social Security benefits.

If you have checked your account and did not find a deposit, you can go to the newly launched IRS website by clicking here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

Anyone who doesn’t pay income tax or receive Social Security can go to this IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

and click on “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” to submit account information so that you can get a stimulus payment.

If you are not sure if you are eligible to receive a stimulus payment, you can check your eligibility by going here:
https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center


Honored to once again be an EMILY’s List endorsed candidate, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, for my candidacy for the Georgia House of Representatives, District 54! (It’s easy to forget during these times, but yes, I’m running for office.)


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 elections.voterregistration@fultoncountyga.gov), 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 should affix postage to the ballot envelope; however, ballots without postage will still be counted. Ballots received after the polls close cannot be counted.   

Check your voter status


RESOURCES

The Georgia COVID-19 Hotline is 1-844-442-2681.

Food Assistance 

  • 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.

Educational Resources

  • 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 Program

  • SNAP Benefits for all current recipients have been extended through June 2020.
  • Apply for SNAP benefits here.

Unemployment Services

  • 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.

Other Resources

CDC page on COVID-19

City of Brookhaven COVID-19 page

City of Atlanta COVID-19 page

Georgia Department of Public Health Daily Status Report (updated daily at 12 pm and 7 pm) 

Federal Disaster Loan Assistance

Atlanta Public Schools Food Distribution Sites


If you haven’t already, please browse my website, betsyforgeorgia.com.

As your Representative, your concerns are important to me. Please contact me at betsy.holland@house.ga.gov 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

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