TOP TEN April Coronavirus (COVID-19) Questions and Answers!
I'm so proud of the way our local communities and state have stepped up with so many willing to do their part in these uncommon circumstances. While we are all adjusting to the disruption in our routines, we have shown remarkable cooperation and care for one another. I am confident the trouble will pass, and we can get back to normal in short order.
I hope to serve as a resource to anyone who has questions about what to do, and where to go if you need help. One of the challenges I have seen is there is SO MUCH information, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
So, I am going to limit this update to TEN points of information and resources that seem to be the most important at this point.
Here we go....
1. What should I do if I believe I (or a family member) has COVID-19?
If you're still concerned, for most people the best place to start is by calling the State of Utah COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-456-7707. This hotline will give you information regarding symptoms, whether you should get tested, and options as to where you can get tested.
2. I lost my job! OR I can't go to work because I have COVID-19! What are my options?
Many will be eligible for unemployment benefits available from the State!. Please apply for these cash benefits! Visit https://jobs.utah.gov/covid19/index.html, to apply.
This site will also help you provide resources to look for new temporary or permanent employment. https://jobs.utah.gov/jobseeker/index.html
The State has created a new program called One Utah Child Care to meet the needs of essential employees such as healthcare workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online tool for parents to register is now available and services began March 30, 2020.
Parents who are essential employees can go to jobs.utah.gov/covid19 now to complete an intake form that will connect them to a network of available providers. All participating providers are following strict social distancing and public health guidelines as outlined by the Department of Health’s Child Care Licensing program.
For other individuals who are working, but do not fall under the category of essential employees, many Utah child care programs remain open and available with safety protocols in place to protect both the staff and children from the spread of COVID-19. Parents can find available providers at careaboutchildcare.org.
4. I can't pay my mortgage (or rent)! What are my options?
Homeowners unable to make their mortgage payments due to a decline in income resulting from the impact of COVID-19 (regardless of whether they have contracted the virus) may be eligible for a mortgage forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. See details here.
The Utah Apartment Association announced its plan to help renters cope with the economic impacts of COVID-19. Renters who demonstrate their financial status has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can qualify for rent deferment. When renters qualify, landlords and management companies will provide a plan to defer a portion, or potentially all, of April’s rent payment, to be paid at a later date. Visit uaahq.org to learn more.
5. I have a small business that is suffering. Where can I get help?
Part of the bipartisan federal bill passed last week includes the Paycheck Protection Program. This is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The loan will be completely forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees. See details here.
Because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced a plan to help Utah small business owners. The Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program offers a bridge loan to the state’s small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. These business loans range are 0% interest for up to a 60-month period. See here for more details.
6. What is the status of West Valley City services?
West Valley City’s Police, Fire and Public Works Departments continue to serve our community as they have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Trash is being picked up. Though City Hall will be closed to all non-essential activities, city staff will continue to serve our residents remotely in every way possible.
West Valley City has asked that you continue to follow guidelines of washing your hands thoroughly, staying at home when you are sick, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, practicing social distancing, and keeping your home and work space clean.
7. My children received meals at school. How can my children get access to those meals?
Student dismissal has been extended to May 1, 2020. Granite School District Nutrition Services is committed to continue to provide grab & go breakfast and lunch meals to all children and teens ages 1-18 within the District boundaries at no charge. See all those details here.
8. I need home internet access for work and/or school!
If you do not have internet access at home, or cannot afford to maintain it, but need internet for work or school, there are several options available through providers:
- Comcast Internet Essentials, a low-cost home internet package for qualifying individuals and households, is now available for free for the first two months.
- Access from AT&T is a low-cost home internet package for qualifying individuals and households (no special for COVID-19 but still available at a low cost)
Additionally, many internet providers have announced that they are waiving late payment fees, increasing caps on internet speeds, and will not disconnect customers for not paying monthly bills on time. If you have questions or concerns about your internet connection, contact your provider or visit their website for more information.
9. Yikes! Are my taxes still due on April 15?
No. The new federal and Utah tax filing and tax payment deadline has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020.
10. What is Utah's plan for returning back to normal?
State and business leaders have been working on the Utah Leads Together Plan (released Tuesday) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and eventually bring things back to normal. This data-driven plan has three phases: (1) Urgent Phase; (2) Stabilization Phase; and (3) Recovery Phase.
The Urgent Phase is where we are right now. The objective is clear: Mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The strategy is to identify, mitigate, and reduce the virus’ impact before Utah reaches a hospital-bed crisis. A detailed work plan is in place. This phase involves a coordinated public health response and large-scale testing.
Utah's full plan can be found here.
As one of your elected officials, I want to reassure you that the State of Utah, Salt Lake County, and West Valley City is well prepared to weather the impacts that may come as a result of this situation.
Feel free to pass this information along to whoever might find it useful. Many are looking for information during these times of anxiety and uncertainty.
I will post resources on my social media channels and encourage you to do the same, or share my posts. Feel free to contact me anytime.
Representative Craig Hall
Legislative email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal email: email@example.com
Cell phone: (801) 573-1774