Having passed the CARES Act last week, a massive coronavirus relief package that would bring necessary assistance to so many Americans, I have returned home to continue working on behalf of South Carolinians. My office, although working remotely, will remain open during normal business hours, as my staff and I are devoted to serving South Carolinians in every way possible. Our team is following social distancing guidelines as strictly as possible and hope you will join us in doing so to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Direct Aid for Families As I mentioned last week, thanks to the CARES Act, South Carolinians and Americans across the country will soon be receiving checks of up to $1,200 for those making less than $75,000 a year or $150,000 a year if filing jointly. They will also receive $500 for each dependent child, meaning the average family of four will see an increase of $3,400 in their bank account this month. My hope is that this will give Americans the resources along with the encouragement that they need to persevere throughout this time.
Relief for Small Businesses and Charities Not only will individuals and families receive relief through the CARES Act, but small businesses and charities will also reap the benefits, keeping our economy alive. Over the past month, I have spoken to countless small business owners who, through no fault of their own, are struggling to keep afloat. This bill, by providing small businesses with $350 billion in federally backed, guaranteed loans, will enable owners to open their business doors again one day soon and to keep their employees on the payroll in the meantime. If used for payroll costs, interest on mortgage, rent, or utilities, these loans will be forgiven.
At my urging, $10 million will be appropriated for the Minority Business Development Agency to make grants to minority business centers and chambers of commerce. Without these essential organizations, many minority businesses would lack the training and other resources to educate small businesses on requesting loans.
As the CARES Act was being drafted, I also worked to ensure non-profits and churches would receive support. Thankfully, they are now eligible for payroll loans, and charitable giving deductions have been expanded to encourage donations to those organizations working to uplift our communities. I hope that you will join me in supporting those in need during this time.
Resources As I have mentioned before, if you are feeling ill, you can visit MUSC.care for a free virtual COVID-19 screening or https://www.prismahealth.org/virtual-visit/ for a free virtual visit (with coupon code COVID19). With a referral from a Prisma Health provider or a Prisma Health virtual visit, drive-thru testing options are available in the Upstate at Greenville Memorial Hospital and in the Midlands at Richland Hospital.
For more complete information on resources for South Carolinians, please visit my website or my Facebook page.
Final Words Once again, I want to say thank you to all of our healthcare workers across the country for the sacrifices that they are making each day to keep us safe and healthy. Today is #nationaldoctorsday, and I cannot think of a better time to show our support for the men and women who are saving lives by putting patients’ needs ahead of their own.
We can and must do our part by following the guidelines of the CDC as well as federal, state, and local officials. President Trump has extended federal guidelines on social distancing through April 30. Please remember to wash your hands thoroughly, practice social distancing, and stay home when possible, especially if feeling ill. To review CDC guidelines and other helpful COVID-19 information, please visit www.coronavirus.gov.
While this virus certainly changes our day-to-day realities and threatens to pull us apart, I have found that South Carolinians are more united than ever. As a man of faith, I have spent much time in prayer for my state and my country, and I thank God for the simple acts of kindness that I hear many of you are performing each day for one another. Keep up the good work and do not lose heart; together, we will make it through this challenging season.
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