New Coronavirus Relief Package: After weeks of Democrats blocking more funding for small businesses and their employees, the Senate finally unanimously passed a new $484 billion coronavirus relief package last Tuesday.
The package replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with an additional $320 billion that will keep businesses operating, ensuring that thousands of South Carolinians can keep their jobs and their paychecks. The Small Business Administration resumed accepting PPP loan applications this morning. For more information, you can visit here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program
The new package also provides $75 billion for hospital and healthcare provider reimbursement (in addition to the $100 billion provided in the CARES Act) and $25 billion for expanded COVID-19 research and testing capacity. As states across the country begin their plans to reopen, this funding will help support these two critical components of our response.
Procuring Needed Medical Supplies: Amid reports of new Chinese export restrictions blocking critical COVID-19 supplies from reaching the U.S., Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and I led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter expressing our concerns to Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai. In our letter, we stressed the importance of receiving high quality testing kits and other medical supplies in the U.S., and we asked that Ambassador Tiankai and the Chinese government work to expedite the shipment of these products. You can read the full letter here.
On Sunday morning, Senator Graham, Governor McMaster, Congressmen Timmons and Duncan, and I welcomed the delivery of 1.5 million medical masks to South Carolina. These masks will be distributed to the frontline healthcare workers in our state. We are so grateful for their daily work and sacrifices to keep us safe.
Sharing Good News: In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, I believe it is important that we continue to seek out good news that can uplift and encourage one another. That’s why I have decided to partner with folks across the state to highlight positive stories during this time.
Throughout the past several weeks, I have been encouraged by countless stories of heroic South Carolinian individuals from health care workers to truck drivers to grocery store employees and South Carolinian businesses making sacrifices to help our neighbors in need. If you have good news to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell your story.
Resources: If you are feeling ill, click here for information from the South Carolina Hospital Association on tele-health options. More complete information on resources for South Carolinians is also available on my website or my Facebook page.
As parts of the state continue to open in the coming weeks, it is vital that everyone remain committed to following public health guidelines by washing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds, using cloth masks in public (leaving medical-grade masks for medical personnel), and critically staying home when feeling ill. More CDC guidelines and other helps are available at www.coronavirus.gov.
I know that this has already been a long-fought battle, but there will come a day when we defeat this virus together. Thank you all, once again, for your work to slow the spread and keep our communities safe.
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