I know when this whole thing started out, many of us didn’t understand just how big of effect this would have on us as a country, locally as cities and even as individuals. Many people have lost their jobs, their only source of income and with all the uncertainty no idea of when they may be able to go back.

One of the things I can offer are links to information, as the situation continues to be fluid as we learn more information each and every day. The best source of the most current information is at the CDC website, along with NHS website for information about the virus itself. How it is transmitted, how to protect yourself and your family, how long it survives on surfaces and what to do if you are sick!

Check these two sites for the latest, most up to date information about the virus itself:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Main take-aways:

Wash your hands with soap and warm water often, for at least 20 seconds, being sure to get between your fingers, the backs of your hands and your nails!

Try not to touch your face, we don’t realize how often we touch our faces throughout the day, so this is something that we really need to pay attention to.

Social Distancing – maintaining a 6 ft perimeter between people to help slow the spread of the virus – right now the doctors believe that the virus is spread through droplets (when a person coughs and does cough into their elbow) or aerosol (breathing the virus particles into the air). The 6ft perimeter is because the doctors believe that the droplets or aerosol has time to drop to the ground if we maintain the 6ft.

Disinfecting common touchpoints throughout the day – like doorknobs, light switches, faucets and other handles. Be sure to read the instructions on any disinfectant that you may employ. Many say the surface has to stay wet with the disinfectant anywhere from 6 – 10 minutes before you can wipe the surface down again.

Wiping down your cell phone with a disinfectant wipe several times a day is also important, so many of us put the phone up to our faces without even giving it a thought and if we tested the surface of our phones we would be shocked to find out how dirty they truly are.

If at all possible, stay at home! If your job will allow you to work from home, do it! If you must work in the office be sure to go directly to work, maintain the 6ft social distance rule and if you work in a cube, do your best to keep space between yourselves and disinfect your space as often as you can.

If you are sick, even if it’s only a cold, staying home is still the best option. If it’s possible to quarantine yourself away from the rest of your family, take every precaution not to infect them as well.

Stay away from nursing homes, assisted living facilities and any place that immune compromised folks may be. If you have older family members that are in an immune compromised position, visit them using video chats versus in person visits for now. Nursing homes have seen the highest rates of infection and death because the clientele are in the highest risk category, similar to current cancer patients or others with diseases that weaken immune systems and cause them to be especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

Relief Bill:

Well our Federal Government has finally gotten together for the American people and passed a relief bill as of 3.27.2020. While there is 880 pages to this legislation some of the important things to mention are that:

Americans who earn $75,000 (annual income for a single household) will receive a check for $1,200, for each child they will also receive $500. For couples the threshold is $150,0000 to receive a $2,400 check plus the $500 per qualifying child. If you have filed your taxes for 2019 and requested direct deposit your deposit will be made in the next 3 -4 weeks. If you have yet to file your taxes for 2019 they will calculate your check amount from your 2018 return. If you have not filed using direct deposit, your paper check will take a little longer to arrive. This is not money you have to pay back and you will not have to claim it on your following year’s taxes as income. This is a stimulus check for you to use however you need; for food, pay rent, pay utilities, home improvements or to reinvest back in your local community. For a straightforward, basic information visit this website:

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats- inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package
(this is not a government site and very boiled down synopsis of the bill, original bill is 880 pages)

and on a state by state basis what is available and the fact sheets that go with it:
https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Being proactive with your financial institution is going to be key right now. If you have been hit hard and will have difficulty making payments or payroll, talk to your banks small business advisor, the folks who work with small businesses every day. They will be able to tell you what your options are, lines of credit, deferring principal payments and other options. Your lenders will be far more willing to work with you if you come to them with the issue, versus defaulting on payments and then trying to fix it.

Stay safe out there or should I say stay safer at home! Do your part to protect our first responders, healthcare providers, care givers, grocery store, gas station and drug store employees who work on the front lines exposed to the public many times without the proper protection. Let’s all work to limit the amount of exposure they are faced with daily by going out only when absolutely necessary.