House Passes $484 billion Coronavirus Relief Bill

At noon President Trump signed a $484 billion coronavirus relief package to help small businesses and hospitals after the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill on Thursday. The legislation will give $320 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $75 billion to aid hospitals, and an additional $25 billion to increase nationwide testing.

If you applied for PPP funds during the first round and did not receive relief, you do not need to reapply. You are already in the queue. You may be near the front of the line if you applied shortly after the program began. However, your status depends on whether your application is complete, accurate, and how your lender prioritizes loan applications. Reach out to your lender ASAP to see what actions you need to take to be eligible for the new funding.

HAWS Wins $30 Million Dollar Grant

The Housing Authority of Winston Salem (HAWS) was awarded a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant. The Choice Neighborhoods program leverages significant public and private dollars to support locally driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood.

The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and catalyzing critical improvements in the neighborhood, including vacant property, housing, businesses, services and schools. HAWS will use the funds to transform Cleveland Avenue Homes. The grant will also be used to bring improvements that will help beautify eastern Winston Salem, 25th Street, and the Innovation Quarter area near U.S. 52. As a condition of the award, applicants must partner with the city, who will handle projects such as roads, streetscapes and parks.

Governor Cooper’s Plan to Reopen North Carolina

Governor Cooper announced on Thursday that he will extend the state’s stay-at-home order until May 8th based on guidance from the CDC. He also unveiled his three-phased plan to incrementally lift restrictions outlined under our current stay-at-home order, and policies aimed to gradually reopen businesses statewide.

The stay-at-home order will remain in place in the first phase. However, more retailers will be able to open if they practice social distancing guidelines for protecting customers and screen employees’ health daily.

Major Takeaways of Phase 1:

  • Citizens who can work from home are encouraged to continue doing so;
  • Gatherings are still limited to 10 people or less, but parks are allowed to reopen;
  • People should still wear masks or other face coverings in public; and
  • Local emergency orders may remain in place.

Two to three weeks after the start of Phase 1, Phase 2 could begin if downward trends in viral activity continue. In that scenario Governor Cooper said he would lift the stay-at-home order and permit more activities. Restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services, and other businesses could then reopen if they follow safety protocols. The number of customers permitted in restaurants, gyms, and retail spaces may still need to be limited to ensure public safety.

Major Takeaways of Phase 2:

  • Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and people with weakened immune systems will be encouraged to continue stay at home;
  • The number of people allowed at gatherings will increase, but a specific number was not announced;
  • Houses of worship and entertainment venues can hold events at reduced capacity; and
  • Public playgrounds can reopen.

Four to six weeks after the beginning of Phase 2, North Carolinians could enter Phase 3. In Phase 3 stay-at-home restrictions would be eased for vulnerable populations, but they would still be encouraged to practice social distancing and minimize their exposure to settings where practicing social distancing is difficult. Additionally, the number of people allowed at gatherings and inside restaurants, bars, other businesses, houses of worships and entertainment venues would be further increased. However, if data shows a resurgence in coronavirus cases at any time during the process, the state might regress to an earlier phase.

As we look to plan a gradual reopening, this is certainly encouraging for families, businesses, and our communities.

Resources to help you plan a reopening strategy for your business:

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