Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Federal Aid Package
On Wednesday, The US Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with unanimous, bipartisan support. This bill is intended to provide necessary support to individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19 as well as to the medical professionals working on the front lines to contain and eradicate this virus.
It was passed by the House of Representatives today, Friday March 27, and is expected to be signed into law by President Trump.
This bill will provide a one-time check of $1,200 per adult making under $75,000 a year, $2,400 per couple earning under $150,000 a year, and $500 per child. Additionally, it will also expand unemployment insurance benefits and provide $350 billion in small business loans that will not need to be repaid if the business maintains its workforce.
to see the City of Houston's summary of the bill.
Harris County Precinct 4 Hotline
Commissioner Jack Cagle has created an information line for constituents to ask questions related to COVID-19 through the Harris County Precinct 4 Community Assistance Department. If you have any questions relating to the County's response to the virus, call: 832-927-4444.
Texas Workforce Commission
The TWC has
waived the waiting week
, for Unemployment Benefits. In addition to waiving the waiting week, TWC is exercising its authority under the Governor's declaration of a Statewide Disaster to waive Unemployment Insurance work search requirements effective immediately.
Stay-Home Work-Safe Order
Tuesday, March 24 County Judge Hidalgo and Mayor Turner announced a
Stay-Home Work-Safe order
, effective at midnight March 24 until midnight April 3. If you need additional clarification or information on this order, please email
Residents are still free to go to the grocery store or pharmacy, pick up food at restaurants, go to the park, and go for a walk. I advise that residents heed CDC guidance relating to social-distancing. All private gatherings outside of your household are prohibited, but you can still leave to care for family members or pets in other households. Businesses in the
critical infrastructure sectors
can remain open. I found this article helpful for a list of businesses exempted from the order.
Support Local Restaurants!
It is critical that our community continues to support our locally-owned restaurants during these tough times. I encourage residents to take advantage of the convenient take-out and delivery services being offered by these great businesses.
COVID-19 Testing in the Houston Area
Harris County and the City of Houston are expected to open a total of four testing sites in partnership with FEMA.
The City's first testing location opened March 20
initially only for first responders and healthcare workers. As of Monday, March 23, the site is open to symptomatic medical professionals, first responders, people 65 and over, and people of any age with chronic illnesses. To get tested, you must first call the Houston Health Department's COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220. Once you are screened over the phone, you will receive a unique identification code and instructions on where to go for testing.
Please check the Houston Health Department
site for more information on the pre-screening process and testing sites.
Two County sites opened over the weekend to test first responders and healthcare workers. Harris County has launched an online tool to access testing. Once you are screened online, you will receive a unique identification number and a phone number to call to get the site location.
Other Testing Locations in Houston
United Memorial Medical Center offers free COVID-19 testing at 510 W. Tidwell Road between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The testing program will begin by testing only the highest-risk individuals first, Register online for a pre-screening test.
Legacy Community Health offers COVID-19 testing at three of their Houston locations only for those who screen positive for the virus - People who are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other respiratory conditions; People over the age of 65, or have a chronic medical condition. It is not necessary to call ahead before going to one of the locations. Patients with questions should call a primary care physician or Legacy's contact center at 832-548-5000. All testing is done on a sliding scale, and the clinics will bill insurance companies for those who are covered.
The locations are:
Legacy Fifth Ward, 3811 Lyons Ave.
Legacy Montrose, 1415 California St.
Legacy Southwest, 6441 High Star Dr.
My Family Doctor has one drive-thru testing facility at 6430 Hilcroft Ave., open Monday through Friday between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. This testing site is currently cash only. Testing is limited to those who have fever and/or symptoms of respiratory illness, priories include the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions. This site has said they cannot process more than 120 vehicles per day. For more information please visit My Family Doctor's website.
Steps to Prevent Yourself and Your Family
The best ways you can stop this virus are easy, painless, and are simple enough that we should follow them whether or not a pandemic is taking place:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Regularly use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect commonly-used surfaces regularly.
- Avoid close contact with people who have been exposed to the virus or who are sick.
Store Senior Hours
Supermarkets around the city are starting to offer dedicated store hours and other services available for seniors to high-risk individuals. Here is a list of some companies offering this:
- Walgreens has a weekly Seniors Day for people 55 and older. Every Tuesday from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM.
- H-E-B, through its delivery service Favor, is offering a shopping and delivery service for people 60 and older. They can order online or call the Senior Support Line at 833-397-0080 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM seven days a week. A personal shopper, who is available directly by phone, executes the order and delivers it.
- Food Town is open only for seniors 65 or older during the hours of 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM every day.
- Whole Foods is allowing customers 60 or older to shop one hour before public opening times (these vary by store location).
- Walmart is dedicating an hour before stores open, from March 24 to April 28, to senior shoppers 60 and older.
- Randalls is encouraging most customers not to shop between the hours of 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM Tuesdays and Thursdays, to make priority for seniors 60 or older, as well as other at-risk people.
- Target is reserving the first hour of shopping every Wednesday to seniors over 65 and other at-risk people.
- Costco will hold its senior hour for members 60 and up Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
- Trader Joe's reserved the first hour of daily shopping to seniors, 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest
federal disaster loans
for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.
Stay tuned for more updates from my office as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve. I also encourage you to continue getting updates from Houston Emergency Operations Center.
The District G office will continue to remain open and is here to serve the residents as usual. Office staff is working staggered shifts to maximize social-distancing and to ensure day-to-day office needs are attended to during business hours. Please send an email to DistrictG@houstontx.gov or call 832-393-3007 if you are in need of our assistance.
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Houston City Council Member, District G
900 Bagby, 1st Floor
Houston, TX 77002
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251-1562