Most of us have never been asked to make sacrifices for the health and safety of others. We’ve never deliberately brought our economy to a standstill and we’ve never lived through a time when millions of Americans have become instantly unemployed practically overnight.
In cooperation and guidance from the White House, Gov. Bill Lee announced on Monday he would extend his stay at home order through April 30.
Balancing the value of life, with freedom and quality of life is a difficult task to say the least. As uncomfortable as this is for all of us, this is likely the quickest path back to normalcy with the fewest deaths possible from COVID-19.
I urge you to take personal responsibility for yourself and your family. Follow the advice of medical experts. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Use common sense.
We must do what it takes to preserve our economy and way of life. I’m pleased that our governor has formed the Economic Recovery Group to focus on a phased reboot of our state economy that will work to reopen Tennessee businesses.
The group will be led by Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Mark Ezell and will work in coordination with legislative leadership, local mayors, health care professionals, and representatives of impacted industries. The Economic Recovery Group will issue industry-specific guidance so that businesses can be prepared to operate safely while protecting their workers and customers.
By formalizing an economic recovery specific group, this will ensure the Unified Command Group will continue their focused efforts of disease management, improving hospital and testing capacity, and increasing our PPE supply chain. The Unified Command Group will also be making recommendations to Gov. Lee about when and how to begin the phased-in reopening of the economy.
Remember that God is in control. Do not let fear take over. Continue to turn to Him for direction and comfort.
Broadband Accessibility Grant funding announced for Obion County
Gibson Electric Membership Corporation will receive a grant for $703,518 to expand broadband accessibility in Obion County. The funds are part of a round of new broadband accessibility grants announced by Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development last week totaling nearly $20 million for 21 Tennessee counties.
The funds will provide access to reliable broadband services for 31,000 Tennesseans currently unserved in 12,700 households and businesses. Infrastructure is expected to be built out, and customers should be able to sign up for service within two years of providers receiving funding.
City & County Government grant applications available April 30
Before our General Assembly recessed until June 1, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a $39.8 billion budget that included $200 million in city and county government grants. These one-time grants are based on population and will be distributed to every Tennessee county and municipality.
The grants may be used for road projects, IT upgrades, capital maintenance, utility system upgrades, public safety projects, Covid-19 response, as well as recovery relief for communities impacted by the March 3 tornado outbreak.
No county will receive less than $500,000 and no municipality will receive less than $30,000. Additional funding opportunities for Tennessee’s 15 distressed counties is also available through these grants.
The application process will go live April 30 and funding will be available after July 1.
Additional information can be found here.
Department of Labor unemployment update
The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development this week provided several updates to help address the record number of unemployment claims filed in recent weeks.
The Jobs4TN.gov website is being reprogrammed to address the increase in unemployment claims, and to support additional resources available through the federal CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the new $600 weekly federal benefit. The Department of Labor has also added 200 more employees to assist with the substantial increase in claims. Self-employed or unemployed workers who have already submitted a claim do not need to reapply. All Tennesseans receiving unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will also automatically receive the weekly $600 federal benefit, in addition to their unemployment benefit.
Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration launched the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to incentivize small businesses to keep employees on staff. These loans will be completely forgiven if a business utilizing them keeps all its employees on payroll for eight weeks and funds are used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
For more information about the PPP, contact your local financial institution or click here.
Support local businesses
Small business is the lifeblood of our community and many are hurting right now. They are our neighbors and our friends, and they are part of what makes our towns unique. Please remember to support them right now just as they have supported our youth sports teams, bands, clubs and organizations.
And finally, I am here to serve you. Please share your thoughts or let me know how I may be of assistance to you.
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 15:57
Please email me at [email protected].