As reports continue to emerge about the spread of Coronavirus across the globe, I know many of my constituents are deeply concerned about the health and safety of their families and communities. The most important thing is to be prepared, but not to panic. Listen to the advice of experts. We will get through this, together.
- About the disease
- Key resources
- CDC recommendations for protecting yourself
- FDA recommendations for grocery shopping safely
- How the new Coronavirus relief bill can benefit you, your family, or small business
- Rep. Schiff's town halls and interviews
- Updates from Los Angeles County
- Updates from Governor Newsom
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On March 27, 2020, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the bipartisan $2 trillion Coronavirus relief package, the CARES Act. This legislation provides direct relief and assistance for individuals, small businesses, and families hurting economically, help for healthcare workers and hospitals on the front lines, and critical funding for the states and cities. Learn more about why I voted for this critical lifeline.
Here's what you need to know about this new bill benefits you, your family, or your small business:
> OVERVIEW – This document from the Office of the Speaker of the House provides a comprehensive look at the three relief packages passed by Congress, and how they benefit you.
The CARES Act extends eligibility to more laid-off and furloughed workers, and provides an additional $600 per week to match the average paycheck for up to 4 months of benefits.
The CARES Act’s expanded unemployment benefits include coverage for freelance, gig, and contract workers, including those in the entertainment industry whose work has been impacted by the crisis. Rep. Schiff helped lead an effort in the House to include these expanded protections. Learn more.
- Factsheet: Unemployment provisions in the CARES Act
- FAQs: Coronavirus and California Unemployment Insurance Benefits
- Checklist: Information You Need to File an Unemployment Insurance Claim
> DIRECT PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES – Individuals making up to $75,000 (or $150,000 for married couples) will receive payments of $1,200, with an additional $500 per each minor child. Learn more at IRS.GOV/Coronavirus.
- Social Security and SSI recipients are eligible for these rebate payments. Learn more.
- If you do not normally file a tax return, you can input your information in this IRS tool to quickly register for these payments. Learn more.
> FOOD ASSISTANCE – Congress has secured significant investment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to ensure that American families and children can still access food and nutrition support during this crisis. To apply for SNAP or learn more, visit the CalFresh Program website.
- The Los Angeles Unified School District, in partnership with the Red Cross, is providing nutritious meals to all students who need them while schools are closed. Each child can take home two meals. To learn more or find a Grab & Go food center near you, click here.
- Los Angeles County Public Health Department
- California Department of Public Health
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Assistance for Small Businesses
- Resources for Americans Abroad
On March 26, 2020, Rep. Schiff hosted a telephone town hall with Dr. Muntu Davis, Health Officer for the LA County Department of Public Health, and Dr. Rekha Murthy, VP of Medical Affairs at Cedars-Sinai. Listen to a recording of the call here.
Rep. Schiff gets answers to constituent questions on Coronavirus from Dr. Rebecca Katz, Professor and Director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center:
Watch Rep. Schiff's latest interviews on Coronavirus:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
The following information is from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Learn more here.
To help protect yourself, grocery store workers, and other shoppers, it is important to keep a few things in mind:
- Prepare a shopping list in advance. Buy just 1 to 2 weeks-worth of groceries at a time. Buying more than you need can create unnecessary demand and temporary shortages.
- Wear a face covering or mask while you are in the store. Some stores and localities may require it. Check your state, county or city guidelines for any other requirements.
- Carry your own wipes, or use one provided by the store to wipe down the handles of the shopping cart or basket. If you use reusable shopping bags, ensure they are cleaned or washed before each use.
- Practice social distancing while shopping – keeping at least 6 feet between you, other shoppers, and store employees. Keep your hands away from your face.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds when you return home and again after you put away your groceries.
- Again, there is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. However, if you wish, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry, as an extra precaution.
An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified starting in Wuhan, China. Some patients have had mild illness, while others have been more severe and some have died. Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals and humans. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans. This novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus that has not been previously detected in animals or humans. The source of this virus is not yet known. Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including: fever, cough, shortness of breath. In some cases, COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness. (via California Department of Public Health)
Although Coronavirus started in geographically in Wuhan, China, having Chinese ancestry –– or any other ancestry –– does not make a person more vulnerable to this illness. Misinformation about Coronavirus has led to unacceptable discrimination against Asian-American communities and businesses. Listen to advice from experts. Racism and xenophobia are destructive and only further endanger our public health.
> GUIDANCE ON WEARING FACE COVERINGS IN PUBLIC
The City of Los Angeles has issued new guidance to L.A. residents on the importance of wearing face coverings in public. The California Department of Public Health has also issued public guidance on the use of face coverings.
Early data suggests that many who are infected with COVID-19 are not symptomatic, which is why we recommend all members of the public wear cloth face coverings when leaving the house for essential activities. However, a face covering is not a substitute for other critical measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 — most importantly, staying home as much as possible, washing hands frequently, and practicing safe physical distancing in all settings. Learn more.
> SAFER AT HOME ORDER
On March 19, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a "Safer at Home" emergency order for Angelenos to stay inside their residences and limit all non-essential activity outside the home. The order will be in place until May 15 and is subject to extension.
On Thursday, May 7, Mayor Garcetti, together with L.A. County, announced that the City will begin the process of slow and gradual adjustments to the Safer at Home order. To learn more, including about the public health indicators that will drive decision-making about when to loosen or tighten restrictions over the coming year, see the Safer L.A. website.
> DRIVE-UP TESTING
Drive-up mobile testing sites for COVID-19 are now open in LA County and the City of LA. Testing is limited to the most vulnerable LA County residents at this time – people with symptoms who are over 65, have underlying chronic health issues, or who are subject to mandatory quarantine period following confirmed COVID-19 exposure. Learn more.
> INFORMATION ON PRICE GOUGING
Los Angeles County declared a health emergency on March 4, 2020, to more easily obtain resources and give more focus to coronavirus.
Price gouging is illegal whenever a local emergency has been declared, such as with coronavirus. For 30 days following such a declaration, it is unlawful for a person or business to sell or offer any food items or goods, goods or services used for emergency clean-up, emergency supplies, medical supplies, home heating oil, building materials, housing, transportation, freight, storage services, or gasoline at a price that is more than 10% higher than the price charged by that person for those goods or services immediately prior to the declaration. Hotels and motels are also prohibited from charging prices that are more than 10% higher than rates they advertised immediately prior to the declared state of emergency.
For a period of 180 days after the declaration, it is also unlawful for a contractor to sell or offer to sell any repair or reconstruction services or emergency clean-up services for more than 10% higher than they charged immediately prior to the declaration.
Exceptions to these prohibitions exist if, for example, the person or business can prove that the price increase is directly attributed to additional costs imposed on it for labor, goods or materials.
City Attorney Mike Feuer urges anyone who is the victim of price gouging or who has information about it occurring in Los Angeles to file a complaint with the City Attorney’s Office – either online or by calling 213-978-8340.
The L.A. City Attorney can criminally prosecute violators of California’s price gouging statute. Violators can be sentenced up to one year of imprisonment in county jail and/or fined up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions, including civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, injunctive relief and mandatory restitution.
Everyone in California is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. If you go out, stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This order began Thursday, March 19, 2020 and is in place until further notice.
For more information, visit COVID19.ca.gov.