Report from the 26th District

Phase 2 in a pandemic

BY State sen. Dave Schatz Missouri’s 26th District
Posted 7/2/20

On June 16, Missouri began Phase 2 of the “Show-Me Strong Recovery Plan.” 

During Phase 2, there will be no statewide health order. All statewide restrictions will be lifted, …

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Report from the 26th District

Phase 2 in a pandemic

Posted

On June 16, Missouri began Phase 2 of the “Show-Me Strong Recovery Plan.” 

During Phase 2, there will be no statewide health order. All statewide restrictions will be lifted, though local officials will still have the authority to put further rules, regulations or ordinances in place. 

According to the governor’s office, weekly testing in Missouri has increased more than 220 percent from approximately 16,000 test encounters the week of April 20, to more than 53,000 encounters the week of May 25.

Over the past two weeks, the state has averaged more than 10,000 tests per weekday. Missouri continues to receive and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) across the state and has also received national recognition for the use of its PPE marketplace, which helps pair health care providers with Missouri manufacturers and suppliers.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, I have been working with our state departments to help minimize the virus’ impact on businesses and workers. However, as many of you have witnessed firsthand, this pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the hardworking citizens of our state. 

According to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR), Missouri’s unemployment rate for the month of May was 10.1 percent, with more than 115,000 new claims. 

While this unsettling statistic is a sobering reminder of the virus’ devastating effect on our state’s economy, it is still lower than the national unemployment rate for the month of May. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the national unemployment rate for the month of May was 13.3 percent.

Due to this unprecedented caseload, many of my constituents have dealt with miscommunication, delay and uncertainty when dealing with state agencies and departments. As a result, I have been working closely with DOLIRS’ legislative liaison to improve the department’s ability to follow-up with constituents regarding requests for unemployment benefits.

In many instances, the department needs additional information before they can process a request. By working with their legislative liaison, I believe we have improved the department’s ability to collect this important information. As soon as you file for unemployment benefits, please reach out to my staff and let us know of your situation.

Once we hear from you, we will collect some basic information to help the department directly contact you regarding your claim. For many Missourians, this is a scary and difficult time. However, I am hopeful that by improving the department’s ability to follow-up with individuals regarding their case, we will help these individuals receive the support they need during these uncertain times.

In addition, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the State Emergency Management Agency have requested assistance for businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The SBA has approved Missouri’s request for access to this loan program and are offering targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to Missouri small businesses. To apply, please visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

As I have said before, these are trying times for all of us, but I am proud to see how far Missouri has come since March. 

As elected officials, my colleagues and I are committed to doing everything we can to help the citizens of our great state overcome this pandemic. As the hardworking people of Missouri get back on their feet, we must still remember that the COVID-19 virus is not gone. It is still extremely important for everyone to continue social distancing. Be proactive. Avoid large, congested crowds, and if you can’t social distance, take extra precautions to protect yourself and those around you.

(State Sen. Dave Schatz, a Republican from Sullivan, is president pro temp of the Missouri Senate. His staff is available by calling 573-751-3678 or by emailing him at dave.schatz@senate.mo.gov).

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