Dear Friends & Neighbors:
As we navigate the pandemic of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus together (but apart) please use this website to find useful information and tools. It will be updated as frequently as possible and much of the content is also provided on our social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter.
During the pandemic, our office will be closed to the public and working remotely except on the limited days that the legislature is in session. Normal community engagements such as coffee hours are also temporarily suspended during the pandemic. We are available by email at SenEGeiss@senate.michigan.gov and by phone at (517) 373-7800. Please be patient with responses as the volume of calls and emails is higher than usual. Most important, please be safe.
Workplace Guidelines & Hotline
General COVID-19 information & updates
Prevention & mitigating spread
Food assistance Utility assistance
Property tax & foreclosure information
Small business information & assistance
Your mental health, well-being & safety
WORKPLACE GUIDELINES AND HOTLINE NUMBER
As the curve continues to flatten and many businesses reopen their doors, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) issued workplace guidelines for employers and employees and created a new hotline, 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219), to answer guideline questions and further protect Michigan’s workforce from the spread of COVID-19.
WEBSITES FOR UPDATES AND INFORMATION
Visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus, CDC.gov/Coronavirus and WayneCounty.com for information, including updates on Governor Whitmer’s executive orders, and information from Wayne County regarding the global pandemic.
PREVENTION & MITIGATING SPREAD
One of the most important things that you can do right now is to make sure that you are following the CDC recommendations of social distancing, washing your hands frequently throughout the day with soap and running water for a least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer that is at least 60% isopropyl alcohol when soap and water are not readily available.
On Friday, April 3, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-36, prohibiting all employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or one of their close contacts tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of the disease. The order strengthens the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order by declaring that it is the public policy of the state that all Michiganders who test positive or show symptoms, or who live with someone who tests positive or shows symptoms, should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.
The graphic below helps illustrate what this means:Back to menu ^
State Dept. of Health and Human Services
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has launched a Coronavirus Information Hotline that is available every day, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 1-888-535-6136.
Mental Health/COVID-19 Trauma Concerns
These are unprecedented, difficult times for everyone. People are carrying a lot of stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and frustration. You’re not alone. If you are experiencing these issues and need someone to talk with, call the Department of Health and Human Services’ mental health hotline at 1-888-PEER-7753 (1-888-733-7753), available seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Beaumont Health System
People with questions regarding possible symptoms should call 248-551-7000. People can also visit their website for up-to-date information about their COVID-19 response.
Wayne RESA, the ISD that covers the school districts in our Senate district has a handy list of all of the school districts and schools (including some charters) that have set up programs for ensuring that students in their catchment areas still have access to food during the global pandemic. The schools or districts listed also have information on their websites and social media platforms with guidance on what each of their processes are. The districts covered by Senate District 6 are Flat Rock Schools, Huron Schools, Romulus Community Schools, Taylor School District, Wayne/Westland Community Schools and Woodhaven/Brownstown Schools. Summit Academy is also offering food distribution.
Visit this webpage for the full list from Wayne RESA. Their list is updated periodically. Note: it is in table form, so visitors will need to scroll to find their school or school district.Back to menu ^
GENERAL FOOD ASSISTANCE
Many people may need to turn to food assistance as the economic impacts of the global pandemic affect food security. Below are area food banks in Senate District 6. When possible, please call ahead, especially for those linked with houses of worship as some congregations are limiting their worship services in response to mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. List is by community and may be subject to change.
Church of God Mountain Assembly
494 W. Columbia Ave., Belleville, MI 48111
Food distribution held on Thursday nights. Sign-in between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. Food boxes are distributed after service, between 8:30 and 9:00 PM.
Nourishing Gardens Food Bank
24831 Sumpter Road, Belleville, MI 48111
Sundays, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Belleville First United Methodist Church
417 Charles St., Belleville, MI 48111
Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Helping Hands Community Lutheran Church
23984 Gibraltar Road, Flat Rock, MI 48134
Wednesdays, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM; must be a resident of Flat Rock
Gleaners Community Food Bank
25670 Northline Road, Taylor, MI 48180
Wednesdays-Fridays, from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Saturdays, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Fish & Loaves
25670 Northline Road, Taylor, MI 48180
Mondays, from 9:00 AM to Noon and 1 PM to 7 PM
Tuesdays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Wednesdays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Fridays, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Saturdays & Sundays, CLOSED
Note: Fish & Loaves has satellite locations throughout the Downriver Area.
The United Way for Southeastern Michigan also has a 2-1-1 helpline that is confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have established a fund specifically to help during the coronavirus pandemic. Please call for more information.
You can also visit PantryNet.org to locate a food pantry near you.
On behalf of the Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans, I would like to share information on food pantry sites around the County of Wayne.
The link provided below will give insight on dates and times of operation: https://www.greatstartwayne.org/findhelp-food
In addition, Forgotten Harvest has done a tremendous job hosting their mobile food drives on the go. Using their link you can find mobile locations near you: https://www.forgottenharvest.org/find-food/
Finally, if you have school-aged children, please check the Wayne RESA webpage for a location near you providing free meals for students during the emergency school closures. Most are providing FREE pick-up breakfasts and lunches to children in their area even if they do not matriculate in the school district.Back to menu ^
COVID-19 UTILITY ASSISTANCE
Many of the utility providers that we use have put in place COVID-19-related assistance programs.
Comcast is offering 60 days free of their internet essentials program during the coronavirus pandemic.
Charter is offering free access broadband and Wi-Fi for households with K-college students.
DTE Energy is suspending shutoffs, extends senior program amid COVID-19 outbreak through April 5th. Those in the Senior Winter Protection Program have their end dates automatically extended to May 5th. The payment assistance program may be available for customers who contract coronavirus or lose their income as a result of the outbreak. DTE encourages those impacted by COVID-19 to call 1-800-477-4747.
Consumers Energy is suspending shutoffs for low-income customers and seniors through April 5th. Seniors in the Winter Protection Program have their dates extended through April 30th. Those who may need payment assistance can also learn more on their webpage.
Phone and internet
AT&T for the next 60 days will:
Additionally, AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data and will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.
To help people work and learn remotely, businesses, universities and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90-days, and seamlessly forward calls to both mobile and landline phones with AT&T IP Flexible Reach. Further, they are underwriting expenses for a “one-stop” resource center to support eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), which is available to all educators in schools to help them handle school closures and the increase in virtual learning due to COVID-19.
Learn more about AT&T’s Coronavirus response on their website.Back to menu ^
PROPERTY TAXES & FORECLOSURES
Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, citing an abundance of caution, and interests of the health and safety of Wayne County taxpayers and Treasurer Office employees, has announced the closure to the public of the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office beginning Monday, March 16th until Friday, April 3rd. A decision will be made at that time whether to reopen to the public. For full details on the Wayne County Treasurer’s COVID-19 Response, please click here.Back to menu ^
COVID-19 UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
Governor Whitmer issued an executive order on March 16th to expand unemployment benefits to:
Until Tuesday, April 14th, Michigan is temporarily expanding unemployment benefit eligibility to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be patient as you try to submit an online application, as the system is receiving many more applications than usual. It’s suggested that you try to submit during the hours of 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM, when fewer people are trying to access the site. State employees are doing all they can to ensure that phone and online resources can keep up with the increase in demand.
Benefits will be extended to:
Benefits will also be extended from 20 to 39 weeks, the eligibility period has been increased from 14 to 28 days, and the normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.
Thanks to the federal CARES Act, weekly benefits for all unemployed workers will be increased by $600 a week for up to six months.Back to menu ^
SMALL BUSINESSES INFORMATION & ASSISTANCE
Information on help for small businesses is changing rapidly, with the latest available on the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Development website.
The U.S. Department of Small Business Association has information on their website about disaster assistance available, or you can call their national hotline at 1-800-659-2955. Also, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has information on their website as well.
If you are a small business in Wayne County that needs assistance during this time, read about the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Small Business Relief Program. Businesses can apply online through theDetroit Economic Growth Corporation.
The MEDC call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance. For more information, visit the MEDC’s website or call 1-888-522-0103.
The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website for additional information.
Michigan small businesses encouraged to apply for $349B Paycheck Protection Program
On Friday, April 3, 2020, the Whitmer Administration announced that small businesses across the state can now apply for $349 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans through the U.S. Small Business Association.
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the current Small Business Association of Michigan president, have launched PaycheckProtectionProgramMichigan.com to provide businesses with key resources to assist with the PPP application and loan processes to ensure the greatest amount of federal funding is able to be used by small businesses for economic relief throughout the state.
Who is eligible to apply for PPP loans?
Michigan small businesses, including hospitality and food industry businesses and sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons, are eligible to apply for loans to ensure employees continue receiving paychecks.
What can PPP loans be used for?
The loans are designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll and may be forgiven if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
How will PPP loans be awarded?
Loans from the PPP will be awarded on a first come, first served basis with funding caps in place. The state is encouraging small businesses to apply early and to utilize the website to make the process as streamlined and simple as possible.Back to menu ^
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, WELL-BEING & SAFETY
While we are all aiming to practice social distancing during this time of high anxiety, remember that your self-care and mental health and safety are also important. Here are some tools and links to tools that you may find helpful during this period:
Addiction and recovery
Some groups are hosting online Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings during the pandemic, so that those facing addiction and recovery can still find the support that they need and trust so that you can continue your recovery journey, especially during this time of high anxiety when relapse is more likely.
If you are already in a recovery program, stay close to your sponsor by phone, text or other forms of digital communication. If you need crisis counseling or support, learn about ways you can get help on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.
Domestic and intimate partner violence
Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised.
For help, guidance, and assistance, visit the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence, the National Network to End Domestic Violence website and the National Domestic Violence Hotline website
Michigan’s Sexual Assault Hotline continues to operate and provide 24/7, free, confidential and anonymous support to survivors of sexual assault, their family, and friends. Call 855-864-2374 or visit Michigan.gov/VOICES4.
Staying safe while cleaning and disinfecting
What NOT to flush
The Great Lakes Water Authority is cautioning people that the following items are not flushable:
Other than human waste, only toilet paper is flushable.
Avoid mixing chemicals
Use this handy guide to avoid accidentally mixing certain household chemicals together as you are cleaning and disinfecting.
Report price gouging
To report price gouging during the pandemic, please call the Attorney General’s office at 877-765-8388 or report through the consumer protection online portal.
Secretary of State offices
Secretary of State offices in Michigan will be by appointment only for critical services over the next three weeks. Critical services include driver’s license renewals, title transfer regardless of type and testing for an original CDL, Chauffeur’s mechanic and recreational licenses. These measures are aimed at preventing overcrowding.
For more information, visit the Michigan Secretary of State website. Late fees for tabs and license/state ID renewals will be waived during this period.
This online tool launched March 18 and in its first day had more than 16,500 users. This tool allows patients to answer a series of questions about their symptoms to help them determine whether to stay home or seek medical attention. After answering the questions, the online tool will suggest what action a patient should take, such as:
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 contact:
This email is for COVID-19 issues & questions only, not for other DHHS-related issues.
Emails will be answered seven days a week 8am-5pm
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