The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in numerous ways. We all are concerned about our health and the health of our loved ones. Schools and many businesses have closed, grinding the economy to a halt and threatening the jobs of many hard-working Iowans.
The Iowa General Assembly is not immune from the virus. The Capitol is a place where, during session, hundreds of people gather on a regular basis. Many of them are in the vulnerable population whose health is most threatened by the virus. We knew we needed to do our part to slow community spread.
On March 16, we suspended the legislative session until either April 15 or at the call of the Iowa Legislative Council to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Before adjourning, we passed a series of bills and resolutions to ensure essential services would still be provided during this time.
This is a difficult time for our state, and state government officials are doing everything they can to help Iowans confront this challenge. The Iowa Economic Development Authority has resources for both businesses and employees affected by COVID-19. They include small business relief programs, information on the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance Program, Community Development Block Grant funds to support infectious disease response, and resources for those whose employment is affected by the pandemic. You can find this information at www.iowabusinessrecovery.com.
Iowa Workforce Development has information and resources on unemployment insurance on their website, www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/COVID-19. If you contact them with questions or for information, I encourage you to be patient. They are receiving a record number of calls. I know they are trying to be helpful to every Iowan in their time of need.
If you are looking for other resources and are not sure where to go, the Iowa Senate Republicans have put together a web page with links to various state agencies and departments, including the Iowa Department of Public Health, and their information on COVID-19. This site includes updates from the governor’s office, tax information, and links to the above information. Please visit www.iowasenaterepublicans.com/covid-19-resources/.
This situation is changing rapidly. We are exploring all options available to us so that we can place Iowa and Iowans in the best position possible to help slow the spread of this dangerous virus.
I am proud to be an Iowan, especially in times like this. We are doers, and we look for ways to help the community. During floods, for example, we show up in droves to sandbag and clean up debris. The irony of this situation is that the best way we can help each other right now is to stay home as much as possible. Order takeout or delivery from local restaurants to help them. Keep your gym membership even though you cannot use it. Reach out to friends and family with technology. We may feel isolated at times, but we will still get through this by working together.