The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce applauds the swift and speedy Congressional passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in this time of uncertainty. As businesses from every industry suffer due to unforeseen obstacles and circumstances, it is paramount we provide the help they need.
While we understand this is a first step and are optimistic the current situation is only a temporary event, we know even a temporary situation could have lasting effects long-term. Business of all sizes are currently experiencing a drop in revenue. It is critical to assist businesses, families, and individual as adjust.
“We welcome this much needed action to ensure our workforce, business community and families receive support during these uncertain times,” said General Juan Ayala, Interim President & CEO. “We at the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are exploring every avenue to leverage this Congressional Act and to do our part in response to this crisis. Out top priority remains the wellbeing of our members—We will get through this together.”
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
- Ensures no Texan will have to pay for COVID-19 testing by providing $1 billion to pay COVID-19 testing fees for the uninsured and requires all insurance to cover testing fees.
- Provides 10 days of paid sick leave for Texas workers to cover diagnosis, quarantine, or care for dependents and expands the Family Medical Leave Act to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers who need to care for affected dependents due to closures.
- Expands SNAP benefits to Texas families that depend on reduced or free meals through school, including two-thirds of schoolchildren in the state. The USDA provided Texas with a waiver to allow students to continue to receive free meals despite school closures.
- Expands access to home delivery meals for the elderly with $240 million so they can remain safely in isolation.
- Expands unemployment benefits during this time of uncertainty by waiving the work-search requirement so that Texans can practice isolation, and authorizes $1 billion in emergency grants for states and interest-free loans to process and pay unemployment insurance benefits.
- Takes care of servicemembers and veterans with $82 million for COVID-19 related expenses for military personnel and Dept. of Defense employees and $60 million for veterans’ related medical services.
- Authorizes an additional $500 million for low-income women and children affected by COVID-19 through the USDA Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program, in which 650,000 Texans are currently enrolled.
- Provides $400 million for food banks, including the at least 21 food banks in Texas that cover every one of our 254 counties.
“I am encouraged by the federal passage of this bill in light of recent events,” said Dr. Erika Gonzalez, Chair of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
“Our community is quickly being affected, and the federal government should help during these uncertain times. If we – the small business community – plan to survive this, it is going to take a transformative aid package. Small businesses are the economic engine of our city and they need our help.”
As the situation continues to evolve, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is here to help. Our website will be updated constantly as resources become available. Information can be found at https://www.sahcc.org/small-business/.