5-22-2020 Re-Opening America Update

May 22, 2020
Press Release

Latest Coronavirus Update from Congressman Jeff Duncan:

I’m thrilled to see more and more businesses across South Carolina turning their “OPEN” signs back on! At this point, most states are either mostly or partially open, while three states remain closed. We must continue pushing forward in order to get our economy back on track.

South Carolina 

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Governor McMaster recently lifted additional COVID-19 restrictions in South Carolina. Several attraction facilities can reopen today, May 22nd. This includes: 
 - Zoos 
 - Museums 
 - Aquariums 
 - Planetariums 
 - Historic Buildings and sites 
 - Waterparks 
 - Amusement Park Rides 
 - Go-Kart Tracks 
 - Bingo Facilities 
 - Miniature Golf Facilities 

The Governor also announced that youth and adult sports leagues can begin practicing on May 30th and play competitively starting June 15th. This is all great news. I know South Carolinians have been eager to get out in their communities again to safely interact with one another, support our small businesses, and enjoy more of the outdoors!

View Governor McMaster’s full announcement HERE.  

COVID-19 Rent Assistance 
The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority and SC Thrive have announced a new COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. This program is designed to help South Carolinians that have fallen on hard times due to COVID-19 pay their rent. For more information and to find out if you qualify for the program, click HERE.  

Unemployment Insurance 
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) has reported that in the last nine weeks, a total of 515,595 initial claims for unemployment insurance have been filed. DEW has paid over $1.35 billion in a combination of state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and other programs from the CARES Act, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). For the claim week ending on May 16th, 29,446 individuals filed their initial claim, which is a decrease of 3,067 from the week prior. 

If you have questions about unemployment insurance, please visit SC DEW’s website HERE.

Paycheck Protection Program 
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped so many businesses throughout the Third District push through COVID-19. As of May 16th, for the second round of PPP, over 2.76 million loans have been approved for small businesses totaling over $195.17 billion. South Carolina specifically has had 57,179 loans approved totaling $5,644,571,896.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently released the PPP Loan Forgiveness application with detailed instructions. You can view it HERE

From the SBA: The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.

For more information, please visit the SBA’s website HERE

COVID-19 Testing and PPE

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The United States continues to make strong progress on COVID-19 testing. We've performed over 13 million COVID-19 tests total – which is more than any other country in the world, and we continue to advance in testing per capita. It’s important that we keep moving forward on this as we reopen more of our country!

I greatly appreciate the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) hard work to get us to this place, and I especially appreciate the support they’ve given rural communities. HHS recently announced that rural areas will receive additional funding to increase their COVID-19 testing capabilities – great news for SC03!

As of May 20th, FEMA, HHS, and the private sector have delivered a total of 83.8 million N95 respirators, 138.5 million surgical masks, 11.9 million face shields, 26.9 million surgical gowns, and 1 billion gloves to states in need, including South Carolina. 

It has also been extremely encouraging to see so many local upstate businesses altering their normal business operations to manufacture PPE for our South Carolina healthcare workers, businesses, and neighbors. Great work!

Thank You

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I’d like to take this time to honor all our EMS providers in SC03 during National EMS Week! Thank you for going beyond the call of service, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your hard work on the front lines makes our communities safer and we honor YOU!

Stay In The Know 
For the most expedited constituent service, please do not reply directly to this email. Send me an email HERE so I can get in touch with you as fast as possible. Also, don’t forget to visit my COVID-19 Resources page HERE and follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for daily updates. Please let me know if there’s anything I can assist you and your family with during this time.