Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

The California State Assembly is working with the Governor to ensure that our public agencies have all the resources they need to combat the novel coronavirus, AKA COVID-19.

Per the Governor, the state’s Department of Public Health, the Health and Human Services Agency, and the Office of Emergency Services are in regular contact with the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are closely monitoring the outbreak. As your State Assemblymember, I am committed to working with local health authorities, school districts and other entities to ensure that all are responding together to prevent and address risks associated with coronavirus. 

Actions Taken by the State

California’s health authorities plan for situations like this. As in any public health event, our Medical and Health Coordination Center (“The MHCC”) has been activated and is coordinating response efforts across the state. We are providing information, guidance documents, and technical support to local health departments, health care facilities, providers, schools, universities, colleges, and childcare facilities across California. 

On March 15, Governor Gavin Newsom has issued directives to maximize social distancing and curb the spread of the coronavirus. This new guidance includes:

  • Seniors (ages 65 and older) as well as those with chronic health conditions should isolate in their homes;
  • Bars, night clubs, wineries, and breweries should close;
  • Restaurants must cut their occupancy in half, implement appropriate social distancing, and should focus on take-out or delivery orders only;
  • Visitation of patients in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, senior and assisted living homes should be for “end-of-life” only.

The State is also making efforts to aid the unsheltered homeless population by procuring hotels and motels and sending over 400 state-owned trailers to critical areas.

On March 16, the State Legislature allocated up to $1.1 billion in emergency state funds to combat COVID-19. These emergency funds will provide for the immediate response needed to address this public health crisis and represents a down payment on the State's efforts to address this public health crisis head-on. 

Housing

Governor Newsom has issued an executive order establishing a statewide moratorium on evictions through May 31, 2020. This specifically applies to evictions related to non-payment of rent due to economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are financially impacted by COVID-19 and cannot pay your full rent, you must let you landlord know in writing no later than seven days after the rent is due. 

The City of San Diego has also put in place its own temporary ban on evictions for those residents experiencing economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. City residents are encouraged to visit this website to learn more. 

School closures

Per Governor Newsom and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year. School districts will be establishing and implementing distance learning protocols to keep students on-track. Contact your local school or school district for more information. 

Food service for K-12 students

Students will be able to receive meals during school closures. Per the San Diego County Office of Education, any student ages two through 18 can visit any school site providing meals and receive food.

Click here to see the confirmed list of food service sites.

For college students

The CA Student Aid Commission does not predict any changes or disruptions to our state financial aid program, including the Cal Grant.

On March 20, the US Department of Education announced that all borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency. See US Department of Education announcement here.

California student veterans who have been receiving GI Bill benefits are still receiving those benefits and it is likely that they will continue to do so uninterrupted and without reduction until approximately the end of this calendar year. The US Department of Veterans Affairs recommends that students with inquiries about specific circumstances contact the Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 between 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM (EST), Monday-Friday.

For workers -- 

If you can’t work or are being required to work less due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may qualify for assistance through the State's unemployment insurance program. You can file an unemployment claim here

Under the federal CARES Act, there is a newly available emergency unemployment assistance program called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. This program provides assistance for unemployed or partially unemployed individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance. EDD will begin accepting online application for PUA starting Tuesday, April 28. More information on PUA can be found on the Labor and Workforce Development Agency's' website

On April 15, Governor Newsom issued an executive order directing the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and EDD to extend its call center hours to 8:00 PM. EDD call centers will now be open from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM, seven days a week to help process unemployment claims and answer questions. 

For businesses -- 

The federal Small Business Administration has approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration for California – meaning, loans are available to small businesses and private non-profit organizations in San Diego County. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

DMV – expiring driver licenses and vehicle registration

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Governor and the DMV have requested law enforcement exercise discretion for 60 days in their enforcement of driver license and vehicle registration expiration dates. More information can be found here.

Taxes

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB's) is providing special tax relief in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns and make certain payments until July 15, 2020. The FTB will also waive interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. FTB is postponing the filing and payment deadlines for all individual and business entities, until July 15, for:

  • 2019 tax returns;
  • 2019 tax return payments;
  • 2020 1st and 2nd quarter estimate payments;
  • 2020 limited liability company taxes and fees; and,
  • 2020 Non-wage withholding payments.

The April 10th deadline for property tax payments has NOT been extended. 

State Parks

California State Parks is temporarily closing vehicle access at all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to observe the Governor's shelter in-place executive order. 

How Can People Protect Themselves

So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense – things you would normally do to prevent other viruses:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean your hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home and do not come to work if you are sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough
  • Follow guidance from public health officials.

About the Disease

The family of coronaviruses has been around for some time. Some coronavirus are common, like the ones that cause the common cold. Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a new a kind of coronavirus. The most common symptoms include fever cough and respiratory symptoms.  Our experience to date is that most people, more than 80%, have mild or no symptoms, but some have more complicated course, including pneumonia.  We are learning more about its transmission, but the most common symptoms are respiratory, so its primary mode of transmission is through coughing and sneezing.

Questions or need more information?

Please visit the State's dedicated website to the coronavirus pandemic at covid19.ca.gov. Additional resources and information are available from the California Department of Public Health and from the Centers for Disease Control

My office will remain open during these times and is committed to assisting you the best we can. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can be reached via e-mail at assemblymember.gloria@assembly.ca.gov or by phone at (619) 645-3090.