In the midst of a nationwide COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans are facing unprecedented financial hardships and uncertainty about the future. Luckily, Congress passed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act”, or CARES Act. The bill is one of the largest pieces of legislation ever written and has been designed to provide financial and economic relief to the nation during this extremely difficult and frightening time.
For weeks now, cities and states across the country have been limiting businesses and placing residents under social isolation and shelter-at-home orders in order to protect the public. COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a group of viruses called coronaviruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the virus transmits primarily through contact with an infected person’s coughing or sneezing; it also spreads when an infected person touches an object or surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. COVID-19 is usually accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as a fever, shortness of breath, and cough.
According to the Federal Reserve, millions of Americans have already lost their jobs during this crisis. The Fed also expects this number to continue to increase, peaking around as many as 47 million. A recent poll conducted by NPR, Marist, and PBS NewsHour suggests that 18% of adults have been laid off or have had their regular, fulltime hours cut so far. The poll also indicates that lower-income households are being hit particularly hard by COVID-190-related cuts and layoffs. Certain workers face particularly high risks for job loss, like individuals in sales, production, food preparation and service workers, airline attendants, barbers, and hair, makeup, and nail stylists.
The CARES Act establishes a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, with many of the provisions in place aimed at helping struggling workers, small business, state and local governments, and hospitals. Here’s a quick breakdown on what the bill offers:
Some other key elements of the CARE Act include the creation of certain federal tax provisions (such as extending the date for individuals to file and pay their taxes) and giving economic aid to large businesses.
Stay up to date with important health and safety updates for residents in the state of Pennsylvania and nationwide updates on COVID-19 from the CDC.
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