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A New Normal

The extension of the shelter in place order has been mentally and physically taxing on all of us. But there is some good news, we are starting to see infection rates plateau according to health officials. On Tuesday, health officials said social distancing has been working, leading to a flattening of the curve. In a press conference today, Governor Polis said that we will get the hard numbers on the success of our mandatory quarantine in the next week. It could be the beginning of a lift of quarantine measures. However, the Governor expressed that things will not go back to what they were in January and that we will have a "new normal." This new normal will look much like it does today, where we continue to practice social distancing, wearing facemasks when in public, and telecommuting as much as possible. The Governor noted that based on scientific findings that this will be our new normal until we have a vaccine or we have reached herd immunity (80% of the population has contracted COVID-19). The good news is that there has been accelerated vaccine development by several bioscientists and pharmaceutical companies.

Help Staying In

The state has created stayathomeco.colorado.gov which links to free resources that support Coloradans to stay at home, from wellness to critical services, to education, entertainment, and so much more. If you know of free resources that all Coloradans with an internet connection can access and promote a positive stay-at-home culture submit it here, the state will add it to the webpage because the webpage only gets better the more Coloradans engage with it.

Stimulus Checks

Coloradans should start to receive their stimulus checks this week; if you have set up a direct deposit for your tax return for either 2018 or 2019 taxes and make less than $99k/ year, you will receive your stimulus as a direct deposit. Paper checks will be mailed out for people that have not previously set up direct deposit. If you have not filed in the last two years, you must file for 2019 to get your stimulus check. Tax Help Colorado along with community partners and dedicated volunteers provide free tax filing assistance to families earning less than about $66,000 a year. To ensure you will be getting a stimulus check, click here to start the process, or if you are not required to file, click here. The Get My Payment app is strictly for people who file federal taxes. The IRS has a separate spot online where non-tax filers, including many low-income earners, can enter their information to get stimulus checks for themselves and qualifying dependents.
 

A second wave of stimulus payments will reportedly be sent in late April to Social Security beneficiaries and others who have their direct deposit information on file with federal agencies. After that, the IRS will be sending stimulus payments via paper check, to all those who are eligible.

As you can see, the fastest way to get your stimulus check is via direct deposit. Your payment could take weeks, if not months, longer if you are receiving payment via paper check.

Small Business Loans and Self-Employed Resources 

 The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is conducting weekly calls and webinars hosted by regional Small Business Development Centers, to help business owners seeking more information regarding relevant resources in a given region. Follow this link for informationhttps://drive.google.com/open?id=1wsQDxR2nPZMo3OfKX7TB5uNIv63T4V-7

Applications for Payment Protection Program benefits for self-employed individuals and independent contractors are now live.  https://choosecolorado.com/covid19/ 

Food Resources

We are living through unprecedented times and we understand the impact COVID-19 is having on food insecurity. If you or someone you know needs help with food, please reach out or consider referring them to one of these local services:

  • Project Angel Heart -  delivers home-cooked meals to those who are critically ill or otherwise unable to prepare their own food. PAH is continuing to serve those in need and implementing rigorous safety protocols to protect their volunteers. 

  • Metro Caring Denver - Metro Caring is an organization focused on ending hunger. During the pandemic, they offer free food delivery to anyone 60 or older, with no proof of income required. 

  • Food Bank of the Rockies - FBR has set up an emergency response food assistance program during the pandemic and is working with local organizations, like Feeding Denver's Hungry, to distribute food to those most in need. 


    If you’re able, please consider supporting any of these organizations with a financial contribution. Also, check out local organizations that are supporting unemployed restaurant and hospitality workers. Frasca Restaurant Group started a Go Fund Me page for employees of Frasca, Pizzeria Locale, Tavernetta, and Sunday Vinyl and 5280 is keeping a list of ways to help feed our neighbors.

Please feel free to reach out to my office via e-mail at susan.lontine.hd1@gmail.com for any concerns or if you know of resources that can help out your community. 
Be well.
Sincerely,
Susan

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