Angleton has extended its disaster declaration through April 23, Mayor Jason Perez said.
Residents who are unable to pay their water bill during this time will still have late fees applied to their account, usually by April 5, but the utility will not be disconnected and the disconnect fee will be waived, Perez said.
The mayor asked worried residents who are past due on their bill to contact City Hall in advance to discuss further planning.
“We aren’t a rich city,” Perez said.
The city is exploring options to help small businesses, Perez said.
LJ suspends yard parking ban
The ban on parking in residential yards is suspended after Lake Jackson Mayor Bob Sipple signed an emergency directive Wednesday.
Residents were previously forbidden from parking passenger vehicles in yards that would be visible from the street. The emergency directive does not indicate an end date for the suspension.
Power COMPANY offers grant funding to qualifying nonprofits
Texas-New Mexico Power is offering grant funding for qualifying nonprofit organizations for programs that enhance community safety, according to a news release.
Nonprofits must be in areas serviced by Texas-New Mexico Power and preference will given to programs that address the impact of COVID-19 on senior citizens, the release states. Grant may range from $10,000 to $50,000.
“The impact this virus can have has been worrisome to us all, particularly anyone who has loved ones who are seniors,” Texas-New Mexico Power President Neal Walker said.
Applications will be accepted through April 2. For information, visit www.tnmp.com/about-us/community-outreach.
JOBLESS CLAIMS NEAR 30,000
Texas Workforce Commission officials are still tallying the number of unemployment insurance claims they’ve received this month, but in the past week alone, there have been more than 150,000 claims, Executive Director Ed Serna said during a Facebook Live session Wednesday afternoon.
The commission is receiving close to 30,000 claims each day, Serna said.
“Our goal is to serve the citizens of the state of Texas — our neighbors — as aptly as we can,” Serna said.
Many people who have been calling in for assistance have had trouble getting through, and the reason is the total number of people calling is “in excess of 800,000 individuals,” Serna said.
In order to address the problem, the commission is reassigning staff members and hiring temporary workers for the call centers and expanding hours of operation to include 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, he said.
The commission has increased the number and size of servers to its website to handle more online visitors, he said.
“We’re addressing everything that we can as quickly as we can,” Serna said. “I assure you, we will help everyone that needs help.”
There is enough funding now to support all who qualify for unemployment benefits, and if necessary, the commission will seek additional funding from the federal government, Serna said.
There are no provisions available for the commission to extend the 26-week period people can stay on unemployment benefits, he said, but the work search requirement and the week waiting period have both been suspended. However, benefits start only after the application has been finalized — not from the period of time the process gets going, he said.
Those in need of unemployment insurance benefits can apply 24/7 online or can call 800-939-6631. For problems getting through online or via the 800 number, Serna recommends people continue to call at different times, or continue to try accessing the system online at different times, he said.
Abbott ASKS FEDS FOR SNAP EXPANSION TO RESTAURANTS
Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission issued a letter to the Department of Agriculture insisting recipients of the Texas Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program be allowed to use their benefits for take-out and drive-thru restaurants.
The program provides monthly funding to be used for nutritional foods for low income people.
“If approved, it would open up another food source for 3.2 million Texans,” a news release states.
CHI St. Luke’s TIGHTENS visitor policy for safety
In protection of patients and visitors, employees and physicians, CHI Texas Division will dramatically increase visitation restrictions, CHI Texas Division officials said.
No visitors will be allowed on hospital grounds, except for several specific special cases, as decided by medical professionals, including end-of-life, pediatric, NICU, labor and delivery, said Emelda Moreno, CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport communications and marketing coordinator.
No visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed on the premises, regardless of circumstance.
Anyone entering the hospital will be screened with a list of questions to ensure there are no symptoms present and there was no recent travel to high-risk areas for COVID-19, Moreno said. Anyone who does not pass the screening, may enter the hospital only to seek care and anyone coughing will need a mask.
“Masks are handed out to those who are symptomatic as well as anyone who requests one,” said Jessica Guerra, CHI St. Luke’s Health Brazosport infection control nurse.
Workforce Solutions to host workshop
Workforce Solutions is hosting a workshop that can help small business owners get the means they need to move forward.
The coronavirus is wreaking havoc towards small businesses, especially those deemed “non-essential.”
Workforce Solutions is providing a free Coronavirus Disaster Relief Options for Small Businesses workshop on from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday via webinar.
The event will be hosted by Houston-Galveston Local Development Corporation Senior Business Developer Isaac Perez, who has a proven track record of navigating the public sector to achieve public policy and economic development goals, a Workforce Solutions press release states.
Perez will share information regarding Economic Injury Disaster Loans through Small Business Administration, bridge loans through Houston-Galveston Local Development Corporation as well as non-monetary resources, the press release said.