Many will need help to shelter in place
Last week, cases of the new coronavirus mounted and spread across Delaware. Department of Health officials advised the public to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene – but for days, only those who were ill were advised to stay home.
On March 21, Gov. John Carney closed Delaware beaches, and on March 22, as Sussex County cases hit double digits, the governor called on everyone, even those who are healthy, to shelter in place.
It was a long time coming, but we are all now asked to stay home and go out only for food, medicine and other essentials.
This stay-at-home order is a critically important step, and as the governor said, it will only work if each of us does our part to slow the pandemic by staying home.
Let’s hope the governor and state lawmakers do not stop there. Restaurants shuttered a week ago, and now retail and many other businesses are already laying off workers. Early reports indicate Delaware’s new HELP program of low-cost loans for restaurants requires mountains of time-consuming paperwork and restricts how the money can be used.
Some restaurant owners say HELP is not enough.
Citizens can do their part to slow the coronavirus by staying home. But weathering this blow to the economy will require much more of all of us.
As federal officials continue to wrangle over a relief package, state leaders must also step up to protect the many people who were financially stable just weeks ago but are now facing economic devastation – even though they may never get sick.
Shuttered Delaware restaurants and small businesses need a quick, easy-to-apply-for, low-interest loan program to tide them through the COVID-19 storm, and Delawareans of all ages are going to need help to pay their rent and their mortgage.
Slowing the spread of the coronavirus is a critical step. Let’s also put measures in place to ensure we don’t lose the homes we’re sheltering in.