The agreement on a $2 trillion aid package by Congressional and White House negotiators announced at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday is, we are told, a guarantee to give many Americans who need help quick payments of $1,200 directly to Americans who need help an provide help and loans to businesses, large and small.
The deal comes as Virginia now has 9 deaths and 391 infections, 59,966 nationwide with 808 deaths and 19,721 dead worldwide and 445,880 confirmed positive.
On the surface, the massive bailout looks like a quick way to help many.
Hopefully, it may. Questions remain, however, on the details and who might get lost in the pipeline.
Originally, the quick payments to Americans would be based on income from their latest tax returns but many who depend on Social Security as the bulk of their income don’t make enough to even file returns. That includes many residents of Floyd County and other such rural areas.
For Social Security recipients, the federal government already knows what they receive and could make payments directly to them through direct deposits to bank accounts. Was that loophole closed? That depends on the final draft of the approved bills in the Senate and House.
Much of the small business loan program is based on keeping payroll payments alive in such operations but many small businesses are one-person operations where the owners tried to earn a little extra income. His or her business could shut down during the current economic holding pattern that exists in fighting the virus.
Will they have an opportunity to obtain small loans to stay in business until the crisis ends? We don’t know at this point.
What we do know is that America, like many nations worldwide, is all but shut down when people are told to stay home. President Donald Trump, whose hotels and resorts are losing millions daily because most are shutdown and dark, says he wants “America reopened by Easter,” which is April 12. Economic and health experts, along with most members of Congress, including Republicans, say that will not happen.
Let’s look at the entertainment and sports businesses, especially in a tourism-based area like Floyd County.
With the government of Japan and the International Olympic Committee ending their holdout on whether or not to cancel or postpone the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in July and agreed to reschedule the event next year, the focus may turn to other summer events in and around Floyd County and Virginia.
What FloydFest, normally five days at the end of July?
Music venues stay dark in Floyd and nearby locations. The Friday Night Jamboree goes into its third closed weekend, although co-owners Dylan Locke and Heather Krantz have substituted a streaming hour of music on their Facebook page each Friday evening.
But live gatherings are canceled until further notice, partly because of concern by musicians, promoters and venue owners and by orders of Gov. Ralph Northam, who says such gatherings are illegal and anyone trying to hold one will be punished.
Not just music. Northam closed bowling alleys this week, along with gyms and spas. Any and all food purchased for dining from a restaurant just be picked up and taken home or someplace that abides by the social distancing rules (no gatherings of more than 10 people).
That also shuts down the Saturday night bluegrass dances at Wildwood General Store, Sunday Music Jams there and at the Country Store, and concerts at Dogtown Roadhouse, Buffalo Mountain Brewery, Pine Tavern and elsewhere.
Northam says his rules may stay in effect for 4-6 months or even longer is the pandemic does not ease.
Want to go to a movie? Sit back in your easy chair and watch something at home on DVD or through streaming media services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu if you can afford the monthly fees and have a strong enough internet signal.
With the weather warming up, music normally populates Oxford Street in Floyd with musicians playing. Won’t happen this year. The musicians draw crowds much larger than 10. Floyd’s popular Small Town Thursday Night Shows are in danger as well, along with concerns over the concerts from the gazebo at Hotel Floyd.
The summer Saturday night concerts in the pavilion at Zion Lutheran Church? Not even the Lord can provide them or override the governor’s orders.
Life, as most of us know it, came to an infected halt with delays in response by our government and the folks governing other nations around the world.
Will things improve? Hopefully.
Will it come soon? Probably not.
Will we survive? Of course. That’s what we all do in times of crisis.