These weekly updates will provide the latest news and information on what our community, the state, and the federal government are doing as we face an unprecedented pandemic.
Governor Abbott’s executive order
Governor Abbott is temporarily closing schools, restaurant dining areas, gyms and bars statewide. The order is effective early Saturday morning and continues until April 3rd.
On Friday, March 20th, TEA updated https://txschools.gov/ to include the MealFinder Map, which Texans can utilize to see where and when their local education agency is providing free meals.
Additionally, the TEA has put together a list of resources for students and parents that can be accessed by clicking here.
IRS Tax Payment Extension
The Internal Revenue Service has extended individual and non-corporate taxpayers a 90 day deferral for all tax filings due by April 15th, 2020. Tax Day for 2020 will be July 15.
If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can now apply for benefits with the Texas Workforce Commission. Individuals can apply either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 am – 6 pm Central Time Monday through Friday. You can find more information here by clicking here.
The Texas Workforce Commission recommended, and the Governor approved, suspending the statutory waiting period for those impacted by COVID-19 and applying for unemployment benefits. The suspension will be in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor, or on the date the March 13th disaster declaration expires – whichever occurs first.
Disaster Loans from U.S. Small Business Administration
The governor requested, and was granted, designation from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Declaration in order to access the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the entire state of Texas. The SBA will provide long-term, low-interest loans to qualifying businesses across the state.
All small businesses who believe they may be eligible for an SBA EIDL should visit the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) website. They will be directed to the SBA website where they can apply for assistance. Click here to access.
Certain regulations for telemedicine care in Texas were waived. The governor’s suspensions and emergency rule will work together to allow telemedicine visits for patients with state-regulated plans to be paid the same as in-office visits for insurance purposes. These actions build upon waivers the Governor issued last week of portions in the Occupations Code to expand provider flexibility in providing medical services over the phone.
Doctors will be eligible for payment from insurance plans regulated by TDI for medical visits they conduct over the phone instead of in-person at the same rate they would receive for in-person visits. Medical providers seeking guidance on the impact of the new rule can expect guidance from the Texas Medical Board to be issued in the coming days, including administrative guidance for billing to ensure that claims are processed smoothly.
Insurers seeking guidance on implementation of the emergency rule should contact TDI or visit their webpage for more information. Click here to access.
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) will temporarily waive expiration dates for Driver Licenses, Commercial Driver Licenses, and other identification forms. This suspension will be in effect until 60 days after the DPS provides further public notice that normal Driver License operations have resumed.
May 2nd elections
Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation suspending provisions of the Texas Election Code to allow political subdivisions to postpone their 2020 local elections. This means local governments now have the ability to postpone their May 2, 2020 elections until November 3, 2020.
May 26th elections
Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation suspending provisions of the Texas Election Code to postpone the runoff primary election date until July 14, 2020.