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May 29

May 29, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #53

Posted on May 29, 2020 at 2:22 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


On Wednesday, we surveyed whether mayors believe that Fourth of July celebrations (e.g., parades, fireworks shows, etc.) should be allowed with appropriate virus-prevention protocols. How did the survey go? 


Ninety-five mayors responded (the League has 1,161 member cities), from cities with a population ranging from 192 - 118,000. Seventy-seven percent voted in favor of allowing Fourth of July celebrations, with appropriate virus-prevention protocols. 


Has the U.S. Department of Treasury updated its Coronavirus Relief Fund questions and answers document?


Yes. Treasury issued an updated version of the document yesterday (May 28). League staff has broken out in this document the updated or new Q&As. Most of the new Q&As relate to fund administration, but the following is one of the substantive additions:


“May payments from the Fund be used to cover across-the-board hazard pay for employees working during a state of emergency?


No. The Guidance says that funding may be used to meet payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Hazard pay is a form of payroll expense and is subject to this limitation, so Fund payments may only be used to cover hazard pay for such individuals.”


Further Updates


Has the governor said anything recently regarding early voting for the November election?


Yes. According to a May 28 article in The Texas Tribune:


“Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday he will extend the early voting period for an unspecified amount of time during the November election as concerns continue to persist around in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.


Abbott has already doubled the time period for the primary runoff election July 14, calling it necessary so that ‘election officials can implement appropriate social distancing and safe hygiene practices.’


In a TV interview Thursday afternoon, Abbott was asked if he believes Texas voters will be able to cast their ballots safely not only this summer but also in the fall.


‘We do, and for this reason, and that is ... Texas has always had early voting, and what I did for the July time period and what we will do again for the November time period is we will extend the early voting period,’ Abbott said in the interview with KCBD in Lubbock. ‘And what that does — it allows more people to go vote early in settings that are not highly congregated. As a result, you can go vote without having to worry about a whole bunch of people being around you that you could contract COVID-19 from. That makes voting a lot safer [of a] setting than it would otherwise be with the shortened early voting time period.’”


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.