Alisha Shelton’s Plan to Reopen Nebraska & The U.S. Economy After The Coronavirus
This is an unprecedented time in our country and our world’s history. Over 30 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since mid-March, which include 100,000 Nebraskans. This is frightening. However, we must remember that our health and lives are the most important thing during this crisis. I want Nebraskans to return to their normal level of functioning which includes: getting back to work, our students in classrooms again, and our economy fully thriving. Consequently, we must prioritize our health and I have created a plan to do just that.
I. We must ensure that those affected by this pandemic are receiving. maximum government support during their hardships. That is why I am calling for the following:
- Establish an Emergency Economic Crisis agency and reinstate the Global pandemic response team.
- Payments for all COVID-19 related testing and procedures to be waived for patients.
- Increased funding for Social Security payments to recipients, along with immediate Medicaid expansion for all 50 states.
- Additional funding for programs that many underserved communities rely on. These programs include: SNAP, Meals on Wheels, and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). I am also calling on the Department of Defense to use their over 200,000 volunteer Medical Reserve Corps to help communities most in need.
- Give additional financial support to taxpayers. This includes payments of $2,000 per month until July, suspending student loan payments, and providing EMERGENCY paid family and medical leave for all. We must suspend utility payments and evictions for homeowners and renters. Lastly, the annual percentage rate for credit cards should decrease to zero until the end of this pandemic.
II. Reopening our economy will not happen overnight. Elected officials. must do this in a multistep process so that we do not have another outbreak in Nebraska. I have broken my plan into phases so that we can control the spread of COVID-19.
Phase 1: Nebraska must adhere to the CDC guidelines of a 14 day decline in hospitalization rates for a given area before we open any other non-essential businesses. After that decline is evident, then Nebraskans can reopen, low risk nonessential businesses. These industries include: construction sites, and manufacturing plants. These low risk industries still must adhere to the CDC guidelines of social distancing practices which include wearing a mask, wearing PPE where necessary, and additionally calling on these businesses to screen employees before their shift for any symptoms.
Phase 2: After 14 days, if the rate of infection is not rising and we are beginning to see the curve flatten and decline, then it is clearly time to start opening more businesses. The industries include, all construction sites and manufacturing plants, along with restaurants at half capacity. Employees and patrons should still be wearing masks (when they cannot social distance) and adhering to strict social distancing guidelines.
Phase 3: After 10 days, we will need to reassess this situation. If there is no increase of infections, then we can continue to increase capacities at restaurants to 75%. If we do see a peak of infections we must not continue with phase three and return to phase one. If we can move on to phase three, Nebraskans must adhere to strict social distancing guidelines that the CDC has in place.
Phase 4: After monitoring the rate of infection in Nebraska after 10 days, and granted there is no increase, small businesses may reopen. These businesses include small stores that have 10 or less employees working at a time. These businesses must be at half capacity until the end of this phase, which will last 20 days. Employees and patrons must wear masks while in public and social distance as much as possible. Employers must also screen their workers prior to the beginning of their shift to check for any symptoms.
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Phase 5: If the rate of infection is gone or very minimal after the 20 day timeframe of phase four, then Nebraska can fully open all businesses. This includes movie theaters, shopping malls, and any other business that has been closed due to the coronavirus. Restaurants can go back to 100% capacity during this phase. However, businesses must have shorter hours of operation and screen their employees prior to their shift. Everyone must practice social distancing guidelines and Nebraska businesses must provide a plan to Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that their cleaning procedures are to code with CDC guidelines.
Currently, what we can all do to slow the spread and flatten the curve is to wash our hands, stay home, and social distance. This will ensure a quicker and easier transition period for reopening Nebraska.