CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming’s United States Senator Mike Enzi said on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, March 24 that the U.S. Congress needs to act to take care of small businesses who are expected to suffer in the fallout around the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Enzi’s office say his comments cam as part of the Senate’s debate around “phase 3” of a legislative package to provide aid for impacts around the COVID-19 outbreak. That phase, according to the senator, would include financial assistance for businesses to stay open and keep their employees.
He called for the Senate to stop delaying and pass legislation to get aid rolling.
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“The virus has closed businesses which in turn lay off employees,” Enzi said. “It has closed schools. It has changed every aspect of our daily lives – and it has left people isolated. It has put a strain on health care workers and first responders.”
“It has done it in what was a strong and growing economy. Why isn’t there more concern for the employees out of work? Why haven’t we already done at least the parts of this bill that give non-government employees some comfort and hope?”
Enzi’s office says the senator thinks Democrats have been holding up passage of the bill “in order to demand it include provisions that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.”
“My colleagues across the aisle are using this process to forward their agenda even for issues unrelated to this crisis,” Enzi said. “We are not doing climate change as part of this emergency bill. Everything should have a direct connection to the coronavirus. Rome is burning and Congress is fiddling.”
Enzi noted in his comments that closures around the COVID-19 outbreak are impacting people’s pocketbooks.
“Many have been laid off,” Enzi said. “They have lost their paycheck. They have lost their health benefits. The schools and daycare have closed. Their world has been upended. They went from a bright future to unemployed in a couple of weeks. Congress can’t even imagine their dilemma. Congress is immune economically. A small business doesn’t exist for the government. It exists in spite of the government.”
Enzi’s office says the senator thinks the “phase 3” bill would include direct payments to taxpayers and “billions of dollaras” for state and local governments as well as hospitals, veterans, schools, airports and public transportation.
Enzi’s comments can be heard in this video which his office posted to Youtube:
The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:
What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: email@example.com
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.