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*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website
*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
*How you can help in Colorado:
► Here’s the big coronavirus updates of the morning, neatly summarized by The Washington Post:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all workers in his state to stay home, except for those in essential services. The move came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 40 million residents to remain at home. The dramatic measures came after confirmed U.S. cases doubled in just two days, in part because of increased testing. “I applaud them, they’re taking very strong, bold steps,” President Trump said…
…The U.S. tax filing deadline has been pushed back from April 15 to July 15. “All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter.
Over in Congress, Senate Republicans are pushing to complete a trillion-dollar stimulus relief package by the end of the day. President Trump announced on Friday that he is suspending payments on federally-funded student loans.
► There are some new closures and regulations from late Thursday that you should know about. As 9News reports:
Hair and nail salons, massage studios, tattoo parlors and racetrack betting facilities will be closed through at least April 30, adding to the list of “nonessential services” that already included dining rooms in bars and restaurants, breweries, wineries, gyms, casinos and theaters…
…The order from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) went into effect Thursday, the same day Gov. Jared Polis banned “non-essential” medical procedures, including surgeries.
A ban on in-restaurant dining was extended until April 30. Also on Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis opened a special health insurance enrollment period. From The Colorado Sun:
The enrollment period for uninsured Coloradans will begin on March 20 and last through April 3. People who need health insurance can buy plans on the state’s Affordable Care Act’s individual exchange — called Connect for Health Colorado — during that span.
Coloradans who have lost their jobs — or who may lose their jobs in the coming weeks — and find themselves without their employer-based coverage are allowed a 60-day window after their employment ends to enroll in an individual health insurance plan. There is no date restriction for people who fall into that category.
► As Blair Miller reports for Denver7, relief for small businesses in Colorado is on the way:
The state of Colorado and city of Denver both on Thursday announced initial economic relief packages to try to help businesses and workers affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Gov. Jared Polis announced Thursday that the Small Business Administration had granted disaster relief for small business loans in Colorado under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program – something he had said he was seeking from the federal government in recent days.
The approval will allow small businesses, nonprofits, agricultural cooperatives and aquaculture enterprises affected by the virus outbreak to seek up to $2 million in low-interest federal loans to pay for debts, payroll and accounts payable, the state said.
But wait, there’s more…
Also Thursday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the city was creating an initial relief fund of $4 million to try to help small businesses affected by the outbreak.
The Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO) will have a program to give qualifying businesses cash grants of up to $7,500 – with prioritization given to the most-impacted industries, like the restaurant industry.
Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is introducing legislation to make it easier for small businesses to get new loans. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is considering diverting incentive funds meant for recruiting new companies to Colorado toward a program that would help current Colorado businesses remain afloat.
► North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr apparently gave dire Coronavirus warnings to a small group of people at a private luncheon in late February, at the same time that he was publicly downplaying the threat. But this is peanuts compared to Burr’s real problem right now, as CNBC reports:
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., is facing questions about his decision to sell between $630,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock one week before global financial markets began a historic slide in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A second Republican senator, Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler, also sold large amounts of stock in late January and early February, when U.S. markets were hitting all-time highs.
Both Burr and Loeffler have received non-public information about the global spread of coronavirus from Executive Branch officials, who have been briefing senators regularly since at least January.
Read that again or just pause and let it sink in a bit more. At least four Republican Senators — Burr, Loeffler, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma — appear to have dumped massive amounts of stock after being briefed on Coronavirus concerns.
Even Fox News talking monkey Tucker Carlson is calling for Sen. Burr to resign immediately. As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, Burr’s insider trading is directly linked to President Trump.
California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is also being scrutinized for selling a lot of stock in mid-February, though she claims that her assets are all held in a blind trust.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…