March 24, 2020

Friends and Neighbors,

Even as the number of communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow, the response in the Valley and across California is growing as well.

The first stockpiled supplies of protective gear have arrived in California. The US Navy and National Guard are helping out. And right here in the Valley, Anheuser-Busch is preparing to make hand sanitizer to donate to the cause.

We're doing our best to do our part. We found some hand sanitizer and other emergency supplies in a storage room in our own office, and immediately donated them to Valley organizations to help.

Thank you for doing your part to keep the Valley safe. 

COVID-19 CASES REPORTED IN MORE VALLEY COMMUNITIES

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department has confirmed new San Fernando Valley cases of COVID-19 in Burbank, Canoga Park, Sun Valley, and Sunland. These new reports are in addition to previously known cases in the communities of Van Nuys, Tujunga, Calabasas, Lake Balboa, San Fernando, Studio City, Valley Glen, Winnetka, Granada Hills, North Hollywood, Reseda, Tarzana, Sylmar, Woodland Hills, Encino, Northridge and Sherman Oaks. For a full listing of positive cases and locations go here.

LAUSD TO REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH MAY 1

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Austin Beutner announced Monday that schools will remain closed through May 1. During this time, LAUSD is operating 60 food centers to provide meals for students and families in need and is working to provide online distance learning for all students. It is also asking for modifications to graduation requirements, looking for ways to address the digital divide and recognizing the need for additional mental health and child care services. Learn more here.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH TO DONATE HAND SANITIZER

Anheuser-Busch in Van Nuys announced over the weekend that it is continuing to assist with the relief effort, and will start producing and distributing hand sanitizer. At this time, it is not available for purchase. The company is working with the Red Cross to distribute the sanitizer through donations. Learn more here.

CALIFORNIA SECURES PRESIDENTIAL MAJOR DISASTER DECLARATION

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that President Trump approved California's request for a presidential Major Disaster Declaration to strengthen the state's COVID-19 response efforts.  What does this mean? It means that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be shipping additional hospital beds to California, that the US Navy will deploy its hospital ship, the USS Mercy, to Los Angeles, and that the federal government will pay the costs associated with sending the National Guard to assist the state, among other things.  More info about the Governor's request here

SHIPMENTS OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES ARRIVE IN CALIFORNIA

California received shipments this past weekend of medical personal protective equipment and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. Distribution is underway. Personal protective equipment includes N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, surgical gowns, gloves and more for our loved ones on the frontlines of this pandemic.

FIRST EMERGENCY HOMELESS SHELTERS OPEN IN VALLEY

The city of Los Angeles announced that temporary shelters at Parks and Recreation facilities have opened as a part of a larger effort to provide shelter temporary shelter in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Two are in the San Fernando Valley:

Granada Hills Recreation Center (capacity is for 111 people)
16730 Chatsworth St.
Granada Hills

People seeking access this shelter can meet at these bus stops:

  • De Soto and Nordhoff
  • Topanga and Devonshire
  • Winnetka and Nordhoff
  • Reseda and Nordhoff 

North Hollywood Recreation Center (capacity is for 150 people)
11430 Chandler Blvd.
North Hollywood

People seeking access this shelter can meet at these bus stops:

  • Lankershim and Magnolia
  • Strathern and Lankershim
  • Vineland and Vanowen
  • Vineland and Sherman Way

These locations have not yet reached capacity, and the city plans to open two more shelters in Northridge and Woodland Hills. The shelters provide 24-hour housing, three meals a day, hot showers, storage, on-site nurses and pets are allowed. Anyone experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness and needing to access these resources can call 2-1-1. For more information, please click here.

LA CITY INSTALLS HANDWASHING STATIONS FOR HOMELESS

As a part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Los Angeles has installed handwashing stations intended to provide necessary sanitation for our homeless neighbors during this crisis. Many of these stations are up and running in the San Fernando Valley, and a map of the stations can be found here.

CSUN PRESIDENT POSTPONES RETIREMENT THROUGH FALL

California State University Northridge (CSUN) has announced that President Dianne Harrison will postpone retirement until the fall due to the COVID-19 crisis. President Harrison issued the following statement: "While I had planned to transition to more time with family and stepping away from the presidency, this is clearly an extraordinary time. I am grateful that I am able to continue making a difference for our students, faculty and staff as we collectively navigate these challenging circumstances facing the university and the nation. Together, we will emerge from this period firmly positioned for future success." For more information, please visit CSUN's website.

CALIFORNIA LAUNCHES NEW COVID-19 WEBSITE

Governor Newsom has launched a new coronavirus website that includes ways to stay healthy and resources available to Californians impacted by the outbreak, including how to apply for unemployment benefits, disability benefits and paid family leave.  The website also serves as a central location for up-to-date and simple guidance, and is part of a broader public awareness campaign to provide information to further prevent the spread of the virus. Access the website here.

CONTINUITY OF SERVICE TO ALL WATER AND POWER CUSTOMERS

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is reassuring customers that they are continuing to take steps to ensure they are delivering reliable water and electricity and that service continues uninterrupted despite the COVID-19 pandemic. LADWP is activating preparedness and response protocols for continuity of service going forward. To read more about what actions departments are taking to ensure running water and power in each home go here.

GOVERNOR AND MAYOR ISSUE "STAY AT HOME" ORDERS

Both Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti have issued "stay at home" orders for the State of California and the City of L.A., respectively.  The Governor's order is in place until further notice. The Mayor's order remains in effect until April 19. 

The Governor's Order

Under the Governor's order, essential services will remain open such as:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies 
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants 
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry services

Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services. To learn more about the Governor's order click here.

The Mayor's Order

Under Mayor Garcetti's "Safer at Home" emergency order, all city residents must isolate themselves, staying inside their residences and immediately limit all non-essential movement.

  • Angelenos are directed to stay in their residences and limit activity outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary for essential tasks ? including to secure food and health care, safety and medical necessities, as well as to care for children, older adults, and people with disabilities. 
  • Many businesses ? including malls, many shops, companies, and nonprofit organizations ? must stop operations that require workers to be present in-person. 
  • No public and private gatherings that would occur outside of a single home will be allowed.

This mandatory order is legally enforceable and punishable by a fine or imprisonment. For a complete list of exemptions and essential activities and businesses that will remain open and operational, as well as additional information, please see the City's Safer at Home FAQ.

FEDERAL AND STATE TAX DEADLINES POSTPONED UNTIL JULY 15

US Treasury officials have announced that Tax Day will be moved to July 15 from April 15, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The decision came after widespread complaints over the Trump Administration's plan to give people who owe the IRS an additional 90 days to pay, without penalties or interest, yet still require them to file their returns by April 15.

State Controller Betty Yee said California is also postponing tax deadlines until July 15, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to align with the IRS special tax relief. The postponed deadline to file and pay taxes owed for all individuals and business entities applies to:

  • 2019 tax returns
  • 2019 tax return payments
  • 2020 first and second quarter estimate payments
  • 2020 LLC taxes and fees
  • 2020 non-wage withholding payments

For more information about deadline extensions related to federal filing of returns and payment of taxes owed, click here. For more information about deadline extensions related to state filing of returns and payment of taxes owed, click here.

OPTIONS AFTER LOSING HEALTHCARE COVERAGE

If you have recently lost your employer-sponsored coverage, you can enroll in a health plan through Covered California. Once you have signed up, your coverage can begin on the first day of the following month.

In addition, you can apply for Medi-Cal at any time. If you are determined to be eligible for Medi-Cal, your coverage begins immediately, effective back to the first day of the month in which the application was submitted. In addition to applying online, individuals also can apply through a qualified hospital provider, using the Hospital Presumptive Eligibility Program. If you are already at a hospital due to your need for medical attention, applications can be filled out in the hospital and, if found eligible, coverage begins immediately. To learn more or for help after losing your employer provided health insurance go here to get started.

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, DISABILITY, AND PAID FAMILY LEAVE

The California Employment Development Department has developed guidelines for those who are ill, caring for sick family members, or whose job has been disrupted by the Coronavirus.  The guidelines address quarantine-related reduction of hours, missing work due to school closure-related childcare needs, and work loss due to age/underlying health-related isolation, among others. Learn more here.

BEST PROTECTION FROM SCAMMERS: COMMON SENSE

Scammers depend on fear and confusion to perpetrate fraud. Your most effective weapon against scammers is your good common sense. Scammers push for an immediate response, stressing your urgent need to act. Always take a breath and think before responding to a text, email, phone call or in-person visit from someone you don't know.

If a bank texts you with a fraud alert, for example, don't click on any link in the text.  Instead call the bank, or use the official app or website to confirm whether the contact was really from your financial institution.  Never give out your account numbers, pins, passwords or social security numbers in texts, emails, or phone calls. Do not electronically transfer money to people you don't know.

If someone knocks at your door claiming to be a utility or public health official, ask to see identification before opening your door.  You can also ask them to wait outside the door and call the entity they claim to represent for verification. The Federal Trade Commission has some helpful tips about COVID-19 scams on their website here and here, along with tips to safely work online from home.

REMEMBER, WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER

If you have a specific question or concern, please email Local 706 at plucke@ialocal706.org  We will do all we can to respond back to your email in a timely manner.

In solidarity,

Randy Sayer
Business Representative
Local 706 Office




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