Coronavirus: Three deaths, 197 confirmed cases in Georgia as governments move to help hurting businesses

The Georgia Department of Public Health has reported 197 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia and three-related deaths as of March 18.

The first death was a 67-year-old man on March 12 at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, while the two latest reported deaths were women ages 42 and 69 at a hospital in Albany.

Gov. Brian Kemp said Georgia would begin prioritizing testing for COVID-19 for the most vulnerable in the population and to conserve medical supplies.

“Georgia’s elderly, those with chronic, underlying health conditions, those who live in a long-term care facility like an assisted living facility or nursing home, and those serving on the front lines as a healthcare worker, first responder, long-term care facility staffer, or law enforcement need tests.,” Kemp said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Kemp announced that Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This declaration will provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses in all 159 counties in Georgia.

The application is now live, and Georgia small business owners can go directly to the SBA for assistance. Small business owners should visit www.disasterloan.sba.gov for information and the application.

Loans are available for small business and non-profit organizations. While terms will be established on a case-by-case basis, many will have a thirty-year repayment term with first payments not due for up to twelve months. Businesses should expect to provide a tax transcript, financial statements, and a profit and loss statement. Interest rates will range from 2.75% to 3.75%.

In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed legislation—sponsored by Councilmembers Andre Dickens and Marci Collier Overstreet—allowing the city to temporarily reduce concessionaire and car rental company rental requirements by suspending the Minimum Annual Guarantee (MAG) payment obligation in the Concessions and Consolidated Car Rental Agreements for a period of four months.

The legislation is designed to allow companies to use four months of rental funds to provide relief to employees experiencing reduced hours and lost wages as a result of the COVID-19 health threat.

“Atlanta families—many of whom are already living paycheck to paycheck—will be overburdened if we do not provide much-needed economic relief immediately,” Bottoms said in a statement. “We are asking our business partners to continue showing compassion toward their employees, and when possible, provide continuity of pay for their hourly associates.”

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