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Coronavirus

As America responds to confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), I wanted to share the most comprehensive, up-to-date safety information for our community.​

Symptoms and Prevention

It is important to note that the risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19 remains low for most New Jerseyans. However, it is possible to exhibit no symptoms of the virus and still pass the virus onto others, particularly to populations such as older adults and individuals with underlying health problems.

Please contact your primary care provider if you are experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • And you have had close contact with a person known to have COVID-19

Additionally, if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, contact your health care provider.

If you believe you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, do not go to the emergency room or your doctor without contacting them first. This could expose more people to COVID-19 unnecessarily.

How you can prevent the spread: 

Healthy habits can go a long way in preventing novel coronavirus transmission:

  • Wash your hands: Regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of transmission. If soap and water is not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used.
  • Avoid close contact: Try to avoid close contact with individuals who are sick, limit the use of handshakes, and practice social distancing.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes: Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes with either the inside of your elbow or a tissue that is immediately thrown away.
  • Disinfect: Be sure to clean and sanitize surfaces frequently touched surfaces.
  • Self-Isolation: If you are feeling sick, stay home. If you are sick and live with other people, try to restrict yourself to a separate bedroom and bathroom as much as possible and limit contact with pets.
  • Facemasks: If you are not sick, please refrain from wearing a face mask to ensure that the supply is available for health care workers and individuals who need them.

Federal, State, and Local Resources

**UPDATE** The State Department has raised the global travel advisory to a level 4. All U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all international travel and if possible, U.S. citizens who are abroad and live in the U.S. are advised to arrange for immediate return. Country-specific information can be found here

The State Department has also set up hotlines for Americans abroad that have been impacted by the outbreak. If you are in the U.S. or Canada call 1-888-407-4747, if you are overseas call 1-202-501-4444. 

The CDC has a 24-hour hotline for COVID-19 related questions at 1-800-232-4636.

Constituent Resource Guide

My team has put together a list of federal and state resources available to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a voice message with my office at (202) 225-7919 using the automated system or using the contact form on my website.* We will be happy to assist you.

*If you are contacting me online, please be sure to check your spam or junk folder to make sure you don’t miss communications from my office.

Housing

Eviction Moratorium

A federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is in effect from September 4, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The temporary moratorium means that you cannot be evicted from your home for nonpayment of rent during the pandemic. Click here.

Rental Assistance

New Jersey operates a State Rental Assistance program that can help you to make payments towards your rent. Click here.

Eviction Protection

During the public health emergency, individuals cannot be removed as the result of an eviction or foreclosure proceeding. If you are a renter facing hardship, you may be eligible for housing assistance or for housing counseling. Click here.

Mortgage Relief

If you are facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may be able to request mortgage payment forbearance for up to 90 days. Click here.

Homelessness Services

New Jersey residents experiencing homelessness can get help with food, shelter, and finances. Click here.

Economic Assistance

Economic Impact Payments

If you didn’t get any Economic Impact Payments or got less than the full amounts, you may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if you don’t normally file. Click here for more information.

Utilities

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income residents with their heating and cooling bills and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance within the Home Energy Assistance Program. Click here.

Internet Services

Lifeline

Lifeline is a federal program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that can lower your monthly cost of phone and internet. Eligible customers will get up to $9.25 toward their bill. You can use Lifeline for either phone or internet, but not both. Click here to see if you are eligible and enroll.

Health

Health Insurance

If you do not have health insurance, or lose coverage, you may be eligible for free or low-cost coverage through NJ FamilyCare, New Jersey's publicly funded health insurance program. In addition, individuals may purchase health insurance on the State's new health exchange, GetCoveredNJ, and may be eligible for subsidy assistance and premium tax credits. Click here.

Nutrition

Food Assistance

If you need food assistance, you may be eligible for NJ SNAP, New Jersey's food assistance program. To learn more go to NJSNAP.gov or to apply go to NJHELPS.org. New Jersey WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) is allowing remote access to benefits and additional food items. Click here.

Emergency Food Banks by County

Click here.

Employment

State of New Jersey COVID-19 Jobs and Hiring Portal

Click here to access jobs available with the State of New Jersey.

Job Assistance

If you've lost your job and are seeking help, you are not alone. Connect with benefits and resources you need while you are trying to safely get back to work. Click here.

Unemployment Benefits 

If your work has been affected by COVID-19, you likely qualify for unemployment benefits. Click here.

Family Leave Benefits

If you must care for children or family members due to the coronavirus outbreak, you may be eligible for federal emergency Childcare FMLA or New Jersey Family Leave Insurance (FLI). It's against the law for an employer to retaliate against you for taking FLI, and your job may be protected under the Family Leave Act. Click here.

Temporary Disability Benefits

If you're unable to work due to illness, self-quarantine, or pregnancy, you may be able to apply for Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI). It's against the law for an employer to retaliate against you for taking TDI, and your job may be protected under the Family Leave Act. Click here.

Sick Leave

If you are sick, need time to care for others, or are unable to work due to the public health emergency, you may eligible for New Jersey Earned Sick Leave, or emergency federal paid sick leave, paid by your employer. Click here.

Resources for Businesses

For information on loans, programs, or resources to support businesses impacted by COVID-19, visit the State of New Jersey's COVID-19 Business Information Hub. Click here.

Resources for Freelancers, Contractors, and Gig Workers

The CARES ACT extends unemployment benefits to freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors, who typically are not eligible. Click here.

Legal Aid

If you are in need of legal assistance or advice, there are many legal services available for free to low-income New Jerseyans on a range of issues including debt, domestic violence, eviction, applying for public benefits, immigration, and more. Click here.

Job Protection

A new law prohibits employers from firing, demoting or otherwise punishing workers if they take time off because they have or are likely to have COVID-19. Click here.

Job Search

Business across New Jersey are looking to hire thousands of workers, including those who lost their jobs or have had hours reduced as a result of COVID-19. Click here.

Child Care

Child Care Resources

If you are an essential employee, you can get support for child care costs. Click here.

For additional resources, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/.

 

New Jersey has partnered with 211 to provide information to the public:

County and Municipality Resources

  • In Bergen County you can call the BCDHS Health and Safety Hotline at 201-225-7000 (201-785-8505 after hours and weekends) or visit their COVID-19 information page here.
  • Essex County's COVID-19 update page can be found here.
  • Hudson County has set up a COVID-19 information page with updates here.
  • Union County has an information page with FAQs, updates on county operations, information for local health departments, and more here.
  • Hoboken has set up a hotline for general inquiries related to COVID-19 at 201-420-5620 and for senior specific inquiries at 201-420-5625.

Please feel free to reach out to my office in Washington, D.C. at 202-225-7919 if you have further questions or need assistance.

More on Coronavirus

Apr 2, 2020
(NEWARK, N.J.) – Congressman Albio Sires (N.J.-08), U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate’s mass transit subcommittee, and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) and Congressmen Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10) and Tom Malinowski (N.J.-11), all members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today announced the awarding of $1,758,430,844 from the Federal Transit Agency (FTA) to help NJ Transit continue operations despite a significant drop-off in ridership and revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apr 1, 2020

The CARES Act provides historic economic relief as our nation fights the COVID-19 outbreak. Through new loan programs, like Paycheck Protection Plan, and protections for existing loans, like the Small Debt Relief Program, resources are available for small businesses to navigate this public health emergency.

The following is a resource for small business owners to find the best strategy to meet their needs.

Mar 31, 2020

The CARES Act, which the House passed on Friday and the President signed into law over the weekend, expands and extends unemployment compensation programs as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19. Through July 31, 2020, the federal government will provide a supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation benefits. This payment will be in addition to and at the same time, although not necessarily in the same check, as regular state or federal unemployment benefits. 

Mar 30, 2020

On Friday afternoon, I was at the Capitol to ensure the House of Representatives was able to pass desperately needed stimulus legislation. Our country is battling through an historic crisis and the federal government must continue to respond quickly to our community’s needs.

I have received your letters and emails detailing exactly where help is needed. I wanted to share with you some of the specifics of the bipartisan package, H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the bipartisan package that was signed into law this weekend.

Mar 27, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires went to the House Floor in Washington, D.C. to help overcome a procedural roadblock and pass the CARES Act, which will now go to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Mar 23, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) - Congressman Sires released the following statement after the President suggested that preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 might be rolled back:

Mar 21, 2020

Congress continues to work daily in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and to protect

Mar 19, 2020

(Washington D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) released the following statement about the need to put workers and neighborhood businesses first in future coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency funding packages:

Mar 18, 2020

The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is rapidly developing and the past week has seen a dramatic increase in the number of positive cases as well as the implementation of preventative measures.

Mar 18, 2020

(Washington D.C.) – El lunes, el congresista Albio Sires (D-NJ) se unió a una mayoría bipartidista y bicameral de la delegación congresional de New Jersey instando al Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos a cumplir con la solicitud de New Jersey de suministros médicos de la Reserva Estratégica Nacional.

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