What actions did the governor take yesterday (June 23) regarding
the spread of COVID-19 in Texas and in my community?
First, the governor issued a proclamation that modifies
Executive Order GA-26 with regard to Fourth of July celebrations. The
order previously allowed a mayor or county judge, in consultation with the
local public health authority, to impose additional restrictions on most
outdoor celebrations estimated to be in excess of 500
people. Yesterday’s modification granted more authority to mayors
and judges by lowering the crowd threshold from 500 to 100. Interested
city officials should read the actual language of Executive Order GA-26 as modified by yesterday’s proclamation prior to taking action relating to
Second, the governor directed the Texas Health and Human
Services Commission (HHSC) to enact emergency rules that provide strict health
and safety standards and procedures related to COVID-19 for child care centers
According to the governor’s office, “these two actions are based
on data showing an increase in COVID-19 transmission stemming from large
gatherings and child care centers.”
“These are just some of the steps Texas will take to contain the
rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” said Governor Abbott. “Today’s
proclamation and emergency rules will aid in that effort in two key ways:
allowing restrictions on large gatherings where COVID-19 is easily spread and
implementing a statewide standard of infection control for child care centers.
However, as we face this challenge, there is no substitute for personal responsibility.
I urge all Texans to do everything in their power to reduce the transmission of
the coronavirus by wearing a face mask, washing their hands often, and staying
six-feet apart from others.”
Did the U.S. Treasury Department issue updated guidance on the
use of federal CRF funds?
Yes. The Treasury Department issued new guidance today
(June 24). It’s available on the department’s CARES Act web page. Of particular interest to many
city officials will be this FAQ:
The guidance provides that funding may be used to meet payroll
expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and
similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or
responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. May Fund payments be used
to cover such an employee’s entire payroll cost or just the portion of time
spent on mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency?
As a matter of administrative convenience, the entire payroll
cost of an employee whose time is substantially dedicated to mitigating or
responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency is eligible, provided that
such payroll costs are incurred by December 30, 2020. An employer may also
track time spent by employees related to COVID-19 and apply Fund payments on
that basis but would need to do so consistently within the relevant agency or
The new FAQs also include the following:
May funds be used to satisfy non-federal matching requirements
under the Stafford Act?
Yes, payments from the Fund may be used to meet the non-federal
matching requirements for Stafford Act assistance to the extent such matching
requirements entail COVID-19-related costs that otherwise satisfy the Fund’s
eligibility criteria and the Stafford Act. Regardless of the use of Fund
payments for such purposes, FEMA funding is still dependent on FEMA’s
determination of eligibility under the Stafford Act.
Must a State, local, or tribal government require applications
to be submitted by businesses or individuals before providing assistance using
payments from the Fund?
Governments have discretion to determine how to tailor
assistance programs they establish in response to the COVID-19 public health
emergency. However, such a program should be structured in such a manner
as will ensure that such assistance is determined to be necessary in response
to the COVID-19 public health emergency and otherwise satisfies the
requirements of the CARES Act and other applicable law.
For example, a per capita payment to residents of a particular
jurisdiction without an assessment of individual need would not be an
appropriate use of payments from the Fund.
May Fund payments be provided to non-profits for distribution to
individuals in need of financial assistance, such as rent relief?
Yes, non-profits may be used to distribute assistance.
Regardless of how the assistance is structured, the financial assistance
provided would have to be related to COVID-19.
May recipients use Fund payments to remarket the recipient’s
convention facilities and tourism industry?
Yes, if the costs of such remarketing satisfy the requirements
of the CARES Act. Expenses incurred to publicize the resumption of
activities and steps taken to ensure a safe experience may be needed due to the
public health emergency. Expenses related to developing a long-term plan
to reposition a recipient’s convention and tourism industry and infrastructure
would not be incurred due to the public health emergency and therefore may not
be covered using payments from the Fund.
May a State provide assistance to farmers and meat processors to
expand capacity, such to cover overtime for USDA meat inspectors?
If a State determines that expanding meat processing capacity,
including by paying overtime to USDA meat inspectors, is a necessary expense
incurred due to the public health emergency, such as if increased capacity is
necessary to allow farmers and processors to donate meat to food banks, then
such expenses are eligible expenses, provided that the expenses satisfy the
other requirements set forth in section 601(d) of the Social Security Act
outlined in the Guidance.
Cities that received their CRF funds directly from the state
through TDEM should remember that the state has placed restrictions on the funds beyond those imposed by
Has the National League of Cities released its fiscal survey
Yes. The following is directly from NLC:
“NLC released data from a survey of over 1,100 municipalities
that shows the recovery is going to be tough if Congress does not appropriate
additional money for cities, towns, and villages. NLC's CitiesSpeak Blog summarizes the survey.
The survey, which focuses on local spending cuts and service
adjustments, found that 65 percent of cities are being forced to delay or
completely cancel capital expenditures and infrastructure projects, which will
stifle job growth and slow local economic activity and further imperil economic
recovery efforts in communities across the nation.
The survey was shared with all congressional offices as well as
What information has FEMA released in light of COVID-19 guidance
for the hurricane season?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2020 Hurricane Pandemic Plan provides guidance to state and
local officials to prepare for response and recovery operations, and it
encourages personal preparedness measures amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
While the document focuses on hurricane season preparedness, most planning
considerations can be applied to any disaster operation in the COVID-19
environment, including no-notice incidents, spring flooding, and wildfire
FEMA's National Preparedness Directorate is conducting webinars
on the plan. Space is limited, so interested city officials should
June 25: FEMA Adobe Connect
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.