Important Updates and Resources for COVID-19

On behalf of our entire district, I want to thank the incredible leadership, courage, and resilience of so many at this difficult, unprecedented time as we work together to combat and beat COVID-19. 

From our doctors, nurses, physician assistants, healthcare providers, hospital personnel, EMS, and first responders who are on the front lines of our public health needs, to our truck drivers, manufacturers, grocers, workers, and farmers who are keeping our shelves stocked, to our county personnel and local elected officials who are working daily to ensure we have the capacity to meet the public's needs to the best of our ability, to our teachers, caregivers, volunteers, and parents who are meeting the challenge, to our local media informing the public, our entire community is grateful for your tremendous service. 

As a community working together, we will overcome this. My office is here to serve each and every constituent. No issue is too small and we will continue to work around the clock to serve the families and small businesses of our district. 

Voting in Favor of Passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act 



I voted today to pass the CARES Act, the 3rd legislative phase of Congress’ emergency coronavirus response. This stimulus provides economic relief to small businesses and hardworking families across the North Country.

During this unprecedented public health crisis, I have prioritized support for our hospitals, healthcare workers, small businesses, and families in the North Country as we combat and ultimately beat COVID-19. I strongly advocated for this economic rescue package focused on North Country small businesses and families in need of immediate relief, and today, Congress came together to deliver that relief for the American worker. I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to overcome this public health crisis and the economic challenges and uncertainty that have come with it. 

The CARES Act provides:

  • Funding for Hospitals, Community Health Centers, and Health Care Workers – provides over $100 billion for hospitals through direct payments and higher reimbursements, further expands access to telehealth services, and provides $16 billion for purchasing PPE and other critical supplies.
    Paycheck Protection Loans to Small Businesses – creates a new “paycheck protection” loan for small businesses that fully forgives the portion of the loan used to keep workers on payroll and pay their rent, mortgage, and utilities over the next few months.
  • Direct Payments to American Families – provides an emergency tax rebate check of $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples, and an additional $500 for each child.
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance for Impacted Workers – expands access to Unemployment Insurance for the self-employed and independent contractors who are not able to work during this public health emergency.
  • Additional Tax Relief for Individuals and Main Street Businesses – includes tax provision for businesses and individuals to provide more relief, such as a refundable payroll for employers who keep their workers on payroll despite having to close their doors.
  • Financial Support for Distressed Businesses of Any Size – allocates $454 billion through loans and loan guarantees to businesses of any size in distress, with priority for mid-sized businesses that are above 500 but not large corporations, to provide immediate liquidity.
  • Funding and Flexibility for Students, Schools, and Colleges – provides over $30 billion for K-12 schools and colleges to help them continue serving their students, pauses all student loan payments, and student borrowers are held harmless if they were not able to finish their semester.
  • Relief for Homeowners and Bolstered Housing Assistance – prohibits foreclosures for 60 days and allows homeowners to delay mortgage payments by shifting them to the end of their mortgage, while providing significant funding for programs serving low-income families and the homeless.

Watch me speak in support of the bill on the House floor here and above.


Resources for Small Businesses

This new loan program will offer significant relief to small businesses by providing working capital to allow these businesses to keep operations running and people employed. 

  • Existing SBA lenders and new, approved lenders brought into the program will be able to offer these loans to eligible small businesses. This will allow businesses to access these loans through community banks and other qualifying lenders, putting the money in the hands of the businesses faster. 
  • New Loans under this program are eligible for a forgiveness if the business maintains payroll continuity from Feb. 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020. Qualifying businesses may request forgiveness on a loan used on payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utility pay over an 8 week period. 
  •      The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by      any reduction in employees retained compared to the      prior year. This provides flexibility for businesses that      re-hire workers that were previously laid off 
  • The SBA will guarantee 100% of Loans provided at a 4% interest rate during the period from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 
  • All small businesses employing 500 or less employees (including 501(c)(3), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals) that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 would be eligible to receive a Loan in an amount equal to the lesser of $10 million or 2.5x the average monthly payroll based on the prior year’s payroll
  • Qualifying small businesses may use these funds to cover: payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of healthcare benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums, employee salaries, commission, or similar compensations, payments of interest on any mortgage, rent, utilities, or interest on any other debt that was incurred before the covered period
  • This bill also increases the maximum loan amount for “Express Loans” from $350,000 to $1,000,000. “Express Loans” are expedited versions of the loans provided under Section 7(a) for which the turnaround time for a response to the application is given within 36 hours.  

Tax Relief for Small Businesses

  • This bill provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of the wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 crisis for businesses that had to partially or fully close down, or those whose gross receipts decreased by over 50%.
  • Employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees can receive the credit regardless of if they had to shut down.
    The credit counts for the first $10,000 of compensation paid per employee. 
  • Delivers short-term relief and liquidity to employers and the self-employed by allowing them to immediately defer payroll taxes and pay them over the next two years, with half due on Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half due on Dec. 31, 2022. 
  • Allows businesses to carry a net operating loss that occurred in 2018, 2019, or 2020 back five years and amend the prior year return, providing additional cash flow and liquidity. 
  • Helps businesses provide student loan repayment to their workers by allowing up to $5,250 in tax-free payments toward an employee’s student loans. 
  • Increases the amount of interest expenses businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns, up to a limit of 50 percent of their taxable income. 
  • Allows businesses to immediately write off the costs associated with facility improvements instead of having to depreciate these improvements over 39 years, which is particularly important for the hospitality industry and local supermarkets. 
  • Amplifies all the great work being done by American distilleries to help produce hand sanitizer by waiving the federal excise tax on alcohol used for this purpose. 

General Information and Resources About Coronavirus

  • Each Thursday afternoon at 1:00 PM, AARP is hosting a Coronavirus tele-townhall for seniors. Tune in here.
  • Fort Drum's Guthrie Clinic Pharmacy has implemented new drive-up procedures in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.
  • See an interactive map of how many cases of COVID-19 each county in upstate New York has here.
  • Jefferson County is providing a variety of great resources about meals for students. Read more here.
  • Many stores throughout the North Country are ensuring that our seniors are given the time and space to get what they need while still social distancing. Read more here.
  • Kinney Drugs locations in the North Country are offering prescription delivery along with other essential supplies for those who are unable to pick up their prescriptions. Read more here.
  • Franklin County has established a COVID-19 call center. They can be reached at 518-481-1111.

I am continuing to closely monitor the spread of coronavirus and the impact that it is having on the North Country and our nation as a whole. Our district has one of the largest constituencies of seniors in the country, and I am particularly concerned with ensuring they are protected and have the best information available. I remain in close contact with our local elected officials and local healthcare providers to ensure all of my constituents are receiving the most up to date information. For resources and information from the Center for Disease Control, The World Health Organization, and the public health departments of each of our twelve counties, visit my website here

Continue to follow CDC guidance: make sure you are washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, avoiding large gatherings, and calling seniors and loved ones to make sure they are aware and monitoring any potential symptoms. If you feel sick, do not hesitate to call your doctor. 

Over the past few weeks, I have personally spoken with NY-21 hospitals, healthcare workers, school superintendents, county public health officials, local elected officials, small businesses, and constituents about the impacts of COVID-19. My offices are working continuously to provide the most accurate and up-to-date guidance provided by the CDC and other federal agencies. I encourage our community to thank all of the people in NY-21 that are going above & beyond to assist during this time, including teachers, parents, truck drivers, small businesses, non-profits, farmers, grocers, retail workers, caregivers, physicians & healthcare professionals. The unique character of the North Country is comprised of compassion, hard work, resilience and grit. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Volunteers are raising their hands. Healthcare workers are courageously on the front lines caring for those in need. There are everyday heroes among us.

How to Get in Touch if You Are Out of the Country

We are currently working to help constituents traveling abroad.
The State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Health Do Not Travel Advisory. If you are traveling internationally, we encourage you to reach out to our office immediately and register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for up-to-date info from our embassies across the globe. Read more here.


County Public Health Resources 

Clinton County: (518) 565-4840
Essex County: (518) 873-3514
Franklin County: (518) 481-1709
Fulton County: (518) 736-5720
Hamilton County: (518) 648-6497
Herkimer County: (315) 867-1176
Jefferson County: (315) 785-3000
Lewis County: (315) 376-5453
Saratoga County: (518) 584-7460
St. Lawrence County: (315) 386-2325
Warren County: (518) 761-6580
Washington County: (518) 746-2461


Hosting a Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall

This week, I hosted a telephone town hall and was able to answer questions directly from constituents about the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. I was joined by public health officials from Clinton and Jefferson counties and was able to speak to constituents about the new coronavirus relief package, small business issues, healthcare and hospital support, testing kits, and the impacts of the coronavirus across New York State. It is absolutely crucial that during this time when I cannot be meeting with constituents in person, I am communicating with them directly via telephone. I will continue to stay in close contact with our local public health officials, local electeds, and constituents to address the needs of our communities during this unprecedented time.

How to Donate Masks and PPE to County Public Health Departments

I am partnering with state and local officials, county public health departments, and hospitals to urge the public to donate medical personal protective equipment to our county public health departments who are in need. Many of our local business and manufacturers are going above and beyond to pull together as a community. It is truly inspiring to see the strength and heroism throughout the region. I have personally participated in many of the county conference calls with public health officials across our district and one of the top concerns is access to necessary medical personal protective equipment. We need to work together as a community and I am encouraging and asking all NY-21 private businesses, especially our construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure companies, to donate masks and personal protective equipment to our county public health teams who are in need. I want to thank the countless local businesses and manufacturers for already stepping up to help combat and beat Coronavirus. Please call one of my offices or your county public health office if you have PPE you would like to donate. 

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