LANSING — As a $900 billion federal pandemic relief package now awaits likely approval from President Trump, Governor Whitmer’s administration passed measures to soften the blow of COVID’s economic impact on Michiganders.
The measures are similar to those passed during the first peak of cases in the state. This includes a liquor buy-back program for restaurants and bars, and an eviction diversion plan.
A new Restaurant Meal Program will allow eligible food assistance recipients to use benefits to buy restaurant meals.
Older adults over 60, people with a disability, including those who receive Social Security Income (SSI) or other disability program benefits, and people experiencing homelessness are among those who are eligible. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is opening the program for restaurants to enroll. Restaurants interested in partnering with the MDHHS in the program are asked to visit the MDHHS website, where they can learn more about program requirements and how to enroll.
The state’s new Eviction Diversion Program (EDP) is meant to aid those who have fallen behind on their rent during COVID-19. The program has helped an estimated 16,000 people stay in their homes. The program is funded by the state’s latest senate appropriation bill, which utilizes $880 million in federal dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Under this program, $50 million is set aside to help renters. Renters will continue getting assistance from this program and other complementary programs until additional federal eviction resources arrive through the federal stimulus that passed yesterday.
“These actions will ensure that families have the support they need to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads this winter, as well as provide support to local restaurants and small business owners all over the state that are struggling as a result of the pandemic,” Whitmer said.
The state’s legislature passed Whitmer’s stimulus plan this week, which includes $55 million to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grants of up to $20,000 will be made available to small businesses across the state that need support this winter. The relief bill also includes $3.5 million for grants of up to $40,000 each for live music and entertainment venues and $45 million in direct payments to workers who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of the virus, with a direct focus on restaurant and hospitality workers.
Latest counts show a total of 463,403 COVID-19 cases in the state and 11,532 deaths. Sunday and Monday confirmed cases were 4,551 and 71 deaths.