• Coronavirus updates and information in the City of Monroe Louisiana

Coronavirus

Last Updated: (10:54AM, 04/02/2020)

$2 TRILLION STIMULUS PACKAGE HIGHLIGHTS (3/26/20)

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate approved an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package to battle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measure is expected to become law soon. Though there are still some likely tweaks to the unemployment provisions, here are some major highlights of the CARES Act: 

  • $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for state, local and tribal governments
  • Louisiana will receive $1.25 billion plus additional funding based on population up to $1.5 billion total
  • Because we have no municipalities with 500K population, there will be no direct aid to locals; all the funding will be disbursed to the Governor for him to then allocate to locals as needed
  • $30 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund for states, school districts and institutions of higher education for costs related to the coronavirus
  • $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them respond and recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19
  • $1.4 billion for deployments of the National Guard to support up to 20,000 members of the National Guard, under the direction of the governors of each state, for the next six months to bolster state and local response efforts
  • $4.3 billion, thorough the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to support federal, state and local public health agencies extends the Oct. 30, 2020, Real ID implementation deadline to Sept. 30, 2021
  • $25 billion for transit systems via existing formulas
  • $400 million in election security grants to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus in the 2020 federal election cycle expands unemployment insurance from three to four months, and supplements existing benefits with temporary unemployment compensation of $600 per week establishes a $500 billion lending fund for businesses, cities and states provides a $1,200 direct payment to taxpayers who make <$75K per year with $500 for each dependent child
  • The full body of the CARES Act may be accessed HERE. We will continue to disseminate information on stimulus and relief packages in a timely fashion

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE RESOURCES

U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

(3/19/20) The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Governor John Bel Edwards has submitted Louisiana’s SBA application package for statewide coverage to the federal authorities, and as of today, March 19, 2020, the SBA has issued under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Louisiana.
 
Louisiana businesses may apply as follows:
https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
Call Toll Free 1-800-659-2955
TTY: 1-800-877-8339
e-mail: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
 
Companies that already have SBA-backed loans through other programs can ask to delay their payments for six months, though the lender will make the final decision is our understanding.
 
NOTE:  Unlike other disaster responses, there are no “on site” application locations at Small Business Development Centers.  All applications are by phone or on-line

AID FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

(3/24/20)

  1. Louisiana Department of Revenue: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Louisiana today extended the deadline to file and pay the February 2020 sales tax returns to May 20, 2020. This is an automatic extension and no extension request is necessary. Learn More>>
  2. Refundable Payroll Tax Credits: the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, March 18, 2020. Click here for details.
  3. Gov. Edwards announced that small businesses in all 64 parishes have access to the Small Business Administration disaster aid. Impacted small businesses may apply for up to $2 million in working capital to pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the COVID-19 disaster. Loan terms (3.75 percent interest rate for small businesses; 2.75 percent for nonprofits) may be extended up to 30 years to keep payments affordable.
  • To get started immediately, visit SBA.gov/Disaster. SBA offers a three-step process for disaster loans explained here.
  • Further, the SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced automatic deferments through December 31, 2020, for borrowers still paying back SBA disaster loans from previous disasters such as the 2016 floods and Hurricanes Gustav, Ike, Katrina, or Rita. Borrowers of home and business disaster loans do NOT have to contact SBA to request deferment.
  • SBA has shared the following information related to the COVID-19 disaster loans: 
  • Full eligibility guidelines for non-profits and business, click HERE.
  • Size and standards classification guidelines for small businesses (for use when applying), click HERE.
  • Guidelines on what small businesses can do with the disaster loans, click HERE.
  • Complete resource guide for small business, click HERE.
  1. Louisiana Economic Development also is offering COVID-19: Business Resources, an online guide to assistance available for impacted businesses. Look for updates to the guide at OpportunityLouisiana.com.
  1. If you have additional questions - or questions specific to your business - you are encouraged to contact the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in your area. While their offices are closed, technical advice is available remotely with SBDC experts. Click HERE to request a consultation and schedule a virtual meeting with SBDC staff in your area and/or email lasbdc@lsbdc.org.

LOUISIANA WORKFORCE COMMISSION: UNEMPLOYMENT INFO

Employees who are laid off due to the COVID 19 or whose hours have been reduced, may be able to receive unemployment compensation. They can file a claim at www.louisianaworks.net/hire or by calling our Claim Center at 866-783-5567.  If you are temporarily closing or reducing your hours of operations due to COVID-19, please contact the Louisiana Workforce Commission to discuss how we can provide assistance and answer your questions about unemployment insurance and other programs and resources available. Contact us at EmployerServices@lwc.la.gov your unemployment insurance questions. Be sure to provide your company’s name, a point of contact, telephone number and email address, as well as specifics on the assistance you are requesting. The Employer Call Center, 225-326-6999, is also available. For other programs and assistance, contact the American Job Center in your area. To find the closest American Job Center, go to http://www.laworks.net/Downloads/WFD/AJC_Contacts.pdf . IMPORTANT NOTE: As per the Governor’s proclamation, reimbursable employers impacted due to COVID-19:

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to
Coronavirus Disease (pdf)

HOSPITALS

St. Francis Medical Center - https://stfran.com/

Glenwood Regional Medical Center – https://www.glenwoodregional.org/

Ochsner LSU Monroe - https://www.ochsnerlsuhs.org/

Life Share Blood Center - http://www.lifeshare.org/

CITY OF MONROE COVID-19 MITIGATION EFFORTS

CITY FACILITIES:  CLOSURES, RESTRICTED ACCESS, and EVENT CHANGES

  • Monroe Civic Center, Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo, Masur Museum of Art, Community (Recreation) Centers are closed until further notice in order to eliminate events and activities with crowd sizes over 50, per recommendation by the CDC and Governor John Bel Edwards
  • In order to minimize social contact and the possible spread of COVID-19, we are limiting access to certain public facilities.  Those include Monroe City Hall (400 Lea Joyner), City Hall Annex (316 Breard St.) and City Hall Annex South (3901 Jackson St.)
  • Monroe Parks and Golf Courses are open.  We encourage residents to practice social distancing and follow CDC sanitation recommendations.
  • City Employee travel is being limited and monitored
  • The City of Monroe Legal Department announces our Environmental Court hearings scheduled for March 24 have been continued until further notice.  If you have questions about your case?  Call the City of Monroe Legal Department at 318-329-2240.

MONROE TRANSIT

  • Monroe Transit busses are currently running at its regular schedule.  Public transportation is a very important asset for those who utilize it for work and general inner-city travel.
  • Our transit busses are being sanitized daily.  The seated capacity of our small busses (17-seats) nor our large busses (34-seats) meet or exceed the 50-person crowd size limit recommended by the CDC. 
  • We realize the COVID-19 response is a fluid situation; and, we will remain flexible to make future adjustments as needed.

GARBAGE & TRASH COLLECTIONS

  • Garbage and Trash Collections are running as normal

REDUCING SOCIAL CONTACT:  USING PHONE, ONLINE, AND DRIVE-THRU FOR CITY BUSINESS

  • Residential and business customers are urged to conduct business with our various departments via phone or online services via our city website www.monroela.us

Job Applications

Adjudicated Property

City Retiree Insurance Payments

  • City Retiree insurance payments should be mailed or paid at the drive-thru window at our City Hall Annex located at 316 Breard Street (Tax & Revenue building)

Water Bill Payment and Service Connections

  • For the safety of our employees and the public, our lobby at the City Hall Annex, located at 316 Breard Street, will be closed until further notice.  Customer bill pay and new account set-up will only be conducted via the options listed below:

You can pay your water bill by one of the following methods:

  • Drive-thru at City Hall Annex located at 316 Breard Street between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM (Monday – Friday)
  • By mail at: City of Monroe Utilities, PO Box 1743, Monroe, La 71210
  • After-hours drop box located at the 316 Breard Street building entrance
  • Employees can answer your questions or take payments by phone at (318) 329-2220

Instructions for Setting Up New Water Service

To establish new service, you must first contact a Customer Service Agent at (318) 329-2220 for details.

To Setup New Service at the Drive-Thru:

  1. Bring a completed City of Monroe Application for Service and the required government-issued identification to the drive-thru window.
  2. Deposit amount is required at the window. The drive-thru cashier will accept the documents and pre-determined deposit amount and provide receipt. Customer will be notified via phone call/email when service will begin.

To Set up New Service Online:

  1. Email the completed City of Monroe Application for service, and a legible copy of a government issued ID to customer.service@ci.monroe.la.us
  2. An invoice for the deposit is emailed to the customer. Once invoice is paid, customer will be notified via phone call/email when service will begin.

If you have any questions regarding your bill, or need to discuss payment of your account, please call Customer Service at 318-329-2220 between the hours of 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.

Permits for Homeowners and Contractors via Online Portal

Homeowners and contractors can continue to do business with our Planning and Urban Development Department by using the online portal for permits and development projects.

For assistance with the online applications and payment portal for Planning and Zoning, please call 318-329-2430; and, for Building Inspections, please call 318-329-2232.

CODE ENFORCEMENT DIVISION

For Code Enforcement questions, to report violations, follow-up with a case, or any other assistance needed call 318-329-2232 or email us at code.enforcement@ci.monroe.la.us

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIVISION

If you have questions pertaining to programs within our Community Development division, please call 318-329-2256.

MONROE REGIONAL AIRPORT

  • The regular cleaning schedule has been enhanced to ensure the facility is properly disinfected and additional hand sanitizer stations have been installed
  • As flights come in and out, personal are repeatedly cleaning the ticket counters, seating, and other areas within the airport
  • In order to encourage social distancing, our Flight 318 Lounge has transitioned to “take out” order only

FREE MEALS FOR STUDENTS

  •  Monroe City Schools  and Ouachita Parish Schools  have set up multiple feeding sites to ensure students ages 18 and below have access to free breakfast and lunch.  Click the links to their websites to find out more.

ST. FRANCIS MEDICAL CENTER

  • Saint Francis President Kristin Wolkart announced plans to utilize the St. Francis North facility for drive-thru testing.  Mayor Mayo has offered the use of the Monroe Civic Center Parking lot as an alternative site for drive-thru testing, if necessary.

RESIDENTS URGED TO FOLLOW CDC RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Practice Social Distancing
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water multiple times per day
  3. Use tissue when you cough or sneeze OR use your arm
  4. Fist bump or elbow bump instead of shaking hands and hugging
  5. Disinfect surfaces regularly
  6. Stay at home if you are sick

MAYOR’S EXECUTIVE ORDER HALTING WATER DISCONNECTIONS (Issued March 12, 2020)

“To ensure our residents and business can take proper sanitation precautions, I signed an executive order halting the disconnection of water service for our customers for a 60-day period.  As we work with local, state, and federal officials to educate the public about ways to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus – it is very important that we make sure Monroe residents and businesses have proper access to running water.  However, I want to make it clear that all water bills and late fees will have to be paid.” – Mayor Jamie Mayo

CLOSING THOUGHTS

“This situation is unusual, but not impossible!  God has blessed us to have experts to give us best practices to follow.  Officials at the federal, state, and local levels are working together to guide the public as best we can.  We ask that everyone remain patient and trust that we will get through this together.” – Mayor Jamie Mayo