The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak has created a sense of uncertainty for many Americans during these unprecedented times. Although we are in the midst of an unfamiliar global pandemic, there is a sense of unity that is present. Over the past week, Americans have joined together to follow instruction and guidance given by local, state, and national leaders in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19. Our nation’s leaders and healthcare professionals are dedicating all their efforts to keeping the American people informed and as safe as possible. As I have stated before, I feel it is my responsibility as your representative in Congress to keep all of my constituents updated on the latest news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.
Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) Thursday issued a statewide health order in efforts to reduce transmission of COVID-19 including no gatherings of 25 or more people, no gatherings of any size where individuals cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance, the closing of all public and private beaches, no restaurant, bar, or brewery may permit consumption of food or drink on the premises, the closing of preschool and child care centers, all hospitals and nursing homes are prohibited to allow visitors except for end-of-life or maternity cases, and the delay of all elective dental and medical procedures. These regulations are in the best interest of all Alabamians, and it is critical that we follow these orders to do our part in slowing the spread of this virus, as well as continuing to exercise these guidelines provided by the White House.
My staff and I are working our hardest to be a helpful resource for any constituents who may have encountered time-sensitive issues or situations resulting from COVID-19. It has recently come to my office’s attention that there are several people of the Second District who are currently traveling overseas. If you know of a friend or family member traveling abroad and unable to secure passage back to the United States, my office highly encourages them to register any international travel with the U.S. Department of State through the STEP Program. This will provide the State Department with the most accurate data and will enable those traveling abroad to receive the most up-to-date travel information. Please know that my office is working with our counterparts at the State Department to ensure that Alabamians can find their way back home.
As we continue to do what we can to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, it is crucial that my constituents feel they have easy access to resources that may be of great help to them during this time:
- ADPH established a toll-free hotline at 1-888-264-2256 for any Alabamian who has questions regarding testing locations and options. You can also visit ADPH’s website for detailed updates on COVID-19 cases across the state, news releases, and information on what to do should you or a family member need to be tested.
- The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) announced Monday that workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. Eligible workers are encouraged to file online here or by calling 1-866-234-5382.
- Break for a Plate is offering free meals for students until April 6 during temporary school closures affecting students across the state. You can find locations in each county here or by calling 334-694-4659.
- Alabama Power announced they will not discontinue services for any customer affected by COVID-19. Alabama Power is also reminding customers that they do not call requesting immediate payment, bank, or credit card information. If customers are unsure if a call is a scam, Alabama Power encourages them to contact customer service by calling 1-800-245-2244 or by visiting their website.
- The Social Security Administration has closed offices to all in-person visits but will continue to provide phone and online services. Individuals will still continue to receive benefits, and Americans should remain aware of any scammers who attempt to convince you otherwise. The Social Security Administration has created a webpage strictly addressing needs due to COVID-19.
As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, I remain committed to keeping the people of the Second District informed and knowledgeable on current news and newest discoveries regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. To follow along with constant updates from my office, please continue to check my Twitter and Facebook pages.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.