COVID-19 Support Page

To help you and your family during this crisis, Representative Talarico's office consolidated a list of resources and frequently asked questions. 

How We Are Helping:

  • Rep. Talarico authored a letter – signed by 62 of his Democratic and Republican colleagues – asking Governor Abbott for emergency funding, transparent reporting, and unive rsal testing for long-term care facilities—including nursing homes, state-supported living centers, and group homes. For more info click here.

  • Rep. Talarico announced he is donating his entire legislative pay for the duration of this crisis to Shepherd's Heart Food Pantry, a local food bank in Taylor, TX. Click here for more information.

  • Rep. Talarico has worked with his colleagues on the following efforts:

    • Asking the courts to temporarily halt eviction and foreclosure proceedings.

    • Requesting the Governor issue a statewide stay-at-home order (mid-March).

    • Asking the Comptroller to suspend the collection of sales taxes from bars and restaurants. 

    • Requesting an immediate audit of all migrant detention facilities in Texas. 

    • Requesting the Governor allows time-sensitive and critical women’s reproductive healthcare, including abortions.

    • Asking the Texas Supreme Court to temporarily halt all eviction and foreclosure procedures. 

    • Requesting Commissioner Morath fully reimburse school districts for coronavirus related expenses

  • Rep. Talarico and his entire legislative staff are volunteering with the Texas Workforce Commission to help speed up the process for Texans applying for unemployment benefits. 

  • Rep. Talarico personally donated to the Taylor "All-In COVID-19 Relief Fund" to help support small businesses in Taylor, TX. 

  • Rep. Talarico delivered 500 masks to Trinity Care Center, a nursing home in Round Rock that is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What should I be doing during this COVID-19 crisis? 

You might be hearing inconsistent instructions from federal and state leaders. So we’ll put it simply:

  • If you’re sick, stay home and call the doctor if it gets severe.

  • If you’re not sick, stay home as much as you possibly can to protect yourself and others by limiting the spread of disease.

On June 26, Governor Abbott issued an executive order requiring all bars to close until further notice. Bars and similar businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out service. Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a limited capacity not to exceed 50% of indoor occupancy. Rafting and tubing businesses must close, and outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments.


On July 2nd, Governor Abbott issued an executive order to mandate that all Texans must wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces.


Some folks can’t stay home, so call your Member of Congress and demand they take swift action to provide income relief, paid sick leave, and protection for our healthcare workers.

 

What is social distancing and why is it important?
 

Public health officials have strongly recommended decreasing interaction with others and staying home as much as possible, also known as social distancing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you cannot go get necessary groceries, it simply means do not go shopping more than necessary, do not go visit friends, and definitely do not travel.


In early March, Rep. Talarico, along with medical health experts called for greater restrictions to non-essential social interaction in order to slow the spread of the virus and quicken our economic recovery. See more on why here.

 


How can I protect myself and my family from COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?


In addition to limiting your exposure to other people as much as you can, you can best prevent the spread of COVID-19 by practicing good hygiene habits. The Department of State Health Services encourages Texans to frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same. If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 


Additionally, please cover any coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then throw the tissue away. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands as much as you can, and frequently disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often. Lastly, avoid close contact with people who are sick.


You can find more information on how to get your home ready for COVID-19 here.

 


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?


The most typical symptoms of COVID-19 are those associated with a respiratory illness, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.


You can find a complete list of symptoms and a Coronavirus Self-Checker here.

 


What do I do if I think I might have COVID-19?


The first thing to do is to call your doctor. Your doctor will go over your symptoms with you and recommend whether or not getting tested is appropriate for your situation. If you need assistance finding a doctor or accessing medical care in your community, call the Department of Health and Human Services at 2‑1‑1 and they can direct you to low- or no-cost providers in your area.

 


Where can I get tested for COVID-19?


Austin Public Health has said there are currently 11 testing centers, and location information will be given to patients referred by doctors. This list includes the latest information that we have available, but more sites may be added with time. Tests coordinated through APH will be free of charge, but tests administered through private labs will likely have a cost. Williamson County has released a similar statement. If you are experiencing symptoms, first see your healthcare provider and they will refer you to a testing center if necessary. For more information on providers and televisits in Williamson County see here.
 

What do I do if I’m sick but not sick enough to go to a hospital?


That is a great question! Because hospitals are already at such a high capacity, those who are well enough to stay home are highly encouraged to do so. If you are sick, or are caring for someone who is sick at home, check out this guide on how to best treat COVID-19 at home.

 


How can I find out more information on available COVID-19 related services?


All Texans can reach the State of Texas’s Health and Human Service’s COVID-19 hotline by dialing 2-1-1 and selecting option 6 to receive information on COVID-19 social services, such as where to get tested, available community clinics, unemployment benefits, and more! 

 


What do I do if my employment is impacted by COVID-19?

Gov. Abbott has waived the usual “waiting week” requirement for unemployment benefits. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the waiting week is “the first payable week of an individual’s claim for Unemployment Benefits”. This means that Texans who lost their employment during the COVID-19 crisis can receive support sooner rather than later.

If you recently lost your job, you can file for unemployment benefits here or by calling 1-800-939-6631, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time Zone. The Texas Workforce Commission is working as diligently as they can to serve Texans during this difficult time. Unfortunately, the large amount of need right now means that unemployment claims may be processed more slowly than normal. The TWC understands the hardship that many Texans are facing getting in contact with their team so they are temporarily providing unemployment benefits starting from the date of lost employment, not from the date that the claimant’s application is approved. If you have any questions about how to file online or over the phone, check out TWC's tutorial here

If you have questions about how much you might be able to expect to receive in benefits, you can find the Texas Workforce's Commission Unemployment Benefits estimator here. If you are unsure about whether or not you are eligible, we would encourage you to review the TWC’s unemployment eligibility information here.

What if I'm afraid to go to work?

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has announced new guidelines including reasons that individuals may qualify for unemployment benefits while refusing suitable work during the COVID-19 crisis. Under these guidelines, Texans can receive unemployment benefits throughout the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

 

We want to clarify that each unemployment insurance claim is currently evaluated on an individual basis, but, because of the COVID-19 emergency, the following are reasons that benefits would be granted if the individual refused suitable work.

Reason for refusal:

 

  • At High Risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

  • Household member at high risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

  • Diagnosed with COVID: The individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.

  • Family member with COVID: Anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.

  • Quarantined: Individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.

  • Child care: Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.


Any other situation will be subject to a case by case review by TWC based on individual circumstances. You can find more information here.


What resources are available to me if my business was impacted by COVID-19?


The State of Texas will now provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). EIDLs provide low-interest loans to qualifying businesses across the state. If you believe your small business might be eligible for a small business EIDL, find out more information and apply for assistance here.


Additionally, Gov. Abbott is now allowing restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages to customers who also order food to go and is allowing retailers to buy back excess inventory that restaurants may have in order to sell them back to those in need, including hospitals. You can find more information on these waivers here.

In addition to the EIDLs, businesses can seek resources from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). You can read more about the loans and other resources offered by the SBA here.

If you have any other questions about COVID-19 resources for employers, you can find more information here.

 


What do I do if my child, or a child I know, relies on food assistance provided by schools in my community?

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been providing food pickups for students at over 1,000 food sites across the state. Find the nearest food site to you here. Some school districts, including Round Rock ISD, are continuing food distribution services during the summer break. To find out if your student qualifies for food assistance through this program, check out TEA’s Child Nutrition Program Meal Service During COVID-19 Outbreak FAQ.


Will Special Education students continue to receive support services?

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is working with local school districts to determine how to best provide support services for students with disabilities without spreading COVID-19. The most up-to-date information along with a Q & A on special education during the COVID-19 crisis can be found here and further resources on special education and other special populations here.

 

 

Will schools be reopening in the fall?

 

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released a guide for school districts to use when crafting their plans on how to reopen schools in the fall. The Round Rock ISD Trustees have requested that TEA suspend in-person learning until the seven-day average hospitalization rate is five or less, otherwise known as Stage 2. 

 

Round Rock ISD has also announced that the first three weeks of the school year will be conducted by completely virtual learning. Whether or not the remainder of the fall semester of school will be completely virtual, in-person, or a combination of the two will be dependent on further TEA guidelines.

 

Additionally, you can find information on how Hutto ISD will be conducting instruction and the district’s plans for the upcoming school year here.

 

Taylor ISD will release their plan for the upcoming school year on 7/20/202.

 


I need to renew my Drivers License but the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is closed, what do I do?

The Department has resumed all in-office driver license (DL) and identification (ID) card services by appointment only. These services include renewal transactions.

 

If your Texas DL, ID, CLP, CDL or EIC card expired on or after March 13, 2020, your card is still valid and you are not required to renew at this time.

 

A waiver has been granted for the expiration date of your card that remains valid for 60 days after the Department provides further public notice that normal operations have resumed.

Is the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) still enforcing normal regulations during this COVID-19 Crisis?


Gov. Abbott has temporarily suspended all penalties associated with failure to timely title or register a vehicle, or renew a parking placard for persons with disabilities.

 

You can find more information on these suspensions here.

 


Will my housing be affected by the COVID-19 crisis?

 

If you live in a property with a federally backed mortgage, you will be protected from eviction, under the CARES Act, until August 23. To find out if you qualify for these protections, check out this database. The state has ended its moratorium on evictions so tenants will only be protected from evictions if they are covered by this provision in the CARES Act or by moratoriums instituted by their city or county. Otherwise, evictions trials were allowed to begin on May 26.

 


Who should I reach out to if I’m a constituent of House District 52 and I need help?


Our team is diligently working to help provide constituents with the resources they need during this crisis. If there are any questions we didn't cover, or if you need additional assistance, please contact our office at District52.Talarico@house.texas.gov

 
 
 
 
 
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Pol. Adv. paid for by James Talarico Campaign