AuthorTopic: 🦠 Economic Effect of Coronavirus  (Read 13235 times)

Offline RE

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🦠 25 million Americans at risk of losing expiring unemployment benefits
« Reply #285 on: July 27, 2020, 02:07:02 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/_UQumNWSVLU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/_UQumNWSVLU</a>
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🦠 Sen. Chuck Schumer on what it will take to get a new stimulus package
« Reply #286 on: July 28, 2020, 02:06:12 PM »
Meanwhile, people continue to go broke.   ::)

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<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/jrYdlqnT95A" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/jrYdlqnT95A</a>
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Definitely, we need the FBI to Investigate the COVIDS!  They could be TERRORISTS!  ::)

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https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/29/coronavirus-stimulus-updates-gop-and-democrats-negotiate-relief-bill.html

Mnuchin says Republicans and Democrats are ‘far apart’ on coronavirus relief bill as talks continue
Published Wed, Jul 29 202012:42 PM EDTUpdated 2 Hours Ago
Jacob Pramuk   @jacobpramuk

[A man walks past the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, June 25, 2020.
Al Drago | Reuters

Key Points

    Republicans and Democrats are trying to strike a coronavirus relief agreement, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said they are “very far apart.”
    Congressional leaders were sniping at one another on Capitol Hill on Wednesday ahead of another round of talks between the White House and Democratic leaders.
    The Trump administration floated a short-term plan to extend enhanced federal unemployment insurance and an eviction moratorium, but Democrats have rejected a temporary fix.

A man walks past the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, June 25, 2020.

Republicans and Democrats appeared far from striking a coronavirus relief deal Wednesday as millions of Americans wait to see whether Congress will renew financial lifelines during an ongoing economic crisis.

As negotiators cite little progress in talks and congressional leaders snipe at one another on Capitol Hill, the Trump administration again raised the prospect of a short-term plan to address only enhanced unemployment insurance and a federal eviction moratorium while the sides hash out a broader bill. Democrats have repeatedly rejected a temporary fix.

“As of now, we’re very far apart,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House’s chief negotiator, said Wednesday morning. He said President Donald Trump would support approving short-term legislation to allow more time for talks if the parties fail to strike an agreement before Friday.

Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, an aide familiar with the plan said.

Comments from congressional leaders and White House officials portrayed a messy, politically charged process that appears unlikely to lead to a quick breakthrough to combat an economic and health-care calamity. As roughly 30 million people still receive some form of unemployment insurance, states have stopped paying out the extra $600 weekly federal benefit Congress approved earlier this year. A federal eviction moratorium also expired last week.

As Covid-19 spreads throughout the country, the U.S. has now reported more than 4.3 million cases and roughly 150,000 deaths related to the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Senate Republicans released a roughly $1 trillion pandemic aid bill this week, a counter to the $3 trillion package House Democrats passed in May. But the proposal has not earned the support of many GOP lawmakers, let alone Democrats.

As his administration works with Pelosi and Schumer to craft a plan that could pass both the GOP-controlled Senate and Democratic-held House, Trump downplayed the importance of resolving issues other than the jobless benefit and eviction moratorium.

“We’re going to work on the evictions, so that people don’t get evicted. We’ll work on the payments for the people. And the rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care. We really don’t care,” the president told reporters before he left for Texas on Wednesday.

He claimed that “the Democrats aren’t taking care of the people. The payments aren’t enough.”
VIDEO02:04
Swing voters overwhelming support additional Covid relief proposals

Democrats have pushed to send significantly more money to Americans than Republicans have. They want to continue the $600 per week federal unemployment insurance boost into next year. The GOP has proposed to cut the benefit to $200 per week through September, then change it to 70% wage replacement.

Democrats’ plan for another round of direct payments to Americans also differs from the Republican bill. It would send another check of up to $1,200 to most individuals, and $2,400 to couples. The plan would add another $1,200 per dependent for up to three children, a maximum of $6,000 per household.

The Republican legislation would send checks of up to $1,200 to individuals and $2,400 to couples, with $500 per dependent of any age.

The GOP and Democrats are trying to resolve several other thorny issues in the legislation. Republicans did not put any new direct relief for state and local governments in their bill, while Democrats want nearly $1 trillion in aid.

Republicans have also pushed for broad liability protections for companies, doctors and schools during the pandemic, a provision Democrats oppose. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told CNBC that “no bill will pass the Senate that doesn’t have the liability protection in it.”

After a meeting with Mnuchin and Meadows on Tuesday, Pelosi said the comments about legal immunity made McConnell sound “like a person who had no interest in having an agreement.”

The shots continued Wednesday. Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell accused Democrats of posturing and threatening the extension of key aid measures.

“Democrats would rather keep political issues alive than find bipartisan ways to resolve them,” he said.

Schumer then criticized Republicans for putting together a plan that many members of the GOP do not support. He said it was “littered with corporate giveaways” and “presidential pet projects,” but did not include key aid such as rental, mortgage and food assistance.

He also accused McConnell of operating in bad faith.

“Time is short,” Schumer said. “Speaker Pelosi and I will be back at the negotiating table with the White House later today. It’s time for our Republican colleagues to roll up their sleeves and get serious as well.”

Correction: The U.S. has now reported more than 4.3 million cases and roughly 150,000 deaths related to Covid-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. An earlier version misstated the figures.
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🦠 🍕 California Pizza Kitchen files for bankruptcy
« Reply #289 on: July 31, 2020, 12:38:32 AM »
No more Chucky Cheese either!  :(

No worries here.  Pizza is pretty EZ to make at home.   :icon_sunny:

RE

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/30/business/california-pizza-kitchen-bankruptcy/index.html

California Pizza Kitchen files for bankruptcy
CNN Digital Expansion 2016 Jordan Valinsky


By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Updated 2:49 PM ET, Thu July 30, 2020
All retail bankruptcies are not the same. Here's what you need to know
All retail bankruptcies are not the same. Here's what you need to know

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: A man shops in the meat section at a grocery store, April 28, 2020 Washington, DC. Meat industry experts say that beef, chicken and pork could become scarce in the United States because many meat processing plants have been temporarily closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tyson Foods took out a full page advertisement over the weekend in several major American newspapers, warning that the food supply chain is on the cusp of breaking. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Here's where meat prices are headed
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Cars line-up for free food from the Arkansas Foodbank at the Outlets of Little Rock on Tuesday, April 28.
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WHEATON, MARYLAND - APRIL 16: Customers wear face masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus as they line up to enter a Costco Wholesale store April 16, 2020 in Wheaton, Maryland. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered that all people must wear some kind of face mask to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 when on public transportation, grocery stores, retail establishments and other places where social distancing is not always possible. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
How meat plant closures could impact consumers
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People shop near empty food shelves at a supermarket in Tokyo in April 6, 2020. - Japan&#39;s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on April 6 the government plans to declare a state of emergency and proposed a stimulus package worth 1 trillion USD as new coronavirus infections spike in Tokyo and elsewhere. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
Global food supply chain at risk due to pandemic
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This small business stood for a century, but Covid-19 closed it in months
A man wears a mask as he walks past a McDonald&#39;s fast food restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Los Angeles, California, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
McDonald's sales plummet in dismal quarter
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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: A man shops in the meat section at a grocery store, April 28, 2020 Washington, DC. Meat industry experts say that beef, chicken and pork could become scarce in the United States because many meat processing plants have been temporarily closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tyson Foods took out a full page advertisement over the weekend in several major American newspapers, warning that the food supply chain is on the cusp of breaking. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Here's where meat prices are headed
ny dairy farmers
Farmers forced to dump dairy team up with local food bank
How beer delivery saved this Seattle pizza chain
Cars line-up for free food from the Arkansas Foodbank at the Outlets of Little Rock on Tuesday, April 28.
Food bank demand skyrockets as supplies dwindle
Hundreds of people lined up outside of Vegas casino for food
WHEATON, MARYLAND - APRIL 16: Customers wear face masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus as they line up to enter a Costco Wholesale store April 16, 2020 in Wheaton, Maryland. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered that all people must wear some kind of face mask to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 when on public transportation, grocery stores, retail establishments and other places where social distancing is not always possible. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
How meat plant closures could impact consumers
Why dairy farmers are dumping perfectly good milk
People shop near empty food shelves at a supermarket in Tokyo in April 6, 2020. - Japan&#39;s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on April 6 the government plans to declare a state of emergency and proposed a stimulus package worth 1 trillion USD as new coronavirus infections spike in Tokyo and elsewhere. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
Global food supply chain at risk due to pandemic
All retail bankruptcies are not the same. Here's what you need to know
This small business stood for a century, but Covid-19 closed it in months
A man wears a mask as he walks past a McDonald&#39;s fast food restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Los Angeles, California, April 6, 2020. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
McDonald's sales plummet in dismal quarter
Cheez-It releases limited-edition box with wine pairing
Watch Ja Rule's outlandish restaurant ad
CEO fears Japan could lose a fifth of its restaurants
Danny Meyer: Opening restaurants will require confidence
Thomas Keller on PPP loans: One size doesn't fit all

New York (CNN Business)California Pizza Kitchen is the latest fast casual chain to file for bankruptcy as the pandemic and its debt burden hampers its operations.
The 35-year-old pizza chain filed for Chapter 11 Thursday, explaining that the process will help it "reduce its long-term debt load, and quickly emerge from bankruptcy as a much stronger company." It warned that it will close unprofitable locations, but didn't say how many of its 200 global restaurants will be affected.
"The unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our operations certainly created additional challenges, but this agreement from our lenders demonstrates their commitment to CPK's viability as an ongoing business," CEO Jim Hyatt said in a release.
CPK secured nearly $47 million in new financing to ensure operations continue normally. It has around $13 million cash on hand and hasn't paid rent for the past several months on a majority of its locations.

The temporary closure of indoor dining has also been brutal for the company, because on-premise dining makes up 80% of its sales, the company said in a filing. Revenues are currently down 40% compared to the same time a year ago, it said.

Restaurants, in particular casual chains like CPK, have been struggling in recent few months. The closure of in-person dining in some states and the rough economics of using third-party apps like Uber Eats or DoorDash -- which increase restaurants' costs and encourage diners to eat at home -- is a losing proposition for many.
In recent months, Chuck E. Cheese's parent company, Italian chain Vapiano, Le Pain Quotidien's US unit and FoodFirst Global Restaurants, which owns Bravo and Brio, have all filed for bankruptcy. Even large franchisees, like NPC International which operates thousands of Pizza Hut and Wendy's locations, are currently navigating the Chapter 11 process.
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🦠 Millions to lose $600 weekly jobless aid amid Senate stalemate
« Reply #290 on: July 31, 2020, 04:57:32 AM »
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/30/senate-gop-unemployment-extension-388170

Millions to lose $600 weekly jobless aid amid Senate stalemate

A late night meeting with negotiators yielded little progress.

Sen. Ron Johnson. | Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

By JOHN BRESNAHAN, MARIANNE LEVINE and JAKE SHERMAN

07/30/2020 11:39 AM EDT

Updated: 07/30/2020 11:43 PM EDT


With federal unemployment benefits expiring on Friday — a serious blow to millions of Americans who lost jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic — the Senate became bogged down in partisan fighting and left town without a resolution to the crisis.

And two more hours of high-level talks on Thursday night between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on one side and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the other yielded almost no progress. The talks will continue through the weekend, but a deal seems far off at this point.

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"We had a long discussion," Schumer told reporters after the meeting ended late Thursday night. "And we just don't think they understand the gravity of the problem. The bottom line is this is the most serious health problem and economic problem we've had in a century and 75 years, and it takes really good strong bold action, and they don't quite get that."

The end of the $600-per-week federal benefit, when combined with the lapsing of an eviction moratorium, will likely lead to serious financial problems for those hit hardest by the pandemic and economic collapse. More than 1.4 million people filed initial unemployment claims last week, according to the Department of Labor, while the U.S. economy contracted by more than nine percent in the second quarter of 2020, the worst drop on record.
POLITICO Dispatch: July 31

Short answer: We don’t really know. But there are three directions it could go. We break them down — and why the future of the largest economy in the world is virtually in the hands of Congress.
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Faced with Democratic resistance, as well as opposition in their own ranks, Senate Republicans temporarily abandoned their hopes for a large-scale coronavirus relief package on Thursday tried to pass a standalone extension of federal unemployment insurance. But that effort was blocked by Democrats.

As the Senate prepared to leave Washington Thursday afternoon, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took a procedural step to force debate on the issue on the floor next week, although he never specified what he wants a vote on. In a floor speech, McConnell accused Schumer of resisting any kind of agreement.

“If that is their position, they’ll have to vote on it for the entire country to see,” McConnell said.

Schumer, however, dismissed the move as nothing but a stunt and blamed an intra-party GOP struggle for the stalemate over the federal benefits.

“They’ve woken up to the fact that we’re at a cliff, but it’s too late,” Schumer said. “It’s too late because even if we were to pass this measure, almost every state says people would not get their unemployment for weeks and months. All because of the disunity, dysfunction of the Republican caucus.”

The leading GOP proposal, offered by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), would renew federal unemployment payments at 66 percent of lost wages, or $200 per week. The strategy had the general backing from the White House, which is eager to extend the bulked up unemployment insurance.

Republicans viewed the Johnson proposal as a way to put pressure on Senate Democrats the day before the benefit lapsed. And they noted, it was far more than what was approved more than a decade ago as the Democratic-run Congress reacted to the 2008 financial crisis.

But Schumer retorted that Johnson's bill was a step in the wrong direction. Schumer instead offered a unanimous request proposal to have the Senate approve the House-passed Heroes Act, which Johnson objected to.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) later attempted to pass a one-week extension to the $600 in boosted benefits. But Schumer objected, deriding the effort as another stunt. The New York Democrat then proceeded to try again to pass the Heroes Act, which Republicans blocked.

At a White House press conference on Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he supported the week-long extension offered by McSally as a "temporary measure" to allow negotiations to move forward and complained when Democrats objected.

He also promised Meadows and Mnuchin would make some new proposals to break the deadlock, although he didn't go into details.

In the discussions in Pelosi's office later in the evening, Mnuchin and Meadows offered a longer extension of the $600-per-week benefit to cover several months, but only as a stand-alone measure, according to sources familiar with the talks. Pelosi and Schumer rejected the offer, saying they don't want to negotiate an agreement in piecemeal fashion. Democrats also insist the federal payment should extend well into 2021, which Republicans are unwilling to do.

The two sides also squabbled over a number of other flashpoints, including state and local aid, which has emerged as a major difference between the parties. Democrats are seeking more than $900 billion in such funding, while the White House and Senate Republicans — arguing that a huge chunk of such money already approved by Congress hasn't been spent — want to spend only a fraction of that amount.

"The proposals we made were not received warmly," Meadow told reporters in the Capitol after the meeting broke up late Thursday evening.

For Pelosi and Schumer, the White House and Senate GOP leadership don't understand the enormity of the problems the country faces, and they refuse to try to break their package down into smaller pieces.

"They understand that we have to have a bill, but they just don't realize how big it has to be," Pelosi added.

The partisan jockeying could not come at a worse moment. There is no end in sight to the coronavirus, which so far has claimed 150,000 American lives and sickened more than 4 million.

The Trump administration remains at an impasse with both members of its own party and Democratic leadership over the boosted federal unemployment benefits. The March CARES Act provided an additional $600 weekly benefit that’s on the cusp of expiring, while Democrats are pushing for the full $600 to go into next year.

Meanwhile, Republicans argue the benefits provide a disincentive to work and instead want to see a temporary flat payment of $200 a week until states can adjust their systems to offer 70 percent wage replacement.

McConnell, for his part, accused Pelosi and Schumer of not wanting to engage on any issue in order to pressure Republicans to cave in on the Heroes Act.

“Both Republicans and Democrats agree that in these extraordinary times it makes sense for the federal government to provide historic additional help on top of normal unemployment,” McConnell said. “But the speaker and the Democratic leader say they won’t agree to anything unless the program pays people more to stay home than to work.”

Schumer retorted earlier in the day that negotiating with White House and Senate Republicans is like “trying to nail JELL-O to the wall.”

“Who is leading the effort on the Republican side,” Schumer asked. “Chief Meadows and Secretary Mnuchin….Leader McConnell has said that Democrats won’t engage. I would remind him if he refuses to go into the room when Speaker Pelosi, Secretary Mnuchin, chief of staff Meadows and I sit in there.”
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🦠 Palmer bars close due to Covid concerns
« Reply #291 on: July 31, 2020, 12:28:24 PM »
Only 3 bars in downtown Palmer.  Many others still open.

RE

Palmer bars close due to Covid concerns

    By Tim Rockey Jul 29, 2020


Please consider making a financial contribution to support local journalism.

Palmer’s three bars along South Colony Way closed for 72 hours in response to reports of a person who had tested positive for COVID-19 that went to Klondike Mike’s on Friday night.

The fourth annual Rhymefest hip-hop celebration was scheduled for Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Klondikes, but the indoor portion of the event had to be canceled. The Mat-Su has had 235 cumulative residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 168 persons are listed as active. Over the last 7 days, 42 Mat-Su residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 12,566 Mat-Su residents have been tested, accounting for 12 percent of the population. Statewide, 817 of the 1,784 total cases are listed as active with 98 new resident cases announced on Monday, four of which were in Palmer.

“For a person who has supposedly tested positive to try to come out is not acceptable,” said Palmer Bar owner Wesley Artz. “A lot of the bars have people that go back and forth between each bar and we’re just trying to make it a safe environment for our guests and for our employees.”

After the alleged incident on Friday night the Palmer Bar, Klondike Mike’s and Moosehead Saloon all remain closed until Monday. Palmer Bar will open at 4:30 p.m. for taco Tuesday. Artz said that he had spoken with the other bar owners on the phone and the three decided to close down the bars on their own volition without being ordered to do so.

“We feel like we have a moral and social responsibility to our guests and our customers and our staff and that’s why we did it, because even if it’s all hearsay we want to play it on the safe side,” said Artz. “We don’t want people to get sick.”
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 12:35:57 PM by RE »
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Offline RE

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🦠 Congress deadlocked as unemployment benefits expire
« Reply #292 on: July 31, 2020, 08:49:56 PM »
Lotta folks gonna be hurting next Friday.

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AFAIK, they still plan on reopening the Public Skules in 2 weeks though.   ::)

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https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2020/07/31/anchorage-will-halt-dine-in-service-at-restaurants-and-bars-shrink-gathering-size-limits-starting-monday/

Anchorage will halt indoor service at restaurants and bars, shrink gathering size limits starting Monday

    pencil Author: Morgan Krakow
    , Annie Berman
    clock Updated: 17 minutes ago calendar Published 4 hours ago

Empty outdoor seating tables line G Street in Anchorage on July 31, 2020. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

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Starting Monday, a broad emergency order in Anchorage will prohibit indoor dining at restaurants, restrict bars to delivery and takeout, limit gathering sizes, require people to keep their social bubbles tight and require working from home whenever possible.

The new order announced Friday will be in effect for four weeks, and it marks the most significant action the municipality has taken to tamp down on COVID-19 since the “hunker down” order this spring. Emergency Order 15 also comes as Anchorage experienced the “worst week of the epidemic, in terms of new cases, active cases and cases per day,” Anchorage Health Department Director Natasha Pineda said in a community briefing.

The new restrictions, which will be in effect from 8 a.m. Monday to 11:59 p.m. Aug. 30, require that bars and nightclubs be closed except to provide takeout or delivery service. The city will also prohibit indoor dining service at restaurants and breweries, which may still offer outdoor table service as long as tables are spaced at least 10 feet apart. The city is encouraging these businesses to offer delivery, curbside and takeout service.

The order, described as a “four-week reset,” also says that people in Anchorage “shall limit outings and physical contact with those outside of their household and a small chosen group of other individuals.”

The text of the emergency order describes widespread community transmission in Anchorage, maxed-out contact tracing capacity and the potential for hospitals to run out of intensive-care unit beds by mid-September, and the order states that it is intended “to preserve the health and safety of our community.”

Since Friday, the municipality saw 494 more cases of COVID-19, contributing to a total of 1,088 active cases of the illness, Pineda said. That puts the city above the state’s parameters for a high alert level, with 17 cases per 100,000. Cases are being identified at more than double the rate they were in the previous week, Pineda said.

“We have entered a period of time where we know there is a COVID storm coming, and we hunkered down once. I think this is a time for us to batten down,” Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said Friday.

[Anchorage parents weigh difficult choices as an unpredictable school year edges closer]

Berkowitz has said in the past that restaurants and bars with known COVID-19 exposure haven’t necessarily done anything wrong, and that many have followed city guidelines.

On Friday, he acknowledged the “uneven burden” being placed on restaurants and bars under the new order, in part because of the nature of the virus and the way it spreads.

The virus is “particularly susceptible to spreading in those kinds of close environments where people aren’t able to stay masked, and where their social inhibitions might be relaxed a little bit,” he said.
Mask requirement signs are taped to the entrance of Darwin's Theory in Anchorage on July 31, 2020. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Mask requirement signs are taped to the entrance of Darwin's Theory in Anchorage on July 31, 2020. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

He said he was hopeful that there would soon be support at the federal level for this industry and its workers as Congress and the White House continue negotiations on the next federal pandemic relief package.

If the federal government “doesn’t come through with some measure of support” for these businesses, he said the municipality would consider stepping in.

“We’re aware that it is such a high price,” he said. “I want to make sure that they are not left alone in these times.”

The Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association recently called for more mandates that would require additional health precautions in bars and restaurants, in the hopes of avoiding a broader shutdown like what the city announced Friday.

CHARR President Sarah Oates said she is disappointed with the municipality’s decision.

”This will be completely devastating to many businesses and will certainly result in many permanent closures of bars and restaurants in the municipality that we know and love,” Oates said in a text message Friday.

During the “four-week reset” period, theaters and bingo halls must remain closed under the order.

More broadly, the emergency order also states that employers “shall require employees to work from home when their work can be accomplished remotely without significantly impeding business operations.”

Public-facing businesses such as retail stores don’t face new capacity limits under the order, but they’re “encouraged to prioritize telephone and online ordering; increase their offerings of curbside, entryway, and delivery services; and implement reserved hours of operation limited to high-risk populations.”

In order to tell if the measures are working, officials look at several metrics locally in terms of disease spread, health care capacity and public health capacity, as well as recommendations from the state and the White House, Pineda said.

At the end of the four-week period, the city will be able to tell if the order is helping to slow the spread or if more measures are needed, said Dr. Bruce Chandler, medical officer for disease prevention and control at the city health department

In terms of enforcing the order, Berkowitz said that when the city receives a complaint, they inform that business about compliance. He noted that he would like to hire more compliance officers.

“But we do not live in a police state,” Berkowitz said. “Much of what we do, we count on people to do the right things.”

[Alaska companies that have exhausted federal loans to counter pandemic losses say help is still needed]

Under the new emergency order, anyone likely to be contagious with COVID-19 must also minimize contact with other people. For those experiencing symptoms, that includes staying home unless they are seeking virus testing or medical care, according to the order.

People traveling to Anchorage from outside the state must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival unless they receive negative results on two COVID-19 tests, following the process outlined in the city’s previous emergency order addressing travel from Outside.

The health department is delayed in reaching people who test positive for the illness, Chandler said. He stressed that people who test positive should isolate until they’re cleared by public health workers.

Indoor gatherings — including political and religious gatherings — must be limited to 15 or fewer people under the new order. No more than 25 people may be involved in an outdoor gathering where food and drink are consumed; other gatherings are limited to 50 or fewer people.

Masks and physical distancing of 6 feet will be required at all gatherings.

The gathering size limits do not apply to day cares or day camps; K-12 education facilities; farmers markets or food truck events where customers can maintain 6 feet of distance from others and there’s no on-site dining; or drive-in events where vehicles are spaced 6 feet apart (or 10 feet if singing is involved) and food, drinks or other items aren’t passed among vehicles.

Gyms and personal care businesses are under other restrictions, Berkowitz said, so they’re not affected by the new order.

On Friday, the municipality also revised and reissued its emergency order on a face mask requirement for indoor public settings, which remains in effect until revoked.

The revised face mask emergency order now also requires people in Anchorage to wear face coverings at outdoor gatherings when it’s not possible to maintain 6 feet of distance from non-household members. That order takes effect today until 1 p.m. and will stay in effect until it is revoked or changed.

”We are in a place we didn’t want to be,” Berkowitz said. “Our strategy is that we are battening down, we’re going to steer straight, and we’re going to see our way through this.”

He stressed the importance of everyone working together to again flatten the curve.

“I’m calling on us to be strong,” he said. “We have done it before, Anchorage — we have flattened the curve, we have rode out an earthquake, we have done amazing things in this community. And it is time for us to behave that way one more time.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Daily News reporter Emily Goodykoontz contributed.
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🦠 Eurozone suffers deepest contraction on record
« Reply #294 on: August 01, 2020, 05:01:06 AM »
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-53606101

Eurozone suffers deepest contraction on record

    31 July 2020

Spain's economy has been ravaged by the virus

Spain has been plunged into its deepest recession in modern times by the coronavirus pandemic.

Its economy shrank by 18.5% in the April-to-June period, having already fallen by 5.2% in the first three months of the year.

The country was the worst performer in the eurozone, which saw its overall GDP decline by a record 12.1%.

France's economy has also been badly hit, with GDP there falling by 13.8% in the second quarter.

The French statistics agency said the low point had come in April, with a gradual recovery in May and June as lockdown restrictions eased, but economic activity was still well below normal.

Italy, which was among the first European countries to be hit by the pandemic, has reported a similar drop, with the economy contracting by 12.4%. However, the fall was less steep than expected.

Across the EU, the economic contraction was 11.9%.

The official Eurostat agency said the falls were the largest since it began recording the figures in 1995.

The figures are dreadful, but not a surprise. The eurozone includes some of the countries most severely affected by deaths from coronavirus.

Lockdowns earlier in the pandemic were draconian and in any case, many people have been wary of exposing themselves to the risk of infection. The result was some extraordinary declines in economic activity.

In the case of Spain, a group of service industries which includes transport, restaurants and accommodation suffered a decline of more than 50% in the first half of 2020.

Even Germany was hit hard, in spite of a less severe health situation and being less exposed to the damage done to the tourist industry. German consumers cut back. It is also a big goods exporter and global trade has been severely disrupted by the pandemic.

The US and Germany both announced huge falls in national output on Thursday, showing the global economic impact of Covid-19.

The US saw its sharpest contraction in decades, with the economy shrinking at an annual rate of 32.9% between April and June.

Germany reported its deepest quarterly decline on record, as total production of goods and services fell by 10.1%.

The Spanish figures, which were worse than forecast, have wiped out the growth of the past six years.

Economic activity in Spain has declined by a total of more than a fifth so far this year. Service industries including transport, restaurants and accommodation have been hardest hit, as they have been most affected by the restrictions on movement imposed to fight the pandemic.

Spain has suffered a large number of deaths in the course of the health crisis, and a correspondingly dramatic impact on the economy was seen as inevitable, says BBC World Service economics correspondent Andrew Walker.

Our correspondent adds that although many of the restrictions on commercial activity in Spain have now been eased, any rebound is sure to be impaired by the recent resurgence of coronavirus infections in some areas.
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🦠 Anchorage to enter “Four Week Reset”
« Reply #295 on: August 02, 2020, 07:17:01 PM »
https://www.ktuu.com/2020/07/31/anchorage-to-enter-four-week-reset/

Anchorage to enter “Four Week Reset”
The "battening down" to thwart the spread of COVID-19 begins Aug. 3rd.

By Jill Burke
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 12:48 PM AKDT


Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has ordered Anchorage to enter what he described as a “battening down” phase, an effort meant to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, cases of which have risen sharply in Anchorage during the month of July.

Starting Aug. 3rd, bars and restaurants will be limited to take-out service only. Dine-in service will not be allowed. Mayor Berkowitz also announced Anchorage School District schools will not take place in classrooms and will be online for the first quarter.

Also, beginning Friday, July 31st, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has ordered masks or face coverings to be worn in more settings than previously required, including outdoor gatherings.

The announcement comes after Anchorage experienced what municipal Health Director Natasha Pineda described as the worst week yet for COVID-19 cases in the city.

In the month of July, 1,576 cases were detected among Anchorage residents, Pineda said during a noon-time press conference. Of those, 494 are considered recovered, while 1,088 cases remained active, Pineda said.

“We currently have 21 people actively hospitalized,” added Municipal Manager Bill Falsey.

The announcement comes amid an ongoing rise in COVID-19 cases and concerns over the potential for Anchorage’s hospital systems to become overwhelmed. Anchorage is a medical hub for critical cases statewide, and it is not uncommon for other communities to send patients in need of more critical care to the state’s largest city.

“The trend lines are not looking good,” Falsey said, explaining that one model shows that ICU bed capacity could be overwhelmed by September 17th. “This is not a path that we want to stay on,” he said.

“We have flattened the curve and we can do it again,” Berkowitz said.
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Skules still supposed to reopen...

RE

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2020/08/02/alaska-reports-159-new-covid-19-cases-with-most-concentrated-in-anchorage/

Alaska reports 159 new COVID-19 cases, with most concentrated in Anchorage


    pencil Author: Tess Williams
    clock Updated: 3 hours ago calendar Published 9 hours ago

We're making coronavirus coverage available without a subscription as a public service. But we depend on reader support to do this work. Please consider joining others in supporting local journalism in Alaska for just $3.23 a week.

State health officials reported 159 new COVID-19 cases in Alaska on Sunday, including 111 in the Municipality of Anchorage.

The new cases include 145 in Alaska residents and 14 in non-residents, according to the Department of Health and Social Services’ coronavirus dashboard. One new hospitalization was reported, and there were no new deaths.
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As of Sunday, 2,861 people in Alaska had active cases of COVID-19 and 1,099 people had recovered from the virus. In total, Alaska has had 3,280 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

Of the new resident cases announced Sunday, there were 99 in Anchorage, seven in Wasilla, six each in Eagle River and Palmer, five cases in Chugiak, three each in Fairbanks, Wrangell and the Northwest Arctic Borough, two each in Homer and Cordova and one case each in Seward, Valdez, Juneau, Craig, Sitka, Bethel, the Yukon-Koyuk area, a place marked as “other” in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and a city listed by the state as “other” in the Prince of Wales-Hyder area.

Three non-residents in Kodiak contracted the virus, one in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks. The state classified nine of the non-resident cases as “unknown.”
7-day rolling averages
7-day rolling averages
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By age group
By age group

Twenty-seven people with COVID-19 were hospitalized as of Sunday and there are 12 people in the hospital with test results for the virus pending. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 134 people with the virus required hospitalization at some point.

Twenty-four Alaska resident deaths have been tied to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

[Alaska reports death of Anchorage man with virus and 151 new cases statewide]

Cases have sharply climbed in the last few months since Alaska began to reopen. Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced Friday that more restrictions will begin this week so the city can enter into a “four-week reset” in hopes of curbing the spread of COVID-19.

[Anchorage restaurants and bars face another round of COVID-19 restrictions]

Gov. Dunleavy tightened travel restrictions statewide last week. Starting Aug. 11, out-of-state visitors will be required to provide negative test results before entering Alaska. The new restrictions no longer allow visitors to opt to quarantine or test when they reach the state. The restriction comes as a response to tightened testing resources across the state as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to climb.

Officials have repeatedly voiced concerns that the growing case counts could overwhelm hospital beds. Just less than half of the state’s 163 intensive care unit beds were available as of Sunday. Roughly 60% of the state’s normal hospital beds were occupied Sunday.

[Coronavirus threat rises across U.S.: ‘We just have to assume the monster is everywhere]
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🦠 There may never be a 'silver bullet' for COVID-19, WHO chief Tedros warns
« Reply #297 on: August 03, 2020, 02:06:24 PM »
"No Silver Bullet".

The virus is too much like the Flu.  You'll see it reappear every year, with some mutations.  Kiss goodbye BAU until it wipes out at least 1/4 of the Global Population, which is the Biblical Standard for the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.


RE

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Zc8iO2AG5Mc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Zc8iO2AG5Mc</a>
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🦠 Emboldened Pelosi takes hard line as relief talks drag on
« Reply #298 on: August 06, 2020, 02:57:58 PM »
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/06/nancy-pelosi-coronavirus-relief-bill-391963

Emboldened Pelosi takes hard line as relief talks drag on

The latest standoff underscores Pelosi's evolution in leadership and her skill at wielding power in her second tour as speaker.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, followed by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer., walks from her office on Wednesday. | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

By HEATHER CAYGLE, JOHN BRESNAHAN and SARAH FERRIS

08/06/2020 04:30 AM EDT


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stood up before a room full of Senate Republicans noshing on lunch Tuesday, compelled to make a declaration about Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“There were press reports that Mark is indecisive and I’m owned by Nancy,” Mnuchin said of himself and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to two people in the room. “I can tell you those reports are false.”

That the Treasury secretary under a Republican president felt the need to reassure GOP senators he wasn’t secretly controlled by a Democratic lawmaker underscores the current power struggle on Capitol Hill and Pelosi's strong position.

Pelosi is where she likes it best — slugging it out with Republicans on another record-breaking coronavirus relief package. Now, even more than during her first go-round as speaker, Pelosi wields more power than anyone in the Capitol, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). And with Pelosi in firm control of her caucus and Democrats poised to do well in November, there’s no doubt she’ll vie for the speaker’s gavel another, possibly final, time later this year.

“Just about anyone can lead during a sunny spring day, with the temperature at 75 degrees, but it takes a gifted person to lead during a hurricane, followed by a rock-sized hailstorm. That’s what has happened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a longtime ally of Pelosi.

But the California Democrat is also taking a huge risk during the coronavirus aid talks as she remains almost entirely unyielding in her demands — even as negotiations drag on and millions of out-of-work Americans lose their federal aid. Both she and Republicans risk overplaying their hands and ending up with a stalemate that leads to retribution from angry voters in November.

For Pelosi, the situation couldn’t be clearer: She and Republicans approach the negotiations, like most things in Washington, with two opposing value systems. Pelosi is right and the GOP, as she says often, is wrong. So far, the vast majority of her caucus — even centrists who opposed her for the speakership last January — stands behind her. Such unity only increases her leverage in bargaining with a Senate GOP that is divided on the next aid package.

Pelosi’s advisers are confident that if there is no deal, President Donald Trump and Republicans will be blamed, after weeks of GOP lawmakers publicly decrying what they described as overly generous benefits for the unemployed.

For those who have worked with the speaker — some as far back as when she first joined Democratic leadership 20 years ago — her approach to the latest standoff offers a revealing snapshot in her yearslong leadership evolution.
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Pelosi has long been accustomed to wielding authority in Washington, and she’s completely comfortable as the only woman at a power table with a select number of seats. But this Pelosi, whom some privately call “speaker 2.0,” is different. Her second turn with the gavel shows a woman who seems to be relishing the job, guiding the House with an unencumbered and, at times, even brazen leadership style.

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For the nearly 20 Democratic lawmakers and aides interviewed, the shift has been stark.

Pelosi has always had a self-possession that can elude even seasoned lawmakers. But two years ago, Pelosi was on her heels — fighting to win back the House as dozens of Democratic candidates openly rebelled against her leadership. Pelosi reclaimed the House majority and the speaker’s gavel, but not before methodically picking off her detractors one by one in the toughest leadership challenge she’s faced in years.

Since then, Pelosi hasn’t looked back: She has deftly faced down Trump during a 35-day government shutdown; fended off progressives salivating to impeach the president for months until Pelosi felt the moment was right; scolded Trump like he was a toddler in a now infamous White House standoff in October; and now schooled Republican negotiators in several rounds of coronavirus talks.

Republicans haven't taken kindly to Pelosi's power play in the recent negotiations, accusing her of holding up much-needed aid for political reasons.

“Pelosi has made the decision that it is in the political interest of the Democratic Party to have as many people out of work and home and broke as possible because they believe that’s how Joe Biden wins,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “I understand why she’s doing that. I don’t understand why Republicans would facilitate it.”

Democrats assert that claim is nonsense, noting Pelosi shepherded a massive relief package through the House nearly three months ago only to have it ignored by the GOP-controlled Senate.

“I think leadership comes in having the confidence in trusting your own judgment and your own sense of effectiveness,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.). “She’s very confident in who she is, and she’s at the pinnacle of her career."

Pelosi has also embraced being in the public eye to an even greater level, cooperating with two biographies on her this year and participating in 104 interviews on television and radio in the past four months alone as Democrats sought to counter Trump’s messaging machine.

"The lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy. That is what we are having a discussion about," Pelosi told reporters Wednesday after another meeting with Republicans yielded little progress. "I feel optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but how long that tunnel is remains to be seen."

Pelosi often talks of the future Joe Biden administration and House Democrats’ role within that world, leaving several Democrats to speculate that she has no plans to retire anytime soon. Pelosi hasn’t discussed her own leadership race since last January, according to those close to her. But everyone interviewed said there’s no doubt she’ll seek another term as speaker and this time, many speculate, she’ll run unchallenged.

Democrats close to the speaker say she’s made a concerted effort to be inclusive with all members this time. She’s held calls just with the freshman class, for example, and was working the phones for hours into the middle of the night in May to discuss Democrats’ coronavirus bill one-on-one with lawmakers.
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But at the same time, Pelosi has slowly and deliberately consolidated power as speaker — with her close circle of trusted allies becoming smaller and more insular. Pelosi significantly expanded her leadership team this Congress, but that, combined with members stuck at home for months during the pandemic, has served only to empower her. Pelosi is better at letting her colleagues know what she’s doing, but fewer of them are actually involved in deciding what to do.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves after a weekly Senate Republican Policy Luncheon at Hart Senate Office Building.

Congress
‘I want to get an outcome’: McConnell defends strategy as he faces GOP grumbling

By JOHN BRESNAHAN, MARIANNE LEVINE and ANDREW DESIDERIO

Part of Pelosi’s ability to execute her top-down leadership style is the favorable political landscape for Democrats. Not only does Pelosi’s House majority look safe, but Democrats are well positioned to add seats, win the White House and maybe even the Senate.

Another factor for Pelosi, according to several Democrats, is that she’s already seen the worst that can happen — losing the majority and the speakership when Democrats were wiped out in 2010 by the rising tea party furor. Pelosi held on then and went on to claw her way back into power in 2018, fighting off a pack of younger members aiming to extinguish her career in leadership.

This Pelosi is more moderate and protective of her most vulnerable members, learning lessons from her previous time as speaker, which included the disastrous decision to put a cap-and-trade bill on the floor that went nowhere in the Senate during President Barack Obama’s first year. In her second tenure as speaker, Pelosi has gone to great lengths to shield moderates from the most liberal demands of the caucus, dismissing ideas such as the "Green New Deal," refusing to endorse “Medicare for All” and pursuing an ambitious North American trade deal with the Trump administration.

At times, the approach has drawn ire from the Democrats’ liberal wing, with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus complaining this year that Pelosi didn’t go far enough to push their policies in pandemic relief bills. But in the end, only a single Democrat, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has opposed any of the four packages that Pelosi has negotiated with Republicans. (Fourteen Democrats, mostly moderates, did vote against the House's mammoth relief package in a nearly party-line vote in May).

And even through all of that, Pelosi still has some of the most progressive and outspoken members in her caucus — including “squad” members like Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — welcoming her endorsement in tough primary races.

This latest round of coronavirus negotiations carries some of the highest stakes of her career, with trillions of dollars on the table, tens of millions of Americans out of work and a national economy that could take many years to fully recover, all of which is occurring just months before a presidential election.

After nearly a full week of meetings with GOP negotiators, it’s unclear whether a deal can be reached. Pelosi and Schumer left a nearly two-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon saying there was still no agreement.

Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, a moderate Democrat who’s watched Pelosi cut deals from Obamacare to the 2008 financial crash to coronavirus, expressed confidence in the speaker’s ability not only to get a deal but to outmaneuver the White House.

"If you're going to look at a checklist, who has the advantage, who do we trust?" asked Cuellar. "I think we trust her more than Republicans trust the White House."

Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.
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🦠 Can A Second Stimulus Check Still Go Out This Month?
« Reply #299 on: August 11, 2020, 07:37:17 PM »
I still haven't got the 1st one!

RE

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertberger/2020/08/11/can-a-second-stimulus-check-still-go-out-this-month/#32c58d254e8f

Editors' Pick|53,776 views|Aug 11, 2020,01:44pm EDT
Can A Second Stimulus Check Still Go Out This Month?
Rob Berger


Personal Finance
I write about building wealth and achieving financial freedom.

Can a second stimulus check still be issued this month?

The 2020 Stimulus check. getty

As the last days of summer come to an end, many are wondering when the next stimulus check will go out, if at all. The politicians in both parties in Washington appear to have dug in for the long haul. While they both say they are willing to compromise on a stimulus package, little compromise is actually taking place. And that raises a key question—can a second stimulus check still go out this month?

Here’s what has to happen before the IRS can start sending out Economic Impact Payments, as they are officially called:

    Democrats and Republicans have to reach agreement on the next stimulus package and draft the final bill
    Both the House and Senate must vote in favor of the bill
    The President must sign the bill
    The Treasury can then start distributing the payments.

A bill can go through a number of additional steps. For example, once a bill is drafted and introduced in the House or Senate, it typically goes through a committee, a subcommittee and even lengthy hearings. In the case of the stimulus package, however, bills have already been introduced, and the Heroes Act has been passed by the House. Given the urgent need for Covid-19 relief, the process would move very quickly.

To understand how long this process might take, let’s work backwards.
How fast can the IRS send out checks?

Once the president signs a stimulus bill into law, the Treasury should be able to start sending out the second stimulus check in about a week. It took the IRS 17 days to start issuing the first payments back in April. Given that the IRS has already done this, however, they should be able to move more quickly. In fact, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he could release 50 million checks a week after a stimulus deal is passed.
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How quickly can the President sign the stimulus package?

President Trump can sign a stimulus bill almost immediately. He signed the CARES Act the same day Congress presented it to him. In fact, it took him just a couple of hours.

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How quickly can the House and Senate vote on the stimulus bill?

In theory, both the House and Senate could vote to approve a stimulus package as soon as an agreement is reached and the final text of the bill is approved. At this point, both the House and Senate should know that they have the votes to pass the legislation. Otherwise, negotiations would continue. But of course, there are no guarantees.

With the CARES Act, it took two days. A deal was announced on March 25th, and the Senate voted 96-0 to approve the bill later that evening. It wasn't smooth sailing, however. Some Senators thought the legislation didn't do enough. Some thought it did too much. Nevertheless, it went through the Senate in a matter of hours. It moved to the House and was passed two days later on March 27th.

We can't know if the second stimulus package will move as quickly. There are a number of Senate Republicans who have expressed strong concern over the amount of spending that's being proposed. That being said, once agreement is reached, we'll assume it gets through both chambers in at most three days.
When will Washington agree on the stimulus package?

This is the big unknown. Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans reached a stalemate on August 7th. One day later, Mr. Trump took executive action on a number of measures, including enhanced unemployment benefits, student loan relief, and a payroll tax holiday. Since then, both sides have said they are willing to compromise, but it doesn't appear they have resumed negotiations.

Some have reported that little progress will be made this week because White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is "out for the week." It's unlikely, however, that Mr. Meadows' schedule would hold up needed relief to millions of people.

A more likely hurdle is that both Democrats and Republicans may feel that they have the upper hand. Democrats have stood firm on key issues—state and local government funding and unemployment benefits—with little indication of a willingness to compromise. At the same time, Mr. Trump may feel emboldened by the executive actions he recently took.

By my rough estimate, Washington would need to reach agreement in about one week, at the latest, for a second stimulus check to go out by the end of the month. Whether that will happen depends almost entirely on whether and when the parties can reach an agreement on a stimulus package.
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