MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – U.S. Representative Joe Cunningham stopped by News 2 to talk about the on-going coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Lowcountry.
Rep. Cunningham said it is important that we do everything we can to support local businesses, like the food and beverage industry, due to closures and restrictions that were imposed by the Governor on Tuesday.
“The legislation we passed a couple of weeks ago provides up-to $7 billion worth of small business loans and those should be accessible any day now,” he said.
While he believes the loans will help, Cunningham says it isn’t good enough. “As we contemplate a further spending package, which I think is evitable, the small businesses – and specifically our tourism industry – is going to have to have an injection of capital,” he said.
Aside from the loans, he believes these businesses will need money coming in from the stimulus package and said lawmakers need to keep the food and beverage industries front of mind and talk about spending that money to take care of employees and ensure those businesses keep their doors open.
Rep. Cunningham said people should continue to support businesses that offer take out and curb-side options and encouraged them to support small businesses in any way possible while keeping yourself safe and not exposing others to germs or the virus.
“I’ll be ordering take out food, Uber Eats, whatever I can do because we do have a great industry here in the Lowcountry and it’s important that industry perseveres after this thing has passed,” he said.
But what about those who say they have been unable to receive a test for COVID-19?
Rep. Cunningham says lawmakers have been assured that South Carolina has an adequate number of tests that they need right now and will be requesting more tests on a rolling basis.
“The receipt of good information is critical,” he said. “First and foremost, if someone feels sick, do not drive to the hospital and do not drive directly to your doctor’s office – stay home and call your doctor, call your health care provider.”
He said if you do not have one then use MUSC’s virtual care website which is provided free testing for symptoms of the coronavirus.
Rep. Cunningham said there were initially some mixed signals coming from the administration in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. But he believes everyone is on the same page at this point in the effort to combat the virus and protect Americans.
“We need to focus on getting people the right information. That’s why we tell people CDC.gov is a great resource,” he said. “They have all of the information of the do’s and don’ts, along with information about healthcare providers and screenings for the coronavirus.”
He said the utmost importance right now is keeping our communities safe. “We can only do that if we have the correct information that we are putting out in front of people.”