Coronavirus Government Response Update—Record GDP Drop

July 30, 2020 Coronavirus Government Response Update—Record GDP Drop

Welcome to the Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep ISSA members up to date on fast-moving government affairs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other public policy issues important to the cleaning industry. Today’s update touches on U.S. GDP’s steepest decline ever amid shutdown due to coronavirus, the U.S Federal Reserve’s decision to hold rates near zero as economic activity fails to shape up to February levels, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of new protections for essential workers, and more.

Second-Quarter U.S. GDP Slumps by Record 32.9% Amid Coronavirus-Induced Shutdown
The U.S. economy endured its worst quarter ever from April to June with GDP tumbling to a record low of 32.9%. The shutdown is responsible for approximately half the quarter’s activity, while the other half mirrors the economy’s slow reopening. The decline surpasses every other crash over the past two centuries but is unique because it “owes to a different source than any of its predecessors: a government-induced shutdown aimed at combating a pandemic,” according to CNBC.

Fed Holds Rates Near Zero, Says Economic Growth is ‘Well Below’ Pre-Pandemic Level
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced that it will hold interest rates near zero and delivered a dreary outlook on the state of the economy. “Following sharp declines, economic activity and employment have picked up somewhat in recent months but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year,” the statement said. The central bank also reiterated that ultimately, “the path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus.”

California Governor Announces New Protections for Essential Workers
California Governor Gavin Newsom is continuing its expanded workers’ compensation practices and paid sick leave as well as issuing additional worker safeguards with the aim of reducing coronavirus transmission among essential workers. “California is offering more detailed guidelines for employers, which the state will enforce, to make sure working conditions are safe amid the pandemic,” according to KABC-TV.

Connecticut Eases Coronavirus-Related Workers’ Compensation Claims for Front Line Workers
On Friday, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order establishing a presumption that essential workers who contracted COVID-19 in the beginning of the pandemic fell ill on the job and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. According to the Hartford Courant, the executive order “applies to workers who missed a day or more of work between March 10 and May 20 due to a diagnosis of COVID-19, due to symptoms that were diagnosed as COVID-19 or contracted the virus as an occupational disease in the course of employment. The employee must have worked at the direction of the employer outside the home during at least one of 14 days immediately preceding the date of injury and had not been ordered to instead work from home.”

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