COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus, or the ‘Rona – no matter what it’s called, we can agree COVID-19 has reshaped our daily lives.
We were given new titles and learned whether we’re essential or nonessential in the world.
Then came the stay-at-home orders, the shut down of schools, churches, gyms and bars.
Many people have transitioned from in-store shopping to online shopping, from face-to-face interactions to virtual meetings, and cubicle life to couch life.
Some industries just don’t have the option to quarantine when others are forced to stay at home. Online purchases have skyrocketed and the government deemed delivery jobs essential.
Postal workers have continued to work throughout the pandemic, many six days a week.
With that in mind, Gulfport City Council voted unanimously to support H.R. 6800 Heroes Act of 2019-2020 during the July 21 council meeting. The bill responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.
The intent of the Heroes Act is to provide additional funding for essential employees and businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 – including the U.S. Postal Service.
The Heroes Act allots at least $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service, distributed quarterly, beginning in 2021.
The “no strings attached” revenue would help make up the difference between postage revenue and total USPS expenses, to ensure equal treatment for postal employees and will fund hazard pay for other front-line workers exposed to health risks related to COVID-19.
Gulfport Councilmember April Thanos requested that council consider voting in support of the act, with a special focus on the postal service, by passing Resolution 2020-038.
“A woman who used to live in Gulfport asked me to submit to the post office in particular as a group was getting other local cities to do the same,” said Thanos. “As the post office is important for so many reasons and especially this year for voting; it was a great cause.”
That woman Thanos referenced, Dena Lebowitz, spoke passionately about USPS and their ability to deliver her medications.
“The postal service is under attack by the president,” said Lebowitz. “The post office is essential. It is a matter of national security to have a government-run mail delivery service that can’t just decide to not deliver my prescriptions.”
Lebowitz was particularly concerned about the fate of the post office in relation to voting.
“The USPS is an affordable, reliable delivery service that will go everywhere,” she said. “The post office will affect the election because once we all start voting by mail we can only trust the integrity of the USPS for that.”
Gulfport Council’s resolution in support of the act will go to the federal delegation. Find more information on the Heroes Act at congress.gov.