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New Mask & Social Distancing Guidelines

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Following CDC recommendations, City of San Antonio announces new mask wearing and social distancing policies for staff and clients at City facilities

On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced new guidelines for mask wearing and social distancing for people who are fully vaccinated. The CDC’s guidelines indicate the people who are fully vaccinated can resume normal activities without wearing a mask or maintaining six feet of physical distance from others, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including those set by local businesses and workplaces. The CDC also recommends that children who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask. Children under the age of 10 are not required to wear masks inside City facilities. 

Beginning on Monday, May 17, 2021, masks and social distancing will be optional for fully vaccinated staff and clients. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second Pfizer and Moderna dose or two weeks after their single Johnson and Johnson dose. The City will also discontinue temperature checks at City facility entrances. However, if a person is experiencing symptoms, they should not enter City facilities. 

“I remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of our City staff and our customers,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “It’s easier than ever to receive a no-cost COVID-19 vaccine. Being able to return to normal activities is just one more incentive to getting vaccinated. Do it for you. Do it for our frontline workers. Do it for San Antonio.”

Over the past several months, COVID-19 indicators have continuously moved in the right direction and currently showing the lowest risk level (“Safe”) for transmission of the coronavirus. 

“We know the COVID-19 vaccine is incredibly effective,” said Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger. “There are nearly one million residents in Bexar County vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and with the prevalence of the virus low it makes sense to make this change now. 

Beginning Monday, June 14, all City departments will resume normal operations with signage that states that unvaccinated people are required to wear masks and that those feeling ill should stay or go home. City facilities will operate at 100% occupancy and with normal operations as deemed appropriate. 

How do I obtain a COVID-19 vaccine?

People 12 and up can get vaccinated without an appointment at the Alamodome drive-through clinic from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Only locations providing the Pfizer vaccine can administer it to 12- to 18-year-olds.
 
Individuals who decide to opt-in to the City of San Antonio’s text alert system, can text VACCINE to 55000 or in Spanish VACUNA to 55000. By signing up they will receive a text notifying them of locations that have appointments available. Opting to this text alert system will not sign you up for a vaccine or add you on a wait list. This is an additional method to inform the community when new appointments are available. At this time notifications will be for the Alamodome, Wonderland of the Americas operated by University Health and WellMed

For more information, visit covid19.sanantonio.gov.

Pop-up vaccine clinic locations and dates, along with more vaccine information can be found here: https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/What-YOU-Can-Do/Vaccination.  

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Black, Hispanic Workers Hit Hardest with Fewer Living-Wage Jobs

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The rising cost of living continues to take a toll on working families, with a growing percentage of American workers unable to find a living-wage job or their current job fails to boost them over the poverty line after adjusting for inflation, according to the monthly True Rate of Unemployment report by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity.

The report for the month of October topped 23.6%, a 1.3 percentage point increase over the previous month. This is the biggest month-over-month increase since the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020, and an indication that low- and middle-income workers are having a tougher time just to cover basic necessities.

“Until the last quarter, this administration has been doing well raising living standards for many middle- and lower-income Americans. However, both inflation and the Fed’s response to it – a precipitous rise in interest rates – are taking a big bite out of this progress. American families are hurting due to a combination of higher prices and wages failing to keep up,” said Gene Ludwig, the chair of the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity. “Policymakers from both sides of the aisle would be well served to take heed and implement proactive policies creating good-paying jobs capable of supporting a family, and at a bare minimum, cover basic needs and provide for a reasonable quality of life.”

The unemployment report by the Ludwig Institute can spell particularly bad news for low- and middle-income workers when one considers that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is understating the impact of inflation on middle- and lower-income households. Last week, the Ludwig Institute released data supporting its True Living Cost  Index, a measure of the effect of rising prices on the ability of families to pay for minimum adequate needs in seven categories: food, housing, healthcare, transportation, basic technology, childcare, and apparel/personal care. It found that from 2020 to 2021, the price of necessities has increased 5.8% versus the Consumer Price Index’s 4.7%.

“If we are to address the kitchen table issues most important to American families, it must begin with addressing how we measure the economy – one size does not fit all,” Ludwig said. “The sooner we understand the dire and very real challenges facing middle- and lower-income households, the sooner we can work together for meaningful, sustainable solutions.”

Ludwig’s unemployment report tracks the “functionally unemployed,” defined as the jobless, plus those seeking but unable to secure full-time employment paying above the poverty line after adjusting for inflation. Functional unemployment increased for all major demographics:

  • Black workers experienced the largest increase of 3.4 percentage points, from 24.8% to 28.2%.
  • Hispanic workers increased 2.4 percentage points, from 23.5% to 25.9%;
  • White workers increased 0.75 percentage points, from 21.8% to 22.5%;
  • Male workers jumped 1.9 percentage points (17.2% to 19.1%), and for
  • Female workers, it increased 0.4 percentage points, from 28.1% to 28.5%.

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Online Tool Helps in Finding Grants and Tax Incentives

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Black-owned fintech and finance company Novae LLC announced the launch of a new online tool designed to help small businesses to find grants and tax incentives that can help them to grow exponentially.

Called Novae Grants, the new tool will allow users to search a database of thousands of financial assistance opportunities from both the government and the private sector. Tax credits that small businesses may qualify for will also be included in the database.

Novae founder Reco McCambry says that the grants his team is gathering for inclusion in the database range from $500 to $5 million in size, and are designed to help business owners serve their communities. The grants include town- and city-based grants to revitalize local businesses and create jobs, and federal and think tank grants to support renewable energy, tech, and innovation.

“The idea is to make it as easy as possible for small businesses to locate the support they need to grow,” McCambry says. “Whether you’re a mom and pop shop or a good-sized startup, you may be doing something that one of these agencies wants to promote for the sake of the public good.”

McCambry notes that most of the grants which have so far been located and placed in the Novae Grants database are intended for small businesses with 6-100 employees, though some are also intended for larger businesses and sole proprietor startups.

“We know that local businesses make us more secure,” McCambry told me in our interview, “and we know that innovation often comes from startups. There are a lot of organizations that recognize this and offer funding to support these missions. But not many people know how to find these grants, and many assume they won’t qualify because they aren’t in some specialized public service role. Our mission is to change that and bring this money into our communities.”

The Novae Grants search engine is now available at novaemoney.com. In addition to grants, Novae also helps companies build business credit, provides access to traditional business funding, and offers businesses the ability to provide consumer financing for their high-ticket offerings.

Novae and CEO McCambry’s mission to increase access to financing for businesses and customers in underserved communities has helped the company and its CEO to earn numerous awards and distinctions in recent years. Novae has been included on the Inc 5000 list of the 5000 fastest-growing businesses in America for two years running, while McCambry was recently named Innovator of the Year at the annual Bank Customer Experience Summit and received an Outstanding Leadership Award at Money2.0 this Spring.

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Sail Away On A Quick Escape

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Calling all active and veteran military, first responders, law enforcement officers, and educators, you can sail away for free. As a way to celebrate the dedication of those serving their communities, “The Heroes Sail Free” complimentary offer from Margaritaville at Sea is inviting all of the mentioned on a much-deserved 3-day, 2-night cruise from the Port of Palm Beach to the Grand Bahama Island. Program details can be located on the cruise line website at www.margaritavilleatsea.com (under offers).

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