Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for March 31, 2020

What the Federal Coronavirus Relief Bill Means to You

Last week, Congress passed a $2 trillion relief package to help combat the pandemic caused by the coronavirus. This bill is massive, but I want to highlight some key details for individuals, small businesses and others throughout our state.

For individuals:

  • Unemployment insurance payments will be increased by $600 per week for four months
    • Note – the governor has waived the unemployment insurance waiting week for workers impacted by the coronavirus. Please visit for more information on unemployment benefits.
  • Ramped-up testing
    • The bill mandates that individuals covered by private insurance will not be charged for a coronavirus test if they need it.
    • The bill also covers testing costs for individuals covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Individuals and families under certain income levels will receive direct payments from the federal government
    • This includes a one-time $1,200 payment to adults who earn less than $75,000 annually based on past tax returns.
    • Additionally, a $500 per child payment will be included for families.
  • Sick leave for workers
    • The bill requires governments and private businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to two weeks of paid sick leave for those who miss work due to the coronavirus.
      • This also includes workers who are forced to stay at home to care for sick family members affected by the outbreak.
    • If needed, workers could also take another 10 weeks off, at two-thirds of their pay, to deal with the effects of the coronavirus.

For businesses, state and local governments:

  • Businesses can claim refundable tax credits to offset the cost of employee sick leave
    • The U.S. Department of Labor may exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees from this rule if they are at risk of going out of business.
  • The bill would cover costs for states that extend unemployment payments for an additional six months beyond the usual six-month time limit.
  • $500 billion loan program for businesses and cities impacted by the coronavirus.
  • $150 billion to boost health care systems nationwide.
  • $150 billion for aid to state and local governments.

I believe the coronavirus pandemic represents an unprecedented crisis for our nation; however, federal and state governments are working together to address the crisis and provide support for our frontline health care workers. By working together, I believe we will get through this. In the meantime, please keep our health care professionals and their patients in your thoughts and prayers.

It is an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at if you have any questions or concerns — we are honored to serve you.