The economy will be hurt by the slowdown from social distancing, work-from-home and closing businesses to stop the spread of COVID-19. There are many ways your family, your business, your community and on up the chain will be hurt. Government entities from Washington to Tallahassee to Kissimmee are coming in to help.

On Wednesday the House and Senate both passed an early coronavirus relief bill, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”. It will provide for free virus testing, paid sick leave for Americans who are in quarantine, increased federal funds for programs like food stamps for the needy and increased unemployment insurance benefits.

It’s considered “phase two” of a three-phased project that’s involved the Senate on a stimulus package that could reach the trillions in funds directly to Americans, a $300 billion pot to help small businesses, and $50 billion to help the airline and travel industries. The House, now in recess, would return to vote on the final version of the Senate bill.

PERSONAL BILLS: Locally, you may have trouble meeting your bills if your employer has or will furlough. Kissimmee Utility Authority has temporarily suspended service disconnections until March 31, and will reevaluate that policy going as the situation develops. KUA encourages customers having difficulty paying their bill to contact the customer call center at 407-933-9800 or via live chat at to look into a variety of payment options.

Likewise, reach out to your credit card, mortgage, rental and cellular companies if trouble has ensued, as many have extended due dates and are modifying late payment procedures.

BUSINESS ASSESSMENTS: Local businesses who are being negatively affected are urged to complete Emergency Business Damage Assessment Survey for Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)’s Emergency Response website. The DEO will be evaluating businesses affected by COVID-19 and the impacts the virus has had on the local economy so actions to implement appropriate relief programs can begin. Thus far this week, 74 businesses in Osceola County have completed the survey and reported economic damage as a result of COVID-19 outbreak. Self-reported economic damage totals $5.8 million in the county.