New Statewide Mask & Gathering Requirements, PUA & Balancing the Budget

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Representative Smith Warner


The Legislature has been hard at work preparing for another special session where we will rebalance our state budget by leading with our values and focusing resources on the needs of Oregonians who have been most impacted by this public health and economic crisis.  

This week, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means released their budget framework  and the values that will guide budgetary decisions in the coming weeks. I am committed to ensuring any reductions are not creating or exacerbating barriers to underserved and marginalized communities and Oregonians. We have a difficult road ahead, but I am confident that we can find efficiencies and cost savings within state government to ensure we are prudently utilizing our reserves to preserve and maintain as many programs and services as possible. 

OHA Face Coverings

New Face Covering Guidelines & COVID-19 Prevention Measures                                Beginning July 24, children age 5 and up will be required to wear a mask, face shield or face covering. In addition, face coverings are now required when exercising indoors, as well as outdoors when physical distance can’t be maintained. Businesses are also directed  to take the following actions:

  • Limit indoor capacity to 100 for all venues in Phase II counties and for restaurants and bars in Phase I or II counties.
  • Restaurants and bars will be required to stop serving customers at 10:00 P.M statewide.

While these are difficult decisions to make, it is absolutely necessary to take these additional steps to combat the alarming spike of new coronavirus cases that threaten our health and safety. You can find additional guidance on the Oregon Health Authority website. If you need help locating a COVID19 testing location, you can use this tool to find a testing site located near you. 

Legislative Emergency Board Allocations                                                                              Last week, the legislative Emergency Board approved more than $200 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to provide further economic support for Oregonians and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  

  • $25.6 million in emergency assistance for small businesses facing financial shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This supports businesses with no more than 25 employees that have not received support under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or other provisions of the federal CARES Act.
  • $62 million to the Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief and Resiliency to provide economic relief to Black individuals and businesses. National and state data show that the Black community is one of the communities experiencing a disproportionate share of negative economic and health effects due to COVID-19.
  • $30 million to the COVID-19 Leave Fund for workers who contract or have been exposed to the virus but do not qualify for paid sick leave.

New PUA Online Form                                                                                                              The Oregon Employment Department launched a new online form for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and weekly certifications. People who have filed weekly claims via PDF and who have not yet received payment are encouraged to re-file their weekly certifications through this new online claim form. This new form is automated, a faster way to process PUA claims and offers big improvements:

  • Speeding up weekly benefit processing. Reducing application errors and automating the application upload process will help us get claims processed faster and PUA benefits out to more Oregonians faster.
  • Preventing uploading blank PDFs. Many of the PDF forms came to us blank. The chance that someone would accidentally upload a blank PDF form is also gone when using the online form.
  • Preventing incomplete claims. Important information, like the COVID-19 reason that makes an applicant eligible for PUA, is required, but has often been missing or left blank on the PDF forms. The online PUA application or weekly certification will give a warning notifying customers that the information is required. This change will help us process claims faster and reduce delays in Oregonians receiving benefits due to missing information. 

You can also continue submitting your initial application and weekly certifications by PDF upload, mail, fax or phone. However, these will take longer to process than the online claim form. In addition to the new form, the new informational site has answers to frequently asked PUA questions

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation                                                                  The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, which was passed as part of the CARES Act, is set to end on July 25. However, people will still receive the extra $600 payments for all eligible weeks retroactively if they have not yet been processed or paid by July 25.

Grants Available to Organizations & Small Businesses                                                        The Portland Clean Energy Fund Grant Program is now accepting applications for Application Support Grants. Organizations can request up to $5,000 total of funding, that can be spent on any or all of the following eligible expenses, and will require the following reporting on expenditures:

  • Training and workshop participation
  • Grant writing
  • Community engagement
  • Organizational Technology

The PCEF Grant Program is also hosting a webinar on Friday, July 24, 2020 for nonprofit organizations to learn more and ask questions.

Please reach out to my office if you have any additional questions, or if there’s anything you think I could help with. 



Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301