CHIEF'S MESSAGE updated 6/29/20
Dear Tribal Citizen,
I hope this letter finds you and your family well. I am writing to update you on the Nation’s continued response to the Covid19 pandemic.
Since many of you have asked, I will start by letting you know that the Nation is further extending its community and workplace restrictions until at least July 15, 2020. In addition, while we strongly discourage travel out of state, community members who do so will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return. I know this cautious approach is frustrating, but no one is able to say for certain when it will be safe to open. The health and safety of our citizens and community must continue to be our top priority. We rely on current medical and scientific advice, meeting regularly with public health officials and USET’s office of epidemiology. We base our decisions on the information that is available, and that changes daily.
What we know about the Covid19 virus now:
• There are outbreaks in many tribal communities in the East that have resulted in hundreds of new cases and close to 80 deaths just in the past month
• The Houlton Band of Maliseets is being impacted by a recent outbreak of cases in Houlton
• The United States has experienced its largest increase of new cases in months, and experts agree it is a result of lifting crowd and business restrictions too soon and not following CDC recommended safety guidelines - mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing
• The State of Maine has more cases now than it did a month ago, many due to community transmission
• There is no proven treatment for this virus or a vaccination.
We must continue to protect our community, especially the most vulnerable among us who are at the highest risk of complications and death due to covid19. Thank you for continuing to follow the safety guidelines, your diligence and tenacity is appreciated by your fellow tribal citizens. Our dedicated team of staff, partners, and volunteers will continue to provide essential services and will keep searching for innovative ways to meet the needs of the community.
Thank you to all who participated last week in the online meeting via Zoom. I am attaching a write up from the Department of Treasury that outlines the rules and provides guidance on the Coronavirus relief fund. We are drafting plans for programs to provide assistance to members impacted by Covid19 and will be presenting these plans to Tribal Council for their review and approval.
On behalf of leadership and staff, please know that you are always in our thoughts and your health and safety is our top priority. Be well.
Kirk E. Francis, Chief
Below are the updated FAQs that Treasury put out regarding eligible expenditures. Page 8 addresses per caps (excerpted below):
Must a State, local, or tribal government require applications to be submitted by businesses or individuals before providing assistance using payments from the Fund?
Governments have discretion to determine how to tailor assistance programs they establish in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, such a program should be structured in such a manner as will ensure that such assistance is determined to be necessary in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and otherwise satisfies the requirements of the CARES Act and other applicable law. For example, a per capita payment to residents of a particular jurisdiction without an assessment of individual need would not be an appropriate use of payments from the Fund.