City of Gardner Waives Every Citizen's Electric Bill Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The city of Gardner in Kansas has voted to eliminate electric charges for citizens to help ease their financial struggles during the COVID-19 outbreak.

With millions of people facing redundancy and income loss as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, paying the bills is becoming a problem for many.

However, the city of Gardner in Johnson County is helping people out.

The Gardner City Council voted to eliminate the charges that were billed in March for residential customers and credit commercial customers for the use of their first 5000 kWh of electricity. Eliminating a month's worth of billing expenses will cost the city approximately $790,000 in lost revenue.

For customers who have already paid their March bill, they will see a credit balance on their April 2020 bill.

The nearby city of Edgerton is also temporarily suspending utility shut-offs after Governor Laura Kelly ordered that all utility providers across the state temporarily suspend the practice of disconnecting utility services for non-payment.

Unemployment US
More than 6.6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week David McNew/Getty Images

More than 6.6 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims last week, according to data released by the Department of Labor. This brings the total number of people who have filed for unemployment in the past month to more than 16.7 million.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in the U.S. There are now more than 614,000 confirmed cases, with 26,061 deaths so far.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said his administration is taking steps to prepare for the expiration of the Centers for Disease Control's "30 days to stop the spread" guidelines which he, Vice President Mike Pence, and other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force have been promoting since mid-March.

"The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized, and we will soon be sharing details and new guidelines with everybody," Trump said during the White House Coronavirus Task Force's daily briefing.

Trump added that he would be speaking to the governors of each of the 50 states on Wednesday, and that he would be "authorizing each individual governor of each individual state" to develop and implement a plan to reopen their states' economies.

In a Tuesday interview with the Associated Press, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said it would be "a bit overly optimistic" to attempt a restart of the economy by May 1 without a robust testing program.

"We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we're not there yet," said Fauci.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.