U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke at the Ecofibre Hemp Plant on Monday in an effort to highlight COVID-19 efforts and talk about the impacts that the CARES Act has had on Scott County.
Sen. McConnell was joined by Scott County Judge Executive Joe Pat Covington, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles, and Ecofibre CEO Eric Wang.
“A little over a week (after the pandemic hit) we came up with the CARES Act, which sought to tackle both the public health emergency and the economic situation,” McConnell said.
The CARES Act has brought $2.3 million to Scott County and the City of Georgetown, including $1 million for PPE usage and first responders.
“Amazingly enough, we were able to put aside all the partisan passions and come together and pass the CARES Act with a couple companion pieces which added up to almost $3 trillion,” McConnell continued.
Ecofibre CEO Eric Wang applied for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan, created by McConnell’s legislation, to help his company get started during the pandemic, including making masks.
“The CARES Act was really important to all businesses, including our business here,” Wang said.
“Eric applied for it (PPP loan) and received $1.2 million He was just one of over 50,000 small businesses in our state that accessed $5.2 billion to save jobs all across Kentucky,” McConnell added.
While the COVID-19 pandemic still rages on, McConnell said wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is the only way to get from where we (the United States) are now, to the end of the year where he hopes there will be a vaccine readily available.
“We have to learn to work safely through this period until we get a vaccine,” McConnell said.
With multiple pharmaceutical companies in the United States working on a potential vaccine for COVID-19, McConnell said we will need a massive number of dosages for the U.S. and the rest of the world if the clinical trials prove to be a success.
McConnell said he is in favor for another rescue package for the country, but said he hasn’t given up hope despite the stalemate that the Senate and House is in regarding a second potential rescue package.
“What I recommended was a package that included liability protection for coronavirus only for hospitals, doctors and nurses, universities, K-12, and businesses,” said McConnell. McConnell added that his liability protection means that someone cannot be successfully sued unless you could prove gross negligence or intentional misbehavior. The proposed package would include another $1,200 stimulus check for low-income citizens, he said.
“Until we get the vaccine, wear a mask and practice social distancing,” he said. “It’s the only way to prevent the spread until we get the vaccine.”
Ian Teasley can be reached at email@example.com.