COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. COVID-19 was first detected in China and has spread to other countries, including the United States, and the first cases were reported in Michigan on March 10, 2020. President Trump declared a national emergency to combat COVID-19 on March 13, 2020. The virus spreads mostly from person to person, and the best way to protect your health is to avoid contact with people who might be infected. This page is designed to help you get answers to your questions and direct you to the resources you need to cope with this public health crisis.
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COVID-19: Essential Information
The latest health guidance
In order to deal with this unprecedented pandemic, an equally unprecedented response is required at the local, state, and federal levels. The state of Michigan has taken significant and necessary steps to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, including all of Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders. State agencies are leading the charge on implementing many of the federal initiatives that have been created or expanded by the three pieces of federal legislation mentioned below. You can see the latest Executive Order on Governor Whitmer's reopening plan here, announcing the start of Stage 4 of the Michigan Safe Start Plan.
On June 1, 2020, Governor Whitmer announced an extension to this Executive Order, along with a number of changes. As of June 8, restaurants, bars, swimming pools and day camps for kids are open. Face coverings and all reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of the virus are still required. Hair and nail salons and barbershops are open statewide as of June 15. Indoor gatherings and events are limited to 50 people and outdoor social gatherings and events up to 250 people are permitted with proper social distancing procedures. You can view this Executive Order here.
State agencies are leading the charge on implementing many of the federal initiatives that have been created or expanded to address coronavirus. If you believe your employer is failing to take the proper precautions to protect employees from exposure to coronavirus, you can learn how to file a complaint with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA). If you believe that a business or organization is operating in violation of the Governor’s executive order, you should report this to local law enforcement
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is constantly providing new, updated guidance on how to best protect you and your loved ones, including guidance recommending that individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. To see the most up-to-date medical guidance, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus page here.
The State of Michigan provides updates on the spread of the disease and state resources that may benefit you and your family. If you have health questions about the coronavirus call the Michigan COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-535-6136 (available 8:00AM-5:00PM seven days a week), or email COVID19@michigan.gov. You can find information about the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order here as well as guidance for employers and employees unsure if they are deemed critical here
Resources on testing
To learn more about where testing is available, check out this online tool through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, that allows you to find a COVID-19 testing site near you.
To date, the federal government has signed four, major pieces of legislation into law to respond to the coronavirus outbreak:
(1) First, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074), which provided $8.3 billion to address the country’s immediate needs such as funding for state and local health agencies, developing vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, and loans for small businesses;
(2) Second, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which expanded emergency paid sick leave, emergency paid family leave, unemployment assistance, and nutrition assistance; and
(3) Third, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748), which provided over $2.2 trillion dollars to address the financial hardship and economic fallout resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
(4) Fourth, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266), which provided $483 billion in additional funding to support the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, COVID-19 testing efforts, and healthcare organizations providing diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with COVID-19.
Financial support and resources:
Through July 31, 2020, the federal government will provide temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. The FPUC will be paid in addition to and at the same time as regular state or federal UC benefits.
The Family First Coronavirus Response Act will also allow states to expand unemployment compensation eligibility to workers who are not normally eligible for these benefits, so long as their unemployment was connected to the COVD-19 pandemic. Expanded eligibility would provide benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, “gig economy” workers, and individuals who were unable to start a new job or contract due to the pandemic.
In addition to the supplemental federal unemployment compensation benefits and the expanded eligibility for unemployment compensation, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act enables states to provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation to workers who need these benefits.
Finally, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act includes an expansion of “work sharing” programs to provide partial benefits to individuals with reduced hours. Under this bill, the federal government will temporarily provide full funding for states – including Michigan – who have Short-Time Compensation or “work sharing” programs in law. Under these programs, employers voluntarily make an agreement with the state unemployment office to prevent layoffs by reducing employee hours, and workers with reduced hours are eligible for partial state UC benefits.
If you lose your job during the coronavirus outbreak, you can apply for unemployment assistance here or by calling (866) 500-0017. Both business owners and employees are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. You can find a full, step-by-step guide to doing so here.
Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and low-wage workers can apply for federal benefits here. If you have already applied for unemployment benefits and have been denied, you should login to your Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account to complete the next steps for FPUC benefits. These steps will also be emailed to workers. You should not file a new claim, as that may delay the time it takes to get your benefits. More information about newly eligible filers can be found here.
We understand that the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency website has crashed several times, due to high demand. They are actively working to expand website capacity and have released guidance to applicants to support this effort, which can be found here. Workers are also encouraged to go online between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. to avoid peak internet traffic times. Importantly, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was let go from their job due to coronavirus. The eligibility window to apply has also been increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of work stoppage.
Individuals still seeking employment opportunities during the coronavirus outbreak can find over 2,000 Michigan companies that are hiring here.
Direct financial assistance:
To respond to the unprecedented economic fallout of COVID-19, the federal government has taken an equally unprecedented step to financially support Americans: direct federal financial assistance in the form of a check or direct deposit. The CARES Act will provide $1,200 in direct payments to individuals with incomes up to $75,000 per year before starting to phase out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. Families are also eligible to receive an additional $500 per child that is under the age of 17. For more information on the direct federal financial assistance payments, please visit here.
Individuals are eligible for this direct financial assistance as long as they have a Social Security Number and their income is not above the cap. This includes Social Security beneficiaries (retirement, disability, survivor) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. These payments do not count as income for means-tested programs, which means that receiving the payments will not impact anyone’s eligibility for SSI, SNAP, Medicaid, ACA premium credits, TANF, housing assistance, or other income-related federal programs. These payments will also not impact an individual's state or federal unemployment compensation benefits.
Most people – including folks who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and Social Security beneficiaries – will receive this benefit automatically from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Individuals who were not required and did not plan to file a federal income tax return for 2018 and did not plan to file a return for 2019 should submit their information to the IRS to receive their direct federal financial assistance here. People who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019 and provided direct deposit bank information, will receive this benefit as a direct deposit. Social Security beneficiaries will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, as they would normally receive their benefits or returns. The IRS is in the process of distributing payments now.
If you haven’t received your payment, you can check its status here. You can also update your bank account information to ensure that you receive your payment as a direct deposit instead of a check, which may take longer to get to you. The IRS continues to input individual information that is needed for these payments, so if the status of your payment is unavailable, you should check again in a couple of days.
Unfortunately, there is a gap in this program that will prevent millions of American from receiving these direct payments. Young adults who are 17 or older, but who are claimed as dependents on their parents’ tax returns (many college students, for example), are excluded from both the $1,200 direct stimulus payment and from the $500 payment for dependents. This loophole also prevents older Americans with disabilities from receiving a direct payment, many of whom continue to be claimed as dependents through adulthood. As the Representative for Michigan State University, Oakland University, and many other smaller colleges and universities across the district – Rep. Slotkin is dedicated to fixing this loophole, and is a co-sponsor of the All Dependent Children Count Act (H.R. 6420), a bill to expand the eligibility criteria for these direct payments to include children younger than 19, students 24 and younger, all dependents who are disabled.
Small business assistance:
The CARES Act provides $349 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee loans to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These PPP loans can be up to $10 million and can be used to cover payroll costs, health care benefits, employee salaries, mortgage payments, rent, and more. The program allows complete deferment of loan payments for between 6-12 months and includes a loan forgiveness component for businesses that retain their workers or rehire ones that were laid off as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Prospective borrowers can apply for a PPP loan through banks, credit unions, and other lenders who have been approved to provide SBA guaranteed loans. You can learn more about the program here and see a list of participating lenders here.
Many Michigan businesses also qualify for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. These loans can provide up to $2 million, with a $10,000 forgivable advance, to help businesses with 500 or fewer employees, sole proprietors, and independent contractors meet their financial obligations during a disaster, such as COVID-19. To apply for an EIDL loan, visit the SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance website. You can also visit the SBA’s website for an overview of the SBA’s response to the coronavirus, along with a list of resources.
Due in part to the popularity of the programs, the PPP and EIDL programs exhausted their initial funding. This meant that many small businesses who desperately needed these funds, including those who had already submitted their application and, in some cases, had already been approved, were unable to access this financial lifeline. That is why it was so important to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provided an additional $310 billion for the PPP, to ensure that more businesses who need this money are able to access it. The bill will also provide an additional $10 billion to support the COVID-19-specific EIDL program and an additional $50 billion for the SBA’s broader disaster loan program, which also benefits businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Rep. Slotkin has received concerns from businesses across the district that many small or mid-sized businesses have not yet been able to secure a PPP loan. To address this issue, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act includes a $60 billion fund just for the small and mid-size banks, credit unions, and other lenders that often serve these small and mid-sized companies.
Separately, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information visit MEDC’s website or call 888-522-0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by coronavirus. For additional information, please visit their website here.
Federal nutrition assistance programs:
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to take an economic toll on Michigan families, I am committed to supporting the federal nutrition assistance programs that are so important to ensuring everyone in our district has enough to eat. That is why I am so proud that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act included over $1 billion in emergency supplemental funding for a number of federal nutrition assistance programs, and expands eligibility under the SNAP program to include households with children who receive free or reduced-price meals whose schools have been closed for more than five days. For more information about how to access nutrition assistance, visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services SNAP webpage and the WIC webpage.
Renter and homeowner protections:
Homeowners with certain types of mortgages – including FHA, VA, USDA, and 184/184A mortgages or mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac – will be protected by a four month moratorium on foreclosures and are eligible for up to a year of forbearance on their mortgage payments if they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Missed payments must still be paid at the end of this forbearance, so borrowers are encouraged to continue paying as usual if they are able to do so. For more information, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
The CARES Act also provides a four month moratorium on evictions to protect renters who are unable to pay their rent as a result of coronavirus. The moratorium applies to properties that receive federal subsidies or assistance, such as public housing, Section 8, USDA rental assistance, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as to properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency, including FHA and USDA, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Governor Whitmer has signed an executive order temporarily suspending evictions during COVID-19. More information on this order can be found here. Governor Whitmer has also partnered with Michigan’s financial institutions to address the needs of residential mortgage loan borrowers. You can find out more about the MI Mortgage Relief Partnership, including a list of participating financial institutions and the types of relief being offered, by clicking here.
The Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency has a HUD-certified counselor on staff and is continuing to provide housing counseling services for resident of Oakland and Livingston counties via phone and internet. If you would like assistance understanding your mortgage options during this crisis, please contact OLHSA’s Housing Counseling department by email at email@example.com, or by leaving a message on our intake phone at 517-546-8500 x4104. Please keep in mind that all calls will be returned, as staff is not in the office to answer directly.
DTE is extending shut-off protections and offering billing assistance. Call 1-800-477-4747.
Consumers Energy has suspended shutoffs for non-pay for low-income and senior customers beginning through April 5, 2020. (That time frame could be adjusted depending on the spread and severity of the virus.) Senior citizens and qualified low-income customers already enrolled in CE’s Winter Protection Program have already had their end dates extended through May 3, 2020, without any additional actions required on their part. All customers who need help paying their energy bill should call 1-800-477-5050 to discuss their options.
Lansing Board of Water Light (BWL) has suspended ALL electric and water shutoffs until further notice. The Customer service number is 517-702-6006
Emergency paid sick leave:
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive paid sick leave for issues related to coronavirus, including adhering to quarantine requirements or medical advice, obtaining a medical diagnosis, and caring for an individual who is sick or in quarantine or for a child whose school or day care has closed due to coronavirus. During this time, workers are required to be paid at least their normal compensation if they themselves are sick or two-thirds of their compensation if they are providing care to another individual or child. Employers will receive a tax credit to offset 100% of the costs associated with providing this paid sick leave, up to $511 per day if the employee themselves are sick and up to $200 per day if the employee is caring for someone else.
Emergency paid family and medical leave:
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also created an emergency paid leave program to directly respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to receive up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This leave is available to employees who are adhering to quarantine requirements or medical advice, obtaining a medical diagnosis, or caring for an individual who is sick or in quarantine, or caring for a child whose school or day care has closed due to coronavirus. During this time, workers will be compensated at two-thirds of their normal compensation (after the first two weeks). Employers will receive a tax credit to offset 100% of the costs associated with providing this paid family leave, up to $200 per day. This program expires at the end of the year. For more information about paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave, visit the IRS webpage.
Tax filing deadline:
Due to the significant impact of the coronavirus, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has delayed the deadline to file 2019 federal income taxes until July 15, 2020. In addition, the deadline for federal estimated income tax payments for 2020, which was previously April 15, 2020, has also been delayed until July 15, 2020. You can read more about this change here.
The deadline to file 2019 state income tax in Michigan has also been delayed until July 15, 2020. Cities in Michigan with income taxes originally due on April 15, 2020 will now be due on July 15, 2020 while cities with income taxes originally due on April 30 will now be due on July 31, 2020. You can read more about this change here.
Student loan support:
The CARES Act automatically suspends payments on all federally-owned student loans until September 30, 2020. No interest will accrue on these loans during this suspension. All involuntary collection of federal student loan debt – including wage garnishment and tax refund offsets – will also be suspended through September. While private student loans are not covered by these same protections, Rep. Slotkin will continue to push private student loan companies to adopt similar protections for student loan borrowers during this difficult time.
While it may be difficult to contact student loan services right now due to the current surge in activity, borrowers should check their accounts online in the coming weeks to better understand their eligibility. You can find more information about the provisions of the CARES ACT that pertain to K-12 or secondary education here.
On April 2, 2020 Governor Whitmer announced that all face-to-face learning at K-12 schools in Michigan would be suspended for the remainder of the school year. Relevant state agencies have and will continue to develop guidance so that individual school districts can create their own plans for how they will continue to educate students remotely. This flexibility will ensure that each school district’s plan reflects what is best and most feasible for their community. While school districts may draw on a variety of remote learning tools, their plans must be appropriate, equitable and accessible for students and families. Students and families will not be penalized if they are unable to participate in their alternate learning plan.
Importantly, all teachers and school employees will be paid for the remainder of the school year. All Michigan high school seniors will also be given the opportunity to graduate this year so that they may make a successful postsecondary transition. Finally, all standardized tests previously scheduled for the remainder of the school year, including the M-STEP and the SAT, will be canceled. There will be future opportunities for students to take the SAT and the PSAT in the fall. More information about the Governor's executive order can be found here.
Improving access to Personal Protective Equipment:
One of Rep. Slotkin's top priorities has been getting our healthcare workers the personal protective equipment (PPE) they so desperately need. Our nurses, doctors and first responders are on the front lines of this crisis — and too many are heading into battle without proper gear. Without protective gear, they are risking their lives to save others.
In mid-March, states that had been hard hit by the coronavirus were told to seek out PPE and other medical equipment on their own, resulting in state vs. state bidding wars and price gouging by foreign companies. Regardless, senior leaders in Michigan have been working to acquire PPE and other medical supplies, placing millions of dollars in orders to multiple companies in the U.S. and around the world.
Rep. Slotkin's work over the past month has been dedicated to finding sources of PPE for healthcare workers in Michigan. This includes calling through businesses across our district and the state of Michigan to see who may have PPE that they are willing to donate, chasing down promising leads of companies around the world that may have PPE to sell, introducing a bipartisan bill that would require the administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to organize the retooling of manufacturers in Michigan and elsewhere, and joining Democrats and Republicans in the Michigan delegation in calling on the administration to send additional PPE to Michigan.
Our country should never again ask our medical professionals and first responders to go into a fight like this unarmed, or dependent on foreign sources for their protection. Rep. Slotkin introduced the Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative, a three-bill package of legislation to leverage the might of U.S. manufacturing and marry it with the Department of Defense’s logistics capabilities to ensure that the federal government never again struggles to support front-line health care providers in future public health emergencies. Finally, Rep. Slotkin outlined five things that the federal government could do right now to get healthcare professionals the PPE that they need in an op-ed, which can be found here.
How to donate supplies:
Hospitals across our district have shortages of protective equipment. Here’s what major hospitals in our districts are asking for, and how to donate supplies:
Sparrow is asking for new or unopened:
- Disposable face masks
- N95 masks, including 3D printed
- Eye protection including face shields and safety goggles
- Disposable gowns
- Disposable non-latex gloves
- Surgical caps
- Disposable foot covers
- Bleach or anti-microbial sanitizing wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- PAPRs (Power air-purifying respirators) and PAPR hoods
- Nasal flock swabs
- Ventilator parts, including ventilator heaters, probes, wires, and disposable adapters
- Fisher & Payal MR850 wires and heaters
- Hand-sewn reusable masks
How to donate: Sparrow will accept needed supplies at the north entrance of Eastern High School, 220 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing.
St. Joseph Mercy Livingston is asking for:
- Face shields and goggles
- Surgical caps/protective caps
- Testing swabs
- M4 viral media
- Disinfecting wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Hot glue sticks
- Transparency sheetas
How to donate: Supplies can be dropped off at the main hospital entrance.
Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital:
- New or unused disposable face masks
- N-95 masks
- Eye protection including face shields and safety goggles
- Disposable gowns
- Disposable gloves (especially non-latex)
- Disposable surgical caps
- Disposable foot covers
- Wipes: bleach or anti-microbial
- PAPRs (powered air-purifying respirators) and PAPR hoods
- Nasal testing swabs
- Viral testing kits
How to donate: They have a collection bin available at the front of the hospital, Monday-Friday 7am-7pm.
How to volunteer:
There are many volunteer opportunities to join the fight against COVID-19. If you have time to help your fellow Michiganders, the state has also set up an online portal –– michigan.gov/fightcovid19 –– with volunteer opportunities. You can also find out how to make financial or material donations and how to donate blood.
The VA is recommending that veterans call the closest VA medical facility if they have symptoms or request a telehealth appointment through the VA’s website.
Contact information for 8th district veterans services:
- Lansing South VA Clinic: 1 (517) 267-3925
- Ann Arbor VA Medical Center: 1 (734) 769-7100
- Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency: 1-800-642-4838
- Ingham County Veterans Affairs: (517) 887-4331
- Livingston County Veterans Services: (517) 546-6338
- Oakland County Veterans Services: (248) 858-0785
- Volunteers of America - Supportive Services for Veterans and Families
- John Eynon: 1 (517) 899-6002 - firstname.lastname@example.org
A number of resources are dedicated to serving seniors in our district. If you live in Livingston or Oakland County, you can contact the Area Agency on Aging at 800-852-7795 or by visiting them online here. If you are a senior living in Ingham County, you can contact the Tri-County Office on Aging at 517-887-11440 or by visiting them online here. Both agencies can connect seniors with Meals on Wheels, among other services.
Contact information for organizations serving seniors:
- Livingston County Senior Nutrition Program: (888) 886-8971 or (810) 632-2155
- Older Persons’ Commission: (248) 608-0264. Service area: Northeast Oakland County, including: Addison Township, Auburn Hills, Brandon Township, Clarkston, Independence Township, Lake Angelus, Leonard, Oakland Township, Orion Township, Oxford Township, Rochester and Rochester Hills.
- Western Oakland County Meal On Wheels: (888) 886-8971 or (810) 632-2155. Service area: Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Commerce Twp., Groveland, Highland, Holly, Keego Harbor, Lyon Township, Village of Milford, Milford Township, Northville, Novi, Orchard Lake, Rose Township, South Lyon, Springfield Township, Sylvan Lake, White Lake, Walled Lake, West Bloomfield, and Wixom
- Greater Lansing Area Meals on Wheels: 517-887-1460. Service Area: Lansing, East Lansing, Haslett & Okemos
- Rural Ingham Meals on Wheels: 517-676-2775. Service Area: Holt, Mason, Williamston, Webberville, Stockbridge, Leslie, Dansville and Onondaga
The North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) is offering free pick-up service of groceries/essentials that have been paid for using store pick-up services at the Meijer in Oxford, at Kroger stores on Lapeer Rd. (M-24), and at Waldon and Baldwin roads in Orion Twp. Please note: Must be a resident of Oxford, Addison, or Orion townships, or Villages of Oxford, Leonard, or Lake Orion. NOTA will not be shopping for, or paying for, any items, only picking up and delivering. Call (248) 693-7100
As we focus on keeping physically healthy during this crisis, we cannot forget about the need for mental health support in our community. MDHHS has stood up a statewide mental health “warmline” for anyone who needs support during this time. Call 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753) to be connected to a certified peer support specialist.
Individuals in crisis are urged to contact the Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7 at 800-985-5990 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-8255.
Events and gatherings:
Under Governor Whitmer's Executive Order, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons outside a single household are temporarily prohibited. People may leave the house to perform for limited, necessary purposes, and may engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, or any other recreational activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people from outside a person’s household and with other restrictions imposed by prior executive orders.
Public health experts recommend that Americans avoid any unnecessary travel during the crisis. The CDC has detailed recommendations on international travel and travel inside the United States. The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on March 15 to protect consumers against price gouging during the crisis. You can report potential price-gouging to the Michigan Attorney General online or by calling 877-765-8388
For constituents and visitors:
Congresswoman Slotkin’s offices in Washington, Rochester and Lansing are on enhanced telework policies to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, but they are still working full time to serve you. See how to contact Congresswoman Slotkin at https://slotkin.house.gov/contact
Because of coronavirus, tours of the U.S. Capitol have been halted and access to some areas of the Capitol complex is restricted.
Newsletters and tele-town halls: