The cancelation of Capitol tours has been extended until May 1, according to a new statement from the House Sergeant at Arms and Senate Sergeant at Arms.
The tours were originally scheduled to resume Wednesday, but that timeline seemed unlikely to hold, considering Trump has extended federal social distancing guidelines through April.
“We are taking this temporary action out of concern for the health and safety of congressional employees as well as the public,” the statement said. “We appreciate the understanding of those with planned visits interrupted by this necessary, but prudent, decision.”
Macy’s has announced it is furloughing most of its 130,000 staff. The retailer said it lost “the majority” of its sales after shutting its stores on March 18.
Macy’s is just the latest big employer to announce layoffs. So far retail, leisure and hospitality businesses have been hardest hit by the closures. MGM Resorts begins its layoffs today.
All these losses are likely to be reflected in Thursday’s weekly unemployment claims figures. Last week, a record 3.3 million people filed for benefits and analysts are expecting a sharp increase in that figure this Thursday to 4 million or more.
“We expect to bring colleagues back on a staggered basis as business resumes,” a Macy’s spokesperson said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting high marks for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll.
According to the Siena College survey, 87% of New Yorkers approve of the aggressive steps Cuomo has taken to mitigate the spread of the virus. That number includes 95% of Democrats, 70% of Republicans and 87% of independents.
Cuomo has become one of the faces of the US response to coronavirus thanks to his daily press briefings, where he has pushed the federal government to provide more ventilators and warned residents about the potentially deadly consequences of ignoring social distancing guidelines.
Despite Cuomo’s aggressive response to the virus, New York has seen more coronavirus-linked deaths than any other state. The virus has now claimed the lives of more than 1,000 New Yorkers.
Congressman Mark Meadows, founder of the archconservative Freedom Caucus, will resign from his seat on Monday to officially begin his new role as Donald Trump’s chief of staff, just as public health experts warn the coronavirus pandemic is likely to worsen in the US.
Meadows, who has for years been Trump’s sounding board, will be the president’s fourth chief of staff in as many years. He will take over from Mick Mulvaney, a fellow former Freedom Caucus member who Trump kept in an “acting” capacity until pushing him out earlier this month.
A spokesman for Meadow’s congressional office said on Monday that he had moved to the White House to serve as an advisor to Meadows in his role as White House chief of staff on Monday. CNN reported that Meadows would formally resign on Monday afternoon.
Meadows takes over at a precarious moment for the president and the country, as the coronavirus takes a devastating toll. The US now leads the world in coronavirus cases after a series of missteps and missed opportunities by administration officials. More than 2,500 Americans have died from the disease.
On Sunday, Trump extended social distancing measures through the end of April.
Operating in something of a limbo between the roles, Meadows was present on Capitol Hill for the frenetic negotiations between Congress and the administration over a massive $2tn economic stimulus plan, which was signed into law by Trump on Friday.
Affable and accessible to the press, Meadows initially announced his retirement in December, saying then that he planned to leave Congress at the end of his term. But in his statement then, he teased the opportunity: “My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning.”
More than 200 million Americans are under stay-at-home orders, as more state and local leaders direct residents to only go outside for essential activities.
That means that 2 out of every 3 Americans is being asked to remain in their homes to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
Trump also announced yesterday that federal social distancing guidelines would be extended through the month of April, as public health experts expect to see a surge in cases in the next couple of weeks.
“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox and Friends.
“They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.”
Trump’s comments underscore widespread GOP-opposition to measures that make it easier to vote. House Democrats pushed the provisions as states around the country have struggled to balance restrictions on social gatherings with public health risks.
Around the country, poll workers have dropped out on election day over concerns of contracting the virus. The provisions ultimately weren’t included in the bill, but Democrats helped secure $400 million to help states fund elections. While that’s a fraction of the up to $2 billion the Brennan Center for Justice estimates state election officials need, advocacy groups have said they will continue to push for more money.