Gov. Abbott says more money coming for Texans impacted by COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Governor Greg Abbott spoke with ABC13 on Wednesday about what Texas is doing to fight the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Gov. Abbott issued an order for all Texans to continue to maintain social distancing. He also spoke about what this order means for churches across the state.

"Wherever possible, avoid any type of gathering. Wherever there may be any type of gathering, practices must be utilized to ensure that adequate space takes place so there's no transmission of COVID-19," Abbott said. "That said, I have every reason to believe that every church leader in Houston and in Texas agrees that the health of their members is the paramount issues right now. No church leader should or would compromise a person's health."

Abbott's office issued a guidance saying churches are included under essential services.

He also talked about unemployment in Texas. Abbott said there are several ways he plans to help Texans during this pandemic.

There's a new online tool to help those who are trying to apply for unemployment benefits. The Texas Workforce Commission created "Larry" the new chatbot, to help answer questions on the commission's website.

"There's also more help coming to Texans under the $2 trillion stimulus bill. It created something called the "Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Fund". The bill allows states to extend federally-funded unemployment benefits by an additional 13 weeks. The fund also increases the weekly benefits for laid off, terminated or furloughed workers due to COVID-19 by an extra $600," Abbott said. "Those benefits will be longer than what was anticipated and will help people be able to pay their bills and live the way they need to live for the next few weeks until the economy gets going again."

He also said the money that is being issued by the federal government should start hitting some Texans' account in the next two weeks.
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