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Congress’ work has largely stopped other than what they are doing to create a relief package for individual Americans and businesses.

North Carolina’s junior US Senator Thom Tillis, is working from his home near Lake Norman. As he talks to people over internet conferences every day, he says he’s confident we can get through the virus’ surge relatively quickly if everyone does their part.

“Whether or not this is weeks or months, it’s going to depend largely on how well we contain the virus and get to the peak of the curve over the next few weeks,” Tillis said. “But if we want to get out of this sooner, then everybody in North Carolina needs to make sure they’re staying at home, social distancing, washing their hands, all the things that they’re being asked to do every single day.”

 He’s seen and heard many reports that people weren’t taking the safety recommendations seriously.

“I think we were slow to heed the advice of social distancing and travel,” Tillis said.  “You saw all the now infamous videos of kids going on spring break, people having corona parties and things like that.”

As Tillis speaks to thousands of people across the state on a nearly daily basis, he’s hearing two things:  How can we protect ourselves against this virus and, from business owners, how can we stay afloat and keep people on the payroll when we have no money coming in?

Many business owners have told FOX8 that low-interest loans may help some. But without cash flow, they won’t be able to repay them. What they want most are grants they can use to keep people on the payroll.

Tillis says what the federal government is doing will be what those businesses need.

“If they’re talking about making payroll, that’s exactly what (the government program) is,” Tillis said. “If they’re trying to keep their employees on the payroll, trying to do whatever they can in terms of their business activities, that portion of the loan is a grant. If they need it for other purposes, then it would be a low-interest loan that would have a reasonable payback period with bills not starting for several months. And I think that most businesses are probably going to do a little bit of both.”

Hear more of Senator Tillis’ conversation with FOX8 senior political reporter Bob Buckley in this report.