Columbus City Council passed emergency legislation on Monday to help supplement resident’s income if they get sick with COVID-19.
The Right To Recover program provides income replacement at $15 an hour for up to 40 hours per week for two weeks.
Columbus Council president pro tem Elizabeth Brown says she hopes it will allow residents who earn at or below 150% of the federal poverty line to take time off to isolate, recover and stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Right To Recover is for workers faced with an impossible decision between protecting their health and receiving their next paycheck,” Brown said in a statement. “Giving workers the financial assistance they need to follow safety guidelines, following a positive COVID-19 test, protects their health, the health of their families, and the health of our entire community during this pandemic.”
The initiative is being implemented by the Columbus Urban League and Catholic Social Services’ Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. It will utilize $1.2 million from the city’s federal CARES Act funding.
To qualify, residents will need a positive COVID-19 test result and earn at or below $39,300 anually for a family of four.
In Columbus, Hispanic residents are four times more likely to contract COVID-19, and Black residents twice as likely, compared to white residents. This program aims to help these disparities by offering those who may be living paycheck-to-paycheck to take time to care for their health instead of attempting to go to work.
“You shouldn’t go broke because you got sick,” said Columbus Urban League president and CEO Stephanie Hightower. “Everything about COVID-19 has exacerbated long-standing deep inequities in our health care and economic systems. I applaud Councilmember Brown for her leadership, and I want the community to know we’re rolling up our sleeves to get to work so you can take care of yourself and your family.”