The COVID-19 Regional Information Center held its first-ever online event in Spanish to share advice and resources regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts from the City of Reno, City of Sparks, and Washoe County joined a live video stream on the City of Reno’s YouTube channel about challenges members of Northern Nevada’s Hispanic community may face during the COVID-19 pandemic. They discussed issues related to health, education, and finances. The event aired on local Spanish-language TV stations including Univision.
Sandra Rentas works for the Nevada Small Business Development Center (Nevada SBDC). She said that Latino-owned small businesses are feeling the COVID-19 strain. One of the most popular programs for business loans is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance, which is currently closed but may open up again. The other is the Paycheck Protection Program.
Rentas urged the community to not delay the submission of their application for the Paycheck Protection Program because loans are awarded on a first-come-first serve basis. She also said that at the Nevada SBDC can help Spanish speakers. She can be reached at 775-682-9133.
The panelists also discussed public safety. María Alvarado is with Washoe 311, the county’s non-emergency phone line. She said the service center gets calls from concerned people as to why some businesses haven’t closed when an employee has tested positive with COVID-19 or why some employers have not been transparent about employees who exhibit signs of the illness.
Alvarado explained that if you are worried that your employer doesn’t follow social distancing and personal protection guidelines, you can call Washoe 311 and you’ll be referred over to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Nevada.
Also discussed during the livestream was distance learning. Fatima Rivas works in multicultural communications with the Washoe County School District. She said the school district will soon distribute more print and online materials for distance learning which will include advice for parents on how to structure their child’s school day while at home.
For bilingual families, she said now is a good time to practice Spanish together.
The conversation did not address how Spanish-dominant parents could assist their children with lesson plans that are in English.
Event organizers said there will be more Spanish-language virtual meetings in the upcoming weeks.