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Cooper announces 900K masks to be delivered to NC farm workers; urges Congress to extend unemployment benefits

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says he will give a directive for reopening schools next week.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says he will give a directive for reopening schools next week.(WBTV | WBTV)
Updated: Jul. 21, 2020 at 1:54 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced that a partnership among state agencies will deliver approximately 900,000 masks and other supplies to farm workers across North Carolina.

“Agriculture is vital to our economy and our food supply, and it’s a tough job you can’t do from home. This personal protective equipment will be delivered this week to North Carolina Cooperative Extension centers across the state and then be distributed to our farmers,” Cooper stated.

Cooper said the 31 counties that are home to three-fourths of the state’s farm workers will receive the first delivery. This effort is a partnership among the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, NC Cooperative Extension, the state Department of Agriculture, the state Department of Labor and the NC Agromedicine Institute.

“We must keep food in our grocery stores and on our tables. To do that, we must help protect farmers and their families from this virus. I appreciate the collaboration that makes this delivery of equipment possible,” Cooper stated.

Cooper also addressed the upcoming reduction in unemployment benefits as a part of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment compensation program. The federal program offered an additional $600 a week to unemployed workers.

“This program has been a lifeline for families and their communities, giving people the ability to pay their rent or utilities, to put food on the table and to make ends meet. I am urging Congress to act quickly to extend this benefit,” Cooper stated.

Cooper added that the extra $600 is important to North Carolinians after the General Assembly cut state unemployment benefits in 2013.

“While legislators were in session the last few months, they refused to do anything to help. When the legislature returns, I urge them to re-evaluate North Carolina’s own unemployment compensation to support people who find themselves sidelined because of this virus,” he stated.

“Remember, this funding has a multiplier effect, going from families’ pockets back into our local communities, helping small businesses and our economy stay afloat. This assistance will expire at the end of the week.”

Governor Cooper added that the clock on the federal benefits is ticking and “all eyes are on Washington.”

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