The President’s Executive Order extends the eviction moratorium and sets broader COVID-19 vaccine targets.
MEMPHIS, Tennessee – “I think the best thing done today was an infusion of hope – the idea I understand is important to me,” said Cindy Ettingoff of Memphis Area Legal Services.
This is how Ettingoff interpreted President Joe Biden’s first day at work.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, the new president signed a series of orders, including an extension of the federal eviction moratorium from January 31 to the end of March.
“The idea that if you can hold out just a little longer, there will be help for us and enormous for our customers,” said Ettingoff.
Shelby County’s court records show that nearly 10,000 families in the Memphis area were at risk of eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, including 200 additional local eviction notices this month.
Ettingoff said the extension of the freeze on evictions gives Congress time to pass broader laws to combat pandemics.
“We’ve been through what is good because we’ve seen what worked and what didn’t,” said Ettingoff.
President Biden’s first focus will also be on another aspect of fighting COVID-19: vaccinating more people, faster.
The 46th president wants $ 20 billion for a national vaccination program to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office and have FEMA set up 100 federal vaccination sites by the end of February.
“I think we can do it. Most people out there would say it is possible, but the question is can we keep this pace for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld of the Baptist Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Threlkeld believed the new administration’s vaccine goals are within reach, but near flawless execution across the board will be required to be successful.
“We need to significantly improve our game in the actual top-down supply line and distribute this vaccine to all of these new locations to deliver,” said Dr. Threlkeld. “I think we need to get both things working.”