Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 29 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus and over 500,000 have lost their lives. With stay at home orders, school shutdowns, job loss, business closures, and overworked hospitals, we are in the midst of a public health, economic, safety, and security crisis like none that many of us have ever seen.
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
On March 11, 2021 President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. This $1.9 trillion economic stimulus is meant to advance the United States’ recovery from the ongoing economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key elements of the act were designed to benefit individual citizens, including extended expanded unemployment benefits, direct payments to individuals, emergency paid leave, expanded food stamp and rental assistance, and numerous tax provisions.
However, a large portion of the plan was also aimed at the healthy, safe, and secure reopening and/or operational sustainment of small businesses; state, local, and tribal governments; healthcare/health and human service agencies; agriculture; and public transportation. This bill includes $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, with $65.1 billion of that meant for direct, flexible aid to every county in America. This U.S. Treasury portal was recently made available for eligible states, territories, cities, counties, or Tribal governments to submit requests for Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
Funding for Safety and Security Solutions to Combat Acts of Terror
A safe and secure reopening or operational sustainment doesn’t just include specific COVID-19 mitigation efforts, but also includes solutions to protect against acts of terror. As noted in a recent United Nations Institute for Training Research study, COVID-19 has left us considerably more susceptible to violent extremist/terrorist attacks and has drastically changed how these groups operate. The primary way to combat this terrorism is to be aware of how their operations are changing and to prepare for the changes with enhanced safety and security solutions. The $362 billion cited above also includes a $10 billion critical infrastructure projects program that is designed to help businesses procure safety and security products and services and related expenditures directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring. Many safety and security solutions, including those meant to combat violent extremism and terrorism qualify for funding under the American Rescue Plan. Some relevant security solutions/technologies that may be allowed include (but are not limited to):
- Weapons detection systems
- Contactless Access Controls (including biometric controls)
- Security Cameras/Camera System
- Cybersecurity Solutions
- Communications Equipment
- Technology systems maintenance and services
We encourage all eligible businesses, schools, and facilities to claim funding that they may be eligible for. The deadline to claim funds is September 30, 2021. Implementation of health, safety, and security solutions not only helps to protect against and mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19, but it provides the basis for ongoing layers of security for your school, facility, or business into the future.