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Newsom announces debt garnishment, student loan relief amid warm weather public warning

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that 21 of the state’s 24 largest student loan servicers will offer 90 days of forbearance on student loan payments to more than one million residents during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

CORRECTION An earlier version of this story misspelled Gov. Gavin Newsom’s last name in the headline. SFBay regrets the error.

Newsom credited Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for leading the effort to support borrowers who were not covered by debt forbearance in the $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Pritzker announced a similar order Tuesday for residents with private and non-federal student loans.

Newsom also announced that he signed a retroactive executive order preventing debt collectors from garnishing the $1,200 federal stimulus payments included in the CARES Act.

Gage Skidmore Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Thursday, April 23, 2020 that prohibits debt collectors from garnishing CARES Act stimulus payments.

Debt collectors who have already made those garnishments will be required to give the money back to the debt holder, Newsom said. The order does not apply to state residents making child support or victim fund payments.

Newsom said:

“Under the economic circumstance that is the nature of this crisis for individuals and families, now is not the time to garnish those emergency contribution checks.”

Wednesday was the state’s deadliest 24-hour period since the pandemic began, according to Newsom, with 115 people dying around the state due to the coronavirus. The state’s death toll is now 1,469 and public health officials have confirmed 37,369 cases statewide.

Open SFBay Bay Area coronavirus dashboard in new window.

In spite of continually rising cases, Newsom said hospitalizations for the virus fell 4.4 percent and the number of patients in intensive care for the coronavirus fell 1.2 percent. The state now has 3,343 coronavirus patients in the hospital and 1,204 in intensive care.

Dolores Park
Jesse Garnier/SFBay A sunny Dolores Park day attracts crowds like no other park in The City. (Mik Scheper/Flickr, June 2010)

Newsom reminded residents that practicing physical distancing is even more imperative with warm weather expected into the weekend across the state.

He said:

“People are prone to want to go to the beaches, parks, playgrounds and go on a hike and I anticipate there’ll be a significant increase in volume.”

Newsom added:

“But I also think if there is and people aren’t practicing physical distancing, I’ll be announcing, in a week or so, these numbers going back up. I don’t think anybody wants to hear that.”

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