Sunday, March 22, 2020

Update On Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Information For Pennsylvania

On March 22, the Department of Health has so far confirmed the deaths of four Pennsylvanians as a result of COVID-19 and 479 cases in 33 counties as of 12:00 a.m., March 22.
All positive cases are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital. 
“Our notable increase in cases over the last few days indicate we need everyone to take COVID-19 seriously,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvanians have a very important job right now: stay calm, stay home and stay safe. We have seen case counts continue to increase and the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home.”
Non-Life-Sustaining businesses, dine-in service at restaurants, taverns and bars, state agency offices, liquor stores, casinos and schools have been closed as a result of a series of actions taken by Gov. Wolf to halt the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pennsylvania.
The PA Supreme Court closed all courts at all levels to the public, limited the cases that could be heard, ended new jury trials and temporarily put a hold on all evictions statewide.
State agencies, who can, are having employees work from home, communicate by email and hold public meetings electronically, although most have been canceled.
The General Assembly has also changed its rules to all for remote voting rather than in-person session and committee meetings.
The actions taken by Gov. Wolf are in-line with the steps other states in the region have taken to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Gov. Wolf will face decisions next week on whether to extend the current closure of schools as well as the statewide mitigation efforts, including state agency office closures.
Non-Life Sustaining Business Closures
Gov. Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses closed by 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23, which will be enforced by the State Police and local authorities-- 
Businesses can get a waiver application through the Department of Community and Economic Development website or by contacting the Department of Community and Economic Development by sending email to:  or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH and selecting option 1.
The list of life-sustaining businesses list is aligned with the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency guidance for critical infrastructure workforce.
Statewide Mitigation Efforts
The closure of dine-in facilities for restaurants and bars, suspension of large gatherings of 10 or more people, the closure of all state agency offices for in-person transactions and other mitigation measures will continue until March 31. Read more here.
The Governor will face a decision this week about whether to extend the statewide mitigation efforts.
The Liquor Control Board mandated the closure of dine-in and on-premises consumption of alcohol at all retail licensees, clubs, permittees and producers until further notice.  Read more here.
All schools, daycare centers and state universities are closed in Pennsylvania until March 27.  Read more here.
The Governor will face a decision this week about whether to extend the school closure.
Philadelphia residents have been ordered to stay-at-home starting 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. Read more here.
PA Court System
The PA Supreme Court ordered all courts in the state to be closed to the public through at least April 3.  Read more here.
Business Assistance
DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to the DCED COVID-19 webpage as they become available. 
A new $61 million state Small Business First assistance program will be available in the near future for businesses with 100 or fewer full time employees. Read more here.
Gov. Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible nonprofits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Read more here.
Help For Workers
Workers in Pennsylvania who are impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation benefits. Read more here.
There were 170,000 claims for unemployment in Pennsylvania between Monday and Wednesday of last week.  Further numbers have been embargoed by the U.S. Department of Labor until at least next Thursday.
Tax Filing Deadline Extended
The Department of Revenue announced the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns is extended to July 15, 2020. This means taxpayers will have an additional 90 days to file from the original deadline of April 15.   Read more here.
Virus Scams
Attorney General Josh Shapiro reported his office has received nearly 1,900 complaints of price gouging connected to the coronavirus outbreak, including things like a $15 can of Lysol and $19 hand sanitizer.  Cease-and-desist letters have been sent to 68 businesses so far. Read more here.
The Attorney General has established a special email to report complaints from residents and businesses:  Complaints also can be made by phone at 800-441-2555, or through the Attorney General’s website
More information about price gouging is available at AG’s Coronavirus Updates 
  PennDOT has suspended all construction projects statewide. Read more here.
For vehicle registrations, safety inspections and emissions inspections scheduled to expire between March 14 and March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.  Read more here.
Driver licenses (including CDLs), photo ID cards and learner's permits are scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020. Read more here.
More Information
For the latest information on the coronavirus and precautions to take in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage, Follow them on Twitter, or Like them on Facebook.
Click Here for copies of State Agency Coronavirus Guidance.
Helpful Links:
-- Responding To COVID-19 In Pennsylvania - General Resource Page All Topics
-- Department of Health - Coronavirus - Updated Frequently
-- Department of Labor & Industry - Guidance & Resources
-- Department of State - Suspended Licensing Rules For Health-Care Professionals
-- Department of Transportation - License & Registration 
-- Liquor Control Board - Store Closures & Licensees
-- Department of Education School - Guidance & Resources
-- Department of Environmental Protection - Office Closures
-- Department of Conservation & Natural Resources - Facility Closures & Events Canceled
-- Dept. of Agriculture - Resources & Guidance
-- Attorney General - Coronavirus Updates 
Related Articles: 
At-Home Environmental Ed
Send Your At-Home Environmental Ed Ideas To: 
Fish & Boat Commission
National Guard
Citizen Groups
[Posted: March 22, 2020] 

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