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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2020
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Gov. Wolf: More Pennsylvanians to Benefit from Rental and Mortgage Relief Programs

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is improving the COVID Relief Mortgage and Rental Assistance Grant Program to help more renters and homeowners remain in their homes. Effective Oct. 17, landlords and mortgagees will have a new option to reach agreements with renters and homeowners for repayment of rent and mortgage payments above the program’s $750 monthly cap. The program previously required them to forgive the balance of the payment.

Earlier this week the governor signed an executive order extending the application deadline to Nov. 4.

“We cannot allow thousands of families to become homeless because of the pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf.  “Improving the program and giving people more time to apply will help families to stay in their homes. That will reduce the strain on social services and help landlords to pay their mortgages.

“These are positive steps, but we still need a larger solution. I continue to urge the legislature to fix the program’s other flaws so more struggling families have a place to live.”

The program has been helping fewer renters and homeowners than intended. Under the new guidance, landlords can still forgive the balance of rent and mortgage payment above $750, but creating the option to enter into repayment agreements with tenants and homeowners, and therefore recoup balance of payments, should encourage more participation in the relief program.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress in March, provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania. As part of Pennsylvanian’s response to the pandemic, the governor signed legislation in May directing $175 million of the CARES funds to PHFA to provide $150 million for rental assistance and $25 million for mortgage assistance.

Governor Tom Wolf has repeatedly urged the General Assembly to remove the barriers so more Pennsylvanians can qualify.

The governor’s proposal would:

  • Raise the $750 monthly cap on rent relief to at least 130% of HUD limits – In some parts of the state rent payments exceed $750 a month, therefore landlords decline to participate, leaving tenants without payment assistance.
  • Eliminate the requirement that households be 30 days behind on rent to be eligible for assistance – The requirement creates an unfair burden on applicants who prioritize rent and mortgage payments over paying for food, medicine or other bills.
  • Eliminate verification that applicants applied for unemployment compensation – The added administrative step creates unnecessary processing delays of applications and availability of assistance.

“Program changes are still needed to keep people in their homes, but in the meantime, these changes will let more people get rental assistance and avoid eviction,” said Gov. Wolf. “I continue to urge the General Assembly to make changes to allow more affected residents to qualify because, now more than ever, all Pennsylvanians need and deserve an affordable and safe place to live.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention halted some rental evictions nationwide until Dec. 31; however, some tenants and all homeowners are still at risk.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndsay Kensinger, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2020
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First Lady Wolf: Free School Meals Extended Throughout the School Year

Harrisburg, PA – First Lady Frances Wolf is proud to recognize the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s announcement that allows schools to provide free meals to all students for the rest of the school year. These flexibilities, for which First Lady Wolf recently advocated alongside 17 other first partners and spouses, ensure that schools can continue to provide the meals despite the uncertainty and hardship caused by the pandemic.

“I am so glad that the USDA has taken this important step in guaranteeing that no child has to wonder where they might find their next meal,” said First Lady Wolf. “This forward-thinking provides much-needed certainty to families, school nutrition professionals, agricultural entities and community partners working to ensure that all children have access to nutritious meals as we continue to navigate a global health crisis and its subsequent economic effects. This is one piece of the puzzle for ensuring food security, and we look forward to continuing to work with USDA on the implementation of this and related efforts.”

These flexibilities, which have been extended through June 30, 2021, allow school feeding programs to avoid unnecessary barriers as they navigate health and safety concerns, staff limitations, technical restrictions, time constraints and more. From March through August of this year, Pennsylvania schools provided more than 25 million meals to children in need.

“With the USDA’s extension of the school feeding program waivers, students are promised access to nutritious food for the rest of the school year,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Throughout the COVID-19 mitigation response, these waivers have worked well for schools navigating many changes. Whether students are learning from home, at the school or a mix of both, these flexibilities will keep kids fed. Hungry kids can’t learn. Because of programs like this, no Pennsylvania student should go hungry.”

According to recent projections from Feeding America, more than 54 million people, including 18 million children, may experience food insecurity this year, marking a 45 percent increase in general food security rates and a 65 percent increase in child food insecurity rates compared to pre-COVID-19 statistics.

In Pennsylvania, 2.04 million Pennsylvanians, including nearly 630,000 children, face food insecurity. This marks an increase of 45.2 percent to the general food security rate and a 57.6 percent increase to the child food insecurity rate when compared to 2018 statistics.

In letters sent to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Congressional leadership on September 18, 2020, First Lady Wolf and the first spouses and partners of California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming encouraged both parties to work together to extend and fully fund the necessary school feeding program waivers throughout the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year.

Yesterday’s action by the USDA comes at the heels of the passage of continuing resolution HR 8337 by the United States House and Senate and its signing by President Trump on October 1, 2020. HR 8337, in addition to maintaining federal government funding through December 11, 2020, further extends the USDA’s necessary nutrition authority and funding through September 20, 2021, for child nutrition programs, Pandemic EBT, Summer EBT for Children, Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and more. Further USDA action is needed to implement the extensions of these other programs. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jen Wilburne, jewilburne@pa.gov

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 6, 2020
 

Gov. Wolf, Sec. Levine Amend Guidelines on Safe Gathering Limits

Pennsylvanians Must Wear Masks, Social Distance, Follow Established Local Restrictions

Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvanians continue to do their part by adopting healthy behaviors to combat the spread of COVID-19, today Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine amended existing COVID-19 orders to allow for adjusted capacity to gathering limits while keeping in place the proven mitigation tools that include wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

“Pennsylvanians must continue to social distance and wear masks as we prepare to fight the virus through the fall and winter,” Gov. Wolf said. “Regardless of the size of an event or gathering, those things are still imperative to stopping the spread of COVID. We know everyone has sacrificed in many ways and today’s announcement reflects a gradual adjustment to our lives as we learn how we can do things safely until we have a cure, or an effective vaccine is widely available."

“We will closely monitor cases and outbreaks and if our case investigation and contact tracing efforts determine that events or gatherings are the source of an outbreak, we can and will dial back these new limits,” Dr. Levine said. “Public health and safety are our first concern and will always remain as such.”

Starting on Friday, Oct. 9 amended orders will allow for venue occupancy limits to play a bigger role in determining the number of people permitted both inside and outside of events or gatherings. An event or gathering is defined as a temporary grouping of individuals for defined purposes that takes place over a limited timeframe, such as hours or days, including fairs, festivals, concerts, or shows and groupings that occur within larger, more permanent businesses, such as shows or performances within amusement parks, individual showings of movies, business meetings or conferences, or each party or reception within a multi-room venue.

Conversely, groups of people who share a space within a building in the ordinary course of operations, such as in an office building, classroom, production floor or similar regularly occurring operation of a business or organization, are not events or gatherings.

All businesses are required to conduct their operations remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business unless that is not possible. In those instances, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.

The orders amend two sections of the July 15 mitigation orders and include a “maximum occupancy calculator” for both indoor and outdoor events. Based on a venue’s established occupancy limit as defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code, venues apply the appropriate percent of occupancy to determine how many attendees are permitted to attend an event or gathering. 

Here are the calculators:

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for indoor events: 

Maximum Occupancy 

Allowable Indoor Rate  

0-2,000 people 

20% of Maximum Occupancy 

2,001 - 10,000 people 

15% of Maximum Occupancy 

Over 10,000 people 

10% of Maximum Occupancy up to 3,750 people 

Maximum Occupancy Calculator for outdoor events: 

Maximum Occupancy 

Allowable Outdoor Rate  

0-2,000 people 

25% of Maximum Occupancy 

2,001 - 10,000 people  

20% of Maximum Occupancy 

Over 10,000 people 

15% of Maximum Occupancy up to 7,500 people 

Venues must require attendees to comply with 6-foot social distancing requirements, to wear masks or face coverings, and to implement best practices such as timed entry, multiple entry and exit points, multiple restrooms and hygiene stations. Venues and event planners can review the CDC Events and Gatherings Readiness and Planning Tool for additional information regarding best practices.

When not hosting events, occupancy restrictions outlined in the green phase of reopening continue to apply to businesses in the commonwealth.

Any gathering restrictions established by local authorities, such as the ones established in Philadelphia and State College, remain in effect.

 View the governor’s amended order here.

View the secretary’s amended order here.

View FAQs about the amended orders on safe gatherings.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:   April Hutcheson, 717 – 787 – 1783

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2020

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Secretary of Agriculture: Opportunity for Dairy Farmer COVID-19 Relief Closes September 30

Harrisburg, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today reminded Pennsylvania dairy farmers that the deadline to apply for the CARES Act-funded Dairy Indemnity Program, which provides financial relief for losses due to discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 pandemic, is September 30, 2020.

“Early in the pandemic, our dairy industry was in a complete free-fall with no certainty,” said Secretary Redding. “This program is providing much-needed relief to our farmers. If you know a dairy farmer that faced the hardship of dumping milk down the drain, urge them to apply for the Dairy Indemnity Program. This is not a hand out, it’s a hand up.”

The following are encouraged to apply for direct relief payments, losses must have occurred between March 6, 2020 and September 30, 2020:

  • Any dairy farmer that experienced financial losses due to discarded or displaced milk and has not previously applied;
  • Any dairy farmer who was assessed a fee by their cooperative for discarded milk and has not previously applied;
  • Any dairy farmer who previously applied in the above categories, but only applied for $1,500 in losses or has incurred additional losses since their first application;
  • Cooperatives that experienced a loss due to discarded milk on behalf of their member-producers and who have not yet assessed their member-producers for these losses may be eligible for reimbursement for those losses if funding is still available after all other claims have been paid.

Producers or cooperatives with questions about eligibility should contact Morgan Sheffield at

msheffield@pa.gov. Those ready to apply can do so online, by visiting the Resources tab found at agriculture.pa.gov/covid.

More than 1,300 applications have been submitted for the first round of $1,500 in direct relief. Losses above $1,500 will be paid with what remains from the $15 million that was allocated for this program at a pro-rated rate after the September 30 deadline, once all initial $1,500 payments are made.

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 7,000 dairy farms with an economic impact of $12 billion and more than 52,000 jobs. The commonwealth’s more than 500,000 cows produce more than 10.2 billion pounds of milk annually, ranking Pennsylvania seventh in the nation for total milk production.

For information as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID. For the most accurate, timely information related to Health in Pennsylvania, visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers – 717.783.2628

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2020   

L&I Launches UC Chatbot and New Employer Live Chat Capabilities, Giving Greater Accessibility to UC Claimants and Employers 

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Labor & Industry’s (L&I) Office of Unemployment Compensation (UC) has updated its UC Live Chat feature to include a virtual assistant to provide immediate assistance in general questions and guidance on UC-related information. In addition, UC has expanded access so that employers can now ask questions related to their business accounts.

“The upgrades to the UC Live Chat and the introduction of the new chatbot provide added convenience and communication options between UC claimants and staff,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “The addition and upgrades to the chat feature provides better customer service to claimants, expedites claims processing, and helps reduce call volume to UC Service Centers (UCSC). We are proud to unveil these new resources, which we hope will have a significant positive impact for UC claimants and employers.

The UC Live Chat capability was launched to assist claimants last summer. The feature provides a virtual means of communication for claimants to ask questions, provide information, and have claims concerns addressed by UC staff. Since its launch, the feature has hosted more than 300,000 UC Live Chats with claimants.

The virtual assistant can provide responses for nearly 450 questions regarding UC claims and will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If the chatbot is unable to assist with general UC queries, users can request being transferred to an agent for additional assistance.

UC staff has also created two additional chat options specifically geared toward assisting business customers. Employers can now use UC Live Chat to engage with the Unemployment Compensation Resource Center (UCRC), which handles employer issues.  Employers can now get answers to UC-related questions regarding their business accounts, including Monthly Notice of Compensation Charges, Relief from Charges, the Shared Work program, and more. 

The new employer chat option will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. UC Chat Live will be available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The new UC chatbot will be available 24/7 to provide virtual assistance.

Visit www.uc.pa.gov and select “UC Live Chat” on the icon bar to start a chat.

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Sarah DeSantis, 717-787-7530 or dlipress@pa.gov

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2020

Wolf Administration Promotes Programs and Resources Available to Pennsylvania Families with Children During COVID-19 Crisis and 2020-21 Back-to-School Season 

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s secretaries of the departments of Health, Education and Human Services today assured Pennsylvania families that the Wolf Administration is committed to helping families with children overcome challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Human Services announced that it is creating flexibilities in child care options, including temporarily suspending some regulatory policies on school-age child care to give families options on learning pods, and providing assistance to families struggling financially. Health promoted healthy habits to protect children and communities, and Education focused on how to nurture every child’s educational needs.

As schools begin the new school year – one that will be unprecedented in many ways – administration officials encouraged parents and guardians of school-age children to reinforce routines and practice habits that prioritize a child’s mental, physical, social and emotional health.

“This school year may look different for Pennsylvanians, but ensuring students have everything they need to succeed in education has never been a more important task on the back-to-school to-do list,” Secretary of Health Dr. Levine said. “Back-to-school essentials like teaching healthy habits, wearing a mask and staying up-to-date on all recommended immunizations must be done to help protect your student and others around them, like those who cannot wear masks or get vaccinated. It is essential that everyone take proper steps to protect against COVID-19 and a number of other serious, life-threatening diseases as students resume learning.”

As they consider a mountain of scientific information that grows daily, the resulting guidance of public-health professionals and the wide-ranging spectrum of opinions among their community members, school boards and educators across Pennsylvania are demonstrating an unwavering commitment to two important priorities: the health and safety of everyone and the rights of our children to continue their educational journeys.

“As the school year progresses, the Wolf Administration will continue to offer resources to school communities to help them make decisions and meet the needs of their students,” Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Pedro Rivera said. “The department, school leaders and families are all focused on the health and safety of children and staff, and to ensuring our students can continue to engage in educational opportunities and grow.”

Throughout the summer, PDE worked with partners inside and outside of state government to create resources to help school leaders make difficult decisions about the return to school, including public health guidance, instructional model recommendations, and distributing $87.5 million in Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds. Knowing that schools are more than classrooms, PDE has also developed resources for aiding in student social and emotional learning, as well as supporting student and staff wellness. PDE has also provided resources to parents of children with special needs to help them engage with schools in adapting their children’s educational plan.

Before the pandemic, Pennsylvania’s public-assistance system administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) served approximately 3.3 million people. The numbers of Pennsylvanians enrolled in safety-net programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have steadily increased since March, and DHS anticipates that trend to continue as economic instability takes hold nationwide.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for families, particularly those with children. This virus has been cruel, and its effects only compound the longer this crisis drags on. But we are going to beat this virus. Things will get better,” Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller said. “I want you to know that your family is not alone. There are resources available to help you, and you have every right to reach out and ask for help when you need it.” 

Child Care

DHS has announced the temporary suspension of some regulatory policies on school-age child care, with the goal of providing flexibilities for families who need safe child care options during traditional school hours for children who are distance learning.

“We want children to be in situations where they are safe and supervised by trusted adults; where they are able to focus on their education; and where their interactions with other people are limited so as to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” Secretary Miller said. “What we don’t want are parents quitting their jobs to stay home with their school-age children.”

Families may create collectives – or learning pods – of other trusted families in their community who can depend on each other for supervised child care during school hours without needing a licensed child care certification. Guidance for families interested in establishing learning pods is available online here.

DHS is also collaborating with organizations across Pennsylvania, including the United Way and YMCA, to establish part-day child care programs for school-age children. These programs are required to develop Health and Safety plans for COVID-19 mitigation and to comply with requirements under Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law for all adults working with children to have background clearance checks. Soon, DHS will launch a tool on its website where families can go for information about these programs.

When possible, DHS recommends that families choose licensed child care providers, which have routine oversight and must comply with statewide child care regulations. Accommodations for school-age children engaged in distance learning will depend on the individual provider, so families should have that discussion with the provider before enrolling their school-age child. To find licensed providers in your community, visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov or contact your Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC). Find your ELRC at www.raiseyourstar.org.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP helps more than 1.9 million Pennsylvanians expand purchasing power by providing money each month to spend on groceries, helping households have resources to purchase enough food to avoid going hungry. Inadequate food and chronic nutrient deficiencies have profound effects on a person’s life and health, including increased risks for chronic diseases, higher chances of hospitalization, poorer overall health, and increased health care costs.

Families struggling to afford food should consider applying for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Pennsylvanians can apply any time at www.compass.state.pa.us.

Those who prefer to submit paper documentation can print from the website or request an application by phone at 1-800-692-7462 and mail it to their local County Assistance Office (CAO) or place it in a CAO’s secure drop box, if available. While CAOs remain closed to the public, the work continues to process applications, determine eligibility and issue benefits. Applications are processed within six days on average for SNAP and once a benefit is approved, it can be immediately accessed. All Pennsylvanians who are in a difficult financial situation due to the economic challenges of this pandemic should apply to see if they are eligible for assistance.

Health Care

Pennsylvanians who have lost health coverage or are currently uninsured and need coverage for themselves or their children may qualify for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid and CHIP provide coverage for routine and emergency health services, tests and screenings, and prescriptions. COVID-19 testing and treatment are also covered by both Medicaid and CHIP.

Medicaid and CHIP enroll individuals throughout the year and do not have a limited or special enrollment time, so people needing health coverage can apply for these programs at any time. There are income limits for Medicaid, but all children qualify for coverage through CHIP regardless of family income. Families can apply for Medicaid or CHIP at www.compass.state.pa.us.

Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)

The Pennsylvania Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has improved the nutrition and health of families in Pennsylvania since 1974 by providing nutrition services, breastfeeding support, health care and social service referrals, and healthy foods. Through WIC, pregnant women, mothers, and caregivers of infants and young children learn about good nutrition to keep themselves and their families healthy. 

WIC serves pregnant women, breastfeeding women for up to one year postpartum, women up to six months postpartum who are not breastfeeding, and infants and children under 5 years old. Furthermore, these individuals must also meet WIC income guidelines and a medical or nutritional risk, which is determined at the WIC certification appointment. To apply for WIC, call the toll-free WIC Hotline 1-800-WIC-WINS to be connected to WIC office staff who will answer your questions and schedule your appointment, or get started online.

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DHS administers ChildLine, which is a 24/7 hotline available to anyone concerned for the safety or well-being of a child. To report a concern, call 1-800-932-0313.

Anyone can make a report to ChildLine. Anyone who is not a mandated reporter can make a report to ChildLine anonymously. DHS is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to learn more about the signs of potential abuse or neglect and make a report to ChildLine if they suspect abuse or neglect. Pennsylvanians can learn more about potential signs of abuse at www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

Immunizations

The Department of Health (DOH) provides vaccines for specific diseases that affect infants, children, adolescents and adults. These vaccines are available through both public and private health care providers. In addition to providing vaccines, DOH offers educational programs, ongoing disease surveillance systems, disease investigations, assessment of immunization coverage, immunization registry and tracking systems, outbreak control interventions, and special efforts directed toward the prevention of hepatitis B disease.

It is important to note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DOH has temporarily suspended the regulation regarding requirements for children’s immunization for a two-month period after the beginning of the school year or the beginning of enrollment in an early childhood education program. As a recommendation, caregivers should schedule immunization appointments early since many health care providers may have delays in scheduling and decreased appointment windows.

Anyone looking to visit a local immunization clinic to receive vaccinations should call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) to schedule an appointment. Pennsylvanians should have their vaccination records available when they call to make an appointment. A parent or legal guardian must accompany a child receiving vaccinations.

Support and Referral Helpline

Anyone struggling with mental health and in need of referrals to helpful programs can call Pennsylvania’s new Support & Referral Helpline, which is operated 24/7 by skilled caseworkers who can provide emotional support during this difficult period. The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.

Another helpful resource is the 2-1-1 hotline operated by the United Way, which can connect people and families to local resources that can help during the public health crisis.

The Wolf Administration recently launched an online Mental Health Resources Guide to provide Pennsylvanians with a full complement of resources available to help everyone with their mental health needs.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Erin James, DHS -- ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov 

Nate Wardle, DOH – ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

Eric Levis, PDE -- elevis@pa.gov

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 25, 2020

 

Pennsylvania Approved for Extra $300 Per Week to Eligible Unemployed Workers

 

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced Pennsylvania will get nearly $1.5 billion to provide an extra $300 per week to eligible unemployed workers through the temporary federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“The recently ended $600 weekly federal benefit was a true lifeline to many Pennsylvanians and I know you are anxious for these new payments to begin,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “L&I is working as quickly as possible to evaluate what it will take to implement this program and begin paying the $300 weekly supplement in Pennsylvania, while awaiting final program guidance from the federal government. We will get this money into the pockets of the eligible Pennsylvanians who need it and will be sure to keep everyone updated throughout this complex process.”

To qualify for the extra $300, the program requires that eligible individuals must receive at least $100 per week in benefits from:

  • Regular Unemployment Compensation (UC);
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC);
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);
  • Extended Benefits (EB);
  • Short-Time Compensation (STC) or Shared Work; and
  • Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA).

Individuals must also self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Payments will be made to eligible claimants retroactively from August 1, 2020.

Pennsylvania applied to the temporary program on Friday. The grant will provide the extra $300 weekly payment until the FEMA funding is exhausted, the federal government enacts a new law, or extends the recently ended Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. LWA will run for a minimum of three weeks and will end no later than December 27, 2020.

The LWA program is not a true unemployment insurance program and is funded by $44 billion from FEMA that is intended for storm disaster relief. For this reason, payments to eligible workers will be delayed as states, including Pennsylvania, create new systems or processes.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, funded entirely by the federal government, ended on July 25. Although the U.S. House of Representatives voted to continue the benefit, Senate Republicans have yet to approve its extension. On August 8, President Trump authorized the Lost Wages Assistance plan.


MEDIA CONTACT: Penny Ickes, dlipress@pa.gov

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2020
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Gov. Wolf Announces Protections from Foreclosures and Evictions Through Aug. 31

Harrisburg, PA - Governor Tom Wolf today signed a new executive order that protects homeowners and renters from eviction or foreclosure until Aug. 31, if they have not received assistance from a new program administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) or are not already receiving relief through one of several federal foreclosure moratorium programs or judicial orders. Lenders and property owners that receive funds through the PHFA program agree not pursue foreclosure or eviction actions as a condition of participation in the program.

“I am taking this action to help families know they will have a roof over their heads and a place to live while all of us fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf. “It takes one more burden off of people who are struggling and ensures that families can remain in their homes so they can protect their health and wellbeing.”

The governor signed legislation in May providing $150 million for rental assistance and $25 million for mortgage assistance through PHFA with CARES Act funds. PHFA began accepting applications July 6.

Eligibility information and applications for renters and homeowners is available on the PHFA website.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Housing Finance Agency, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have each extended eviction and foreclosure protections for housing under their authority to Aug. 31.

In almost all circumstances, renters and homeowners are required to continue making monthly payments if they can. Pennsylvanians struggling to make monthly payments should contact their landlord or mortgage servicer immediately. The governor’s executive order does not apply to proceedings regarding property damage or illegal activity.

The governor previously signed an executive order suspending evictions and foreclosures, which expires Friday. That action followed a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order which closed court eviction proceedings until May 11.

MEDIA CONTACT:   Lyndsay Kensinger, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

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Masks are Mandatory in PA Businesses

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2020
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Gov. Wolf: Masks are Mandatory in Pennsylvania Businesses
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today reminded all Pennsylvania residents and businesses that masks are mandatory when visiting a business.
“The importance of mask-wearing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect people and businesses cannot be overstated,” Gov. Wolf said. “Masks are required in businesses, for the entire time someone is visiting a business. It’s that simple and that important to continue to safely reopen the state and keep our case counts on the decline.”
Multiple state government agencies sent a communication to Pennsylvania businesses this week outlining mask requirements:
  • Everyone must wear a mask, unless they have a medical reason not to or are under the age of 2. That includes workers and customers. Remember, my mask protects you and your mask protects me.
  • No mask, no shirt, no shoes, no service. If a worker or customer attempts to enter your business without a mask on, ask them to leave and return when they have a mask. A fabric mask is fine.
  • Find PPE to protect your workers. Masks and other PPE can be hard to find given the high demand. But we’ve got you covered. Check out our online directory of PPE manufacturers and suppliers in Pennsylvania.
  • Have good mask hygiene. Don’t touch the front of your mask. Make sure it covers both your nose and mouth. Don’t lift it up when talking to someone. Remember, the virus travels in the droplets we breath out when talking or laughing, not just when we cough or sneeze. If wearing a fabric mask, make sure you wash it and let it fully dry between uses.
“Wearing masks in a business or when in a public space where social distancing can’t be maintained is a required, vital practice to stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Wolf said. “It’s also a sign of respect for others because your mask is protecting them. Let’s continue to get through this together.”
The state’s business guidance outlines mask-wearing requirements.
The state’s restaurant industry guidance outlines mask-wearing requirements specific to restaurants. 
MEDIA CONTACT:    Lyndsay Kensinger, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov
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Green Phase

As of June 19, these 54 counties are in the green phase: Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, Luzerne, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.

After a county transitions to the yellow phase, it is closely monitored for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for 14 days, the county will transition to the green phase.

The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay-at-home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health. Some restrictions, such as mask-wearing, do remain in place.

It is important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.

Work and Congregate Settings Restrictions

  • Continued Telework Strongly Encouraged
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety Requirements
  • All Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy
  • Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance
  • Congregate Care Restrictions in Place
  • Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities
  • Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance

Social Restrictions

  • Large Gatherings of More Than 250 Prohibited
  • Masks are Required When Entering a Business
  • Restaurants and Bars Open at 50% Occupancy
  • Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged
  • All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy
  • Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols

The state continues to use risk-based metrics from Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Health and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency data dashboard available here.

The state continues to increase testing and ramp up contact-tracing efforts. As of June 18, there are a total of 518 contact tracers, and a total of 4,161 contacts being monitored.

The Department of Health received a total of 89,350 test results in the past seven days, an average of 12,764 a day. The 30-day average of test results received is more than 13,934.

There were 2,763 total cases added to investigations for the week of June 12 through 18.

The latest business guidance, including outdoor recreation guidance, can be found here.

 

Preliminary sports guidance can be found here.

Annotation 2020-04-27 134242.jpg


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County Recycling Center Update - 07/01/2020
 
The Susquehanna County Recycling Center’s public drop-off  for cans, bottles, paper and cardboard is currently available to Susquehanna County residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Please, make sure your cans and bottles are rinsed clean.  And your paper and cardboard should remain clean and dry with no paper plates, cups, tissues, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, diapers, Q-tips, photographs, milk/juice cartons, wrappers, or Styrofoam.  For more information, please contact the Recycling Center at 570-278-3589.

 ​

 
 SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY REMAINS IN STATE OF EMERGENCY

The Susquehanna County Commissioners have signed a Declaration of Disaster Emergency effective March 19, 2020 in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. 

The declaration directs the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the activities of the emergency response, to take all appropriate action needed to alleviate the effects of this disaster, to aid in the restoration of essential public services, and to take any other emergency response actions deemed necessary.  As of Monday, March 23, 2020 all County buildings are open for emergency and essential functions by appointment only. Appointments can be requested by calling the Department directly or by calling 570-278-4600.

 

In an effort to further restrict potential COVID-19 exposure within the courts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that all Pennsylvania courts – including trial and intermediate appellate courts – are closed to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 3, 2020. The Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County will remain open for essential judicial functions.  If you have any questions, please contact Court Administration at 570-278-6673.

The County Commissioners strongly encourage all residents to follow the information released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health ( https://www.health.pa.gov ) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( https://www.cdc.gov ).  The most recent information, recommendations, and resources can be found on their websites.  A page dedicated to Covid-19 has been placed on the Susquehanna County Website ( http://www.susqco.com ) .  Information regarding items such as the blood shortage, food pantries and food distribution plans are being updated here as well.​

 

Declaration of Emergency.03.19.20220.pdfDeclaration of Emergency.03.19.20220.pdf​

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LINK FOR RESOURCES FOR RE-OPENING CHILD CARE CENTERS

CLICK HERE:   CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 INFORMATION​   (SELECT THE OPTION IN THE PROGRAM AREA.)

 

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FOR UPDATED CONSUMER-FOCUSED INFORMATION ON MANY FINANCIAL AREAS, PLEASE SEE THIS NEWSLETTER:     Click Here for PA Dept of Banking and Securities Newsletter​


SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE FUND.docxSMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE FUND.docx


DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH HOSPITAL PREPAREDNESS DASHBOARD

 

The dashboard can be found in the COVID-19 section of health.pa.gov.​


We encourage those in need to connect to 211 for assistance. It is free, confidential and available 24/7. PA 2-1-1 Northeast is part of the national 2-1-1 Call Centers initiative designed to provide and easy-to-remember telephone number, chat, text, and a web resource for finding health and human services information for everyday needs and crisis situations. People can get help simply by calling 211, texting 211 or logging onto nepa211.org.
 
 


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Local service center info for farmers...(click below)
https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?type=ref&agency=nrcs,fsa,rd&state=42&county=131

 

June 26, 2020
 
COVID-19 Updates from PFB
 
Dear Pennsylvania Farm Bureau member,
 
Throughout these uncertain times, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is working to keep you informed to make sure that you are able to continue your important work ensuring a safe and accessible food supply. We wanted to share the following updates:
 
  • As of today, all Pennsylvania counties but one have entered the least-restrictive green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan. Lebanon County remains in the yellow phase but is scheduled to move into the green phase July 3. In the green phase, entertainment, recreation and personal care businesses that were not permitted to open in the yellow phase may reopen and restaurants may offer limited indoor service. Safety precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control must continue to be followed. Learn more here.
 
  • Dairy producers are eligible for indemnity payments through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture if they suffered losses due to having to discard milk themselves and/or if they were assessed a fee by their cooperative to share in the cost of milk dumped by other cooperative members. Each eligible farm will receive a minimum payment of $1,500. Once each eligible farm receives the minimum payment, farms that suffered losses or were assessed fees greater than $1,500 will receive an additional pro-rata share of the remaining funds, not to exceed the actual amount of the loss. Producers can fill out and print an application form online that must be mailed in to PDA and postmarked no later than Sept. 30. Instructions, including the mailing address, are provided on the form. Click here to apply.
 
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture will now accept applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program through an online portal. The program provides direct payments to producers of certain, eligible commodities to help offset losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more about how to apply for the program online.
 
  • The Small Business Administration recently released a new EZ Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness application form in response to legislation requiring the agency to create a more “borrower-friendly” application form. The form is available here. There is also a revised version of the full form available here.
 
Please be sure to check our COVID-19 information page regularly for updates as the situation is constantly changing. If you encounter challenges related to the COVID-19 response, please don't hesitate to contact us. We may be able to help bring about or expedite a resolution. We are in regular contact with the General Assembly, Congress and both the state and federal administrations and we have been working with them to address our members' concerns.
 
Thank you for your hard work ensuring a safe and accessible food supply during these difficult times!



 
 
 
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COVID-19 RESOURCE GUIDE FOR OLDER AMERICANS.

COVID-19 RESOURCE FOR OLDER ADULTS​


B / S / S / T Area On Aging


 
 
 
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IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS THE SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE IS OPEN.  CALL 570-278-5955 

 
Veterans Corner
 
The Montrose Weekender has stopped its weekly publication which was a primary means of communication to our veterans and their families using the monthly “Veterans Corner” articles. The weekender was sent to over 12,700 homes. In order to help fill this void these monthly articles will now be posted and changed each month on the Susquehanna County Veterans Affairs web site at susqco.com. You may also be able to get this information by listening to the broadcasts of the WPEL radio station at 96.5 FW. As always you may call the VA office at (570) 278-5955 for any assistance needed.

 

  

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 School Grants​  ANNOUNCED JUNE 16, 2020



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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2020
View Online 

 

 

Wolf Administration Provides Guidance to Resume High School and Other Summer Sports

 

 

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today issued preliminary guidance for high school and recreational sports teams to resume voluntary workouts and other in-person activities in the state’s yellow and green phases. The guidance includes college and professional sports.

 

 

“Pennsylvania has some of the best athletes and teams in the country and they can now begin to safely return to organized sports,” said Gov. Wolf. This guidance balances keeping student athletes safe from COVID-19 while allowing them to participate in an important part of their lives.

 

 

“This is another step toward reopening our state and getting things back on track. As students and teammates get ready to train and compete, it’s important that they follow precautions to protect each other and their community from the risk of COVID-19.”

 

 

The preliminary guidance is a starting point for summer sports teams and the Wolf Administration will continue to work with stakeholders. The guidance for fall, winter and spring sports seasons may be updated.

 

 

Public and private K-12 schools under the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PISAA) in the yellow and green phase can resume voluntary sports-related workouts. Schools must first develop an athletic health and safety plan in alignment with the Department of Education's Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Schools guidance, that is approved by the local board of directors and posted on the school’s website.

 

 

Recreational and amateur sports teams in the green phase that are not affiliated with a K-12 school can hold in-person activities, including games and practices. Examples include basketball, hockey, field hockey, football, soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, lacrosse, gymnastics and kickball. Youth sports organizations should follow CDC guidelines.

 

 

Gatherings of all participants, including players, athletic staff, officials and spectators are limited to 25 in the yellow phase and 250, or 50 percent capacity, in the green phase, as outlined in the Process to Reopen Pennsylvania.

 

 

League and team staff must review CDC guidance for youth sports. Coaches and other adult personnel should wear face coverings and screen athletes for symptoms before practices and games. All participants must follow safe hygiene and social distancing practices, avoid unnecessary physical contact, and clean and disinfect equipment and facilities. Teams are encouraged to stagger drop-off and pick-up times at outdoor locations and designate entrances and exits to facilities.

 

 

Parents and other spectators should practice social distancing, wear face coverings and not enter the field or bench areas. Parents should monitor children for COVID-19 symptoms and evaluate children at higher risk for severe illnesses.

 

 

College sports sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), including intramural and club sports, can resume in-person activity after developing an athletic health and safety plan in alignment with PDE’s Postsecondary Education Institutions and Adult Education Programs guidance.

 

 

Professional sports can resume immediately. Teams or leagues in the yellow phase, or if more than 250 people are on site in the green phase, must have a COVID-19 safety plan approved by the Department of Health.

 

 

The guidance released today provides additional information. 

 

 

The Wolf Administration also updated guidance on outdoor recreation today and previously released summer guidance for camps, pools, and child care. 

 


 
FOOD DISTRIBUTION PLANS ARE ON SCHOOL DISTRICT WEBSITES
 
BLUE RIDGE SCHOOL DISTRICT
https://www.brsd.org/
 
ELK LAKE SCHOOL DISTRICT
https://www.elklakeschool.org/
 
FOREST CITY REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
https://www.fcrsd.org/
 
MONTROSE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT
http://www.masd.info/
 
MOUNTAIN VIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT
https://www.mvsd.net/
 
SUSQUEHANNA COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
http://www.scschools.org/
 
 
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2020
View Online

 

 

Gov. Wolf: Updated Business Guidance on Outdoor Recreation Available for Yellow and Green Phases of Reopening

 

 

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today released updated guidance regarding the types of outdoor recreation that businesses may offer during the yellow and green phases of reopening, and how they may do so safely, as the commonwealth continues to open its own public recreation facilities across the state.

 

 

“As summer quickly approaches and all 67 counties are in either yellow or green phases of reopening, it was important to provide businesses with the guidance necessary to safely reopen or plan for reopening as they reach the green phase,” Gov. Wolf said. “I want all Pennsylvanians to remain active and to enjoy all the recreation the commonwealth has to offer, but we must do so safely and with social distancing top of mind.”

 

 

The new guidance allows outdoor activities like mountain biking, outdoor miniature golf, motorsports venues, go carts, rock climbing, disc golf, paintball, horse riding, tennis, archery or shooting, and other similar facilities that conduct operations outdoors to resume operation in yellow phase counties.

 

 

Businesses that operate these outdoor recreational activities may resume operations but may not operate indoor spaces for public or visitor use other than restrooms and ticketing and entry locations.

 

 

Online ticketing and timed or staged entry are strongly encouraged to manage occupancy rates and physical distancing.

 

 

These businesses must ensure that visitors practice social distancing and do not congregate at entry gates, kiosks, concession stands, or similar locations.

 

 

The announcement comes as Pennsylvania's own recreational facilities are reopening to the public, with facilities in state parks and forests such as cabins, cottages, lodges, and yurts opening statewide on Friday, June 12, and most state park swimming pools in yellow phase and green phase counties reopening as of Saturday, June 13. As of Saturday, June 6, all 58 state park beaches are open to swimming.

 

 

Capacity at beaches and pools will be limited to 50 percent of the normal facility capacity and mitigation measures, including restricting visitor parking, controlling facility access, ensuring social distancing and the wearing of face masks when not in the water, must remain in place. All Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance remains in effect. 

 

 

The updated guidance can be found here.

 

 

More information on Governor Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania can be found here.

 

 

Keep up with state park and forest facility reopenings using the DCNR Reopening Map.

 

 

# # #

 

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2020
View Online 

 

 

Gov. Wolf Announces $225 Million Grant Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

 

 

Harrisburg, PA — Governor Tom Wolf today announced a $225 million statewide grant program to support small businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis and subsequent business closure order.

 

 

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and shift our focus toward reopening our commonwealth, we need to help all Pennsylvanians recover. We need to provide assistance for those who were hurt by the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn,” Gov. Wolf said. “This new program will provide direct support to impacted businesses to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and the transition to reopening.”

 

 

The funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the recently enacted state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses.

 

 

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funds to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which will then administer the funding in the form of grants.

 

 

Eligible businesses will be able to use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance including training and guidance for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses.

 

 

The funds will be available through three programs:

 

 

  • $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19;

     

  • $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.

     

  • $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios. 

     

“I want to thank Governor Wolf for engaging leadership in the General Assembly to inform the process of moving federal aid out to those who have been most harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to thank the leadership of the Senate Democratic caucus who worked with our members to formulate a strategic plan for the deployment of nearly $4 billion in federal assistance,” said state Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna). “The Main Street Business Revitalization program is a reflection of that cooperation and leadership and it will meet Pennsylvania’s small business owners where they are, on Main Street, after nearly three months of lost or no sales. It will enable small business owners throughout the commonwealth to meet their insurance payments, rents, health insurance premiums, local taxes and other expenses that they otherwise could not meet due to lost sales. Finally, I want to thank the 17 CDFIs throughout the state as well as DCED for their professionalism, agility, urgency and dedication to getting this federal funding to the small businesses that need it most as quickly as possible.”

 

 

“The Main Street Business and Historically Disadvantaged Revitalization Programs will provide welcomed relief for mom and pop businesses in neighborhoods across the commonwealth. Since this pandemic began, we have heard the needs of the auto body shops, the barbershops, the beauticians, the pizza shop owners, the soul food establishments and other businesses in our communities. The needs of these businesses that were unable to get much needed help from other state and federal programs were a priority in our Senate Democratic Caucus’ April 29 PA CARES Program announcement,” said state Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery). “For months, my office has worked with a network of trusted community organizations that have a proven track record of working with our small businesses, the CDFIs, to find a solution to assist our neighborhood businesses. I believe these programs are that solution. There is still more work to be done, but these programs are a win for Pennsylvania and its small businesses.”

 

 

“Small businesses bore the brunt of the economic impacts of the pandemic. This investment is a good first step toward their recovery and the recovery of communities across the commonwealth,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “This program will benefit multiple diverse industries, brought forward from many partners in the legislature, including Reps. Jared Solomon, Morgan Cephas, Jake Wheatley, Ryan Bizzarro, Chris Sappey and Melissa Shusterman.”

 

 

The PA CDFI Network is a group of 17 PA-based community development financial institutions that primarily provide financing options for small businesses.

 

 

"We are pleased to work with the governor on the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program to provide economic opportunities for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," said James Burnett, vice chairman of the PA CDFI Network. "We know how important it is to support the smallest, most vulnerable businesses throughout the commonwealth, including historically disadvantaged and main street businesses.”

 ​

UPDATED May 1, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions for Business on Mitigation​ 

 
 




COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR BUSINESS

    CLICK HERE:  BUSINESS RESOURCES​


Benefits Available Soon for Contractors, Self-Employed Workers

 

The CARES Act temporarily makes benefits available to other individuals who are not normally eligible, such as people who are self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers. However, these individuals cannot apply through the current unemployment system; the federal government requires the state to create a new platform to provide these benefits.

The Department of Labor and Industry expects to have the new system up and running within the next two weeks. Claimants will be able to receive backdated payments to January 27 or the first week that they were unable to work due to the coronavirus, whichever is later. More information about the new program is available on the department’s frequently asked questions page.​


Governor Wolf Urges Manufacturing Sector to Report Critical COVID-19-Related Supply Capabilities, Needs ​

 
COVID-19 Unemployment Compensation Guidance from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry
https://pacast.com/m?p=17930​


  
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2020 
 
Pennsylvania Extends Unemployment Compensation Benefits for 13 More Weeks
 
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced that people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC) and federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) may now qualify for 13 additional weeks of payments through the state’s Unemployment Compensation Extended Benefits program.
Extended Benefits (EB) are additional UC benefits payable to qualified workers whenever the state’s unemployment rate reaches a certain level determined by law. The last time the EB program was triggered in Pennsylvania was 2009.
The current EB period began May 3, 2020, but benefits are not payable until an individual has exhausted PEUC benefits. EB payments will begin with the week ending July 4, 2020 and are payable only for weeks of unemployment during an EB period.
Important information about the EB program follows and will be sent by mail to all individuals who potentially qualify for the additional benefits.
Eligibility
You may be eligible for EB if:
  • You are totally or partially unemployed;
  • You have exhausted your regular state benefits on your most recent UC claim, or your most recent UC benefit year has ended; and
  • You have received the maximum amount of PEUC that you were eligible to receive.
Additional eligibility information is available here
​If you collect the maximum amount of PEUC that you are eligible to receive, an EB Notice of Financial Determination will be mailed to you.
  • You must complete your weekly EB online certification in order to claim EB for weeks that you are totally or partially unemployed.
  • Each EB online certification corresponds to one specific week, as indicated on the web form. Individuals who opt to use paper claim forms should only use the form that is specifically dated for the week of unemployment you are claiming.
  • If you do not receive your Financial Determination within two weeks after you receive your final PEUC payment, call the UC Service Center at 1-888-313-7284.
EB Weekly Benefit Amount
  • EB weekly benefit payments are the same as regular UC.
  • The total amount of EB that you may receive is 50 percent of the amount of regular UC you were financially eligible to receive on your most recent claim. Example:
    • If you were financially eligible for 26 weeks of regular UC, you may receive up to 13 weeks of EB.
  • There is an additional wage test for EB eligibility, so not all individuals will financially qualify.
  • EB may only be paid for weeks ending during an EB period.
  • If you are entitled to Trade Readjustment Allowances, you may receive fewer weeks of EB.
Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits Payment Information
Since March 15, more than $21.5 billion in benefits has been paid:
  • $9.6 billion from regular UC
  • $9.6 billion from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program (extra $600 per week)
  • $2.2 billion issued so far to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants (self-employed, gig workers, independent contractors)
  • $129 million through Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program (extended benefits)
Important Resources and Links
Additional unemployment benefits information is available on L&I’s website, Facebook or Twitter.
 
 
 
 


L&I Reminds Eligible Pennsylvanians to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Benefits 

 

 Harrisburg, PA – If you’re self-employed, an independent contractor, gig worker, or someone not normally eligible for regular unemployment compensation (UC) and haven’t yet applied for benefits under Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is reminding you to submit your application at www.uc.pa.gov/PUA. ​

 

 


CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR SIX TIPS TO GET UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BENEFTS QUICKER 


UNEMPLOYMENT HELP​    04/30/2020


Pennsylvania Launches COVID-19 Job Hiring Portal

 

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvanians looking for work can now find life-sustaining businesses that are hiring through a new online COVID-19 job portal the Department of Labor & Industry is launching today.

 INFORMATION FOR CLAIMANTS STRUGGLING WITH UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION SYSTEM



https://www.casey.senate.gov/​
 
 COVID-19 Unemployment Compensation Guidance from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry 
https://pacast.com/m?p=17930
   
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2020
View Online

 

 

Gov. Wolf: $50 Million in Grants Available to Support Fire and EMS Companies Negatively Affected by COVID-19

 

 

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that the Office of State Fire Commissioner will be working to enact recent legislation to provide $50 million in direct financial relief to fire and emergency medical service (EMS) companies negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

 

 

“Since we began taking action to curtail the spread of COVID-19, our state’s fire and EMS companies have seen record-breaking call volume and fewer opportunities to raise funds,” Gov. Wolf said. “These grants will go a long way to support their heroic efforts amid a very difficult public health crisis that has created a financial burden for many of these companies.”

 

 

“It has become a struggle just to keep the lights on for far too many of the companies that protect our communities,” State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego said. “I am pleased that our office can help get these funds out to the companies most in need.”

 

 

Of the $50 million in funding set aside for this new program, $44 million will be made available to fire and rescue companies and the remaining $6 million will go to EMS companies. Though the legislation took immediate effect, the Office of State Fire Commissioner must now establish the protocols for application, review and disbursement of grant funds.

 

 

In the coming weeks, detailed information about the program and instructions on how to apply will be available online at the Office of the State Fire Commissioner’s website. Companies are advised to check back regularly for updated information.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Lyndsay Kensinger, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov
                                    L. Paul Vezzetti, 717-651-2169; lvezzetti@pa.gov

 

 

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Interim NIOSH Training for Emergency Responders: Reducing Risks Associated with Long Work Hours​

 https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/longhourstraining/default.html


PEMA (PA EMERGENCY MGMT AND GOVT)


This guidance was just published yesterday by CDC and gives us some options for consideration if faced with reusing PPE because of supply shortages.

  

  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/decontamination-reuse-respirators.html

       

 Per our Tech Hazards Chief, it is very thorough and not only has detailed instructions, it also provides details on the types of peroxides and other solutions (ultraviolet light and microwave)  which will provide adequate decontamination of COVID-19.

     

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Severe Blood Shortage 
Please schedule an appointment to donate blood this week at:
   
AMERICAN RED CROSS BLOOD DONATION​​
NEPA COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE

CDC WEBSITE

PA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH​                           

 
   
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The Department of Human Services (DHS) launched a statewide Support & Referral Helpline staffed by skilled and compassionate staff who will be available 24/7 to assist Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency and refer them to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs.

 

      

The toll-free, round-the-clock support line is officially operational. 

 

 The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. 

 

 

 ​For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.

 

 

     

 To create and staff the support line, DHS has partnered with the Center for Community Resources (CCR), an experienced regional crisis and call center provider based in Butler County and licensed to provide crisis services. 

 

 

  CCR staff are trained to be accessible, culturally competent, and skilled at assisting individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, co-occurring disorders and other special needs. Staff use the principles of trauma-informed care to listen, assess needs, triage calls, and provide appropriate referral to community resources to children, teens, adults and special populations.

 

       

CCR will collaborate with individuals, families, police, emergency medical teams, hospitals, schools, and human service providers on the local level to provide quality care to their community members.

  

 Many other resources also remain available to Pennsylvanians in need of support, including:

 

    

   National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  •  

  • Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454

     

  • Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741

     

  • Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

     

  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990

     

  • Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357

     

  • Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Helpline: 1-888-772-7227

     

  • National Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-799-7233

      

 

   

​                                                                                              Text "PA" to 741741

  

Free, 24/7, Confidential

 

 

  

 

 

 

Pennsylvania Care Partnership

 

 

  

 

 

 

303 Walnut Street

 

 

11th Floor

 

 

Harrisburg, PA. 17101

 

 

 

 



“Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19” 
US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

“Taking Care of your Emotional Health” 
US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

“Helping Children Cope with Emergencies”
US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (C
D
C)


Q&A on coronaviruses 
World Health Organization (WHO)

Coronavirus & Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves During Infectious Disease Outbreaks 
American Psychiatric Association (APA)
 
 
 
​Coronavirus & Emerging Infectious Disease Outbreaks Response 
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS)

Taking Care of your Family during Coronavirus Fact Sheet 
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS)

Research Information:

Speaking of Psychology: Coronavirus Anxiety 
American Psychological Association

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19 
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus 
National Public Radio

Talking to Teens & Tweens about Coronavirus 
The New York Times
 
 

 

 

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