COVID-19 UPDATE: Resources, information, and helpful tips to protect you and your family!

Telelphone Townhall on the Coronavirus – April 7th

Welcome to my resource page on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19.  Understandably, there are many concerns regarding the health and safety of the public as we continue to assess the situation.  I hope these resources and the information provided will answer your questions.

I will continue to monitor the situation here in Pennsylvania and remain in contact with health and emergency officials.  As always, we will provide additional information as it becomes available.  To stay up-to-date with the latest developments here, please sign up for email and text alerts below.

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Latest News

Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians to Respond to the 2020 Census

Harrisburg, PA –  Today, on National Census Day, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin reminded all Pennsylvanians to be a good neighbor and respond to the 2020 Census. “We’re committed to working together to make sure all...

What You Need to Know About COVID-19

The Coronavirus was first discovered during an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms often do not appear in a person until 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family

The best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is by practicing vital social distancing procedures. It is recommended to work remotely and severely limit contact with others.

If you think you have come into contact with someone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or are exhibiting them yourself, please follow the instructions on the graphic below:

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath 

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

How can the Coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
  • Occasionally, fecal contamination.

How can I help protect myself?

Prevention:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

In addition, it is recommended that Pennsylvanians take time to prepare now. View the PA Emergency Preparedness Guide.

 

Should I wear a mask or respirator in public?

The CDC does not recommend wearing masks or respirators outside of workplaces settings (in the community). A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). It is important that these devices are readily available to health care workers and others who need them.

Should I cancel my trip to a country with a level 3 travel advisory?

Yes. The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries with a level 3 travel advisory at this time. For more travel information, visit our Travelers Page.  

Should I cancel my international travel because of novel coronavirus?

The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to a country with a level 3 travel advisory. For travel advice for other countries, please visit that country’s Destination Page or Travel Health Notices page on the CDC’s website.

What about animals or animal products imported from China?

The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

PA’s Response to COVID-19

On March 30th, Gov. Tom Wolf extended the all non-essential businesses statewide closures indefinitely and also extended the stay-at-home order in place for some Pennsylvania counties until at least April 30.

The following types of businesses should temporarily cease regular operations:

  • Community and recreation centers
  • Gyms, including yoga/spin/barre facilities
  • Hair salons, nail salons, and spas
  • Casinos, concert venues, and theaters
  • Bars
  • Sporting events facilities and golf courses
  • Non-essential retail facilities, including shopping malls (except for pharmacy or other health care facilities located therein)
  • Restaurants should close for dine-in services, but may stay open for carry-out and delivery only.
  • Liquor stores. Individuals may still buy wine and beer at grocery stores with PLCB licenses.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that all branches will be closed for two weeks effective March 16. Due to the shutdown, driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations and safety and emission inspections scheduled to expire on or before March 31, 2020 will now have an extended expiration date  of April 30, 2020. For more information refer to PennDoT’s website.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) announced that cash and credit cards payments are no longer accepted on the PA Turnpike as of March 16 at 8PM to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Customers should not stop at tollbooths. For non-E-ZPass customers, a picture of their license plate will be taken and they will be billed by mail within 30 days until further notice. Invoices can be paid online, by phone, or by mail. For more information on how it works, visit: www.nocashzone.com.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced the closure of all facilities statewide located in Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and 20 forest districts. These closures took place on March 17 and will last for 14 days. The public will still be able to access opens spaces like trails, lakes, forests, roads, and parking areas for passive and dispersed recreation, such as hiking.

Closed facilities include:

  • Park and forest offices and visitor centers
  • Restrooms
  • Campgrounds, cabins and all forms of overnight accommodations
  • Public programs, events, and trainings are canceled

To get the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, be sure to check out the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s daily report.

Unemployment Compensation

If your job has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. You can apply online to get started.

Please note that the waiting week has been suspended. Eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed. Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment.

Work search and work registration requirements have been temporarily waived for all claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with PA Career Link.

Important Information

STATUS OF CLAIMS PROCESSING (3.29.20)

If you opened your claim between March 15 and March 21: We are working quickly to mail a PIN to you so you can file for benefits starting Sunday, March 29, 2020.  If you do not receive your PIN by Saturday, March 28, please remember that you may file any day through Friday, April 3, 2020.  If you do not receive your PIN in time for you to file by April 3, we will make accommodations for filing and will update these instructions, accordingly.
 
If you opened your claim between March 22 and March 28: Your first day to file will be Sunday, April 5, 2020. We will update these instructions, accordingly, as we monitor our progress with mail processing.  

For All New Claims: Mailing PINs is a top priority, so you may not have received your financial determination yet.  When you do receive your financial determination and if you detect an error, you may file an appeal at that time.  We are processing all documents as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience during this evolving situation.

For Reopened Claims: If you reopened your claim since March 13, 2020, you may try filing your biweekly claims and receive a message that your claim is not active.  Please try again each day.  We are working to get claims reactivated as quickly as possible.  If your filing window expires (after Friday) and you still could not successfully file, we will make any older weeks available for filing once we reactivate your claim.   

Once you receive your PIN and instructions, file your biweekly claim via phone at: 1-888-255-4728 or online at https://www.paclaims.pa.gov/uccc/PreWelcome.asp.

Payments are submitted to you on either the Reliacard (debit card) that was sent when you filed your initial claim, or via direct deposit to your bank account.

Check Claim Status Online
Before calling or emailing L&I, you can check your payment status at: https://www.paclaims.pa.gov/ucen/LoginClaimStatus.asp.

Payment Funds Schedule
If you file your biweekly claim on:

  • Sunday OR Monday = funds available by Wednesday
  • Tuesday = funds available by Thursday
  • Wednesday = funds available on Friday
  • Thursday = funds available on Saturday
  • Friday = funds available on the following Monday

Note: Payments may be delayed if there is an eligibility issue that must be resolved before payment can be made.

Please answer our calls
You will see COPA on the caller ID when we call you. By answering our call, you will help in getting your claim processed faster.

Note: Being confined to home does not necessarily mean you are not available to accept work. If you plan on returning to your employer after the COVID-19 restrictions are over, or you could work from home if requested, you are Available.  You are Able to work if you are mentally and physically capable of performing a job for which a labor market exists.

Please see the latest update on the Status of Claims Processing by visiting:  https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/Pages/Important-Information.aspx

 

 

Taxes

Good news! The IRS & Pennsylvania Department of Revenue have agreed to extend the tax filing deadline for 90 days. The new deadline to submit taxes has been pushed back July 15. The PA Department of Revenue is happy to assist you with any questions you have via their online portal.

Click the graphic below to be taken to their online portal and FAQ page:

PennDOT/Real ID Updates

All Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks effective Monday, March 16. All driver licenses, photo ID cards, disability parking placards, vehicle registrations, and vehicle inspections scheduled to expire between March 16 and March 31, 2020 will be extended until April 30, 2020.

Customers may complete various transactions and access multiple resources via  www.dmv.pa.gov.

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

Federal REAL ID Enforcement Deadline Postponed to October 2021

The Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021, in response to COVID-19 and the national emergency declaration.

PennDOT closed all driver and photo license centers on March 16 and paused REAL ID issuance in the state out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public health. Centers will reopen no sooner than April 3. PennDOT also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requesting that the agency consider extending the October 1, 2020 REAL ID enforcement deadline.

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes. A federally-acceptable form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must now be used on and after October 1, 2021, as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building that requires a federally acceptable form of identification ID for access.

REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs once issuance has resumed.

More information about document requirements, including a printable document checklist, can be found on the Document Check page of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

Business Assistance

COVID-19 Loan Programs Quick Guide

The information provided is not comprehensive of each program or of all programs. At the time of publication it is the most accurate and up-to-date information available. Information and programs are subject to change. (March 27, 2020)

COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA)

Administered by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), the CWCA Program provides critical working capital financing to small businesses located within the Commonwealth that are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

NOTE All CWCA loan applications must be submitted through a Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO). For the list of CEDOs operating within PA, visit https://dced.pa.gov/CEDO/ 

ELIGIBILITY For-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, proprietorship or other legal business entity; located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; 100 or fewer full-time employees worldwide at the time of submission of the application.

FUNDING The maximum loan amount is $100,000.

TERMS 3 years w/ a 12-year amortization. 1. No payments due and payable during the first year. 2. Principal and if applicable, interest payments will be due monthly for years two and three. 3. Balloon payment due and payable at end of year 3.

INTEREST 0% (agricultural producers 2%) fixed.

TO APPLY Loan applications are packaged by a CEDO that services the county in which your business is located.

Paycheck Protection Program (CARES Bill)

This program incentivizes small businesses to keep employees on payroll by offering extensive debt relief for small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers. With $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Paycheck Protection Program” would provide 8 weeks of cashflow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.

NOTE Program Details are still being finalized. Borrower cannot claim same loss using multiple programs.

ELIGIBILITY Small businesses, 501(c)(3)’s, 501(c) (19)’s, and 31(b)(2)(c), under 500 employees, including independent contractors, sole proprietors, and the self-employed. Entities must have been operational by 2/15/20, had payroll and paid taxes.

FUNDING Maximum amount via 7(a) set to $10,000,000.

TERMS Covered loan period is 2/25/20–6/30/20. Portion not forgiven or repaid by 12/31/20 will convert to a max 10 year loan at up to max interest rate; loan will remain 100% guaranteed.

  1. Eligible expenses include payroll, insurance, rent, mortgage and utilities.
  2. Defers payments on PPP loan for 6-12 months. No prepayment fees.
  3. Waives borrower and lender fees, credit elsewhere requirements, and collateral and personal guarantee.

INTEREST Maximum interest rate is 4%.

Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

NOTE Entities eligible to apply for EIDL may request an advance in the form of an emergency grant of up to $10,000 which SBA must distribute within 3 days. Applicants are not required to repay emergency grant if they are ultimately denied EIDL.

ELIGIBILITY Expanded to include sole proprietors, tribal businesses, cooperatives, ESOP’s, individual contractors, and private non-profits with fewer than 500 employees.

FUNDING The maximum loan amount is 2,000,000.

TERMS Max 30 year (determined on case-by-case basis)

  1. May be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills impacted by disaster.
  2. Defers payments on PPP loan for 6-12 months. No prepayment fees.
  3. For loans/advances under $200,000, waives credit elsewhere, personal guarantee, and 1-year-inbusiness requirements.

INTEREST Small businesses: 3.75%; non-profits: 2.75%.

TO APPLY https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

Small Business Loan

The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) are working to provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses with funding opportunities up to $2 million. Learn more on how to apply here.

The Small Business Administration has just opened their applications for Disaster Loan Assistance. Small businesses can apply at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

SBA disaster loans offer an affordable way for individuals and businesses to recover from declared disasters. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.  As a small business, small agricultural cooperative, small business engaged in aquaculture, or private non-profit organization you may borrow up to $2 million for Economic Injury. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

For questions, please call SBA Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov (link sends e-mail).

PIDA Working Capital Loan Highlights

Businesses with less than 100 full-time employees are eligible to apply.

  • Up to a $100,000 loan request to each small business to help them overcome temporary loss of revenue
  • Applicants will need to show a 1:1 match on expenses over the past 3 months they have spent an amount equal to their loan request on direct business expenses (payroll, utilities, rent, debt payments, inventory, etc.) up to the maximum $100,000 loan amount;
  • Retail and certain service-based businesses will need to show a 1:1 match on expenses over the past 6 months, meaning such businesses needed to verify they spent at least $200,000 on direct business expenses in order to maximize the $100,000 loan amount;

TERMS 3 year term; 12 year amortization; no payments for an initial 12 month payment deferral;

INTEREST RATE 0.00% fixed for businesses / 2.00% fixed for production agriculture;

COLLATERAL Subordinate UCC filing on all business assets of the company behind any existing UCC filings;

GUARANTEES Personal or corporate guarantees are required for all 20%+ business owners;

 COST & FEES $750 nonrefundable application fee + 1.5% of loan amount requested

TO APPLY Small businesses can apply for the COVID-19 Working Capital Assistance at https://dced.pa.gov/programs/covid-19-working-capital-access-program-cwca/

Childcare facilities were asked by the Governor to close statewide on March 16. For childcare centers that are serving essential personnel like healthcare and first responders that must go to work during the COVID-19 outbreak, the PA Department of Humans Services (DHS) has established a waiver process. Childcare facilities interested in applying for a waiver should email: RA-PWDRACERT@pa.gov.

Essential Agriculture Businesses

The PA Department of Agriculture has developed the following guidelines and recommendations for essential agricultural businesses to help ensure a safe and accessible food supply during the COVID-19 mitigation efforts:

Protect Yourself

Medical Costs

As of March 9, the Governor announced that all major health insurers in Pennsylvania have agreed to cover “medically appropriate” COVID-19 testing and treatment.

The 10 major insurers are:

For anyone with questions about their insurance policy, please contact your insurer or the Pennsylvania State Insurance Department with questions. They can also be reached at (877) 881-6388.

Remote Medical Attention and Care

Health officials are urging people who have symptoms to stay home and contact their doctor remotely rather than opting for an in-person visit. Nearly all major health systems offer some form of virtual visits and assistance. Some insurers do, too. People interested in a specific virtual visit should check to see what illnesses it can be used for. Be sure to reach out to your insurance provider to verify this service is covered with your plan.

Here’s an brief overview of virtual visit services offered to local residents:

Capital BlueCross – is offering free medical Virtual Care visits for members who currently have the Virtual Care benefit.  The waiving of fees will be effective March 13 through April 15, 2020.

Highmark – is providing many of their members with a virtual clinic visit service. Any fees related to COVID-19 will be waived.

UPMC Pinnacle – is welcoming Online Video Visits for those experience flu like symptoms or just in need of a follow-up appointment.  Video visits are available through the MyPinnacleHealth portal for $49.

WellSpan Health – WellSpan Online Urgent Care offers a video visits with Teladoc physicians for patients 3 months and older for their standard fee of $49.

CALLING ALL PSYCHOLOGIST! Things may be picking up for you at this time, so we want to make sure you are covered too. Here are some COVID-19 resources on how to best protect yourself and serve your patients from the Pennsylvania Psychologist Association.

Feeding Kids During COVID-19: Emergency Grants and Updated Resources 

No Kid Hungry is offering real-time emergency grant funding to schools and community organizations that are making sure kids have access to the meals they need as schools close due to coronavirus. The need is devastating; we received thousands of requests for grants in the first few days, and heard heart-breaking stories. To date, they have awarded more than $3.9 million in grants to 147 organizations across 40 states and DC. 

No Kid Hungry is providing millions of dollars in additional grants in the coming weeks for schools and local non-profits in our communities that could benefit from this program to continue providing critical nutrition assistance.  For additional information on the program and application process, please CLICK HERE.

Utilities Update

No one’s utilities are legally going to be turned off as long as Governor Tom Wolf’s proclamation of disaster related to the coronavirus is in effect. Terminations would only be permitted in the event of a safety emergency.

An emergency order is only ordered when there is a “clear and present danger to life or property or when the relief requested is uncontested and action is required prior to the next scheduled public meeting,” according to the commission’s regulations governing emergency relief.

*Be sure to check with your utilities provider to see how they can best accommodate your needs!

School Districts

Gov. Wolf closes Pa. schools indefinitely.

**No school district will be penalized if it fails to meet the 180 day or school hours requirements.**

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced that it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow eligible schools to serve meals to low income students in a non-congregate setting, such as a drive-through or grab and go, during this closure.

For more guidance and a complete list of resources provided for school communities, be sure to read the information provided on the by the PA Department of Education.

Federal Stimulus Package – ‘Putting Workers First

Federal COVID Stimulus PackageA bipartisan, robust third COVID-19 bill that will immediately bolster our health care response and our economy.

Unemployment Insurance: ($260 billion)

A massive investment in the UI program as well as critical reforms to make the program more effective for workers. In the wake of the economic recession caused by the coronavirus the UI program is an essential a long-term lifeline for millions of workers during this crisis.

  • Full Paycheck Replacement: $600 increase for every American, which equates to 100 percent of wages for the average American without a paycheck struggling through the Crisis
  • Waiving Waiting Weeks: Gets money in people’s pockets sooner by providing federal incentives for states to eliminate waiting weeks.
  • Extension of Benefits: An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits are immediately be made available.
  • Expanding Access: Allow part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers to access UI benefits.

Marshall Plan For Our Health System ($150 billion)

An unprecedented and historic investment for our health care system in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The new $150 billion fund is widely available to all types of hospitals and providers most affected by COVID-19, and it will be available to fund whatever is needed to defeat this virus.

This includes:

  • Equipment and Infrastructure: Personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, new construction to house patients, emergency operation centers and more.
  • Enhanced Health Investments: Additional funding is also dedicated to delivering Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and providers to ensure that they receive the funding they need during this crisis, and new investments in our country’s Strategic National Stockpile, surge capacity and medical research into COVID-19.

Robust Worker and Transparency Protections on Government Loans

  • No stock buybacks or dividends for the length of any loan provided by the Treasury plus 1 year.
  • Restrictions on any increases to executive compensation.
  • Protect collective bargaining agreements.
  • Real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the Act, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations.
  • Prohibition on businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments getting loans or investments from Treasury programs.
  • Creation of Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to provide oversight of Treasury loans and investments and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to protect taxpayer dollars. • Creation of a Congressional Oversight Commission to enhance legislative oversight of pandemic response.

Small Business Rescue Plan ($377 billion)

  • $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs. • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.


Protected Over 2 Million Aviation Industry Jobs

  • Democrats secured direct payroll payments to keep millions of airline workers on the job and receiving paychecks.
  • Airline companies will be prohibited from stock buybacks and dividends for the entire life of the grant plus one year.
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements negotiated by workers will be protected.


Increased Direct Payments to Working Americans

  • Democrats fought to double cash payments to the working class Americans from $600 to $1,200
  • An additional $500 cash payment is available per child.
  • The full payment is available for individuals making up to $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (married).
  • The value begins decreasing and then phases out completely for those making over the full payment income cap.

State and Local Coronavirus Expenditures Fund ($150 billion)

To assist States, Tribes, and local governments that must pay for new expenses related to COVID-19 response.

  • $150 billion, with a small-state minimum of $1.25 billion
  • Tribal set-aside of $8 billion

Emergency Appropriations ($330 billion, including $100 billion for hospitals and providers mentioned above)

  • $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile supplies of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies, which are distributed to State and local health agencies, hospitals and other healthcare entities facing shortages during emergencies.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other urgently needed medical supplies, and billions dollars more for federal, state, and local health agencies to purchase such equipment.
  • $4.3 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including for the purchase of personal protective equipment; laboratory testing to detect positive cases; infection control and mitigation at the local level to prevent the spread of the virus; and other public health preparedness and response activities.
  • $45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, more than doubling the available funding, to provide for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private non-profits performing critical and essential services, to protect citizens and help them recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19. Reimbursable activities may include medical response, personal protective equipment, National Guard deployment, coordination of logistics, safety measures, and community services nationwide.
  • $30.75 billion for grants to provide emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions to continue to provide educational services to their students and support the on-going functionality of school districts and institutions.
  • $25 billion in aid to our nation’s transit systems to help protect public health and safety while ensuring access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essential services.
  • $10 billion in grants to help our nation’s airports as the aviation sector grapples with the most steep and potentially sustained decline in air travel in history.
  • $3.5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus.
  • More than $7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs. This funding will help low-income and working class Americans avoid evictions and minimize any impacts caused by loss of employment, and child care, or other unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19, and support additional assistance to prevent eviction and for people experiencing homelessness
  • More than $6.5 billion in Federal funding for CDBG, the Economic Development Administration, and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help mitigate the local economic crisis and rebuild impacted industries such as tourism or manufacturing supply chains.
  • $400 million in election assistance for the states to help prepare for the 2020 election cycle, including to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the safety of voting in-person by providing additional voting facilities and more pollworkers. • $2 billion in funding to strengthen response capacity and support tribal governments: o $1.03 billion to the Indian Health Service to support tribal health care system response efforts; o $100 million more for the USDA Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations; o $453 million to assist tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs; o $69 million to help tribal schools, colleges and universities through for the Bureau of Indian Education; and o $300 million more to the HUD Indian Tribal Block Grant program. • $1 billion to recapitalize Amtrak after steep ridership declines related to the outbreak. This will keep thousands of Amtrak employees employed, and ensure America’s intercity passenger rail stays on track, continuing service in the Northeast and nationwide.

Student Loan Relief

  • To alleviate the pressure of student loan costs during this crisis, Senate Democrats fought for the inclusion of tax relief encouraging employers to implement student loan repayment programs. This provision will exclude up to $5,250 in qualifying student loan repayments paid by the employer on behalf of the employee from income for income tax purposes.

Status of Your Check

Most Americans can expect to start seeing their stimulus checks from the coronavirus relief bill in about three weeks, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Singles who have adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 would get $1,200 and married couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $150,000 would get $2,400. Singles who earn less than $99,000 and married couples who earn less than $198,000 would get a partial benefit.

The checks will be sent based your 2019 or 2018 adjusted gross income on your tax return. If you haven’t filed a tax return, you should file a tax return quickly if you can. The IRS will also access information from Social Security to send the payments.

But what if the IRS can’t track you down to send you a stimulus check?

All is not lost. Just delayed.

If you don’t receive your check, you’ll see the benefit as a tax refund when you file your return in 2020.

That’s because the funds from the stimulus check are actually an advance on a credit you will be able to take on your 2020 tax return.

So while the funds are meant to give relief now, if you don’t get it, you can still take the credit on your 2020 return and you’d get the stimulus amount in the form of a tax refund, said Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst for The Tax Foundation..

Still not sure if you qualify? Use the stimulus check calculator to see what benefit you can expect.

(Source:  https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/03/heres-what-you-need-to-know-if-your-stimulus-check-doesnt-arrive.html)

Some helpful links to understand the Federal Stimulus Package:

How to Stay Informed

Below is an extensive list of information, statistics, and resources to ensure you stay up-to-date with any changes happening due to COVID-19.

Pennsylvania Department of Health

A complete list of information and resources available to you by county:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

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Coronavirus Updates
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Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provided for the expansion of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This is a federal program administered by the US Department of Labor.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the FFCRA yesterday.

The following was provided to us as guidance by the USDOL and has been posted on our website.  The  information can be found at: https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/FFCRA.aspx

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  The United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  Please read the below fact sheets to determine if you are eligible.