In This Update:
Key Senate Hearing Held on PA Coronavirus Efforts
This week, Senator Mike Regan and I co-chaired a Senate hearing on the health and economic impact of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania. This was the first hearing the General Assembly held with officials from Governor Wolf’s administration since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Important testimony was provided by health, economic development and emergency response officials in the Administration as well as the business community.
Over 35,000 Pennsylvanians have tested positive for COVID-19, and tragically more than 1,500 residents with the virus have died. The economic impact from the virus has been staggering as well with 1.6 million new unemployment compensation claims in our state. I believe this week’s hearing provided an incredibly valuable overview of the crisis that will help us chart a path forward for our state.
You will find a copy of my opening statement for this hearing here.
The full hearing video and written testimony from this joint hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee are available here.
A news article about the coronavirus hearing can be found HERE.
Governor Outlines Plans to Reopen Pennsylvania
On Wednesday, Governor Wolf outlined his plans to slowly reopen the state, region by region, in the weeks and months to come. The plan is targeted to begin in areas with the lowest rate of infection, including the north-central and northwest regions, on May 8. Other regions of the state could follow based on the rate of new infections over the next several weeks.
Under the plan, not all employers will reopen at the same time; different industries would reopen based on their ability to adhere to employee and customer protection guidelines.
More details about the governor’s proposal are available here.
Website Helps Pennsylvanians Support Local Restaurants
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many restaurants to make drastic changes in operations, including temporarily eliminating dine-in options. A new website helps Pennsylvanians support their local restaurants by providing a list of takeout, curbside and delivery services operating during the public health emergency.
The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association developed the new CarryoutPA website to serve as a resource to connect community residents with dine-out options in their area.
Restaurant owners who would like to be featured on the new site can enter their business information at www.carryoutpa.com/join-now/.
Construction Reopening Date Moved to May 1
Construction activities that were previously deemed non-life-sustaining will be allowed to continue beginning on May 1. The reopening date was originally set for May 8, but was moved up to May 1 earlier this week.
Guidelines about how these businesses can operate safely during COVID-19 are available here.
New Online Portal Supports Donations of Critical Medical Supplies
Healthcare providers still have a critical need for medical supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves, as well as alcohol-based sanitizer. A new online portal will help individuals, corporations and community organizations donate these supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PA Critical Donation Portal will help coordinate donations of PPE to hospitals, medical facilities and emergency management services that need the supplies most. Questions about making a donation can be submitted to PACriticalDonations@pa.gov.
DCED Announces Business Loan Deferrals
The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), and the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) are deferring loan payments for three months, according to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
Temporary License Process Created for Insurance Producers
Individuals who wish to pursue a new career in Pennsylvania’s insurance industry can now receive a temporary producer license. Temporary licenses will only be allowed for individuals who are sponsored by an insurance company holding an active certificate of authority in Pennsylvania.
The process to receive a temporary insurance producer license is outlined here.
More Funding Distributed for Food Assistance
Pennsylvania has received nearly $15 million in funding from the federal government to support charitable food efforts during the pandemic. The funding will not only support the distribution of food through the state’s emergency food distribution network, but also ease the additional burdens of transporting, storing and delivering products.
A list of Pennsylvania food banks sorted by county is available here.
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