Friday, March 20, 2020

Governor's Office Releases Updated List Of Life-Sustaining Businesses Not Subject To Closure; Waiver Procedures; New Enforcement Deadline

On March 20, Gov. Tom Wolf released an updated list of Life-Sustaining Businesses not subject to his March 19 closure order and additional guidance for businesses seeking a waiver from the order.
-- Click Here for Waiver From Closure Order
New Enforcement Deadline
Due to the high volume of waiver requests, the Wolf Administration has pushed back the  start of enforcement actions to close non-life-sustaining businesses to 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23.
Businesses are encouraged to use virtual or telework operations if they can do so.
“Yesterday, I made the difficult decision to order the closure of the physical locations of businesses that are not critical to sustaining life in a pandemic, and to practice social distancing for all others,” said Gov. Wolf. “We’re in an unprecedented crisis and we need to use every tool at our disposal. The difficult decisions we make now will make it possible for our health care workers to manage this crisis as we see the full brutality of the virus in the coming weeks.”
Updated Business Guidance
Business guidance has been updated after conversations with businesses, stakeholders, and individuals—in consultation with the Department of Health--and has been aligned with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory released yesterday.
This is an evolving situation and decisions will continue to be made and revisited as needed. If a business listed for closure believes it could help mitigate this crisis by providing a life sustaining service, it can seek an exemption.
Applying For A Waiver 
Businesses can get a waiver application through the Department of Community and Economic Development website or contact the Department of Community and Economic Development by sending email to:  or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH and selecting option 1.
Business Assistance
“I was a business owner for much of my adult life and I understand your concerns,” said Gov. Wolf. “These are uncharted waters and we’re going to do everything we can to help the people and businesses of Pennsylvania.”
DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to the DCED COVID-19 webpage as they become available. 
Gov. Wolf announced yesterday the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible nonprofits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Click Here for more.
Help For Workers
Workers in Pennsylvania  workers in Pennsylvania who are impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation benefits. Click Here for more.
COVID-19 Spreading
The spread of COVID-19 is increasing at an exponential pace, especially in urban areas and southeast Pennsylvania. New cases are beginning to appear in other counties, which suggests community spread. 
The Department of Health reported on March 20 there were 83 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 268 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive in 26 counties.
“While we continue to be concerned about the spread of this virus to seniors, a preliminary analysis from the CDC this week shows that 20 percent of all hospitalized patients in the U.S. are between 20 and 44 years old,” said Dr. Rachel Levine. “We are seriously concerned that individuals in their 20 to 44 age range are not heeding the message to stay home and are creating an unnecessary risk to themselves and others.”
The Department of Health is working with health systems and hospitals to determine their current abilities to handle a surge of people needing hospitalization and the commonwealth is looking for all options to add capacity for the health care system to care for a surge of Pennsylvanians needing care.
“There is one way to make sure people don’t need to be hospitalized and we don’t strain our health care system: Stay calm. Stay home. Stay safe,” said Dr. Levine.
For the latest information on the coronavirus and precautions to take in Pennsylvania, visit the Department of Health’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage, Follow them on Twitter, or Like them on Facebook.
[Posted: March 20, 2020] 

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