New Website Offers Guidance on Responding to Coronavirus
Statewide efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus have raised a number of questions and concerns throughout our local communities. A new website has been established to provide guidance for Pennsylvania families, businesses and schools as the situation develops.
Information on symptoms and prevention, travel, mitigation, scams, emergency food assistance, mitigation guidance, social distancing and much more is available at www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/. I will also continue to share helpful information on my website.
Resources Available to Help Businesses, Employees Affected by Coronavirus Mitigation
On Tuesday, Governor Wolf strongly urged nonessential businesses to close in an effort to mitigate the spread for the COVID-19 coronavirus. A number of resources are available to help businesses and employees who are affected by the governor’s coronavirus mitigation measures.
At the request of legislators and business leaders, Governor Wolf has clarified which businesses are considered to be nonessential and would be strongly urged or mandated to close for the next two weeks as a result of his order. That information is available here.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is expected to offer loans that could assist businesses affected by COVID-19. Information will be posted to www.dced.pa.gov/resources/ as it becomes available.
The Strategic Early Warning Network, administered by the Department of Labor and Industry, offers resources to help small and medium-sized business, including business planning resources and contingency planning, at www.steelvalley.org/coronavirus.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry also has a webpage dedicated to helping businesses deal with coronavirus concerns at www.pachamber.org/coronavirus.
Employees who are unable to work because of COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation or workers’ Compensation. The Department of Labor and Industry offers guidance to employees on this issue at www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx.
PennDOT Photo and License Centers Closed; Expiration Dates Extended
All PennDOT Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers will be closed for at least two weeks, effective March 16. Customers are encouraged to complete all photo ID and vehicle registration renewals, address changes and other PennDOT services online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Mailed products will be delayed until normal operations resume.
As a result of the closures, expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 will be extended until April 30, 2020.
The Transportation Safety Administration recently announced that they would continue to accept driver licenses and ID cards that expired after March 1 as a valid form of identification at airport security checkpoints. More details are available at www.tsa.gov/coronavirus.
More information on PennDOT services is available here.
Senate Resolution Allows Members to Vote Remotely
The Senate took an important step to continue its operations safely by passing a resolution allowing members to vote remotely. The temporary emergency rules will ensure the Senate can continue voting even when members cannot be physically present due to coronavirus mitigation efforts that are ongoing statewide.
The resolution creates a mechanism for members to file bills electronically and to participate in committee meetings and session through the use of communications technology. The emergency powers are scheduled to expire July 31, 2020 or 10 days following the expiration of the governor’s emergency order, whichever is sooner.
In order to ensure transparency, session was announced well in advance and streamed live for the public at www.PAsenateGOP.com. Video of session is available below:
Vote-By-Mail Option Available for Upcoming Primary Election
In order to limit in-person contact during the upcoming Primary Election currently scheduled on April 28, more voters may be interested in voting by mail. Voters will have this option as part of a new law that was approved last year that included some of the most significant changes to the state’s election laws in decades.
Voters can learn more about how to vote by mail at VotesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot.