In this issue:
Stay at Home Order for Schuylkill and Berks
Both Schuylkill and Berks County have been issued a Stay-at-Home Order by the Governor. You can leave your home for the following reasons:
If you have any questions regarding this order, you can contact my office or read the information provided by the Wolf Administration at the link provided here.
IRS Coronavirus Check Information
The U.S. Congress and the President recently passed the CARES Act, a sweeping stimulus bill that provides assistance to people and organizations across the country. Many of you will each be eligible for a one-time, $1200 check from the government. Parents can also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
Any questions you have regarding eligibility or how this money will be distributed can be found at the link provide here.
Closing of Small and Large Businesses Needs to be an Open Process
Echoing the sentiments of many local employers and employees, I am calling for increased transparency from the Governor’s office as local workers struggle to understand his order for many employers to close. As this order has been implemented and enforced over the past 2 weeks, it has raised more questions than answers for employers and employees whose livelihoods are at stake. There have been many cases of companies within the same industry receiving different results from the waiver process Wolf’s administration has used to give employers a chance to justify why they should be allowed to remain open.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. It is frankly irresponsible that the administration is closing down many employers without any degree of transparency. I believe the Governor should immediately release a list of the employers granted a waiver as well as those whose requests were rejected to ensure that every employer across the state is treated fairly, and no employer or employee loses their income due to a unilateral decision.
You can read more about it here: https://www.wfmz.com/health/coronavirus/argall-seeks-transparency-in-closing-of-pa-businesses/article_82a36476-739f-11ea-9b09-ff46d7bc8ec2.html
PennDOT Emergency and Critical Highway and Bridge Infrastructure Projects Resume
Many of us have complained that Governor Wolf was the only Governor in the nation to shut down vital road repair and construction projects. Finally, PennDOT has announced that emergency road work will resume. 61 critical bridge and tunnel repairs will now begin again. More information can be found here.
Fighting for our Construction Workers
Last week, I requested that the Governor change his mandated closure listing so construction employers could continue to operate, as long as they meet the strict health and safety standards laid out by Pennsylvania and the Federal Government.
Yesterday, at my suggestion, the entire Senate Leadership team requested that the Governor allow many of these employers to continue operations. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has named residential home construction as a key employer and stressed the importance of the industry continuing during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.
This effort is support by many groups including the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance. The Governor MUST allow these workers to get back on the job to safely continue their life-sustaining work.
License Renewal Deadlines Extended for Nurses and Other Professionals
Nurses, graduate medical trainees, nursing home administrators and other professionals have been given more time to renew their state occupational licenses.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of State is extending the April, May and June license renewal deadlines for these professionals — as well as for barbers, navigation pilots and real estate professionals — to July, August and September.
You can find a complete list of extended professional and occupational renewal deadlines here.
DHS Assists Essential Workers in Finding Child Care Providers
The Department of Human Services (DHS) recently unveiled a new tool to help essential workers find childcare providers that are permitted to serve the families of essential personnel during the COVID-19 emergency.
Information about child care providers that have been granted waivers is available on the DHS website. Family child care homes and group child care homes operated inside a residence may continue to operate at their discretion without a waiver. Information about these providers is available at www.findchildcare.pa.gov.
Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal
Hospitals across Pennsylvania are in need of critical medical supplies.
To fulfill this need, our state government has developed the Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal to source the supplies most needed by our healthcare institutions.
The Portal is for manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers to inform us of supplies available for purchase and will allow us to more quickly and efficiently procure these supplies for hospitals and medical facilities across Pennsylvania.
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