Coronavirus Resource Guide
We closed our Senate office on Wednesday, March 11. The office remains closed until further notice to assure that my staff, our constituents and service personnel wouldn’t be exposed to COVID-19, or the coronavirus. In the meantime, if you call our office, your call will be re-routed to me or my staff, and we are available to help you in any way we can. We will be answering calls and addressing constituent needs as effectively and expeditiously as possible. We’ve also created this resource guide, and will continue to add to it as new information comes in.
Many of the steps we’ve all been asked to take are difficult and inconvenient to us and others. But we simply must do all we can to flatten the curve. If we have a full-blown, out-of-control pandemic, hospitals could be overwhelmed, essential services may not longer be available, our economy can be devasted, and many could get seriously ill.
But if we take the difficult but manageable steps now, we can hopefully avoid the worst outcome. And if in a few weeks we can look back and say we overreacted, that would be fine. To me, the bigger danger is in under-reacting. So, let’s do all we can, and please stay safe.
Please consider reviewing this resource guide for prevention tips and more information on this ongoing situation. You can always feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 610.768.4200 with questions and/or concerns.
Need Help with Something? Check out my self-service page!
Senator Leach hosted a Telephone Town Hall on COVID-19.
Resources for Employees & Small Businesses
Small Businesss Links
- PA Department of Community and Economic Development Business Resources
- Federal Small Business Association Guidance and Resources
- Montgomery County Business Resources
- PA Department of Education Resources
- Child Nutrition Program Meal Service During COVID-19
- Circle of Aunts and Uncles – Micro-loans for small businesses
- NFIB Small Business Resources Response to Covid-19
Domino’s, CVS, Walgreens hiring thousands in Philly area. Here are other companies hiring locally, and in N.J.
Domino’s franchises want to hire about 700 new employees across more than 142 stores in the Philadelphia area, according to a spokeswoman. Open jobs include delivery drivers, customer-facing representatives, assistant managers and managers.
Medical Marijuana Program Update
As of March 20th, certain statutory and regulatory provisions have been temporarily suspended in order to implement the following changes in response to the COVID-19 emergency:
- Allowing dispensary employees to provide medical marijuana to a cardholder in their vehicle on the facility’s property;
- Remove the current cap that limits the number of patients assigned to one caregiver, to allow for more caregivers to patients in need;
- Eliminate background checks for caregiver applications, limited to renewal applications only, in order to expedite the caregiver renewal process;
- Waive in-person consultations and allow for remote consultations between approved practitioners and medical marijuana cardholders for renewal certifications only; and
- Waive limits that allow for medical marijuana to only be dispensed for 30 days by requiring approved practitioners to notate on the patient’s certification to dispense a 90-day supply.
The statutory and regulatory suspensions will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency is in effect.
Pennsylvania relaxes medical marijuana rules, allowing for curbside pickup and de facto home delivery for the first time
Medical marijuana patients — many of whom are immunosuppressed — won’t have to enter cannabis dispensaries in Pennsylvania to pick up their meds.
Gov. Wolf has temporarily suspended regulations that require all dispensing to occur inside a dispensary. Patients may now go to a cannabis retailer and have their product brought to their cars by a budtender.
Access to Food
Access to food may be challenging at this time, but there are a lot of resources available to families in the 17th The organizations listed below are currently offering food via delivery in your community. Please be certain to call the organization in advance to confirm eligibility and arrange for pick up or delivery.
Organizations offering food in Montgomery County in the 17th
All Saints Lutheran Church Soup Kitchen
525 Haws Avenue, Norristown, PA 19401
Ada Mutch Community Community Resource Center/ElderNet or Lower Merion and Narberth
9 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Ardmore Food Pantry at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 36 Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003
Calvary Baptist Soup Kitchen
801 W. Marshall Street, Norristown, PA 19401
Martha’s Choice Marketplace/Catholic Social Services
353 E. Johnson Highway
Norristown, PA 19401
Colonial Neighborhood Council
107 E 4th Avenue, Conshohocken
Iglesia De Dios Renacer Pantry
310 Manor Avenue, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Interfaith at Grace Lutheran Church
Grace Lutheran Church, 506 Haws Avenue, Norristown, PA 19401
Haws Avenue Food Pantry & Soup Kitchen
Haws Avenue Methodist Church, 800 W. Marshall Street, Norristown, PA 19401
In Front of Borough Hall at 63 W 4th St, Bridgeport, PA 19405
Mattie N. Dixon Community Cupboard
150 N Main Street, Ambler, PA 19002
Memorial Church of God In Christ
747 Buck Lane, Haverford, PA 19041
Mitzvah Food Pantry/JFCS – Barbara and Harvey Brodsky Enrichment Center
345 Montgomery Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Montgomery County Action Development Commission Emergency Food Program
New Hope Baptist
204-206 E. Oak Street, Norristown, PA 19401
Norristown Salvation Army Choice Pantry
525 Swede Street, Norristown, PA 19401
Shiloh Baptist Church Soup Kitchen
610 George Street, Norristown, PA 19401
Siloam Baptist Church Soup Kitchen/Meals of Hope
1329 Willow Street, Norristown, PA 19401
St. John’s Episcopal Church Soup Kitchen
23 E. Airy Street
Norristown, PA 19401
Upper Merion Community Food Cupboard
191 Town Center Rd, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Organizations offering food in Haverford & Radnor Townships in Delaware County
Health & Human Services
Pennsylvania Department of Health Resources
- Department of Human Services COVID-19 Page
- Apply for Benefits (such as SNAP/Food Stamps, Medical Assistance, or LIHEAP) via the COMPASS Application
- NEW! Support & Referral Helpline staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers who will be available 24/7 to counsel residents struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Toll Free Number: 1-855-284-2494 or TTY, dial (724) 631-5600
Montgomery County Health and Human Service Resources
Montgomery County Health and Human Service Resources
Service Providers in Delaware and Montgomery Counties
- Montgomery County Mobile Crisis: 1-855-634-HOPE (4673)
- Delaware County Crisis Connections Team:1-855-889-7827
- Pennsylvania Crisis TextLine: Text PA to 741-741
- Montgomery County Navicates: 610-278-3522
- DE County Disaster Crisis Outreach & Referral: 610-713-2365
- Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester: (610) 447-7600
- Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby: (610) 237-4210
- Lower Merion Counseling Services: (610) 520-1510
- Delaware Valley Community Health: Norristown Regional Health Center: (610) 278- 7787
- Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital: (610) 539-8500
- Mercy Life in Norristown (Expanding in Montgomery County): (215) 339-4747
- Central Behavioral Health Support Line: (610) 999-0126
Drug & Alcohol Services:
- Keystone Center Assessment in Chester: (610) 876-9000
- Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester: (610) 497-7223
- NHS Human Services in Sharon Hill: (610) 534-3636
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline:1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline:1-800-985-5990
Shelter and Domestic Violence Services:
- Your Way Home Montgomery County (homeless services): Call 2-1-1
- Women’s Center of Montgomery County Domestic Violence Project: 1-800-733-2424
- Laurel House Domestic Violence Program: (610) 277-1860
- PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence: (717) 545-6400
- Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, Inc.: (610) 565-4590
- Delaware County Department of Human Services: (610) 713-2323
- Connect BY Night Homeless in Upper Darby: (267) 507-3875
Assistance for Veterans:
School District Initiatives
Meals are available to all school-age members of the Colonial community who are under 18-years-old (and Colonial students over 18 with special needs). Families may pick up meals at a “Grab and Go Drive Through” on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each pick-up will provide two breakfasts and two lunches per child.
- Families with the last names beginning with the letters A-L should arrive between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
- Families with the last names beginning with the letters M-Z should arrive between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Location: Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, 201 East Germantown Pike in Plymouth Meeting
Contact: (610) 834-1670 ext. 8205
- Students in grades 4-12 will receive information from their teachers using Google Classroom, Canvas or PowerSchool.
- For students in grades K-3, the sample schedules will remain through the end of the week. They contain a mix of online resources and printable worksheets.
Haverford School District Meal Distribution
Beginning March 17, families who qualify will be able to receive lunch and breakfast grab and go bags on a daily basis between 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Location: Haverford High School or Manoa Elementary School
Contact: Diane Dowling, Interim Food Services Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students will begin flexible learning on Monday, March 30th and continue on a weekday schedule through Wednesday, April 8th – schedules that detail dates later in April will be announced as we get further direction from the Governor.
Lower Merion will be offering grab-and-go lunches and breakfasts for all children of Lower Merion and Narberth, 18 or younger, who need them. A parent or guardian may pick up the meals for the children in their household. Pick up will take place weekdays from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Location: Suburban Square Parking Lot, located at Montgomery and Anderson Avenues in Ardmore
Lower Merion Educational Resources
Teachers will be offering a combination of live, real-time (synchronous) lessons and of lessons that children can complete on their own schedules (asynchronous). How Flexible Instruction Days look will vary among school levels.
Offering grab-and-go meal bags for all Norristown Area School District students, as well as any siblings under the age of 18. Each meal bag will contain 10 meals, with five breakfasts and five lunches.
Locations: Gotwals Elementary School, 1 E. Oak Street, Norristown (walk-up site) & Norristown Area High School, 1900 Eagle Drive, West Norriton (drive-through)
Families in need may contact Beth Cooke, RTSD elementary food service coordinator, to be a part of their “grab-and-go” food program.
Contact: Beth Cooke at email@example.com or 610-688-8100 x6048
Online instruction in RTSD began on Thursday, March 19. Although instruction will look different at different grade-levels, you can expect lessons/activities for each day that a class would normally meet. Teachers will interact with students in their classes but, at this time, they are not permitted to live stream (audio or video) with students, either one-on-one or in large groups.
Wissahickon School District
While schools are closed due to COVID-19, Wissahickon School District is providing FREE grab-and-go meals to students in the Wissahickon community.
Location: Wissahickon High School (521 Houston Road, Ambler) and Ambler Borough Hall (131 Rosemary Ave, Ambler)
Our Teaching and Learning Updates will include curriculum and instruction information from Dr. Gary Abbamont, Assistant Superintendent.
- Sellers of goods and services in Pennsylvania are prohibited from charging a price that exceeds 20% of the average price of those items during a Governor-issued Emergency Declaration. You can report price gouging to the Attorney General’s Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Participating in the census is required by law. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more. Consider taking the census now by going online or by calling 844-330-2020.
- Consider applying for a mail-in ballot today! As opposed to the absentee ballot, which can only be applied for if you have a reason such as an illness or plans to be out of the municipality a mail-in ballot can be applied for without reason. Registered voters can easily apply for a mail-in ballot online between now and 5:00 p.m. on April 21, 2020. The deadline to return your voted mail-in ballot is 8:00 p.m. on election day. Learn more and apply today at votespa.com!
- If you are feeling depressed, sad, or going through any kind of emotional crisis, text HOME to 741741 and a crisis worker will text you back!
- The Office of the Attorney General also continues to investigate consumer complaints and health care related complaints. Both require a form to be submitted. The consumer complaint form is available hereand the health care complaint form is accessible here.
- Governor Wolf recently announced that all major health insurers providing comprehensive medical coverage in PA will cover medically appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic testing and associated treatment for consumers and have committed to waive any cost-sharing for the testing. Pennsylvania’s major health insurers include: Highmark, UPMC Health Plan, Geisinger, Independence BlueCross, Capital Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, Pennsylvania Health & Wellness, and Oscar. The Insurance Department, in partnership with the departments of Health and Human Services, also developed an FAQthat provides information and answers to common questions related to insurance coverage and COVID-19.
- PennDOT has announced that vehicle registrations, safety inspections, and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020 are extended until April 30, 2020.
Online Educational Resources
- The primary election has been moved from April 28 to June 2 in an effort to mitigate COVID-19 spread. However, as we all know, social distancing and staying home is the best way to slow the spread.
- We recently passed Act 77 which, among other things, implemented a new vote-by-mail option for all future elections. The mail-in ballot process is similar to absentee ballots, but you do not need any reason for not being able to show up to your polling place.
- We can all do our part to curb the spread of this pandemic and promote public health while still making sure our voice is heard this Election Day. Consider applying for a mail-in ballot today!
Mailing a Ballot Application to Every Voter for 2020 Elections
- Following the guidance of public health officials, I strongly believe that this year we need to shift to an election process that will slow the spread of COVID-19. That is why I have proposed legislation that would require ballots be mailed to every eligible voter in Pennsylvania.
News on Enforcement of Life-Sustaining Business Order
What is being done to help those who are not working or working less?
The PA Unemployment office has changed several policies to increase access to benefits. These include suspension of the Waiting Week and waiving the Work Search Requirement.
To get your benefits as quickly as possible file online. Do not call or go to an office.
If you need help and cannot find it on the website, you can email them at email@example.com
You may be eligible if:
- Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
- Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
- You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
- You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
What can I do to help?
Stay home. Unless you must go out, stay home. There are numerous delivery services/options for food and other essentials. It is ok to take a walk away from other people.
Don’t horde. The grocery stores will continue to be open and re-stocked. So, think about how much TP and hand sanitizer you really need. Did you go overboard and get too much? Why not see if there are neighbors who could use some?
If you are able, there are many small businesses who can use some economic help. Buy gift cards from your favorite small restaurants and stores; when this is all over, you’ll be excited to use them.
Stay in touch with friends and family virtually. We all need human contact, but you can do that through calls, text, facetime, etc. Check in with anyone you know may be alone.
How do I stay sane?
While you need to stay away from people, you can go for walks in the woods or other solitary places. Go online and share your recommended movies, TV shows and books. Start a virtual discussion group. Almost every library has ways to download e books, audio books, and movies.
Exercise. There are lots of free exercise videos on demand and online. Exercise is a great stress reliever.
Eat healthy. Being trapped inside makes the best of us reach for cake, cookies and candy. Try to resist. Healthy eating is a good way to keep your immune system healthy.
Where can I get accurate information?
There’s a lot of information out there but not all of it is accurate. We are trying to put up daily posts on our official Facebook page. These will provide you with all the most accurate and up to date information we have along with resources available for businesses, constituents in need.
I have a specific need/question.
Our physical office is closed but we are still working, perhaps even harder than before. You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can still call us at 610.768.4200 and a member of our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.
Do you have any sort of SEPTA update?
SEPTA today announced that all transit modes – including buses, the Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, Trolleys and Norristown High Speed Line – will operate with reduced service levels beginning Sunday, March 22. With these adjustments, SEPTA will run all services on Saturday schedules – seven days a week – until further notice, ensuring that service is available for customers who work in essential jobs or who need access to essential services, while also balancing the need to keep customers and workers safe.
SEPTA has added extra cleaning and disinfecting at stations and on vehicles in recent weeks. In addition, some employees who would normally operate buses and trains will now be repositioned at transportation centers and transit loops to further enhance these cleaning efforts. You can always check SEPTA’s website and Twitter account, @SEPTA, for the latest updates.
What happens to businesses that don’t actually cease dine-in services? Are there enforcement mechanisms?
The PA Liquor Control Board yesterday announced that any licensee that fails to comply with the Governor’s mandate now risks citation by the PA State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and suspension of operating authority by the PLCB. Any licensee that does continue to operate after its license is suspended risks further enforcement action and closure by the BLCE. Ultimately, citations may put the business’s liquor license at risk, both through the citation process and upon application for renewal with the PLCB.
15 Ways You Can Help
Several people have reached out to my office asking for ways that they can help their community during this unprecedented time.
Here’s a list of 15 Ways You Can Help.
- PRACTICING SAFE SOCIAL DISTANCING IS THE #1 WAY YOU CAN HELP YOUR COMMUNITY!
- With schools and businesses closed, food pantries have seen a significant increase in demand for food assistance. You can help your local food pantry by making a monetary donation or donating nonperishable food items and supplies so that they can continue serving our neighbors in need. If you’re looking for a different way to help, call your local food pantry to ask if you can be of assistance. They may need help packing or distributing food. A list of food pantries currently serving our community (and which may be in need of assistance) can be found on our Coronavirus Resource Guide under the “Food Access” tab.
- There’s currently an ongoing critical need for blood donations as uncertainties remain during this coronavirus pandemic. Blood shortages could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients fighting cancer. One of the most important things healthy community members can do is make an appointment to donate blood. Click here to find a local blood drive.
- Local healthcare providers are in need of additional supplies. Some hospitals have even started creating wish lists of supplies they need. If you have extra facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizer, or other items offering people on the front line some protection, call your local healthcare provider or hospital to arrange your donation. Any organization that would like to donate personal protective equipment can email RA-DCEDTriageTeamCOVID19@pa.gov with information. For those residents and organizations in Delaware County that would like to donate medical supplies and equipment, or in-kind donations, call 1.800.253.3102 or email EOC@DelcoDES.org.
- Social isolation also has been linked to several adverse health effects. Call your elderly neighbor or loved one, or a single friend, to provide them some comfort.
- If you are going to a store or pharmacy (which we don’t recommend unless you have to), ask your neighbor if you can grab something for them while you’re out.
- Small businesses are struggling to remain viable right now. Please consider purchasing a gift card or membership from your favorite restaurant or place of entertainment (such as the local zoo, theatre company, bookstore, etc.)
- Start a local tip jar like they did in Pittsburgh to help your favorite restaurant staff.
- If you’re a landlord, reduce your rent or be flexible with payments.
- If you have people who come to your home on a regular basis, such as cleaners or babysitters, and can afford to do so, consider paying them for a few weeks in advance to be ‘redeemed’ later. These people unfortunately cannot get Unemployment Compensation and every little bit can help them. The same can be done for hairdressers, etc.
- Meals on Wheels has expressed a need for more delivery drivers. Reach out to your local Meals on Wheels location if you’re interested in helping.
- When making online purchases, remember using Amazon Smile helps support nonprofits.
- If you are able, please consider donating to your local animal shelter or offer to foster an animal. These difficult times have left many shelters short of crucial volunteers. For example, you can support Finding Shelter Animal Rescue by sending their animals the gift of food, supplies and toys via their Amazon Wishlist.
- Limit the spread of coronavirus by voting this Election Day from the safety of your home with a mail-in ballot.
- Still not sure how you can help? RSVP of Montgomery County and Covaid are two local organizations helping to connect volunteers with people and organizations in need.
Supporting Local Restaurants & their Employees
As a country and as a community, we are facing a public health crisis and have recently taken many unprecedented steps that are difficult and inconvenient. It’s important that we take these difficult yet manageable steps now so that we can flatten the curve and hopefully avoid the worst outcome later. In the meantime, while it’s important that we all stay home and socially distance, it’s also important to remember the ways we can still help each other out. Small businesses, restaurants and all of their employees have been significantly impacted by the change in our way of living. So many of these businesses that we’ve relied on for years could now use our immediate support. Please consider reviewing this section to find out which restaurants are open for takeout and delivery in our area, and what sort of gift card options are available.
28 Things to Do While Quarantined
We all could use a bit of light-hearted fun as we head into the weekend. Being stuck inside for a long period of time inevitably leads to cabin fever. That is why my staff and I have compiled some ideas to help you and your families stay productive while at home. Check out the infographic and links below!
Last updated: April 9, 2020 at 10:21 am