Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for our first ever Facebook Live Town Hall yesterday, where we provided an update and answered questions about COVID-19, or the coronavirus. If you missed it, you can view the archived video here. At this point, it’s been over a week since we closed my senate office. The office remains closed until further notice to assure that my staff, our constituents and service personnel wouldn’t be exposed to COVID-19. 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.
My staff and I were briefed by White House officials on a conference call yesterday, where significant economic stimulus ideas were discussed, including potentially $8 billion in relief for Americans. The Vice President noted that FEMA has been activated in every region of the country and that the federal government has constantly been in-touch with all 50 United States Governors. The experts on the call continued to emphasize that the risk of death or serious illness due to COVID-19 remains low to the average American, and that senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions are at the most risk. That is why self-isolation and so many of the recent measures we’ve taken as a country are necessary, because the experts say that is how we significantly slow the spread of this virus in the long term. They also discussed the Economic Disaster Loan Program on this call and noted how they’ve removed significant barriers to that program so that funds in the future can be issued more efficiently. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not currently on the list of states eligible to receive grants. However, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) can add a certain number of states each day to that list and they do expect to eventually cover all 50 states at some point. The SBA has been approving loans as fast as they can. They expect an average of 2-3 weeks for application approvals/credit checks. Visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus for more info.
We’ve now seen this virus outbreak spread to all 50 states in the United States. As of this email, we’ve been notified of 185 positive cases and one death of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Pennsylvania; as of this morning, there have been 214,894 cases that have been reported worldwide, with 8,732 deaths. We anticipate that there will continue to be more Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 in the coming weeks. As new details come in, my office and I will do our best to keep you updated.
Governor Wolf has issued the following guidance, which applies to all 67 counties in Pennsylvania:
- All restaurants and bars must close dine-in service for at least 14 days beginning March 16. Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars is temporarily prohibited.
- A no-visitor policy for correctional facilities and nursing homes has been implemented and will be evaluated for other facilities.
- All child-care centers licensed by the commonwealth close as of today, March 17 and will be re-evaluated at the conclusion of the 14-day statewide closures. Philadelphia County families should check with their child-care facilities to determine status of business operations.
- Adult day care centers, adult training facilities, Provocations facilities, LIFE centers and Senior Community Centers close beginning today, March 17 and will be re-evaluated at the conclusion of the 14-day statewide closures.
- Essential State, County, and Municipal services will be open: police, fire, emergency medical services, sanitation, and essential services for vulnerable populations.
- Supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open. The administration issued guidance for non-essential businesses, such as gyms, movie theaters and shopping malls during county-specific mitigation periods to protect employees, customers, and suppliers and limit the spread of the virus through personal contact and surfaces. Additional statewide business guidance is forthcoming.
- Governor Tom Wolf announced on March 13 that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will be closed for 10 business days effective Monday, March 16.
- The Wolf Administration strongly encourages the suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of more than 10 people, and per White House guidelines, ask that individuals and groups cancel any gatherings planned over the next eight weeks.
Additionally, all Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks effective close of business on Monday, March 16. Customers may complete various transactions and access multiple resources via PennDot’s website: www.dmv.pa.gov.
We understand that many of these steps 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 no longer be available, our economy can be devastated, and many could get seriously ill.
But if we take 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 all do all we can, and please stay safe.
Our office will continue to do our best to communicate as much information as possible. Please consider reviewing the rest of this email for prevention tips and more information on this ongoing situation. You can always feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610.768.4200 with questions and/or concerns.
Daylin’s Telephone Town Hall | Coronavirus Update
Join me at 4pm on Monday, March 23 for a live Telephone Town Hall. I’ll be providing an update on the coronavirus, mitigating responses the state and our community are taking, and will make myself available for any questions you might have. You can register by clicking this link.
The Latest News
Trump signs coronavirus aid package with paid sick leave, free testing
President Trump on Wednesday signed into law a multibillion-dollar emergency aid package aimed at helping Americans impacted by the coronavirus.
2 Coronavirus Testing Drive Throughs Set Up In Radnor
Radnor has two drive-through testing sites for the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, for patients referred for testing by doctors only.
Montco officials see evidence of 'community spread' of coronavirus
The Times Herald
As Montgomery County officials continue to see an increase in positive cases of coronavirus, including a second child, officials say they are moving to a “community spread model” for monitoring the outbreak.
COVID-19 in Pennsylvania: Tracking the outbreak with maps and graphs
The Pennsylvania Capital-Star
The staff at the Capital-Star is working round-the-clock to keep you updated on the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania. Our continually updated graphics use state Department of Health data to show you the latest in testing data, total case counts, and the geographic spread of the virus.
Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.
The Washington Post
New C.D.C. data showed that nearly 40 percent of patients sick enough to be hospitalized were aged 20 to 54. But the risk of dying was significantly higher in older people.
Several stores adjust hours to accommodate shopping seniors during COVID-19 pandemic
Many stores are making adjustments to help accommodate older shoppers amid the current coronavirus pandemic.
No Water Shut Offs During Coronavirus Outbreak: Aqua PA
Many Pennsylvanians may struggle to pay bills during the outbreak, but Aqua Pennsylvania said it will keep water on during the emergency.
China reports no new domestic cases for first time as NYC numbers double
For the first time since the global coronavirus outbreak began, China has reported no new domestic cases of the illness. Only eight deaths were reported for Wednesday, all of which occurred in Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan where the pandemic started.
Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak: What do you do when the bigger danger is at home?
As the U.S. fights to contain the spread of the coronavirus, vast numbers of Americans are being told to stay home. But what happens when home isn’t safe?
Kudlow says GM CEO offers to make ventilators in shuttered auto factories
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Wednesday that General Motors CEO Mary Barra offered the automakers’ shuttered factories to produce ventilators to address the coronavirus crisis.
Who actually has the power to postpone the Pennsylvania primary over coronavirus? And will they agree?
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Everyday life is suspended. Democracy is not. And now it’s on officials to figure out how to keep it going as pandemic strikes during a presidential election year.
Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jaw launches to help service workers during coronavirus closures
Pittsburgh City Paper
The Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar — a new independent project hosted on Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Ethics and Policy website — is aiming to alleviate some of the financial stress.
Pa. Oks Chesco-Delco team up on COVID-19 crisis
Pennsylvania has given the green light to allow Chester County to provide COVID-19 health services for Delaware County residents in the absence of a health department here.
Mental Health Resources for COVID-19
City Mental Health Services Available for Residents
Many businesses are temporarily closing around Philadelphia as the city ramps up its efforts to contain and eliminate COVID-19, but immediate need for services related to mental health, intellectual disability, and addiction services cannot take any such break.
CDC’s Information for Managing Anxiety And Stress
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
How to Talk to Your Child About Coronavirus
Opinion: While this particular situation is unprecedented, there are tried and true practices for communicating with children during a crisis. A psychologist offers tips tailored to age.
PA Officials Urging Voters to Apply for Mail-In Ballots Ahead of April Primary
Warning that COVID-19 could rattle primary election season, officials in Pennsylvania are urging voters to apply for mail-in ballots and candidates to change the way they campaign ahead of the April 28 contests.
Helpful Phone Numbers
- Crisis TextLine: Text PA to 741-741
- Montgomery County Mobile Crisis: 1-855-634-HOPE (4673)
- Delaware County Crisis Connections Team: 1-855-889-7827
- 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
- Women's Center of Montgomery County Domestic Violence Project:
- Laurel House, Working to End Domestic Violence: 1‑800‑642‑315
Department of Aging
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has released COVID-19 guidance to providers of aging services to help meet the needs of older adults while ensuring their safety.
These recommendations will be updated on a recurring basis as needed, as new information becomes available.
Emergency Food Assistance During COVID-19
If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food sourced from the state and federal government from a food bank or food pantry in Pennsylvania. This includes service workers who are unable to get shifts or hourly wage employees of non-essential businesses that have voluntarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation. You will be asked to verbally complete a Self-Declaration of Need form, as signatures have been temporarily waived due to COVID-19. (Forms are also available in Spanish and Russian.) You will be asked to provide your household size and weekly income level as of the day you apply. Complete income guidelines can be found at agriculture.pa.gov.
Food banks are open and delivering food to many agencies, including pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. Please call or visit the website of your regional food bank to be directed to agencies in your community. Many food banks are also doing special drive-through distributions. Please call for more information.
- 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 email@example.com.
- 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!
- Lower Merion School District’s Nutritional Services will be offering “grab-and-go” lunches and breakfasts on weekdays from 11am until 1pm starting today. The distribution site will be the Suburban Square parking lot located at Montgomery and Anderson avenues in Ardmore. The meals will be available for Lower Merion and Narberth children, age 18 or younger, who need them. A parent, guardian or family member may pick up the meals for the children in their household. If you have questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
L&I COVID-19 UC/WC RESOURCES
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.