We closed my senate office last Wednesday to assure that my staff, our constituents, stakeholders and service personnel wouldn’t be exposed to COVID-19, or the coronavirus. The office will remain closed until further notice. 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.
As of this email, we’ve been notified of 76 positive cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pennsylvania; as of this morning, there are 670 patients who have tested negative either at the state public health lab, a commercial lab or a hospital laboratory. Most of these individuals have mild symptoms and are in isolation at home. We anticipate that there will continue to be more Pennsylvanians with COVID-19 in the coming days. 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.
- The Wolf Administration encourages religious leaders to exercise discretion in order to mitigate the spread of illness.
- Restricted visitors in state centers to ensure health and safety for individuals with an intellectual disability.
- Restricted visitors in assisted living and personal care homes to minimize exposure to our seniors and individuals with disabilities.
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.
Please consider reviewing the rest of this email for prevention tips and more information on this ongoing situation. Always feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610.768.4200 with questions and/or concerns.
Daylin’s Facebook Live Town Hall | Coronavirus Update
Join me on my State and Personal Facebook pages for a live Q&A town hall at 1PM on Wednesday, March 18. 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. I hope you’ll join me Wednesday for our discussion.
To ask a question, email us ahead of time at email@example.com. We’ll be going through as many as we can get to.
The Latest News
Pennsylvania coronavirus update: Gov. Wolf orders all nonessential businesses in the state to shut down: ‘I would like people to stay home 24 hours a day’
The Morning Call
In his most drastic step yet to halt the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday afternoon put in place a statewide voluntary shutdown of all nonessential businesses, including dine-in restaurants, bars, casinos and child care centers.
Pennsylvania legislature will vote remotely as coronavirus spreads
Neither the House nor Senate plan to come in Tuesday for session as originally planned, but will operate under a “12-hour call time,” meaning members should be prepared to vote remotely if called upon.
Pa. Supreme Court declares coronavirus-related ‘statewide judicial emergency’
In response to the coronavirus epidemic, Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared a “statewide judicial emergency” Monday that gives county president judges authority to suspend all but the most vital court proceedings.
PA Turnpike Temporarily Will Not Accept Cash To Safeguard Employee and Traveler Health
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Cash customers should NOT stop at tollbooths; they’ll be invoiced by mail starting at 8 p.m. on March 16, 2020.
Feds Offer COVID-19 Small Biz Disaster Assistance Loans
Small businesses suffering major financial setbacks in the face of the coronavirus outbreak can apply to receive up to $2 million in federal disaster assistance loans, the U.S. Small Business Administration said Thursday.
Workers Impacted by Coronavirus Can Apply for Unemployment in PA
Pennsylvania workers impacted by the ongoing coronavirus crisis may be eligible for unemployment benefits, state officials said Monday.
King of Prussia Mall closes doors amid coronavirus concerns
The Morning Call
The King of Prussia Mall, the largest mall on the East Coast and second-largest in the country, is closed Saturday amid concerns about the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
A message posted to the website of owner Simon Property Group Saturday acknowledged Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation that all non-essential retail close in Montgomery County, and said “we expect that all non-essential tenants of King of Prussia adhere to and comply with Gov. Wolf’s recommendation effective immediately.”
Pennsylvania PUC Prohibits Utility Terminations
Erie News Now
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is prohibiting electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utility terminations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Pa. marijuana dispensaries call for volunteer ‘caregivers,' ask state to allow home deliveries
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Medical marijuana continues to be sold at state-approved dispensaries in Pennsylvania. The dispensaries are akin to pharmacies and therefore considered “essential” businesses. At least one dispensary owner is working to assure that card-carrying patients can still get their medicines if they get sick with the coronavirus.
AP Exclusive: Coronavirus vaccine test opens with 1st doses
U.S. researchers gave the first shots in a first test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday, leading off a worldwide hunt for protection event as the pandemic surges.
Pennsylvania health secretary: Children shouldn't participate in playdates, other activities due to coronavirus
Pennsylvania health officials are advising parents not to allow their children to participate in playdates, sleepovers or activities with other children to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”
The spread can be slowed, public health professionals say, if people practice “social distancing” by avoiding public spaces and generally limiting their movement.
- 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!
- 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 FAQ that provides information and answers to common questions related to insurance coverage and COVID-19.
- 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 Nurtitional 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 email@example.com.