Subscribe to this e-update.  

Note From Daylin

Howdy,

I hope everyone is staying safe & healthy. As more and more businesses and organizations begin to re-open, it’s important to remember to remain alert and to continue doing all we can to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus. These have been extremely difficult times for many, but it’s because of all our hard work together, your selflessness and commitment that we’ve seen a consistent decrease in the number of reported cases.

As we continue to fight this battle, it’s so important that we do not retreat. You’ll see in the news clips below that Governor Wolf and PA Secretary of Health Rachel Levine have issued new orders making face masks mandatory when outside or in Pennsylvania businesses. A recent study from Cambridge and Greenwich universities indicates that mask-wearing prevents people from unknowingly giving the virus to others and can be critical as we prepare for a potential resurgence of the coronavirus in the fall.

My office will continue to send out weekly updates like this one with the latest news and info to make sure you’re informed on the latest happenings. As a reminder, as it stands now, the extra $600 federal weekly payments those on unemployment are receiving will unfortunately end the week of July 25. Our office is always here as a resource if you or anyone you know has questions about PA’s public assistance programs or their own unemployment compensation benefits.

If there is anything my office or I can do to be helpful, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 610.768.4200 or senatorleach@pasenate.com.

Stay safe,
Daylin

The Latest News

PA Sec. of Health signs new order making face masks mandatory when outside
CBS 21
Governor Wolf says the mask-wearing order will be sent to state and local officials, law enforcement and others tasked with education about the order for those not in compliance.

Gov. Wolf predicts COVID-19 resurgence in fall, offers hope it won’t force new round of school and business closings
PennLive
Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday he expects COVID-19 to surge again in Pennsylvania this fall. But he said preparations and lessons learned during months when the state was shut down may enable us to weather it without a repeat of the shut down.

State aid available when $600 weekly unemployment benefit ends
The Times Herald
The Departments of Labor & Industry (L&I) and Human Services (DHS) are reminding Pennsylvanians that state assistance is available when the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which provides an extra $600 per week to everyone receiving unemployment benefit payments, ends July 25, 2020.

$175M available soon to Pa. renters, mortgage holders struggling with payments
Trib Live
Applications will be accepted starting Monday for $175 million in assistance for Pennsylvania mortgage holders and renters who are struggling to make payments during the coronavirus pandemic as an end to a moratorium on evictions looms.

Medical PPE is still so scarce after months of COVID-19, volunteers keep hunting for lifesaving supplies
Philadelphia Inquirer
When the coronavirus struck Pennsylvania, news that hospitals couldn’t get the personal protective equipment (PPE) they needed spawned grassroots efforts to collect and donate masks, gowns, gloves, and hand sanitizer to frontline medical workers. Now it’s been three months, and they are still at it.

Credit card customers may see some breaks due to virus
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Many credit card issuers have been stepping up to help cardholders who are staring down bills they suddenly can’t pay during the pandemic by deferring payments and waiving fees — if customers ask.

Citing soaring unemployment, Casey calls for boost in Medicaid dollars based on economic factors
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As states contend with shrinking tax revenue and growing health care needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is dusting off legislation proposed during the 2008 financial crisis: an automatic increase of federal Medicaid dollars to states as their unemployment rate rises.

Montgomery County officials launch 'Mask Up, Montco' campaign
The Times Herald
As public health experts nationwide stress the importance of wearing face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Montgomery County officials have launched the “Mask Up, Montco” campaign.

#MontCoStrong T-shirt sale continuing through the summer
The Times Herald
A T-shirt sale fundraiser in support of Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Response Fund has raised more than $10,000, and will continue through Labor Day. So far, more than 630 shirts have been sold. The Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board said the goal is now to sell 1,000 shirts to raise $20,000 for the COVID-19 Response Fund.

Delco helping get CARES funds to homeowners, renters
Daily Times
Delaware County is collaborating with the Community Action Agency of Delaware County to help individuals financially impacted by COVID-19 process applications for rental and mortgage assistance through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Bethlehem firm’s spit test for COVID-19 is coming closer
Philadelphia Inquirer
In the shadow of the hulking Bethlehem Steel foundry, whose long-idled smokestacks stand like tombstones for the defunct industrial giant, a Pennsylvania technology company is racing to “democratize” testing for COVID-19.

In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both.
The New York Times
Our struggle is not an emotional concern. We are not burned out. We are being crushed by an economy that has bafflingly declared working parents inessential.

Green, Yellow, Orange Or Red? This New Tool Shows COVID-19 Risk In Your County
NPR
How severe is the spread of COVID-19 in your community? If you're confused, you're not alone. Though state and local dashboards provide lots of numbers, from case counts to deaths, it's often unclear how to interpret them — and hard to compare them to other places.

Mask are still required

Pennsylvania Restaurants and Bars Required to Protect Workers and Patrons During COVID-19

The Wolf Administration reminded Pennsylvanians of the requirements put in place for restaurants and bars to protect the health and safety of workers and patrons from COVID-19.

Under the governor’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania, in the green phase of the state’s reopening plan restaurants and bars may open at 50 percent occupancy.

Pennsylvania’s restaurant industry guidance was developed in coordination with the Restaurant and Lodging Association. Pursuant to the guidance, all businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry are required to do the following:

  • Require all customers to wear masks while entering, exiting, or otherwise traveling throughout the restaurant or retail food service business. Face coverings may be removed while seated.
  • Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back. If tables or other seating are not movable, seat parties at least six feet apart.
  • Where possible, stagger work stations to avoid employees standing next to each other. Where six feet of separation is not possible, consider spacing options that include other mitigation efforts with increased frequency of cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.
  • Establish a limit for the number of employees in shared spaces, including break rooms, and offices to maintain at least a six-foot distance.
  • Don’t use shared tables among multiple parties unless the seats can be arranged to maintain six feet of distance between parties.
  • Train all employees on the importance and expectation of increased frequency of handwashing, the use of hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, and provide clear instructions to avoid touching hands to face.
  • Assign employee(s) to monitor and clean high touch areas frequently while in operation.
  • Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signage on walls to ensure that customers remain at least six feet apart in lines or waiting for seating or in line for the restroom.

All businesses must follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health guidance for social distancing and cleaning.

No business is required to conduct in-person operations and should not do so if unable to follow applicable guidance.

As the Wolf administration closely monitors public health indicators, strict compliance with the guidance is critical to prevent spread, and the need for more stringent restrictions.
The administration also supports local governments’ more stringent protections for dining establishments’ workers and customers, such as those actions taken this week by Allegheny and Philadelphia counties. 

The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) will be conducting compliance checks at licensed facilities to ensure that the requirements of the guidance are observed. Failure to comply risks citation by the BLCE, a fine of up to $1,000, and possible suspension and/or revocation of the liquor license.

More information about the Wolf Administration’s COVID-19 response is available at http://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/.

Pennsylvania Extends Unemployment Compensation Benefits for 13 More Weeks

nemployment Compensation Benefits for 13 More Weeks

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak recently announced that people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC) and federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) may now qualify for 13 additional weeks of payments through the state’s Unemployment Compensation Extended Benefits program.
 
Extended Benefits (EB) are additional UC benefits payable to qualified workers whenever the state’s unemployment rate reaches a certain level determined by law. The last time the EB program was triggered in Pennsylvania was 2009.
 
The current EB period began May 3, 2020, but benefits are not payable until an individual has exhausted PEUC benefits. EB payments will begin with the week ending July 4, 2020 and are payable only for weeks of unemployment during an EB period.
 
Important information about the EB program follows and will be sent by mail to all individuals who potentially qualify for the additional benefits.
 
Eligibility
 
You may be eligible for EB if:

  • You are totally or partially unemployed;
  • You have exhausted your regular state benefits on your most recent UC claim, or your most recent UC benefit year has ended; and
  • You have received the maximum amount of PEUC that you were eligible to receive.

Additional eligibility information is available here.
 
How to Receive EB

  • If you collect the maximum amount of PEUC that you are eligible to receive, an EB Notice of Financial Determination will be mailed to you.
  • You must complete your weekly EB online certification in order to claim EB for weeks that you are totally or partially unemployed.
  • Each EB online certification corresponds to one specific week, as indicated on the web form. Individuals who opt to use paper claim forms should only use the form that is specifically dated for the week of unemployment you are claiming.
  • If you do not receive your Financial Determination within two weeks after you receive your final PEUC payment, call the UC Service Center at 1-888-313-7284.

EB Weekly Benefit Amount

  • EB weekly benefit payments are the same as regular UC.
  • The total amount of EB that you may receive is 50 percent of the amount of regular UC you were financially eligible to receive on your most recent claim. Example:
    • If you were financially eligible for 26 weeks of regular UC, you may receive up to 13 weeks of EB.
  • There is an additional wage test for EB eligibility, so not all individuals will financially qualify.
  • EB may only be paid for weeks ending during an EB period.
  • If you are entitled to Trade Readjustment Allowances, you may receive fewer weeks of EB.

 
EB is currently fully federally-funded through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Public Law (Pub. L.) 116-127, specifically Division D, the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020 (EUISAA).
 
Other Important Resources and Links

COVID-19 Crisis Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grants Available

Office of the State Fire CommissionerThe Office of the State Fire Commissioner will be offering funding via the COVID-19 Crisis Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program (Act 26 of 2020). This grant program establishes a one-time grant to be used by eligible Fire, Rescue and EMS companies to provide services during the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as identified in the proclamation of disaster emergency issued by the Governor on March 6, 2020. These funds are to be used to supplement operational expenses incurred by the lack of opportunities for fundraising and inability to create revenue due to compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A total of $50 million will be distributed by the The COVID-19 Crisis FCEMS Grant Program from funds received by the Commonwealth under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:

  • $44 million to eligible fire and rescue companies; and
  • $6 million to eligible EMS companies.  

This Program grant funding will be calculated for individual awards in the following manner:
 
Fire/Rescue/EMS Companies that received a grant award from the 2019-2020 FCEMSGP and register for the COVID-19 Crisis grant program will receive an initial award equal to the amount they received from the 2019-2020 FCEMSGP.
 
The surplus funding in the Program will be distributed to each eligible company that meets the funding criteria that submits a completed registration, including those that did not receive a 2019-2020 FCEMSGP grant award.
 
Application Deadline: Friday, August 7, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Learn More and Apply

Round # 2 of Delco Strong Grants Available July 7 to Assist Local Businesses and Non-Profits

Delco Strong Grants

Recognizing the critical need to provide additional support to Delaware County’s local business community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware County launched the Delco Strong program in April. Eligible applicants were able to apply for up to $7,500. Grant proceeds could be used for rent, mortgage, utilities, and inventory.

Council’s vote authorizes up to $14 million in additional Delco Strong grants to be distributed to eligible small businesses and non-profit organizations. Business owners and non-profit organizations can apply online beginning on July 7. Businesses are eligible for up to $20,000. Non-profits are eligible for up to $50,000.

For-Profit Business Grants:

All for-profit businesses headquartered in Delaware County, with annual revenue of less than $9 million, and incurring economic loss due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply.

  • Applications for grants from for-profit businesses will be accepted from Tuesday, July 7 through Thursday, July 9 at 5:00p.m.
  • Businesses with annual revenue of up to $4.5 million are eligible for up to $10,000. Businesses with annual revenue of up to $9 million are eligible for up to $20,000.
  • Applications can be submitted through the Delco Strong website or can be dropped off in person to the Delaware County Commerce Center. (100 W 6th St # 100, Media, PA.)
  • Applicants should visit the website for detailed program eligibility requirements and specific instructions regarding the application process, including hours of operation, deadlines, and information providing technical assistance for online applications.
  • Mailed applications will not be accepted.

Non-Profit Organization Grants:

  • Applications for grants from non-profit organizations will be accepted from Tuesday, July 7 through Tuesday, July 21 at 5:00p.m.
  • Applications can be submitted through The Foundation for Delaware County’s website. Details about the application process will be available on the website on July 2.
  • All non-profit grant applications must be submitted online. Mailed and hand-delivered applications will not be accepted.
  • New applicants are advised to visit The Foundation for Delaware County’s website prior to the start of the grant application period to set up their online account and learn more about their grant portal tool.

Please note: this is a not a first come first serve program. Priority preference for funding is explained on the Delco Strong website.
 
More details here:

Delco Strong:https://delcostrong.delcopa.org/

The Foundation for Delaware County:https://delcofoundation.org/

Wolf Administration Updates Veterinarian Guidance to Include Routine or Elective Surgeries

The Wolf Administration today updated the Guidance on Veterinary Practices amid the COVID-19 Pandemic to allow for non-essential services and routine or elective surgical procedures, like spaying and neutering, to take place.

Veterinarian practices were allowed to stay open according to the Pennsylvanian State Board of Veterinary Medicine and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s COVID-19 guidelines. Throughout the pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of State suspended requirements related to telemedicine and reactivation of retired practitioners.

Pennsylvania’s Dog Law requires shelters and rescues to have dogs and cats spayed/neutered before adoption. Effective April 2, 2020 the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has temporarily waived this requirement. Shelters must keep a running list of pets adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic and follow up with adopted pet owners to make sure the procedure takes place. Pet owners who adopted a pet have up to 120 days from the time of adoption to have a procedure completed.

Business Loan Deferrals Extended for Three Months

DCEDThe Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin recently announced that the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), and Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) are extending business loan deferrals by three additional calendar months.

In April, the administration first announced loan deferrals as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration’s stay-at-home order.

PIDA borrowers except for loans under the traditional PIDA real estate account, with payments due in July, August, and September of 2020 are deferred. All other terms and conditions of all applicable loans remain unchanged.

PMBDA borrowers with payments due in July, August, and September of 2020, including principal, interest, and any associated fees are deferred. Accrual of interest that would be included with deferred payments is suspended. All other terms and conditions of all applicable loans remain unchanged.

CFA borrowers except for PENNWORKS loans, with payments due in July, August, and September of 2020, including principal, interest, and any associated fees are deferred. Accrual of interest that would be included with deferred payments is suspended. All other terms of all applicable loans remain unchanged.

Businesses seeking further guidance and clarification from DCED can also contact its customer service resource account at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov.

Delaware County Launches New Unclaimed Property Website

Controller’s Unclaimed FundsHundreds of Delaware County residents and organizations are owed hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars in unclaimed property at the county level. For a wide variety of reasons, these checks were either uncashed or undeliverable, and people who did business with Delaware County government are leaving money on the table.
 
Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips has worked to make it easier for people to identify and claim money that might be owed to them from the past several years at the County level. To facilitate that process, the Controller’s Office launched an Unclaimed Funds section on the county’s website on July 1.  The website lists the funds, the names of their owners in alphabetical order, the amount, and provides a user-friendly process to claim those funds.
 
The unclaimed monies belong to individuals and organizations who previously did business with Delaware County government and for various reasons failed to cash the payments owed them. If owed money, recipients can access a form on the Controller’s website, fill out the required information and mail it via the U.S. Postal Service. Forms cannot be Faxed or emailed.
 
There are more than 750 listings with amounts that range from a few dollars to $8,000. The total of unclaimed funds currently exceeds $113,000. Many of the organizations are non-profits such as churches, or other institutions. There are several unclaimed amounts for $70, which Phillips said is likely a payment for their site to be used as a polling place during an election. The money could be from an escrow for an estate, a vendor payment, property rental for a special event or reimbursement for expenses.
             
The Controller’s Unclaimed Funds can be found here: www.delcopa.gov/controller/unclaimed.html
 
Search the list by name and if you are owed money, complete and mail the form with requested documentation to the Controller’s Office:

Attention Delaware County Controller
201 W. Front Street
Media, PA 19063

Montgomery County Post-Election Survey

Take SurveyThe Montgomery County Commissioners are looking for feedback regarding your thoughts on the Primary election.  They’ve created a survey for Montgomery County residents to share their experience during the 2020 Primary Election. They say your feedback will help them determine how they approach the 2020 General Election. Please can submit your feedback until July 14.

Click here to take survey.

ICYMI! Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Rent Assistance Program

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a law to help people hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. CARES assistance is now available in Pennsylvania for rent relief and mortgage relief. Below we outline the two programs.

The CARES Rent Relief Program

Renters who have experienced job loss or a reduction in annual income due to the Coronavirus pandemic and landlords that have lost rental income because a renter has experienced job loss or a reduction in income as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic may be eligible to apply.

To qualify for the program, the renter must document at least a 30% reduction in income since March 1, 2020, related to COVID-19; or the renter must have become unemployed after March 1, 2020 as a result of COVID-19; and the renter’s income may not exceed the Area Median Income for their county of residence (and adjusted for the number people in your household). To find the Area Median Income by county, go to https://phfa.org/pacares/ and select “CARES RRP County Income Limits.”

The maximum amount available monthly per lessee is $750, covering no more than six (6) months of rent expenses. Check out this RRP Application Fact Sheet to find out if you’re eligible.

If you think you are eligible for this rent relief program, please contact your local county agency.  A link to the participating agency in each county is available at https://phfa.org/pacares/.

Application Period: July 6, 2020 - September 30, 2020

Learn More and Apply

The CARES Mortgage Relief Program

The Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP) was created through funding under the CARES Act to aid in foreclosure prevention by providing emergency assistance in the form of a grant on behalf of Pennsylvania homeowners who are at least 30 days delinquent in their monthly mortgage payments. Delinquencies must be due to job loss or reduced work hours and wages as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Only payments due between March 2020  and December 2020 are eligible for assistance; assistance is capped at $1,000 per month for a maximum period of six months per mortgage for mortgages in a first or second lien position.

Homeowners who, as a result of COVID-19, became unemployed after 3/1/2020 or had their annual household income reduced by 30% due to reduced work hours and wages or lenders on behalf of homeowners whose monthly mortgage payments are 30 days or more past due and who, as a result of COVID-19, became unemployed after 3/1/2020 or had their annual household income reduced by 30% due to reduced work hours and wages may apply.

Application Period: July 6, 2020 - September 30, 2020

Learn More and Apply

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Offices of State Senator Daylin Leach

www.senatorleach.com
  DISTRICT OFFICE
601 S. Henderson Road, Suite 208
King of Prussia, PA 19406
(610) 768-4200 | Fax: (610) 768-4204
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
HARRISBURG OFFICE
543 Main Capitol | Box 203017
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3017
(717) 787-5544 | Fax: (717) 705-7741
Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.