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Boscola Bulletin

Pennsylvania will use a three-phase approach to emerge from shadow of coronavirus starting May 8

Our children and COVID-19Pennsylvania will use a three-phase approach — using color coding of red, yellow, and green — in a measured and regional approach to moving the state out of the shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus.  Currently, the entire state of Pennsylvania is under the “red” phase and will remain so until May 8 when individual regions will progress into the “yellow” and then the “green” phases depending on specific Department of Health criteria. 

The primary criteria for an area to get out of the most restrictive “red” phase would be for an area to have a coronavirus case rate of 50 or fewer per 100,000 residents over a stretch of 14 days.  However, the key here is to remember – the virus itself is driving this timeline.  There are no absolutes and no specific dates.

Virus cases are concentrated in the southeast and northeast parts of the state. The first areas to be considered for a transition from “red” to “yellow” will be the north-central and northwest regions, with a target date of May 8. Transitioning from “red” to “yellow” will still include easing some restrictions on work and social interaction while others, such as closures of schools, gyms and other indoor recreation centers, as well as limitations on large gatherings, will stay in place.

In a “yellow” area, stay-at-home orders would be lifted in favor of “aggressive mitigation,” gatherings of up to 25 people would be allowed, and in-person retail business would be allowed although curbside and delivery services would be preferred.

In a “green” area, aggressive mitigation orders would be lifted however residents would still need to follow CDC guidelines.

Pennsylvania plans to proceed with returning to work cautiously. Broad reopenings or reopenings that are not structured around ongoing social distancing, universal masking, or other public health guidance would likely result in a spike of cases and new stay-at-home and closure orders.

Throughout this process, the administration will have guidance in place to support best public health practices. This guidance will reinforce and build on existing worker and building safety orders. It will also be able to adapt to the changing nature of the pandemic, as well as lessons learned from communities that return to work strategically.

Construction Industry Set to Re-Open May 1

Construction Industry Set to Re-Open May 1 All construction projects performed by private and public companies in Pennsylvania will be able to restart on May 1, 2020 in accordance with safety guidelines that have been outlined HERE.

Governor Wolf emphasized that project participants will have to have adequate personal protective equipment. Second, project participants will need to be able to demonstrate compliance with CDC guidance as well as OSHA guidance.

Businesses that have questions about whether this guidance applies to them may email the Department of Labor and Industry at RA-LIBOIS-BUILDINGS@pa.gov.

Answers to frequently asked questions involving application of the Employee Safety Order is available here.

Businesses in the construction industry may wish to refer to PennDOT’s COVID-19 Guidance for Restarting Construction Projects which provided a process for restarting construction projects that were suspended in response to COVID-19 mitigation. The guidance is available here.

DCED Announces Loan Deferrals for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) recently announced the forbearance of loans administered by DCED. Governor Wolf and DCED Secretary Dennis Davin will request loan deferrals for all borrowers with the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, the Commonwealth Financing Authority (excluding PENNWORKS program loans), the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, and the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority.

In March, DCED took the emergency executive step of halting April payments, late fees, and accruing interest for these loans. This additional forbearance will apply to May and June payments to include no accrual of interest or fees. Automatic payments will be halted and borrowers paying by check will not be required to submit payment until the scheduled July payment. As a result of the forbearance, the maturity of the loans will be extended for three months.

Resources and information for businesses is regularly posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in addition to local funding partners, may also be a source of assistance for affected businesses.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

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