Subscribe to this e-update.
Boscola Bulletin

Targeted Mitigation Efforts in Response to Recent COVID Case Increases

Governor Wolf announced yesterday new targeted mitigation efforts he believes are needed to help slow a surge of new cases in Pennsylvania.

As of 12:01 a.m. today,  Thursday, July 16, 2020, new orders have been implemented for targeted mitigation efforts in response to the recent rise in COVID cases, primarily in southwest Pennsylvania, but also in other counties in the state, influencing the decision for statewide mitigation efforts for bars and restaurants, gatherings and telework.

The mitigation efforts put in place by Gov. Wolf and Dr. Levine include:

Bars and Restaurants

All businesses in the retail food services industry, including restaurants, wineries, breweries, private clubs, and bars, are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales of food, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, as required by the order, including:

  • Prohibition from conducting operations unless the facility offers sit-down, dine-in meals or is serving take-out sales of alcoholic beverages. All service must be at a table or booth; bar service is prohibited.
  • Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.
    The Pennsylvania Liquor Code defines a meal as “food prepared on the premises, sufficient to constitute breakfast, lunch or dinner; it shall not mean a snack, such as pretzels, popcorn, chips or similar food.” [47 P.S. § 4-406(e)].
  • Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.
  • Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e. tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.
  • Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons.
  • Occupancy is limited to 25 percent of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining, or 25 persons for a discrete indoor event or gathering in a restaurant. The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

Nightclubs

Other events and gatherings
Events and gatherings must adhere to these gathering limitations:

  • Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 persons are prohibited.
    Funeral homes with discrete viewing rooms can have up to 25 persons at a time in each separate space (provided that social distancing can be observed), and across the entire premises the limitation would be 50% of overall capacity.
  • Outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 persons are prohibited.
  • The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

Teleworking

  • Unless not possible, all businesses are required to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business.
  • Where telework is not possible, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with all substantive aspects of the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.

Gyms and fitness facilities

  • All gyms and fitness facilities, while permitted to continue indoor operations, are directed to prioritize outdoor physical fitness activities. All activities must follow masking requirements as provided by the July 1 order, and must provide for social distancing requirements of persons being at least 6 feet apart, as well as being limited by any limitations related to gatherings.

Enforcement
Businesses and individuals in violation of these orders, issued pursuant to the authority granted to the Governor and the Secretary of Health under the law, including the Pennsylvania Disease Control and Prevention Law, could be subject to fines, business closure or other applicable enforcement measures.
Beginning with a spike in cases in Allegheny County in late June, Pennsylvania has seen cases continue to rise there and in other southwest counties, along with additional select counties in the state.
The state has identified three catalysts for case increases:

  • First, some Pennsylvanians have been ignoring mask-wearing requirements and social distancing when they are visiting Pennsylvania bars and restaurants. There they are unknowingly spreading or picking up the virus.
  • Second is out-of-state travel. Both by Pennsylvanians returning from travel to hotspot states, and travelers visiting our commonwealth from those hotspots.
  • And third, a lack of national coordination has resulted in states in the south and west not committing to social distancing.

Pennsylvanians should consider that even with indoor dining limited and bars closed for on-premises alcohol consumption, cocktails to-go are still permitted and there is no shortage of outdoor dining options.

View the Governor’s order
View the Secretary of Health’s order

I am disappointed that these measures could not be more targeted based on where the surge is presently, like Allegheny County.  Our economy in the Lehigh Valley was one of the last to re-open and our numbers appear to be holding strong.  I know to many restaurant and bar owners out there it feels like we are being penalized – I assure you that I am going to focus my attention on securing additional funding for these restaurants and venues that are being severely impacted by these new directives.

Please feel free to contact my Bethlehem office for any state-related assistance, should you need to do so.

COVID-19 Hazard Pay Grant Program

Hazard Pay Grant ProgramI am proud to announce to you as a part of Act 2A of 2020, $50,000,000 was appropriated from CARES Act funding to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to provide Hazard Pay for frontline workers.

Applications will be open for a two-week window beginning on July 16, 2020 and closing on July 31, 2020. Eligible applicants will apply on behalf of the frontline workers in eligible industries. An eligible applicant who is awarded hazard pay will need to provide documentation, including pay stubs, to show that the payments were made to the employees. Based off the guidelines, we anticipate payments to begin showing up in paychecks within two weeks of the application period closing.

Eligible Applicants:

  • Businesses
  • Healthcare Non-Profit
  • Public Transportation Agency
  • A Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO)

Eligible Industries:

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance
    • Including:
      • Ambulatory Health Care Services, including home health care services
      • Hospitals
      • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
      • Social assistance including:
  • child day care services
  • individual and family services
  • vocational rehabilitation services
  • community food and housing
  • emergency and other relief services
  • Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
    • Including:
      • Urban Transit Systems
      • Interurban and Rural bus Transportation
      • Generalized Freight Trucking
      • Specialized Freight Trucking
  • Food Manufacturing
    • Including:
      • Animal Food Manufacturing
      • Grain and Oilseed Milling
      • Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing
      • Fruit and Vegetable Preserving and Specialty Food Manufacturing
      • Dairy Product Manufacturing
      • Animal Slaughtering and Processing
      • Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging
      • Bakers and Tortilla Manufacturing
      • Other Food Manufacturing
  • Food Retail Facilities
    • Including:
      • Grocery and Convenience Stores
      • Specialty Food Stores
  • Security Services for any of the above industries
  • Janitorial services to buildings and dwellings

Eligible Use of Funds:

  • Hazard pay will be made to full-time and part-time employees earning less than $20 an hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime, as a direct increase in their pay
  • The direct increase in pay for a frontline worker will be $3.00 per hour for ten-weeks for a total of $1,200
  • Pay will be driven out during a ten-week period beginning shortly after the applications are awarded – August 16, 2020 through October 24, 2020
    • Pay will be prospective, not retroactive
  • The hazard pay is for the position not the employee, so if an employee leaves, the new employee will get the remainder of the hazard pay

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Applications are accepted through DCED’s website and must include:
    • A project narrative including:
      • identification of the eligible industry a description of the life-sustaining services the business provides to the public
      • where the business is located and operating in the Commonwealth
      • impact of COVID-19 on the business
        • Amount of hazard pay grant funds sought
        • A brief description of the use of the funds, including the number of employees who will receive hazard pay

Evaluation Criteria:

  • The program will not be first come, first served
  • Applications will be taken during a two-week period which opens on July 16, 2020 and closes on July 31, 2020
  • Applications will be reviewed with the following general evaluation criteria
    • Risk of exposure by industry
    • Location and prevalence of COVID-19
    • Average hourly wage paid by employer
  • Prioritization of applications will be given based off the following criteria:
    • Very High – jobs with a high potential exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, postmortem or laboratory procedures
  • This includes workers performing aerosol-generating procedures or collecting/handling specimens from potentially infectious patients
    • High – jobs with a high potential exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19
  • This includes healthcare delivery and support, medical transport and other
    workers exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients
    • Medium – jobs that require frequent/close contact with people who may be infected, but who are not known or suspect patients
  • This includes those who may have contact with the general public, including
    individuals returning from locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission, or
    do not have the ability to social distance at their place of employment
    • Low – jobs that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected
  • Workers in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public or
    other coworkers

Facebook Twitter Instagram Join the Conversation on Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
EASTON OFFICE
1701 Washington Blvd.
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
HARRISBURG OFFICE
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
1-800-364-158 (TTY)