To best serve our constituents during this time, we are providing a COVID-19 resource page. Below, you will find more information on COVID-19, more commonly known as Coronavirus, including links to helpful resources. It is a key priority of mine to provide my constituents with the latest news and updates during this pandemic, and I will continue to work with the federal and state officials to make sure we can ensure the safety of everyone.
For easy access, we have compiled resources and frequently asked questions for:
Pennsylvania Department of Health Mitigation Announcement (December 12, 2020 to January 4, 2021)
Please see below for information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on the recent mitigation announcement. Click here for full details.
In-Person Dining and Alcohol Sales
- All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including, but not limited to, bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events is prohibited.
- Outdoor dining, take-out food service, and take-out alcohol sales are permitted and may continue, subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law, or this or any other Order issued by the Sec. of Health or by the governor.
Multiple studies have found indoor dining to drive case increases and fatalities, including research from Stanford University that found that restaurants accounted for a significant amount of new infections and research from Yale University that found that closing restaurants reduced fatality rates. A study by JP Morgan analyzed credit card spending of more than 30 million Chase cardholders and Johns Hopkins University’s case tracker and found that higher restaurant spending in a state predicted a rise in new infections there three weeks later.
Indoor Gatherings and Events
- Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 persons are prohibited.
- Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations set forth above during religious services, these institutions are strongly encouraged to find alternative methods for worship, as in person gatherings pose a significant risk to participants at this time. While this an incredibly difficult recommendation to make, particularly at this time of year, faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the immense amount of community spread of COVID-19.
A new study from Stanford University and published in the journal, nature, used cellphone data collected from 10 U.S. cities from March to May to demonstrate that restaurants, gyms, cafes, churches and other crowded indoor venues accounted for some 8 in 10 new infections in the early months of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic.
Outdoor Gatherings and Events
- Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 persons are prohibited.
According to a Yale University study, limiting outdoor gatherings was among consistent policies found to reduce fatality rates.
The CDC states that medium-sized outdoor gatherings carry a higher risk of COVID-19 spread, even with social distancing. CDC notes that the more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading, and that the higher the level of community transmission in the area that the gathering is being held, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading during a gathering.
Capacity Limits for Businesses
- All in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy, except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit.
The same Stanford University study that collected cellphone data also noted that limiting indoor capacity can reduce COVID-19 transmissions.
Gyms and Fitness Facilities
- Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are prohibited.
- Outdoor facilities and outdoor classes can continue, but all participants must wear face coverings in accordance with the Sec. of Health’s Updated Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings, including any subsequent amendments, and practice physical distancing requirements.
According to a Yale University study, closing businesses like gyms was among consistent policies found to reduce fatality rates.
- All in-person businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within a building or indoor defined area, including, but not limited to, theaters, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities, are prohibited from operation.
The CDC puts movie theaters and other indoor settings on its list of higher-risk activities for contracting COVID-19.
In-Person Extracurricular School Activities
- Voluntary activities sponsored or approved by a school entity’s governing body or administration are suspended, but these extracurricular activities may be held virtually. This includes, but is not limited to, attendance at or participation in activities such musical ensembles, school plays, student council, clubs, and school dances.
Our top priority is stopping the spread of this virus so students and teachers can return to their classrooms as soon as possible. Data from the Department of Health notes that one-quarter of the cases of COVID among school-age children have occurred within the past two weeks, increasing the need to keep children safe outside of school so that they can return to classrooms.
K-12 School Sports and Youth Sports
- All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and club, travel, recreational, intermural, and intramural sports are paused.
The Pennsylvania Principals Association is recommending a delay to the start of the winter sports season. The surge in cases among school-age children increases the risk that asymptomatic participants will spread the virus at a game or practice, in the locker room, while traveling to and from events, or at team meals, parties or other gatherings.
Professional and Collegiate Sports
- Professional or collegiate sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health.
- Spectators may not attend such sports activities in person.
The CDC warns large gatherings create a high risk of COVID-19 spreading.
“We know that COVID-19 thrives in places where people gather together,” Gov. Wolf said. “Therefore, these mitigation measures target high-risk environments and activities and aim to reduce the spread of this devastating virus.”
According to Yale University research, mitigation measures such as mandatory mask requirements, and gym and restaurant closures are policies that most consistently predict lower four- to six-week-ahead fatality growth.
“The work we do now to slow the spread of COVID-19 is not only crucial to keeping our fellow Pennsylvanians safe and healthy,” Gov. Wolf said. “It will help all of us get back to normal, and back to all of the things we’ve missed, faster. And it means more Pennsylvanians will be alive to celebrate that brighter future. This year, we show our love for our families and friends by celebrating safely and protecting one another.”
Economic Impact Payments Via Direct Deposit
On April 15, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS launched the “Get My Payment” web application. The FREE app allows taxpayers who filed their tax return in 2018 or 2019 but did not provide their banking information on either return to submit direct deposit information. Once submitted, individuals can track the status of their payment until they receive it via direct deposit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats. The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:
Shortness of breath
The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
How can the coronavirus spread?
Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:
- Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
- Occasionally, fecal contamination
Should I wear a mask or respirator in public?
On April 3, Governor Wolf recommended that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes for life-sustaining reasons. For more information, click here.
What about animals or animal products imported from China?
The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
I have questions about paid sick leave and unemployment as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Where can I get more information?
The U.S. Department of Labor has compiled a list of frequently asked questions related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act's impact on paid sick leave and unemployment. Please click here for helpful information.
Legislative Action to Date
Phase One: H.R. 6074, Coronavirus Preparedness & Response Supplemental
- Funding to increase testing, support treatments, and invest in vaccine development
- Resources to purchase essential medical equipment/supplies, and for the CDC, NIH, and state and local response efforts
Phase Two: H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- $1.2B for free testing for Americans that need to be tested
- Allows for paid sick leave and medical leave for workers
- $1.25B in emergency nutritional assistance
- Protections and relief for small businesses
- Increased access to telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries
Phase Three: H.R. 748, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
- Direct payments to the American people ($1.2K/individuals, $2.4K/families, $500/child)
- Expands unemployment insurance for four months
- Makes emergency loans and resources available for small businesses
- Stabilizes key national industries that will help workers
- Gives major relief and resources for healthcare providers, including $100B for hospitals
- Makes investments in new medicines, therapeutics, and vaccines
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
- Additional $310 billion for the Small Business Administration's successful Paycheck Protection Program
- Additional $60 billion for the Small Business Administrations economic injury disaster loan program
- $75 billion to support heroes on the front lines of the crisis and our healthcare system
- $25 billion to expand testing
The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
- Enhances and improves the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to better ensure American small businesses can weather the Coronavirus pandemic
- Eases requirements for non-payroll costs
- Allows longer repayment periods
- Ensures payroll tax deferment
- Extends the rehiring deadline
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
- $30 billion for vaccine development and deployment.
- $285 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, helping small businesses and independent contractors.
- $300 a week in additional unemployment insurance benefits for 10 weeks.
- $600 stimulus payments for individuals making up to $75,000; $1,200 payments for couples making up to $150,000; $600 payments for dependent children.
- $13 billion for farmers, ranchers, cattlemen and producers.
- $13 billion for additional emergency food assistance.
- $7 billion for broadband development.
White House Action
- Declared a national emergency & implemented a whole-of-government response with the Coronavirus Task Force
- Imposed travel restrictions on global hotspots including China and Europe
- Expanded testing access by removing burdensome FDA regulations and granting emergency approval for tests
- Announced disaster loans available from the Small Business Administration
- Announced the invoking of the Defense Production Act & marshaled the private sector to assist with response efforts
- Taken steps to further the development of vaccines and therapeutics
How You Can Help
Interested in how you can help your community? Consider these suggestions from FEMA.
- You can make a cash dontation to a non-profit of your choice. Find an a vetted organization supporting COVID-19 response efforts here.
- Don’t collect or make donations until you are sure it is needed, who will accept it, and how it will get there is worked out.
- If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please contact our office and we can help you determine next steps.
- Licensed Healthcare professionals that want to volunteer can get information on eligibility, view credential levels by clinical competency and register with the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals in their state.
- Trained medical volunteers can offer their services by registering with a National VOAD member on www.NVOAD.org. Please not begin operations without contacting NVOAD first. You will be contacted once resources are matched with unmet needs.
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers can help in different ways in their communities (call centers, drive through clinics, and more). Contact an MRC unit in your area to find out how you can help. For more information visit mrc.hhs.gov/HomePage.
- Adequate supplies of blood are needed to treat patients in hospitals, but many blood drives have been cancelled. Donating blood is a safe process, and blood donation centers have the highest standards of safety and infection control. To find where you can donate blood, visit redcross.org.
- To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please submit a price quote under the COVID-19 PPE and Medical Supplies Request for Quotation. Full details can be found in the solicitation (Notice ID 70FA2020R00000011).
- This solicitation requires registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to be considered for award, pursuant to applicable regulations and guidelines. Registration information can be found at www.sam.gov. Registration must be “ACTIVE” at the time of award.
- If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide us details on what you are offering.
If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email email@example.com.
- If you are a hospital or healthcare provider in need of medical supplies, please contact your state, local, tribal or territory department of public health and/or emergency management agency.
- If you are interested in doing business with FEMA and supporting the response to COVID- 19 with your company’s non-medical goods and/or services, please submit your inquiry to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Procurement Action Innovative Response Team (PAIR) team at DHSIndustryLiaison@hq.dhs.gov.
Tours and Tickets in Washington
Federal Buildings in Washington, D.C., along with most museums have suspended public tours. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and your family and we look forward to helping reschedule tours in the future. Please call my Washington, DC office with any questions at (202) 225-5121.
Helpful Links for Employees
Helpful Links for Employers & Small Businesses