In This Update:
Pennsylvania Expands and Accelerates Vaccine Schedule
The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced recently that the timetable for vaccine eligibility has been accelerated. As a result, state residents who work in law enforcement, grocery stores, the food and agriculture industries and firefighters are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
In addition, all residents in Phase 1B will be eligible to begin scheduling vaccination appointments on April 5, and all residents in Phase 1C can start scheduling appointments on April 12. A breakdown of individuals included in the various phases is available here.
All other state residents can start scheduling appointments to be vaccinated beginning on April 19.
Vaccinate Lancaster Coalition Asks Public to Help Keep Vaccine Wait Lists Accurate
The Vaccinate Lancaster Coalition and its partner health systems are asking the public for assistance in reducing their wait lists for patients seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
Previous challenges with limited vaccine supply, combined with significantly high demand for the vaccine within the community, has caused extensive wait lists for those seeking a vaccine appointment.
Those who no longer require a vaccine from the Lancaster County Community Vaccination Center are asked to call 717-588-1020 and select Option 5 to deactivate their registration.
With more than 200,000 Lancaster County residents estimated to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccine rollout plan, and thousands more eligible in future phases, there remains significant opportunity for more residents to sign up to get their shot. To register, visit www.VaccinateLancaster.org or call 717-588-1020.
Need Help Registering?
To read the full, original press release on this announcement, click here.
New Guidance Will Help More Schools Return to In-Person Instruction
New guidance from the state Department of Health and Department of Education will make it easier for schools to return to in-person instruction in the near future. The updated recommendations on social distancing align with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that only require students to stay 3 feet apart, rather than the previous recommendation of 6 feet of separation.
The guidelines also include recommendations for how schools should handle confirmed cases of COVID-19, including shorter closures in certain cases. The new guidance goes into effect on April 5.
The Senate Education Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing last month that included testimony from teachers, superintendents, students, parents and other key stakeholders about the importance of returning to in-person instruction.
Op-ed: As Pennsylvania Begins its Slow Recovery from COVID-19, Small Businesses Must Be a Top Priority
As restaurants, bars, gyms, entertainment venues and other small employers look forward to higher capacity limits and fewer restrictions starting April 4, there is a sense of optimism that the worst of this year-long COVID-19 nightmare may finally be behind us. However, reality tells us these and other small businesses will take years – not just weeks or months – to fully recover from the extraordinary struggles of the past year.
Senators Camera Bartolotta, Kristin Phillips-Hill, Judy Ward, and I have sponsored the Prioritize PA Small Business package which takes a three-pronged approach to solving the daunting problems facing employers: direct financial assistance, tax reform and regulatory relief. We are not only giving them the tools to deal with the immediate strain created by the pandemic, but also creating a roadmap for these employers to come back stronger than ever in the years ahead.
Share Your Experience Voting by Mail or In Person in 2020
The bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform is inviting Pennsylvania voters to share their experiences from the 2020 election by taking an election survey. The information will be reviewed by the committee and will be used in consideration of future election reform measures.
The panel held two hearings last month to gather input from local and state election officials, county commissioners on the administration of the 2020 election, and to review best practices in other states that allow mail-in voting.
Summer Camps Set to Resume This Year
The Pennsylvania Department of Health released new guidance that will allow summer camps to resume this year at up to 75 percent of maximum occupancy. Camps and other congregate activities were prohibited last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Youth and summer camps are encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to protect the health and safety of participants and staff.
Deadline to Submit Comments on State Transportation Plan is April 14
Every two years, PennDOT updates its 12-Year Program to prioritize infrastructure projects and ensure the state’s transportation needs are met. The Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission is seeking input from members of the public regarding improvements not only for motorists, but also for recreation, public transit and other modes of transportation.
State residents can submit feedback on the plan during the public comment period, which is open through April 14.
Take the Phase 1A Vaccine Survey
If you are eligible in Phase 1A, regardless of your current vaccination status, please consider taking my survey so that I can better understand the needs of my constituents in this eligibility group. For details regarding who is eligible under Phase 1A of Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout, click here.
Click here to take the survey.