In This Update:
Recovery Lancaster Announces Free PPE Kit Ordering now OPEN for Lancaster County Small Businesses
Free personal protective equipment (PPE) and grant funding are available through the $33.4 million Lancaster County Economic Recovery Plan, which is designed to help small Lancaster County-based businesses and nonprofits safely re-emerge from months of economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A new website created to serve as the gateway to the plan has portals to register for free PPE-related items and to apply for emergency funding. The site is home to public health information, data analysis, and training resources.
Spearheaded by the Lancaster Chamber and the Economic Development Company (EDC) of Lancaster County, the plan approved by the Board of Lancaster County Commissioners is funded by the $95 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money that the county received from the federal government. The distribution of $6 million in free PPE-related items and a $25 million Small Business Recovery & Sustainability Fund are key to Phase One of the Economic Recovery Plan.
Lancaster County-based businesses with 100 or fewer employees can register NOW for free kits with face masks, thermometers, and hand sanitizer here. The supply is significant and is intended to serve most of Lancaster County’s small businesses.
Further, a grant application portal will open to Lancaster County-based businesses with 20 or fewer employees at 7 a.m. Monday, June 15; it will remain open through 6:59 p.m. Friday, June 19. Grants will not be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis; individuals have five days to submit applications. Businesses are encouraged to review the submission criteria here prior to June 15. The first phase of the funding program will offer grant opportunities totaling $10 million. Once the portal closes, the grant committee will evaluate submitted applications. Those meeting the criteria and demonstrating the greatest need will be sent to the Lancaster County Commissioners for approval and award recipients will be notified by email.
In subsequent phases of the plan, the Recovery & Sustainability Fund is expected to offer an additional $15 million in grant awards to Lancaster County-based businesses with 100 or fewer employees.
Visit the Recovery Lancaster website for more information.
Complete My ‘Restore & Reimagine PA’ Survey
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has completely changed life as we knew it. These past few months have been marked by struggles, pain, confusion, change, frustration, and even death. It certainly has not been easy. But it is human nature to adapt to difficult situations, and to innovate and create new ways of life out of tragedy. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Pennsylvanians have and must continue to adapt and overcome the new challenges that have presented as a result of the pandemic.
So I’m inviting you to adapt and overcome, to innovate and create new ideas with me. I have always said throughout my time in the General Assembly that the residents of Lancaster County are my greatest resource to helping me do my job well. With your input, I’m confident that we can reimagine, rebuild, and restore a stronger Pennsylvania together.
So, my team and I are collecting your feedback – your thoughts, your ideas, your challenges, and your solutions – to issues that you see and experience firsthand in your communities, schools, businesses, and families. There are three ways that you can submit your feedback to me:
I also encourage residents to fill out my Restore & Reimagine PA Survey.
Twelve More Counties Moving to Green Phase of Reopening
Another dozen counties will move to the green phase of Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 restrictions on June 12, joining 34 other counties that have already moved to green in recent weeks. All counties in the state are now in either the green or yellow phase; the governor’s stay-at-home order has been lifted for all counties.
The counties moving to green are: Adams, Beaver, Carbon, Columbia, Cumberland, Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Union, Wayne, Wyoming and York. The green phase of reopening allows all businesses to conduct in-person operations as long as the businesses follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Many businesses in the green phase will operate at a lower capacity with safety requirements in place, with lower occupancy thresholds for businesses such as restaurants, bars, personal care services and entertainment venues.
The Department of Health recently launched a new dashboard that shows each county’s progress toward meeting the Wolf Administration’s criteria to move to the different phases.
With more counties moving to the green phase, our attention needs to turn to what comes after green. A number of the restrictions under the green phase are difficult for many employers and employees to manage. These restrictions need to be lifted as quickly as possible.
Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Restrictions Extended
New guidance for nursing homes, personal care homes and other long-term congregate care facilities will extend restrictions on visitation, group dining activities and other potential health risks for at least 28 days after a facility’s county enters the green phase of reopening. Nursing homes will continue to follow guidance issued last month to help limit the risk of infection.
The restrictions build on the progress the Senate has made toward protecting some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.
I recently supported a bill that would dedicate $692 million for long-term living programs including: nursing homes ($245 million); heath collaboratives ($175 million); personal assistance services ($140 million); assisted living centers and personal care homes ($50 million); Community HealthChoices managed care organizations ($50 million); adult day services ($13 million); LIFE providers ($10 million); and, residential habilitation ($1 million).
Updated Guidelines Available for Dental Practices During COVID-19
The Department of Health recently provided updated guidance for dental practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new guidance provides examples of the kind of services that can be provided based on the prevalence of the virus in local communities. In communities with minimal community transmission, most routine primary and specialty care can resume, while care is still limited in areas with large-scale community transmission.
The guidance encourages dental health care professionals to continue screening patients for symptoms of COVID-19, maintaining the appropriate amount of personal protective equipment and following the recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
More PennDOT Driver License and Photo License Centers Opening
As more counties move into the yellow and green phases of reopening, a greater number of PennDOT Driver License and Photo License Centers are opening and providing services to customers, including driver’s skills tests, photo license services, Commercial Driver License (CDL) services, permit testing and more.