Ciresi applauds restaurant and small business relief, hazard pay in Governor’s fall agenda

HARRISBURG, Aug. 25 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, applauded Gov. Tom Wolf calling for the creation of a grant program to provide relief for restaurants and bars affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as increased funding for small businesses and hazard pay, as part of his fall legislative agenda. This announcement followed Ciresi’s introduction of the bipartisan H.B. 2791 last week to provide $100 million in financial relief to bars, restaurants, and catering halls.

“The comprehensive plan that Governor Wolf announced today will help Pennsylvanians and small businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ciresi. “At a time when so many businesses are struggling, I am grateful to have the governor’s support in pushing for relief for small businesses and ‘mom and pop’ restaurants – the keystones of our communities – and I urge the legislature to swiftly act to provide this crucial funding.”

The governor’s proposal also included $225 million in additional hazard pay assistance for 208,000 front-line workers; Ciresi had highlighted the need for additional funding after the previous round of hazard pay grants ran out of funding.

“While the previous hazard pay grant provided important support to many of our front-line heroes, it was only able to help one-sixth of eligible applicants due to lack of funds,” added Ciresi. “I applaud the governor for listening to our concerns and pushing for funding that would expand the hazard pay program to an additional 208,000 frontline workers, making sure that we honor and value the risk that they’re taking to keep our lives running.”

The governor’s proposal included an additional $225 million in small business relief through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, a program created in June based on Ciresi’s H.B. 2452. The governor also called for other relief for Pennsylvania families, including PPE for front-line workers, child care, paid parental leave, and housing and utility assistance.