Latest statewide news and resources regarding COVID-19

Dear Neighbor,

With so much information being shared and distributed about the COVID-19 coronavirus, I will do my best to round up some of that key information and share it with you.

A reminder: while our office is closed to foot traffic, my staff and I remain available to help you as best as we’re able. Contact my office by phone at (215) 572-5210 or by email at RepMcCarter@pahouse.net.

Latest update from the PA Department of Health

As of 4 p.m., there have been 96 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, including 32 in Montgomery County. The Department of Health has been updating this site several times throughout the day.

Wolf Admin updates businesses on guidance for COVID-19 mitigation efforts

Earlier this week, Governor Tom Wolf strongly urged non-essential businesses across the state to close for at least 14 days to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This is to protect employees, customers and suppliers.

Non-essential businesses include public-facing industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities, including but not limited to community and recreation centers; gyms, including yoga, barre and spin facilities; hair salons and barber shops, nail salons and spas; casinos; concert venues; theaters; sporting event venues and golf courses; retail facilities, including shopping malls except for pharmacy or other health care facilities within retail operations.

Operational recommendations from DHS

The Department of Human Services’ Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services today released operational recommendations and telehealth guidelines for providers of behavioral health services.

A list of those recommendations is available in this release.

Filing an unemployment claim

In response to questions concerning employment benefits throughout the COVID-19 situation, unemployment compensation eligibility cannot be predetermined.

Eligibility is based on information provided during application. So, the easy answer if you’re unsure about eligibility is: APPLY through this link.

PUC, utility and internet companies acting to assist consumers during pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 developments, some companies and providers are enacting extraordinary measures to ensure continuity of service delivery for customers. A partial list of those companies and what they are doing is available here.

SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program can help businesses

The U.S. Small Business Association's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program will make funds available to businesses impacted by COVID-19. As part of the process to access those funds, Governor Wolf, DCED and PEMA are working with local partners and the SBA to identify businesses economically affected.

State parks and forests facility closures

While state park and forest offices and visitor centers, including restrooms, campgrounds, cabins, public programs and events, have closed or are canceled because of COVID-19, the public can STILL ACCESS trails, lakes, roads and parking for passive and dispersed recreation like hiking.

Please, continue to enjoy the outdoors and our state parks. Just remember to use social distancing and appropriate precautionary measures.

PLCB temporarily closes all Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced closure of all Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores and licensee service centers as of 9 p.m. tonight to help slow the spread of COVID-19. E-commerce sales have also temporarily ceased operation.

However, grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and eateries may continue to sell wine and beer.

Schools closed, but guidance continues

Schools across Pennsylvania are closed, creating a variety of unique situations for students, staff, educators, caregivers and parents. The Pennsylvania Department of Education will continue to provide school communities with ongoing guidance, resources and information.

You can also follow along locally through specific links for Cheltenham School District, the School District of Jenkintown, and Springfield Township School District.

PennDOT extends expiration deadlines

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has closed all driver and photo license centers for at least two weeks.

However, for any driver licenses, ID cards, learner's permits, vehicle registrations, safety and emission inspections, or Persons with Disability Placards set to expire this month, the deadline has been extended until April 30.

Regional rail service plan update from SEPTA

Beginning today, Regional Rail will operate on an "enhanced Saturday Schedule Service Plan" as SEPTA operates its "Severe Weather Plan" because of the situation with COVID-19. Schedule updates are available here.

If you would like to watch a replay of today's Pennsylvania Department of Health news conference with Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, it is available here.

Stay safe. Stay calm. Stay home. And, if you're able, consider donating blood, donating to food banks or calling on seniors in your community to make sure they have what they need.

For more information about COVID-19 in our community and in our state:

As always, if you have any questions concerning the items in this email or any state matter, don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at (215) 572-5210 or RepMcCarter@pahouse.net.

Sincerely,
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Steve McCarter
Pennsylvania State Representative

Serving Cheltenham Township, Springfield Township and Jenkintown Borough