In This Update:
Luzerne County COVID-19 Regional Enforcement Partnership Update
One week ago, the Lower South Valley Council of Governments (LSVCOG), the Mountain Council of Governments (MCOG) and I announced the creation of the COVID-19 Regional Code Enforcement Partnership to ensure companies still operating under Governor Wolf’s life-sustaining protocols in Luzerne County are following state and federal COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
The COVID-19 Regional Code Enforcement Partnership’s purpose is to Inform, Enforce and Report. The LSVCOG and the MCOG have built regional inspection teams from their member communities that have coordinated random inspections of businesses in our region’s industrial parks.
To date, a total of 293 concerns were submitted to the partnership website LuzerneCovid.com. There have been a total of 102 onsite visits performed by code enforcement teams from both the Lower South Valley Council of Governments and the Mountain Council of Governments.
To learn more about the partnership, click here: https://senatoryudichak.com/2020/04/16/senator-yudichak-announces-update-on-covid-19-regional-enforcement-partnership-in-luzerne-county/
Senate Approves Senate Bills 327 and 613
Yesterday the Senate passed Senate Bills 327 and 613, which I supported. The legislation passed simply advances the idea that all three branches of state government — the executive, the legislative, and the judicial should be working in tandem to meet the needs of every community and every citizen in the Commonwealth. The unique challenge of the COVID-19 crisis is not an open-ended opportunity for the executive branch to make unilateral decisions that exclude representatives from the legislative and judicial branches of government.
To restore local control, Senate Bill 327 would give county governments the option to develop and implement their own plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, following CISA guidelines. Under the bill, businesses already identified as essential could continue to operate. However, counties would also be given the authority to develop plans to allow other industries to operate if it is safe to do so.
Senate Bill 613 would require the governor to create clear guidelines for businesses to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that are able to operate safely under the new guidelines would be permitted to re-open so long as they comply with mitigation strategies.
The bill would require COVID-19 mitigation plans to be developed by the Wolf Administration based on guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
New Guidance and Training Available for Personal Care Home and Assisted Living Facilities
Educational support and new guidelines will help Pennsylvania’s more than 1,200 personal care homes and assisted living residences better protect patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Human Services offers guidance to keep residents and staff safe, including measures to address dining and scheduled activities, visitation, health screenings for staff, infection control procedures and more. Full guidance from the department is available here.
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation also offers weekly webinars on timely topics like infection control best practices and proper use of personal protective equipment. More information on these and other educational materials are available at www.tomorrowshealthcare.org.
COVID-19 Crisis Line Available for First Responders, Healthcare Workers
The increased stress caused by COVID-19 affects all Pennsylvanians, but our first responders and healthcare workers face even greater pressures in helping the state respond to this public health emergency. Magellan Health recently opened a free national crisis line for all first responders and healthcare professionals who are serving on the front lines of the pandemic.
The hotline is open 24 hours a day and connects callers directly to licensed mental health clinicians for support. The toll-free number is 1-800-327-7451 (TTY 711).
New Web Portal Features Info on Employment Opportunities During COVID-19 Business Closures
Although many businesses across the state remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, other employers in life-sustaining industries are hiring workers immediately for thousands of critical roles. A new web portal has been created to help connect displaced workers with new employment opportunities in home health care, shipping, distribution, manufacturing and other industries.
People seeking employment immediately can learn more about available job opportunities through PA CareerLink’s new online COVID-19 job portal. Life-sustaining businesses can feature job openings by submitting an online form here.
COVID-19 Resource Guide for Senior Citizens Now Online
An online COVID-19 resource guide to help older adults find useful information related to their health, safety and well-being is now available.
The guide is available on the state Department of Aging’s website under “COVID-19 Resource Guide for Older Adults” and provides older adults, their families and caregivers with information on a variety of subjects, including meals, prescriptions, protective services, scams, and how to stay active and connected.
Accelerated Sales Tax Prepayments Waived for Three Months
Businesses will not need to make accelerated Sales Tax prepayments over the next three months. Instead, businesses will only need to remit the sales tax they collected in the prior month.
More information on this requirement is available here.
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