Senator John Yudichak E-Newsletter

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Stay at Home Order Extended to Nine More Counties — Including Luzerne County

Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised their “Stay at Home” orders to include nine additional counties – Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and York – bringing the state total to 19 counties under a stay-at-home order. This order takes effect at 8:00 PM Friday, March 27, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.

Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following allowable individual activities and allowable essential travel:

  • Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, or the health and safety of their family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medicine or medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home
  • Getting necessary services or supplies for themselves, for their family or household members, or as part of volunteer efforts, or to deliver those services or supplies to others to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences
  • Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at a life-sustaining business
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household
  • Any travel related to the provision of or access to the above-mentioned individual activities or life-sustaining business activities
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from an outside jurisdiction
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the commonwealth
  • Anyone performing life-sustaining travel does not need paperwork to prove the reason for travel.

The following operations are exempt:

  • Life-sustaining business activities
  • Health care or medical services providers
  • Access to life-sustaining services for low-income residents, including food banks
  • Access to child care services for employees of life-sustaining businesses that remain open as follows: child care facilities operating under the Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning waiver process; group and family child care operating in a residence; and part-day school age programs operating under an exemption from the March 19, 2020 business closure Orders
  • News media
  • Law enforcement
  • The federal government
  • Religious institutions

Department of Labor and Industry Offers Info on New Paid Family and Medical Leave Requirements

As part of a new federal law to respond to the coronavirus, certain employers will be required to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for absences related to COVID-19. Wages paid under the new law will be reimbursed to business owners on a dollar-for-dollar basis through business tax credits.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has created a webpage to help employers and employees better understand the new requirements. Fact sheets for employers and employees, answers to frequently asked questions and other helpful links are available here.

The state Senate also approved a package of bills this week to move the state forward during the current public health emergency, including measures to provide emergency changes to the state’s Unemployment Compensation law, provide additional funding for medical supplies and equipment, postpone the state’s primary election, and update the School Code to waive certain mandates.

Reminder: Resources Available for Employees Impacted by COVID-19 Mitigation

Efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus have created a major disruption in the lives of many Pennsylvania workers. Many employees who are unable to work or have reduced hours as a result of COVID-19 are now eligible for Unemployment Compensation. Affected employees can learn more about how to apply for Unemployment Compensation online here.

Claimants no longer have to wait a week to apply, and all work search and work registration requirements have been temporarily waived.

Information is also available for individuals who are dealing with job loss related to COVID-19 and have lost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. Information on getting coverage through the state health insurance marketplace is available at

All children in Pennsylvania can receive coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Details about CHIP are available at Depending on household income, Medicaid may also be an option for adults who need health insurance coverage. More information on Medicaid is available here.

Food Services Available for Families Affected by Public Health Emergency

Efforts are in place to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to food as the state steps up its COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Pennsylvanians can contact local food banks or pantries through Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, and the Department of Human Services is continuing to process applications and benefit renewals for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Pennsylvanians can apply for SNAP online at

The Department of Agriculture has provided resources for Pennsylvanians to access emergency food assistance during COVID-19 mitigation, including locations of food banks and food pantries that are assisting individuals and families during this time. Both departments are calling on healthy individuals to volunteer with a local food bank or other community agencies.

The emergency Feeding Taskforce, a panel of state agencies, charitable food networks, food retailers and others, is working to match available resources with communities in need. Businesses with resources to help feed and shelter Pennsylvanians are encouraged to fill out this survey. Anyone in need of food should complete this survey so the task force can direct resources where they are needed.

PA’s REAL ID Enforcement Date Delayed Until October 2021

The deadline for Pennsylvania to comply with the federal government’s REAL ID identification standards has been extended by one year to October 1, 2021.

The federal REAL ID law imposes tougher identification standards on state-issued driver licenses and photo identification cards. The new standards were originally designed to take effect on October 1 of this year, but the COVID-19 public health emergency cut into the amount of time Pennsylvanians had to purchase an optional REAL ID license.

PennDOT’s driver and photo license centers have been closed since March 16.

Pennsylvanians are not required to purchase a REAL ID, but beginning on October 1, 2021, normal state driver licenses and ID cards will no longer be considered a valid form of identification for the purposes of boarding a commercial flight or visiting a secure federal building, such as a federal courthouse.

More information about REAL ID is available here.

New Web Portal Will Help Medical Supplies Get to Healthcare Providers

To ensure healthcare providers can safely treat patients during the COVID-19 outbreak, lawmakers approved a bill this week that provides up to $50 million toward the purchase of critical medical supplies and equipment. A new web portal will provide a convenient and efficient way for manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers to get these supplies into the hands of healthcare facilities and workers quickly.

A complete list of medical equipment needed – including surgical masks, respirators, ventilators and other hospital supplies – is available on the web portal here, as well as procurement forms for interested businesses. Links will also be available for businesses that wish to donate goods and services for distribution, as well as organizations that have additional capacity to manufacture and supply goods that are critical to healthcare providers.

Trout Fishing Opening Day Set for April 18, Social Distancing Encouraged

Although many large events and activities have been postponed or canceled throughout the country, local anglers can still look forward to the beginning of trout season on April 18. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is operating under modified procedures to ensure all Pennsylvanians can enjoy one of the state’s favorite pastimes.

The statewide opening day for trout fishing will be April 18; there will not be an earlier regional opening day this year. Trout stocking will still be completed by PFBC on an accelerated schedule. In order to safeguard public health, no volunteers will be permitted to help stock trout this year.

Anglers are encouraged to keep a distance of at least 6 feet between themselves and other people, avoid large crowds and carpooling, and clean all equipment thoroughly. More information is available here.

Want to Help Patients in Need? Consider Donating Blood

The first few weeks of COVID-19 mitigation measures led to the cancelation of many scheduled blood drives at schools and workplaces throughout the country. As a result, the American Red Cross is now experiencing a critical shortage of blood and platelets for patients in need.

Community residents who are able to donate blood can find the closest scheduled event here. Please check back frequently and search 7-15 days out for newly scheduled blood drives.

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