Enforcement Actions Outlined for Non-Compliant Restaurants

Your Update for 5-14-20

*This information is changing quickly, so be sure to check for any updated information.

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Press Conference with Secretary Levine:

At 2:00 p.m. on May 14, Secretary Levine held a press conference to provide an update on the COVID-19 situation, additional guidance and to answer questions.

Secretary Levine gave an update on the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth (+59,636), an increase of 938 cases. COVID-19 is in all of the Commonwealth’s counties. There were 44 deaths new deaths associated with COVID-19 and an additional 231 deaths were reported as a result of the continued data reconciliation, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 4,218.

There are 12,677 residential cases and 1,922 employee cases in 549 long-term care facilities in 44 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 2,896 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing or personal care facilities account for ~68% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania.

According to the Hospital Preparedness Dashboard, 45% of hospital beds, 38% of ICU beds, and ~75% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. A total of 4,217 COVID-19 cases are in Healthcare workers.

County-specific information and a statewide map are available here. You can view the data on infections by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania here.

>> Potential Enforcement Actions to be taken against restaurants offering dine-in services.

You can watch the daily press conference here.

An Update from DC:

CDC released guidance on how to safely reopen parts of the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. Click the links below for guidance on reopening:

COVID-19 Response Package

The House is expected to pass a $3 trillion economic response package tomorrow. Democrats are putting their offer on the table and “invite negotiation,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Senate Republicans have said that this legislation is dead on arrival but are willing to have conversations about future relief packages.

Strategic National Stockpile

President Donald Trump’s administration plans to keep 90 days of medical supplies in the national stockpile. The Strategic National Stockpile will maintain the supplies while additional surge manufacturing is built up. The stockpile will include testing supplies that weren’t maintained in the past. In addition to bolstering the federal storehouse of crucial supplies like ventilators and respirator masks, the president’s plan — being billed as the Strategic National Stockpile 2.0 — calls for entering into contracts with companies to maintain a flow into the stockpiles.

The United States International Development Finance Corporation will provide financing “to key industries producing vital goods and services,” says White House says in statement. IDFC’s CEO may also use authority under the Defense Production Act, in consultation with the secretaries of Defense, HHS, DHS, and the heads of other agencies as deemed appropriate, “for the domestic production of strategic resources needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, or to strengthen any relevant domestic supply chains,” order says.

Senate Intel Committee

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is temporarily handing over his chairmanship of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid a federal investigation into whether he sold stocks after secret briefings on the threat of the coronavirus outbreak. “We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Legislation

The Senate voted 80-16 today on a measure to revive a trio of surveillance authorities in national security investigations after amending it to strengthen the use of independent advisers by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The bill would restore authorization for provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that permit the collection of business and other records of individuals through the FISA court. It also would let the government to get so-called roving wire taps targeting suspects who frequently change phone lines or use “burner devices.”

Business Community:

Governor Wolf’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania:

On April 22, Governor Wolf announced his plan to reopen Pennsylvania, focusing on a regional decision making approach. Along with the previous standards the Governor announced last week, he highlighted that the data-driven decision making process will be done in consultation with Carnegie Mellon University.

Their metrics will focus heavily on a regional approach that is built on a population based incidence rate of 50 new confirmed cases per 100,000 population reported to the department in the previous 14 days.

An example: An area with a population of 800,000 people would need to have fewer than 400 new confirmed cases reported in the past 14 days to meet the target.

The first regions that the administration will target are the north-central and the north-west regions of PA, with a goal of moving them from phase red to phase yellow on May 8.

The three color phases determine when regions are ready to begin easing restrictions on businesses, stay-at-home orders, large gatherings, child care and more. The three phases are red, yellow and green, with the entire state currently in the red phase. Movement between phases will be based on the population incidence rate above.

Red Phase:

The red phase singularly purpose is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures.

  • Life Sustaining Businesses Only
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed

Yellow Phase:

The stated purpose of the yellow phase is begin to power back up the economy, while maintaining social distancing while easing restrictions on certain businesses and travel. However, the Department of Health will maintain strict monitoring over public health data to contain COVID-19. Guidance for businesses in Counties in the Yellow Phase.

  • Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
  • Child Care Open with Worker and Building Safety Orders
  • Stay-at-Home Restrictions Lifted in Favor of Aggressive Mitigation
  • Large Gatherings Prohibited
  • In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only

Green Phase

The green phase should facilitate a return to a “new normal”, by easing most restrictions on stay-at-home orders and business closures. Strict adherence to CDC and Health department guidelines are required, and similar to the yellow phase, monitoring of public health data will continue.

  • All Businesses Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
  • Aggressive Mitigation Orders Lifted
  • All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

The standards previously highlighted by Governor Wolf:

  • Our approach will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopenings in Pennsylvania.
  • We will put forth guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities for assured accountability as we reopen.
  • Reopening necessitates that adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing are available.
  • Reopening requires a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to be deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
  • Protections for vulnerable populations must remain steadfast throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  • Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.

Industry Guidance:

Critical Needs Portals:

The application for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access program is closed. The program reportedly received roughly 900 applications requesting roughly $75 million. The program’s original appropriation was $60 million. A link to the DCED page can be found here. The first round of funding was announced on April 20, you can find information on the funded projects here.

With the application closed for the CWCA, please look into the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program or the Paycheck Projection Program.

You can find the application for the Paycheck Protection Program here.

You can find the application for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, here.

Press Releases:

Department of Agriculture Outlines Order of Restaurant Enforcement Actions, Urges Compliance

May 14, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Agriculture today outlined the order of enforcement actions that would be taken against restaurants offering dine-in services to patrons in violation of Governor Tom Wolf’s March 19 business closure Executive Order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth.

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Safety will enforce this order for retail food facilities under the department’s jurisdiction that are re-opening and offering dine-in services. In Governor Wolf’s plan to reopen Pennsylvania, restaurants in counties in both the red and yellow phases are prohibited from offering dine-in service and are limited to take-out and delivery options only.

Food safety inspectors will follow up on reports of restaurants offering dine-in service in violation of the order. Once confirmed, the following actions will be taken by the department:

  • Warning letter from the Departments of Agriculture and Health;
  • Follow up inspection;
  • If still in violation of the order at follow up inspection, adjudication to suspend the businesses retail food license;
  • If the business continues to operate after license is revoked, citations will be filed with the magisterial district judge;
  • The department may pursue civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day of violation.

You can read the full press release here.

Wolf Administration Launches LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program to Ease Utility Costs for Pennsylvanians Affected by COVID-19 Crisis

May 14, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today announced a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Recovery Crisis Program to help Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Beginning in May, DHS will work with utility companies and deliverable fuel vendors to help Pennsylvanians at risk of losing access to electric, natural gas, or deliverable fuels such as oil, pay utility bills, and maintain access to home energy services.

IHEAP provides assistance for home energy bills, helping ensure continuity of utility and other energy services for low-income Pennsylvanians. Assistance is available for both renters and homeowners. The LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program will offer a crisis benefit and a supplemental payment for households that previously received a crisis payment made directly to utility companies or fuel providers to help offset costs for home utilities.

You can read the full press release here.

Auditor General DePasquale Provides Update on Audit of COVID-19 Business Shutdown Waiver

May 14, 2020

HARRISBURG – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said his audit of the waiver process for businesses that appealed Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 shutdown order is moving forward.

DePasquale announced on April 30 that he would audit the waiver process being managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED).

On March 19, Gov. Wolf ordered that businesses that were not categorized as “life-sustaining” must close their physical locations to help slow the spread of COVID-19, which so far has killed nearly 4,000 people in Pennsylvania and claimed more than 83,000 lives across the United States.  

Read the full press release here.

Wolf Administration Advocates for Senior Feeding Program Flexibilities, Congressional Action Needed to Protect Vulnerable Populations

May 14, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Aging Secretary Robert Torres today penned a letter to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation urging legislative action to enable Pennsylvania’s older adults to access the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program during the mitigation effort.

Typically, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program application and eligibility verification is completed at a senior center or at one of Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging. Distribution of the vouchers also takes place at these locations.  However, since these locations are currently closed to the public, older adults would have difficulty directly accessing this program.

The proposed temporary waiver would allow eligible older adults to complete their application over the phone or electronically, with vouchers mailed directly to their homes.

You can read the full press release here.

Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians to Respond to 2020 Census

May 14, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin reminded all Pennsylvanians to be a good neighbor and respond to the 2020 Census.

Taking time to respond to the 2020 Census now means a Census taker will not need to visit your home later. Beginning May 13, 2020, Census takers will begin a phased restart of on-field operations in the commonwealth by dropping off 2020 Census invitation packets at the front doors of households in areas where the majority of households do not receive mail at their home.

The deadline to respond has been extended from August 14, 2020, to October 31, 2020.

Read the full press release here.

Written by

Ridge Policy Group

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