Gov. Wolf Announces new $225 mil Grant Program for Small Businesses

Your Update for 6-08-20

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Press Conference with Governor Wolf:

At 1:30 pm on June 8, Governor Wolf held a press conference to introduce a new program to help small businesses recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19.

Governor Wolf announced a new $225 million grant program for small business impacted by COVID-19. The funding comes from the recently passed 5 month interim budget, which appropriated $2.6 billion from the CARES Act. Businesses can use these funds for operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance.

The funding is available for businesses through three programs.

  1. $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program, which helps small businesses that experienced losses due to the Governor’s shutdown order. As well, the funding supports businesses with their opening transition, and the technical assistance needed to open.
  • $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program. This program is specifically funding businesses in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own 51% or more interest, and control management and daily business operations.
  • $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which would assist Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) funds in providing payment relief for businesses. This program aims to bring stability to these organizations.

The funding for this program will be distributed to CDFI’s across the commonwealth, who will then administer the program

Press Conference with Secretary Levine:

At 3:30 pm on June 8, Secretary Levine held a press conference to provide an update on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, and ongoing nursing home efforts.

Secretary Levine announced that the Wolf Administration has issued a universal testing order for all nursing homes in Pennsylvania, and to complete the baseline testing by July 24. As well, an updated guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities and Healthcare Personnel was released.

Secretary Levine announced the launch of an enhanced dashboard for Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 data, and announced a new emergency preparedness vendor to assist in preparations for a potential resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall.

Secretary Levinegave an update on the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth (+75.943), an increase of 351 cases. COVID-19 is in all of the Commonwealth’s counties. There were 10 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 5,953. There were 620 positive serology tests, which are counted as probable cases of COVID-19, and not confirmed cases.

There are 16,167 residential cases and 2,807 employee cases in 615 long-term care facilities in 45 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 4,094 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing and personal care facilities account for ~68% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania. Long-Term Care Facilities Dashboard.

71% of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 in Pennsylvania have recovered, 56% of individuals in Long-term care facilities, and 78% of the employees in LTCs have recovered.

According to the Hospital Preparedness Dashboard, 45% of hospital beds, 38% of ICU beds, and ~77% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. A total of 5,742 COVID-19 cases are in healthcare workers.

LESSONS IN LOBBYING: WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS



June 18 @ 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm EDT

We invite you to join the Ridge Policy Group at the University City Science Center’s Venture Cafe Virtual Event on June 18 at 4:00 PM

Every Thursday, Venture Cafe Philadelphia hosts a free and inclusive community gathering that provides programming on different topics important to business owners. 

We are honored to join Venture Cafe to give an insider’s look on ways that lobbyists influence policy making, why advocacy is important to businesses and entrepreneurs, and how government affairs has changed from the days of 9/11 to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Update from DC:
 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Last week, President Trump signed legislation to make changes to the PPP. SBA, in consultation with Treasury, will promptly issue rules and guidance, a modified borrower application form, and a modified loan forgiveness application implementing these legislative amendments to the PPP.  These modifications will implement the following changes: 

  • Extend the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks after the date of loan disbursement, providing substantially greater flexibility for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness.  Borrowers who have already received PPP loans retain the option to use an eight-week covered period.
  • Lower the requirements that 75 percent of a borrower’s loan proceeds must be used for payroll costs and that 75 percent of the loan forgiveness amount must have been spent on payroll costs during the 24-week loan forgiveness covered period to 60 percent for each of these requirements. If a borrower uses less than 60 percent of the loan amount for payroll costs during the forgiveness covered period, the borrower will continue to be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, subject to at least 60 percent of the loan forgiveness amount having been used for payroll costs. 
  • Provide a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees for borrowers that are unable to return to the same level of business activity the business was operating at before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements or guidance issued between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, related to worker or customer safety requirements related to COVID–19.
  • Provide a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees, to provide protections for borrowers that are both unable to rehire individuals who were employees of the borrower on February 15, 2020, and unable to hire similarly qualified employees for unfilled positions by December 31, 2020.
  • Increase to five years the maturity of PPP loans that are approved by SBA (based on the date SBA assigns a loan number) on or after June 5, 2020.
  • Extend the deferral period for borrower payments of principal, interest, and fees on PPP loans to the date that SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender (or, if the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, 10 months after the end of the borrower’s loan forgiveness covered period).
  • In addition, the new rules will confirm that June 30, 2020, remains the last date on which a PPP loan application can be approved.

Appropriations Timeline

House appropriators will turn their focus to fiscal 2021 spending bills soon, marking up bills and taking them to the floor in July. The House Appropriations Committee will hold subcommittee and full committee markups the weeks of July 6 and 13, Lowey said. She expects floor votes the weeks of July 20 and 27.

Police Reform Bill

House and Senate Democrats proposed a police overhaul bill today. The Justice in Policing Act would change the definition of criminal misconduct for police, so instead of “willfully” violating constitutional rights, an officer could be charged after doing so with knowing or reckless disregard. It would also curtail “qualified immunity” that broadly shields police officers from being held liable for civil damages for rights violations in civil lawsuits.

The bill faces an unclear path through the Senate or the White House. Senate Majority Leader McConnell hasn’t ruled out Republican backing for some type of police reform legislation. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the Democratic proposal to overhaul immunity provisions for police is a “non-starter.” She said at a briefing today that Trump is “appalled” by the movement to defund police forces, saying he believes U.S. law enforcement is the best in the world.

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.

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. There are currently 0 counties in Phase Red

  • 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. There are currently 33 counties in Phase Yellow. On June 12, an additional 12 counties will move into Phase Green.

  • 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. There are currently 34 counties in Phase Green.

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.

Guidance for Pennsylvania:

Critical Needs Portals:

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:

Gov. Wolf: Enhanced Dashboard Launched that Highlights Demographic, Testing and Reopening Data

June 08, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that his administration launched an enhanced dashboard to pull Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 data and information together to inform Pennsylvanians. The dashboard further enhances data on demographics of cases, demographics of deaths and the reopening status.

The dashboard includes eight different tabs:

  • Pennsylvania case data;
  • County data – with a dropdown menu for specific counties;
  • Case data by ZIP code;
  • Hospital preparedness information;
  • Case demographic information, including cases by gender, ethnicity, age and race;
  • Death demographic information, including deaths by gender, ethnicity, race, age and deaths by place;
  • Testing information; and
  • Reopening status information.

Wolf Administration Issues Universal Testing Order for Nursing Homes, Updates Testing Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

June 08, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today issued a universal testing order requiring all nursing homes to complete initial baseline testing no later than July 24. Additionally, the department issued updated testing guidance to all long-term care facilities (LTCFs) through the Health Alert Network (HAN).

Between May 11 and May 26 the department implemented a universal testing pilot project in five LTCFs across the commonwealth. The department is also working closely with additional facilities to implement universal testing by providing testing supplies, access to the Bureau of Laboratories and staffing support through the National Guard to train and assist with swabbing.

Thus far, over 75 LTCFs completed widespread testing, and the number of tests in LTCFs has increased 48 percent over the last two weeks, bringing the percent of positive cases in this population to its lowest level since the start of the outbreak.

Additionally, the department shared further information on the testing requirements and frequently asked questions on order.

The updated testing guidance the department issued to all long-term care facilities brings a renewed focus on:

  • Keeping COVID-19 out of the facility by testing all staff and residents;
  • Detecting cases quickly with facility-wide testing when a new case in a resident or health care professional is found; and
  • Stopping the spread by continuing weekly testing of all residents and staff through at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.

Gov. Wolf Announces $225 Million Grant Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

June 08, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf today announced a $225 million statewide grant program to support small businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis and subsequent business closure order.

The funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the recently enacted state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funds to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which will then administer the funding in the form of grants.

The funds will be available through three programs:

  • $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19;
  • $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.
  • $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios.

Wolf Administration Selects Health Care Emergency Preparedness Vendor to Assist in Preparations for Fall Resurgence of COVID-19

June 08, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today announced it has selected Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) of Philadelphia as its health care emergency preparedness vendor, effective July 8, 2020.

This agreement is part of the department’s annual federal health preparedness grant.

Health care coalitions (HCC) are a formal collaboration among health care organizations and public and private partners that are organized to prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency, mass casualty or catastrophic event. The key components include comprehensive health care membership; regional presence developed within states/territories to cover larger geographic areas; and preparedness capability operationalization through plans, exercises, trainings, response, and after-action reports.

Department of Aging: Department of Aging releases survey for public input on its four-year State Plan on Aging.

June 08, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging today released a survey for the general public and community stakeholders to provide input on the department’s strategies and priorities as part of the process of completing a State Plan on Aging for 2020-2024. The brief survey asks respondents to prioritize services and quality-of-life issues that are most meaningful to them in ensuring age-friendly communities across the commonwealth over the next four years. Adults aged 60 and over are strongly encouraged to take the survey. It is available in English and Spanish on the Department of Aging’s website now through June 21 and can be completed on a computer, tablet or smart phone.

Written by

Ridge Policy Group

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