Coping with COVID-19

 
BREAKING  

You can still apply to vote from home for the June primary election. Get an application by clicking here. Information on elections in Philadelphia, including new city polling places can be found by clicking here.

Gov. Wolf will add 13 counties moving into “yellow” status today, including Allegheny County.  For more about zones and upcoming plans, click here.

Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board is opening a limited number of Wine and Spirits stores for instore sales and curbside pickup. For more information click here.

There are still a few programs left open with loans and grants for small businesses, including PPP. For info, click here.

Stores are being ordered to refuse service to customers not wearing masks.  Click here for more info.  For instructions on how to make you own mask, click here.

 

COVID-19 Phased Reopening in PA

 
Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall – May 15

 

Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall – May 8

 
Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall – May 1

 

Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall – April 24

 

Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall – March 27

 

Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall – March 20

 

 

The Philadelphia COVID-19 helpline is: 800-722-7112

The City of Philadelphia has a resource page for information about the local response to COVID-19, click here to visit the page.

The PA Department of Health
The PA Department of Health is the best one-stop resource for COVID-19 information. Click here to learn more.

For more on state government action and resources, click here.


Contact My District Office

My staff is available by email and phone to provide service from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Please email farnese@pasenate.com for service or leave a voicemail at 215-952-3121 (Philadelphia) or 717-787-5662 (Harrisburg) with detailed information on your concern and your contact information.

Help for Businesses

Businesses that collect Pennsylvania sales tax will not have to make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) prepayments in April, May or June, the Department of Revenue has announced. That means businesses that normally have a monthly prepayment requirement will not be charged penalties for missing the prepayment deadline during this three-month period. Click here for info.

Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation has a web page with an overview of help available for businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.  Click here.

With hundreds of requests coming in, the governor’s office continues its review of waiver applications, CLICK HEREReport your business closure:  Ra-dcedcs@pa.gov  Visit www.dced.pa.gov or call 1-866-466-397  for information.

Many PA businesses are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration. These loans offer up to $2 million with long-term payments.  Click here for more info,  or call the number above.

The Philadelphia Department of Commerce is taking a survey to gather information to map out a response.   Click here to take the survey.

Pennsylvania’s Small Business Development Centers is conducting webinars to guide business owners through the Small Business Associations emergency loan program.  Click here for info.

PIDC is hosting webinars to help small businesses navigate the coronavirus economy.  Click here for schedules.  And click here to see reruns of previous webinars.

If you missed one of the PIDC webinars for small businesses, you can catch reruns. Click here.

A complete overview of funding opportunities for small businesses can be found here.

Help for Workers

Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry has created an online job portal connecting displaced workers with essential business that are hiring. Click here.

If your income is affected by business closure related to COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment and online application.  PA is waiving certain waiting periods and urging online applications. For information, click here.

The federal CARES Act provides unemployment benefits for gig workers and independent contractors, but is requiring a new and different application which is not yet available.  To keep updated on when you should apply, click here.

Rep. Joe Hohenstein and I have introduced Emergency Sick Pay legislation that will fill the gaps and expand the federal aid bill passed by the U.S. Congress.   It will also prevent you from being fired or laid off for self-isolation.  

The Public Utility Commission has ordered a stop to all utility service terminations. Click here for info.

The Supreme Court has halted all evictions and non-essential court functions until at least April 30.  Click here for info.  If you believe you are being wrongfully evicted, you can file a complaint by clicking here.

United Way of Pennsylvania COVID-19 Resource Page – Click here
One-stop shop for resources most relevant and helpful to the general public during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Updated daily.

Online search of PA 211 Resources Database – Click here
A way for anyone to search for the resources they need, when they need them, in their community. This self-guided search is tied to the 211 resource database and is the most up-to-date information 211 has.

COVID-19 Nonprofit Resources Hub – Click here

United Way of Pennsylvania has created a resource hub which is tailored to nonprofits and organizations responsible for providing health and human

PA has launched a new toll-free support line. The number to call: 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600. It will be staffed around the clock.

Our unemployment system is understaffed and struggling to keep up with the volume of claims. At the same time, the Department of Labor and Industry is trying to implement the federal guidelines for the CARES act, including help for gig workers. You can keep track of the progress and find out when gig workers can apply for unemployment by clicking here.

Unemployment Compensation

Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation system continues to see glitches due to high volume of use. Go to PA Department of Labor website frequently to see their instructions on workarounds.

If your income is affected by business closure related to COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment and online application.  PA is waiving certain waiting periods and urging online applications. For information https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx

Workers can get information on the latest unemployment news here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx

 

How to Get Tested for COVID-19

The testing site at Citizens Bank Park has been closed by FEMA. The PA Department of Health has put together guidelines to follow for getting tested. To view the guidelines and for more information, click here.

Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health also provides information on testing and services.  Click here.

 

How to get tested

Teaching Children About COVID-19

Children may feel frightened, overwhelmed, and traumatized from what they are hearing and seeing about COVID-19. The American Academy of Pediatrics and NASP have put together ways we can help reduce their fears and help them feel safe. For more information and details, click here.

Talking to Children About COVID-19

School Closures and Meals

NEW: The legislature passed a bill that guarantees educators, bus drivers, and other school employees won’t take a hit to their salaries or pension benefits while schools are out of session.  It also waives the requirement that schools provide 180 days of instruction each year.

Philadelphia will provide food for families two days a week. Sites are open Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Residents can pick up one box per household. Supplies will last up to five days. Residents do not need to present an ID or proof of income for eligibility. For more information, click here.

PA’s Department of Human Services has created a map of child-care centers that have received waivers to operate during the Covid-19 crisis.  Click here to see it.

For times and locations of meal distribution.  Click here.

All schools in the School District of Philadelphia til further notice.

The district is coordinating with the city’s Office of Children and Families, Parks & Recreation, and many other departments and nonprofit partners to provide meal service and activities in safe spaces throughout the city.

To find meal distribution times and locations, click here.

SEPTA Updates

SEPTA is enacting new “Lifeline” schedules of operation. Click here for details.

SEPTA

Until further notice, SEPTA Key Senior & Reduced Fare Card processing programs at SEPTA Headquarters and the Accessible Travel Center at Suburban Station will be closed, and all replacement cards will be handled by mail.  For more information on COVID-19 and public transit visit: COVID-19 Tips to Fight Flu and Colds.

Taxes

The federal tax deadline has been moved back to July 15. For information about your federal taxes, click here.

PA is also moving tax deadlines for individuals and businesses, as well as extending the deadline for the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program. For information on state tax changes, click here.

Professional Licensure

Pennsylvania’s Department of State is waiving some licensure requirements, from health-care workers to barbers. Click here for details.

PUCPublic Utilities

Public utilities are also making COVID related closures and adjustments. For information on PGW visit PGWORKS.COM/RESIDENTIAL/COVID-19. For information on other utilities, click here.

Price Gouging and Scams

COVID-19 isn’t the only virus spreading. Scammers are already at work trying to use this crisis as a way to steal your personal information.  Don’t click on email links unless you’re sure of the sender and visit www.attorneygeneral.gov for more information.

If you think someone is price gouging over the pandemic, you can email Pricegouging@attorneygeneral.gov.

The PA Department of Health

The PA Department of Health is the best one-stop resource for COVID-19 information. Click here to learn more.

Travel

The PA Turnpike is suspending cash and credit card toll payments.  Travelers must use EZPass or receive a bill in the mail.  For more information click here.

Drivers Licences and Registration

PennDOT has closed all in-person service centers, but March expirations have been extended.  For more information, click here.

Information on Elections

Information on elections in Philadelphia, including new city polling places can be found by clicking here.

NEW: The House and Senate passed a bill moving Pennsylvania’s primary election from April 28 to June 2. The bill also will allow county election boards to move poll workers outside of their home precincts, consolidate polling places, and allow establishments that sell alcohol to host polling places. 

You can still apply to vote from home for the June  primary election. Get an application by clicking here.

 


Pets

The CDC says there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19. If you are home for social distancing, you can interact as you normally do.  However, if you suspect you have contracted the virus, you should avoid extended contact. 

Also, officials are working on plans for shelters an pets made homeless during the crisis.

For more information, see the links below.

The Department of Agriculture has issued guidance for pet owners, shelters and kennels.  Click here for info.


How You Can Help

So many Philadelphians have called in asking how they can help during this crisis.  Here are a few ways. 

Philadbunance is taking donations and seeking volunteers to continue their mission of fighting hunger.  It’s only going to get more important.  CLICK HERE

The Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps, a city-sponsored organization that trains volunteers for medical crises is seeking volunteers.  CLICK HERE

With blood drives shut down, donations are badly needed. CLICK HERE

The PHL COVID-19 Fund is collecting funds to support the local community. CLICK HERE

Angelfood needs volunteers. Click here.

If you want to volunteer for emergency disaster response efforts, consider SERVPA, a secure, confidential volunteer registry site. Registering through SERVPA simply says that you are open to the idea of volunteering in case of an emergency.  Click here to register.

Jefferson Health System is accepting donations of badly needed medical supplies.  If you, or your organization, can help click here.

Visit Philadelphia’s food donation website, click here.


Hate Crimes

Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic is being exploited by bigots who are trying to falsely blame Asian Americans and other immigrants and visitors.  This is unfounded, unacceptable and unamerican.  If you think you are the victim of a hate crime, call 911. For non-emergencies call 215-686-4670 or the anonymous hotline at 215-686-2856.  Click here for information on hate crimes and discrimination in Philadelphia.