UPDATE: Lawmakers approved a concurrent resolution last week that requires Governor Wolf to terminate his COVID-19 emergency declaration, clearing the way for businesses to reopen safely statewide. The measure would not affect the state’s ability to receive federal funding or impact the ability of Pennsylvanians to receive unemployment and other federally funded benefits.
To date, the governor has refused to do his Constitutional duty to end the disaster declaration. Senate leaders have petitioned the Commonwealth Court to force the governor to end his emergency declaration. Unfortunately, this means that until the issue is settled in the courts, all of the governor’s current orders remain in effect. However, this could change if the courts rule in favor of ending the declaration. In the meantime, I will continue to share information on the governor’s orders and guidance for informational purposes until the courts weigh in.
In This Update:
Senate Hearings Planned on Turnpike Layoffs, Safe Reopening, Law Enforcement Reforms
Several Senate committees are scheduled to address some of the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania communities this week:
All of the hearings will be streamed live at www.pasenategop.com.
Aument Hosts Zoom Roundtable Discussion with Local Government Officials, Agriculture & Conservation Leaders as Part of ‘Restore & Reimagine PA” Initiative
As part of my Restore & Reimagine PA initiative, I answered questions and gathered feedback from local government leaders representing various municipalities throughout Lancaster County specifically related to issues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
For residents who were unable to watch this discussion live, a recording can be found here. While we covered a number of topics, some highlights included CARES Act funding for Lancaster County, legislation to ensure continuity of operation in local government amidst the changing conditions of the pandemic, impacts of the passage of House Resolution 836, the Lancaster County plan to reopen, and more.
Zoom Roundtable Discussion w/ Lancaster Agriculture & Conservation Community
June 18th, 2020 | 1pm – 2:30pm | Watch LIVE HERE
Residents can view a schedule of other upcoming outreach events as well as video / audio recordings of previous outreach events here.
Finally, as part of the Restore & Reimagine PA initiative, my team and I are in the process of collecting your feedback – your thoughts, your ideas, your challenges, and your solutions – to issues that you see and experience firsthand in your communities, schools, businesses, and families. There are three additional ways that you can submit your feedback to me if you are unable to participate in an outreach event:
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Guidelines Available for COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grants
I supported a law approved by the Senate earlier this month that directs $2.6 billion in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for critical needs that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the new law, a total of $225 million in grants are available for small businesses impacted by the virus.
Funding will be available through three programs:
Eight More Counties Moving to Green Phase of Reopening
Beginning on June 19, a total of 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will be in the green phase of reopening. All counties in the state are now in either the green or yellow phase, and the governor’s stay-at-home order has been lifted for all counties.
The counties moving to green on June 19 are: Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike and Schuylkill. The only counties remaining in the yellow phase past June 19 are: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Susquehanna.
Many businesses in the green phase will operate at a lower capacity with new safety requirements in place, and lower occupancy thresholds are mandated for businesses such as restaurants, bars, personal care services and entertainment venues.
New Guidance Available for Recreational Sports to Resume
Professional, recreational, collegiate, high school and youth sports can now resume statewide under new guidance that was announced last week. The guidance includes screening and monitoring coaches and players for COVID-19 symptoms, bringing individual drinks instead of using water coolers or fixed water fountains, avoiding handshakes and other unnecessary contact, not sharing equipment whenever possible, limiting spectators and developing a plan of action if a coach, athlete or official is diagnosed with the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has also released specific guidance for youth sports organizations, including recommendations to maintain a healthy environment, assess risks and promote practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Information Available for Reopening Museums and Historical Societies
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission recently created a new webpage to share advice for museums, historical societies and preservation organizations that are beginning to reopen after closures related to COVID-19.
The new webpage includes health and safety guidance, funding resources and more.