Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Authored By: Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network
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Here are some sources of information compiled by Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network regarding the evolving situation surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information:
- Centers for Disease Control and Preventions
- PA Department of Health
- Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania
- Legal Aid:
Most program offices in the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) have stopped accepting walk-in clients pending the current COVID-19 crisis.
You can apply for legal aid by telephone or online through the program serving your county. You can locate your local legal aid office using the PLAN Program Provider list at https://palegalaid.net/legal-aid-providers-in-pa. Online applications, where available, can be made through the individual program websites.
Latest from the Governor's Office:
March 28, 2020
Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine have revised their “Stay at Home” orders to include Beaver, Centre and Washington counties, bringing the state total to 22 counties under a stay-at-home order. This order takes effect at 8:00 PM Saturday, March 28, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020.
The order now includes these 22 counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties.
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, emergency medical services personnel, firefighters
- The federal government
- Religious institutions
Individuals experiencing homelessness are not subject to this order but are strongly urged to find shelter and government agencies are urged to take steps needed to provide shelter for those individuals.
International students, foster youth, and any other students who would otherwise experience displacement or homelessness as a result of campus closures are exempt and may remain in campus housing.
At this time, law enforcement will be focused on ensuring that residents are aware of the order and informing the public of social distancing practices rather than enforcement. To report a noncompliant business, contact your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number or the nearest Pennsylvania State Police station. Please do not call 911 or the Department of Community and Economic Development to file reports. Law enforcement officers should refer to Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance available online.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/.
March 22, 2020:
- Enforcement of business closures will begin at 8:00 a.m., Monday, March 23.
- Provided closure enforcement guidance to law enforcement.
- All non-life-sustaining businesses must close to slow the spread of COVID-19
- Pennsylvania k-12 schools closed with guidance provided.
- Postponing in-person events that consist of 10 people or more throughout the United States.
- Discretion for religious leaders in holding services.
- No-visitor policies at all State correctional facilities and nursing homes to ensure the safety of inmates, residents, staff and visitors.
- Restricted-visitor policies in state centers.
- Restricted-visitor policies in assisted living and personal care homes.
March 19, 2020:
Governor Tom Wolf has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. today, March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21.
- Pennsylvania Courts:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has entered an Order directing that all Pennsylvania courts – including trial and intermediate appellate courts – are closed to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 3, 2020.
The statewide court closure also includes magisterial district courts, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Arraignment Division.
In addition, the Court has suspended all time calculations and deadlines relevant to court cases or other judicial business through April 3, 2020. The Court has also authorized and encouraged the use of advanced communication technology to conduct emergency court proceedings.
For additional information about proceeding in your local courts visit the UJS Coronavirus Information page at http://www.pacourts.us/ujs-coronavirus-information.
Additional information on local courts can be found on the local court website. These can be located using the locator at http://www.pacourts.us/courts/courts-of-common-pleas/individual-county-courts.
As part of its Order closing the Pennsylvania Courts, the Supreme Court directed that, during the period encompassed by the Order or the judicial emergency, whichever is longer, no officer, official, or other person employed by the Pennsylvania Judiciary at any level shall effectuate an eviction, ejectment, or other displacement from a residence based upon the failure to make a rent, loan, or other similar payment.
- Federal Legislation
President Donald Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18, 2020. The law will go into effect 15 days after it was signed.
Many people will be eligible for two weeks of sick leave at their regular pay rate to either quarantine, or to seek a COVID-19 diagnosis or preventive care for themself.
Additionally, you may also be eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave at no less than two-thirds your regular pay rate if you are caring for a family member with a COVID-19 diagnosis, or to care for a child whose school or daycare has closed as a result of coronavirus concerns.
An expanded Family and Medical Leave Act will also provide government employees and those who have worked for companies with fewer than 500 employees for at least 30 days with 10 weeks of emergency paid leave to care for children whose schools or daycare facilities were closed.
Click here for a more complete summary of what is covered under the law.
- Employees - Unemployment Conpensation/Workers Compensation:
- Information for Pennsylvania Employees Impacted by COVID-19 (PA Department of Labor & Industry)
- Unemployment Compensation and COVID-19 (Philadelphia Legal Assistance)
- COVID-19 - OSHA Safety Standards and Directives
- Food Insecurity and Help/Meals:
- How to Access Emergency Food Asssitance During COVID-19 Mitigation (PA Dept. of Agriculture)
- Wolf Administration Directs Families to Emergency Food Assistance During COVID-19 Mitigation. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding issued guidance for accessing emergency food assistance for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger due to measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- School Meals: Pennsylvania sought and received approval from the Federal government to allow schools the option to distribute meals at no cost while schools are closed. More information on Meals for Children.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Pennsylvanians are encouraged to use DHS’ online applications and resources at http://www.compass.state.pa.us/ to apply for benefits.
- Medical Insurance, Medical Assistance and Prescription Drug Information:
- Insurance Coverage and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (PA Department of Health)
- Community Legal Services flyer
- PACE Pharmacy Program Offers Prescription Extensions during COVID-19 Mitigation Effort
- All Schools Statewide Will Remain Closed Through At Least April 6, 2020.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance and Resources for School Communities
- School Guidance - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (PA Department of Education)
- Social Security Administration
- Tax Day now July 15: Treasury, IRS extend filing deadline and federal tax payments regardless of amount owed
- Pennsylvania Extends Personal Income Tax Return Filing Deadline to July 15, 2020
- Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Application Deadline Extended to End of Year
- Utility Terminations
- Public Utility Commission Press Release: PUC Prohibits Utility Terminations, Consistent with Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency
- Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association Guidance to Municipal Authorities During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Consumer Protection/Scams
- Coronavirus Scams (Federal Trade Commission)
- PA Attorney General: AG Shapiro Creates Consumer Tool to Combat Coronavirus Price Gouging
- U.S. Department of Justice - COVID-19 Fraud
- Community Preparedness and Procedures Materials - a library of free outreach materials for businesses, organizations and anyone interested in displaying important messaging on COVID-19.