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COVID-19

Senate Democrats introduce legislative solutions for working families during the COVID-19 outbreak and business closures.

Continue below to view legislation, stay up-to-date on the latest news, find important resources and more.

View Proposed Legislation

PA Senate Democrats & CDFI Network Announce $96 Million in Small Business Grants

Statewide, Pa. – August 10, 2020 – The Pennsylvania CDFI Network and the PA State Senator Democrats today announced $96 million in grant awards under the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program. The small businesses that have been approved for awards span all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

Restaurant & Tavern COVID-19 Assistance

Senators Jim Brewster & Pam Iovino Propose $100 Million COVID-19 Grant Program & Financial Relief Package for PA Restaurants & Taverns

Allegheny County, PA – July 23, 2020 – Today, State Senators Jim Brewster and Pam Iovino announced a comprehensive proposal to provide emergency relief to Pennsylvania’s restaurants and taverns, which have seen significant financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown. The seven-point plan includes a $100 million grant program to retail liquor licensees using federal CARES Act funds, as well as a suite of policy changes to financially benefit these struggling businesses.

“Restaurants and taverns are not only favorite neighborhood destinations and community staples, they are the job creators and the cornerstone of vibrant main streets across Pennsylvania, representing the third-largest sector of the state’s economy – and they are in dire need of assistance,” said Senator Iovino (D – Allegheny & Washington). “As these small business owners struggle to determine if they can hang on, they need to know that there are lifelines available to them. This plan would direct financial relief to this specific retail sector and will help position our Commonwealth for a full and lasting economic recovery.”

“Restaurants, bars and the hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and we have to provide relief,” said Senator Brewster (D – Allegheny & Westmoreland). “Too many bars and restaurants are imperiled, cannot survive under strict mitigation, or have closed their doors putting men and women out of work. We have an obligation and responsibility to move aggressively and provide help now.  The assistance package we are offering today is critical for bars and restaurants and their employees.”

Restaurant & Tavern COVID-19 Assistance Seven Point Plan

Pennsylvania Needs a Just Recovery

pa house dems
pa house dems

The Pennsylvania Senate & House Democratic Caucuses  joined workers for virtual press events “based” across the state to highlight that Pennsylvania needs a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and justice for black lives. These events were able to bring together members of both legislative chambers to discuss the issues that constituents in their regions have brought to them as the major areas that they want to see change and assistance in as we create our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the events below.

Southeastern PA

Hosted by Senator Muth, Senator Santarsiero, Representative Bradford, Representative Comitta and Representative Otten

 Allegheny

Hosted by Senator Costa, Represenative Dermody, Represenative Gainey, Represenative Davis and Represenative Miller

Lehigh / Northeastern PA

Hosted by Represenative Madden, Represenative Pashinski and Represenative Schlossberg

Southeastern PA (Delco)

Hosted by Senator Kearney, Represenative McClinton and Represenative Krueger

June 18 • 10 am

Location: Southeastern PA

Hosted by Senator Muth, Senator Santarsiero, Representative Bradford, Representative Comitta and Representative Otten

Meeting ID: 819 3979 1362
Password: 264672489

Watch Live Stream

June 18 • 11:00 AM

Location: Philadelphia

Hosted by Represenative Harris, Represenative Dawkins and Represenative Rabb

Meeting ID: 976 0394 1503
Password: 075347

June 18 • 2:00 PM

Location: Allegheny

Hosted by Senator Costa, Represenative Dermody, Represenative Gainey, Represenative Davis and Represenative Miller

Meeting ID: 868 9581 3709
Password: 664954553

Watch Live Stream

June 18 • 2:00 PM

Location: Lehigh / Northeastern PA

Hosted by Represenative Madden, Represenative Pashinski and Represenative Schlossberg

Meeting ID: 824 5670 0008
Password: 026015692

June 18 • 3:00 PM

Location: Southeastern PA (Delco)

Hosted by Senator Kearney, Represenative McClinton and Represenative Krueger

Meeting ID: 846 2996 9103
Password: 917287918

Watch Live Stream

COVID-19 Response Priorities

Healthcare System and Protecting Front Line Workers

We are facing unprecedented challenges as we fight the spread of COVID-19. As the country and the world institute policies and procedures on how to keep our communities safe, our front-line workers continue to operate in dangerous working conditions on a daily basis.  Workers in healthcare facilities, public assistance workers and other direct support professionals, first responders and public safety personnel, transportation employees, and other essential retail staff such as grocery store workers, face increased risk to their health as we rely on them to provide life-sustaining services to our communities.

We must provide front-line workers with the tools necessary for maintaining strong mental and physical health and to mitigate the spread of coronavirus on work sites that are still in physical operation.

Our legislation would do so in several ways:

  • Provide emergency funding for safety equipment, including personal protective equipment such as N95 masks, and mental health supports for front line employees;
  • Create clear standards for the implementation of containment control plans in healthcare facilities, including emergency standards and accountability;
  • Prioritize front-line workers in COVID-19 testing;
  • Suspend, or limit, in-person services to the greatest extent possible by shifting to virtual assistance working standards and requiring telemedicine coverage by insurers for public workers classified as essential;
  • Require cleaning standards for workplaces that remain open during this crisis to meet or exceed state and federal standards for COVID-19 prevention.
  • Require employers to adopt social distancing policies by making available more spaces for employees to take their breaks and meal periods.
  • Create the COVID-19 Crisis Fire and EMS grant program to provide an additional, one-time grant to each fire and EMS company agency that has been approved by the PA Emergency Management Agency and the Office of State Fire Commissioner for an annual grant for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Assistance for Working People and Families

As protective measures are implemented statewide to protect our constituents from Covid-19 we must also act to protect all working people them from economic fallout as a result of this crisis. All working people and families deserve to be protected during this time of crisis.

Our legislation would do so in several ways:

  • Emergency paid sick leave for all employees not covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Extending paid sick leave for an additional 4 days to cover the full two-week quarantine period as the federal bill only covers 10 days.
  • The state will cover the additional 1/3 pay rate for those who must take leave to care for a child whose school has closed so employees receive 100% of pay.
  • Extend family medical leave to all employees at 100% wage rate starting immediately upon starting leave to cover the unpaid time under the federal bill and then the additional 1/3 pay to fill the gap for 100% pay rate though the term covered by the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Requiring employers to reinstate workers returning from leave.
  • Provide a presumption that all workers are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if they contract the Coronavirus in the workplace.
  • Ensure that all workers can not be fired for any reason related to the Coronavirus.
  • Require protocols for sterilizing workplaces where known cases of COVID-19 have been identified
  • Ensure that all contract employees of public agencies, including school districts, are compensated for time off during the emergency order.
  • Make it illegal to evict or foreclose on a family suffering unemployment due to an emergency disaster declaration.
  • Ensure that students that are not in school receive continuity of education service and are provided online education opportunities.
  • Ensure receipt of a stimulus check from the Federal government is not included in consideration of an individuals income for purposes of qualifying for social safety nets.
  • Exempt stimulus checks from the Federal government from State and local taxation, making those payments exempt from all levels of taxation.

Economic Stimulus

  • Provide additional working capital availability under the newly created COVID Working Capital Program – access to the current program can be found at https://dced.pa.gov/
  • Making sure that school districts have the resources necessary to educate and fee students in a safe environment, including address toxic buildings
  • Providing resources through PennVest for water utilities, and other utilities, to make infrastructure improvements
  • Provide $100 million to childcare centers to cover administrative expenses, including payroll, and fill the loss of tuition payments from families.
  • Provide $17 million for Pre-K and Head Start to cover administrative expenses, including payroll to compensate for lost co-payments that would otherwise have been collected.
  • Appropriate $50 million to extend Pre-K and Head Start programs into the summer to mitigate early childhood learning losses for students.
  • Create a Common Wealth Fund to all for citizens and businesses to make donations to provide essential services to those in need.

PA Senate Democrats Protecting Pennsylvanians During COVID-19

PA Senate Dems COVID-19 Response Legislation

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Our Members at Work

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COVID-19 Resources

Department of Health Resources

LIVE daily briefings from the PA Department of Health:
pacast.com/live/doh or www.governor.pa.gov/live/ or watch on Facebook

Symptoms & Testing

Stop the Spread

Social Media Resources

FAQs

Fact Sheets & Resources

Global Map

Dept. of Health News

En Español

Below, please find links to state and federal sites that can help you navigate health recommendations, closures, and resources.

Latest State News & Updates

PFBC Responds To Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

​HARRISBURG, Pa (March 26) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) knows that anglers and boaters are ethically minded, passionate outdoor enthusiasts who might have some questions about how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting their favorite activities this...

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Gov. Wolf Announces $50 Million to Fight COVID-19

Governor Tom Wolf announced that he will spend up to $50 million in transferred state funding to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency workers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania. “We need more beds, more...

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Port Authority to Implement New Operational Procedures Beginning Wednesday

Port Authority will temporarily implement new operational procedures to promote physical distancing and help to further reduce the spread of germs and illness during the ongoing global pandemic.  Effective at the start of service on Wednesday, March 25, 2020:

  • Customers will board and exit through the rear doors of buses, away from our drivers. Front door boarding will be reserved for passengers who need the bus to be lowered, to use the ramp or require priority seating.
  • Bus riders will simply show their ConnectCard or other fare product to the operator as they board through the rear doors; cash fares will not be collected due to the restriction. Light rail riders will continue to pay at onboard and offboard fareboxes.
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PennDOT Reopens Additional Rest Areas

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reopening indoor facilities at 23 select rest areas across Pennsylvania to all motorists, including the 13 facilities in critical locations that were reopened March 18 with...

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FAQ’s

During the past few weeks, the PA Senate Democrats have hosted dozens of virtual town halls to provide information, build community and answer question. We wanted to share a few of the most frequently asked questions related to COVID-19.

STAY CALM. STAY SAFE. STAY HOME.