Coronavirus
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Telephone Town Hall - Tuesday, April 14th at 6:20 pm

Topic: COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS

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Federal Stimulus Package
‘Putting Workers First’

Federal COVID-19 Stimulus PackageA bipartisan, robust third COVID-19 bill that will immediately bolster our health care response and our economy.

Unemployment Insurance: ($260 billion)

A massive investment in the UI program as well as critical reforms to make the program more effective for workers. In the wake of the economic recession caused by the coronavirus the UI program is an essential a long-term lifeline for millions of workers during this crisis.

  • Full Paycheck Replacement: $600 increase for every American, which equates to 100 percent of wages for the average American without a paycheck struggling through the Crisis
  • Waiving Waiting Weeks: Gets money in people’s pockets sooner by providing federal incentives for states to eliminate waiting weeks.
  • Extension of Benefits: An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits are immediately be made available.
  • Expanding Access: Allow part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers to access UI benefits.

Marshall Plan For Our Health System ($150 billion)

An unprecedented and historic investment for our health care system in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The new $150 billion fund is widely available to all types of hospitals and providers most affected by COVID-19, and it will be available to fund whatever is needed to defeat this virus.

This includes:

  • Equipment and Infrastructure: Personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, new construction to house patients, emergency operation centers and more.
  • Enhanced Health Investments: Additional funding is also dedicated to delivering Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and providers to ensure that they receive the funding they need during this crisis, and new investments in our country’s Strategic National Stockpile, surge capacity and medical research into COVID-19.

Robust Worker and Transparency Protections on Government Loans

  • No stock buybacks or dividends for the length of any loan provided by the Treasury plus 1 year.
  • Restrictions on any increases to executive compensation.
  • Protect collective bargaining agreements.
  • Real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the Act, including terms of loans, investments or other assistance to corporations.
  • Prohibition on businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments getting loans or investments from Treasury programs.
  • Creation of Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to provide oversight of Treasury loans and investments and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to protect taxpayer dollars. • Creation of a Congressional Oversight Commission to enhance legislative oversight of pandemic response.

 

Small Business Rescue Plan ($377 billion)

  • $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs. • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.


Protected Over 2 Million Aviation Industry Jobs

  • Democrats secured direct payroll payments to keep millions of airline workers on the job and receiving paychecks.
  • Airline companies will be prohibited from stock buybacks and dividends for the entire life of the grant plus one year.
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements negotiated by workers will be protected.


Increased Direct Payments to Working Americans

  • Democrats fought to double cash payments to the working class Americans from $600 to $1,200
  • An additional $500 cash payment is available per child.
  • The full payment is available for individuals making up to $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (married).
  • The value begins decreasing and then phases out completely for those making over the full payment income cap.

State and Local Coronavirus Expenditures Fund ($150 billion)

To assist States, Tribes, and local governments that must pay for new expenses related to COVID-19 response.

  • $150 billion, with a small-state minimum of $1.25 billion
  • Tribal set-aside of $8 billion

Emergency Appropriations ($330 billion, including $100 billion for hospitals and providers mentioned above)

  • $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile supplies of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies, which are distributed to State and local health agencies, hospitals and other healthcare entities facing shortages during emergencies.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other urgently needed medical supplies, and billions dollars more for federal, state, and local health agencies to purchase such equipment.
  • $4.3 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus, including for the purchase of personal protective equipment; laboratory testing to detect positive cases; infection control and mitigation at the local level to prevent the spread of the virus; and other public health preparedness and response activities.
  • $45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, more than doubling the available funding, to provide for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private non-profits performing critical and essential services, to protect citizens and help them recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19. Reimbursable activities may include medical response, personal protective equipment, National Guard deployment, coordination of logistics, safety measures, and community services nationwide.
  • $30.75 billion for grants to provide emergency support to local school systems and higher education institutions to continue to provide educational services to their students and support the on-going functionality of school districts and institutions.
  • $25 billion in aid to our nation’s transit systems to help protect public health and safety while ensuring access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essential services.
  • $10 billion in grants to help our nation’s airports as the aviation sector grapples with the most steep and potentially sustained decline in air travel in history.
  • $3.5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus.
  • More than $7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs. This funding will help low-income and working class Americans avoid evictions and minimize any impacts caused by loss of employment, and child care, or other unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19, and support additional assistance to prevent eviction and for people experiencing homelessness
  • More than $6.5 billion in Federal funding for CDBG, the Economic Development Administration, and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help mitigate the local economic crisis and rebuild impacted industries such as tourism or manufacturing supply chains.
  • $400 million in election assistance for the states to help prepare for the 2020 election cycle, including to increase the ability to vote by mail, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the safety of voting in-person by providing additional voting facilities and more pollworkers. • $2 billion in funding to strengthen response capacity and support tribal governments: o $1.03 billion to the Indian Health Service to support tribal health care system response efforts; o $100 million more for the USDA Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations; o $453 million to assist tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs; o $69 million to help tribal schools, colleges and universities through for the Bureau of Indian Education; and o $300 million more to the HUD Indian Tribal Block Grant program. • $1 billion to recapitalize Amtrak after steep ridership declines related to the outbreak. This will keep thousands of Amtrak employees employed, and ensure America’s intercity passenger rail stays on track, continuing service in the Northeast and nationwide.

Student Loan Relief

  • To alleviate the pressure of student loan costs during this crisis, Senate Democrats fought for the inclusion of tax relief encouraging employers to implement student loan repayment programs. This provision will exclude up to $5,250 in qualifying student loan repayments paid by the employer on behalf of the employee from income for income tax purposes.

Some helpful links to understand the Federal Stimulus Package:

Status of your stimulus check

Most Americans can expect to start seeing their stimulus checks from the coronavirus relief bill in about three weeks, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Singles who have adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 would get $1,200 and married couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $150,000 would get $2,400. Singles who earn less than $99,000 and married couples who earn less than $198,000 would get a partial benefit.

The checks will be sent based your 2019 or 2018 adjusted gross income on your tax return. If you haven’t filed a tax return, you should file a tax return quickly if you can. The IRS will also access information from Social Security to send the payments.

But what if the IRS can’t track you down to send you a stimulus check?

All is not lost. Just delayed.

If you don’t receive your check, you’ll see the benefit as a tax refund when you file your return in 2020.

That’s because the funds from the stimulus check are actually an advance on a credit you will be able to take on your 2020 tax return.

So while the funds are meant to give relief now, if you don’t get it, you can still take the credit on your 2020 return and you’d get the stimulus amount in the form of a tax refund, said Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst for The Tax Foundation..

Still not sure if you qualify? Use the stimulus check calculator to see what benefit you can expect.

(Source:  https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/03/heres-what-you-need-to-know-if-your-stimulus-check-doesnt-arrive.html)

 Some helpful links to understand the Federal Stimulus Package:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provided for the expansion of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This is a federal program administered by the US Department of Labor.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the FFCRA yesterday.

The following was provided to us as guidance by the USDOL and has been posted on our website.  The  information can be found at: https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/FFCRA.aspx

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  The United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  Please read the below fact sheets to determine if you are eligible.

About the Coronavirus

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath 

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

How can the Coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
  • Occasionally, fecal contamination.

How can I help protect myself?

Prevention:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

In addition, it is recommended that Pennsylvanians take time to prepare now. View the PA Emergency Preparedness Guide.

 

Should I wear a mask or respirator in public?

The CDC does not recommend wearing masks or respirators outside of workplaces settings (in the community). A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). It is important that these devices are readily available to health care workers and others who need them.

Should I cancel my trip to a country with a level 3 travel advisory?

Yes. The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries with a level 3 travel advisory at this time. For more travel information, visit our Travelers Page.  

Should I cancel my international travel because of novel coronavirus?

The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to a country with a level 3 travel advisory. For travel advice for other countries, please visit that country’s Destination PageOpens In A New Window or Travel Health NoticesOpens In A New Window page on the CDC’s website.

What about animals or animal products imported from China?

The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Updates, Closures, Resources

  • The Governor has recommended all non-essential businesses close
  • If your employer cuts your hours or asks you to stay home from work and you aren’t getting paid, you likely now qualify for unemployment. For details, visit the link below:  uc.pa.gov
  • PA Turnpike is not accepting cash or card payments at tolls. Drivers must use ezpass or will receive a payment in the mail. For more information go to paturnpike.com
  • Health.pa.gov is a great resource for FAQ’s, case totals, and outside resources
  • Philadelphia residents can get consistent updates by texting ‘COVIDPHL’ to 888-777
  • The PUC has signed an emergency order prohibiting utility terminations during the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, visit puc.state.pa.us .
  • Elections: Thanks to Act 77 being passed a few months ago, voting by mail and getting absentee ballots is now easier than ever, especially in a time of crisis. Check out the graphics below on more information on the new voting reforms votespa.com
  • Evictions and Foreclosures: At a time of uncertainty and instability, no one should have to worry about being evicted from their homes. Today, my caucus sent a letter to the PA Supreme Court to halt evictions and foreclosures for the duration of the disaster declaration.
  • Evictions and Foreclosures:At a time of uncertainty and instability, no one should have to worry about being evicted from their homes. Today, my caucus sent a letter to the PA Supreme Court to halt evictions and foreclosures for the duration of the disaster declaration.
  • Small Business Loans: Now more than ever it is crucial that we support our local small businesses and are considering their needs through this crisis.
  • Grab N Go Free lunch for school-age children weekdays through March 27 at Evans Elementary School in Yeadon and Penn Wood Middle School from 11am-1pm
  • Delaware County Resources find here https://www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/coronavirus.html
  • The American Working Family Relief Action Plan. The plan includes practices for public & private employers, as well as policy positions for local, state & federal governments.

Essential Retail Businesses

Philadelphians will still be able to access essential goods in the next two weeks. The following businesses can remain open if they choose to:

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Big box stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Discount stores, mini-markets, and non-specialized food stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Gas stations
  • Banks
  • Post Offices
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • Veterinary clinics for domestic pets and pet stores
  • News organizations
  • Drive-through businesses
  • Hotels
  • Home/Commercial building repairs
  • Bike shops, rideshare (Uber/Lyft) considered essential for transportation
  • Daycare centers are considered non-essential, but can remain open with a waiver from the State.
  • Food establishments can accept online and phone orders for delivery and pick-up only. Dine-in service will not be allowed for the duration of the restrictions.

Essential Manufacturing/Distribution Businesses

Businesses that also manufacture, distribute or sell any of the following are considered essential and can remain open if they choose to:

  • Frozen products
  • Non-specialized stores of computers, telecommunications equipment, audio and video consumer electronics, and household appliances
  • IT and telecommunication equipment
  • Hardware, paint, and flat glass
  • Electrical, plumbing and heating material
  • Automotive fuel
  • Domestic fuel
  • Sanitary equipment
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Medication not requiring medical prescription
  • Medical and orthopedic equipment suppliers
  • Optics and photography equipment
  •  Soaps and detergents

Officials also have clarified that construction sites will be considered essential during the period of the restrictions.

Businesses not included in the lists above should refer to the latest guidance from the health commissioner. These include infrastructure and industrial businesses, as well as health care and social services.

A variety of resources and assistance are available to provide relief to businesses during this period.

  • PECO is suspending fees for delays in bills and service shut offs for the next three months
  • Philadelphia Gas Works and Philadelphia Water Department will also suspend service shut offs
  • KIVA has increased size of no interest loans available
  • Impact Loan Fund is preparing to offer a payment moratorium to businesses in need
  • Philly VIP will continue to remotely match businesses with Pro Bono legal services
  • The Business Center is offering its courses online, and encourages businesses in need of assistance in moving services online to contact them
  • The city and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation are working together on a program to support small businesses, including a mix of new grants and zero-interest loans for those that make under $5 million in annual revenue. Help also will be provided with maintaining payroll obligations and preserving jobs impacted by the spread of COVID-19.Philadelphia is asking business owners to complete a brief  survey to help the city understand the impact of COVID-19.

Businesses that need help determining if they are considered essential or non-essential are asked to email vbeoc@phila.gov. Business owners who would like to receive information about business relief programs can email business@phila.gov.

Social Distancing:

Social distancing can be difficult and confusing. Remember that it is important to stay home whenever possible, monitor yourself and loved ones, and don’t forget to take care of your mental health. For more information on how to do these things click here:

School Meals/Safe Spaces

Philadelphia officials announced designated meal sites for students home from school (March 16-27) due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as limited recreation centers and the closure of all Free Library locations (March 15-29).

30 schools across the city will provide breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday (9am-12pm) to students in need. The full list is below, but the sites in the 8th district are as follows:

    1. Add B. Anderson School, 1034 S. 60th Street
    2. Andrew Hamilton School, 5640 Spruce Street
    3. William C. Longstreth School, 5700 Willows Avenue
    4. Delaplaine McDaniel School, 1801 S. 22nd Street
    5. Tilden Middle School, 6601 Elmwood Avenue

 

School Meal Site Address
Dr. Ethel Allen School 3200 W. Lehigh Avenue
Add B. Anderson School 1034 S. 60th Street
John Barry Elementary School 5900 Race Street
Mary McLeod Bethune School 3301 Old York Road
Cayuga School 4344-4358 N. 5th Street
Jay Cooke Elementary School 1300 W. Louden Street
William Cramp School 3449 N. Mascher Street
A.L. Fitzpatrick School 11061 Knights Road
Benjamin Franklin School 5737 Rising Sun Avenue
Edward Gideon School 2817 W. Glenwood Avenue
Andrew Hamilton School 5640 Spruce Street
William H. Hunter School 2400 N. Front Street
John B. Kelly School 5116 Pulaski Street
Martin Luther King High School 6100 Stenton Avenue
Alain Locke School 4550 Haverford Avenue
William H. Loesche School 595 Tomlinson Road
William C. Longstreth School 5700 Willows Avenue
James R. Ludlow School 550 W. Master Street
Mayfair School 3001 Princeton Avenue
Delaplaine McDaniel School 1801 S. 22nd Street
General George G. Meade School 1600 N. 18th Street
James Rhoads School 4901 Parrish Street
Roxborough High School 6498 Ridge Avenue
George Sharswood School 2300 S. 2nd Street
Solomon Solis-Cohen School 7001 Horrocks Street
Allen M. Stearne School 1655 Unity Street
James J. Sullivan School 5300 Ditman Street
Tilden Middle School 6601 Elmwood Avenue
Vare-Washington Elementary School 1198 S. 5th Street
John H. Webster School 3400 Frankford Avenue

 

Mastery will offer meals at all Mastery school locations on the following days (10a-12p): 

Tuesday 3/17, Thursday 3/19, Monday 3/23, Thursday, 3/26.  Meal service will take place at each Mastery school location. Students will be able to pick up a breakfast (2 items) and lunch (3 items) for 2 or 3 days at a time.

50 Philadelphia recreation centers will remain open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals will be distributed at 3 p.m. each afternoon, and “drop-in activities” will be offered.

Recreation Centers in the 8th district:

  1. Christy Rec, 728 S, 55th Street
  2. Cobbs Creek, Rec 280 Cobbs Creek Parkway
  3. Myers, Rec 5801 Kingsessing Avenue
  4. J. Finnegan Playground, 6801 Grovers Avenue
  5. Kingsessing Rec, 4901 Kingsessing Avenue
  6. Vare Rec, 2600 Morris Street
  7. Wharton Square, 2300 Wharton Street

CDC Best Practices

Best practices to plan, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

What to do if you think you have coronavirus COVID-19, according to the CDC:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

For more details on what to do prevent coronavirus COVID-19 spread, visit the CDCs full list of recommendations.