COVID-19 INFORMATION

BUCKS COUNTY GOES INTO GREEN PHASE FRIDAY, JUNE 26TH

Governor Wolf has announced that Bucks County will be going into the “Green Phase” on Friday, June 26th. This designation will mean that more businesses may open with restrictions and some restrictions on currently opened will be lessened. The following has been copied from the Governor’s website:

“After a county transitions to the yellow phase, it is closely monitored for increased risk, such as significant outbreaks. If overall risk remains mitigated for 14 days, the county will transition to the green phase.

The green phase eases most restrictions by lifting the stay-at-home and business closure orders to allow the economy to strategically reopen while continuing to prioritize public health. Some restrictions, such as mask-wearing, do remain in place.

It is important to continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as necessary to ensure the spread of disease remains at a minimum.

Work and Congregate Settings Restrictions

  • Continued Telework Strongly Encouraged
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Updated Business and Building Safety Requirements
  • All Businesses Operating at 50% Occupancy in the Yellow Phase May Increase to 75% Occupancy
  • Child Care May Open Complying with Guidance
  • Congregate Care Restrictions in Place
  • Prison and Hospital Restrictions Determined by Individual Facilities
  • Schools Subject to CDC and Commonwealth Guidance

Social Restrictions

  • Large Gatherings of More Than 250 Prohibited
  • Masks are Required When Entering a Business
  • Restaurants and Bars Open at 50% Occupancy
  • Personal Care Services (including hair salons and barbershops) Open at 50% Occupancy and by Appointment Only
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities, and Personal Care Services (such as gyms and spas) Open at 50% Occupancy with Appointments Strongly Encouraged
  • All Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) Open at 50% Occupancy
  • Construction Activity May Return to Full Capacity with Continued Implementation of Protocols

The state continues to use risk-based metrics from Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Health and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency data dashboard available here.

The state continues to increase testing and ramp up contact-tracing efforts. As of June 18, there are a total of 518 contact tracers, and a total of 4,161 contacts being monitored.

The Department of Health received a total of 89,350 test results in the past seven days, an average of 12,764 a day. The 30-day average of test results received is more than 13,934.

There were 2,763 total cases added to investigations for the week of June 12 through 18.

The latest business guidance, including outdoor recreation guidance, can be found here.

Preliminary sports guidance can be found here.”

 

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

Unemployment compensation has been expanded in Pennsylvania to help those impacted by COVID-19.  While the unemployment compensation site was briefly down earlier in the week, the site has been restored and all eligible claimants can file a new claim or submit a bi-weekly claim. For more information or to file a claim, visit UC.PA.GOV.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE NEEDS

If you have lost your employment-based health insurance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you do not need to wait for an open enrollment period to sign up for insurance through the ACA. Visit www.Insurance.PA.gov for more information.

 

​HEATING ASSISTANCE / LIHEAP

The 2020 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) season
is now open! Apply for benefits online using COMPASS

About the Program

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants.  The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited on your bill. These grants range from $200 to $1,000 based on household size, income, and fuel type. Remember: This is a grant and does not have to be repaid. Click on COMPASS to apply.

 

CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19)

As of March 13th, Bucks County has declared a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). The Bucks County Emergency Operations Center is in full operation. All public schools in Bucks County are closed indefinitely by order of Governor Wolf.

To keep abreast of the latest news on COVID-19, we recommend you check the national Center for Disease Control website at : Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for the most up to date and accurate information.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health website is also an excellent source of information: PA Department of Health-Coronavirus as is the Bucks County Health Department website: Bucks County Health Department Coronavirus

Additionally, Bucks County has initiated a data portal with important information that can be accessed at:  https://covid19-bucksgis.hub.arcgis.com/

Other useful sites include:

PA Governor’s Office Resources: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/

FEMA CoronaVirus Rumor Control: www.FEMA.Gov/coronavirus-rumor-control

John Hopkins CoronaVirus Dashboard: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

CISA CoronaVirus: https://www.cisa.gov/coronavirus

DHS CoronaVirus: https://www.dhs.gov/coronavirus

FBI CoronaVirus: https://www.fbi.gov/coronavirus

The COVID-19 portal contains vital information and links to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. It also contains directives and guidance for our small businesses to help navigate closures and the disruption to employees and the local economy.

SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

PA ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

The following link will take you to a list of assistance programs Pennsylvania has established to assist businesses:

https://dced.pa.gov/download/community-development-financial-institutions/?wpdmdl=94944

The Rising Tide Grant Program

The Upper Bucks Chamber  of Commerce is holding a Zoom meeting on Thursday, June 25th 11 am – 12 noon  regarding the PA Rising Tide $225 million grant program.Details on how to participate can be found by clicking on UBCC Events.

Federal Assistance

A part of the Federal government’s response to assist with the economic impact of forced closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak is a loan program for small businesses. Below are links with information regarding the program.

Interim final Rule (as of 4/1/2020)

Small Business Guide

Documents Needed – Generally

SBA Form 2483

 

PA EXTENDS STATE TAX FILING DAY TO JULY 15, 2020

Click on the following link to the PA site for more information: PA Revenue Newsletter

IRS EXTENDS FEDERAL TAX FILING DAY TO JULY 15, 2020

Click on the following link to the IRS site for more information: IRS Newsletter

STIMULUS CHECKS INFORMATION

See the latest #IRS information on Economic Impact Payments: No action needed by most people at this time. See www.irs.gov/coronavirus

The IRS and US Treasury announced that the distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks with no action required for most people. www.irs.gov/coronavirus  Some who aren’t typically required to file taxes will need to submit a return to get it. Go to: www.irs.gov/coronavirus 

Eligible people who filed taxes for 2019 or 2018 will automatically get an economic impact payment from the IRS in the next three weeks. Learn more at: www.irs.gov/coronavirus

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARIES WHO DO NOT FILE INCOME TAX RETURNS

The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) announced on April 1 that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an economic impact payment.  The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 to generate $1,200 economic impact payments to Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019.

Treasury, not Social Security, will make automatic payments to Social Security beneficiaries.  Beneficiaries will receive these payments by direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their Social Security benefits.

For updates from the IRS, visit www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

For more information click on:Press Realease.COVID 19 -Social Security

Spanish: 53019_CDC-CM-EM-Spanish+19+EIP+Statement+04-06-20

 

Unemployment Compensation Info

If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Workers’ Compensation (WC) benefits.

The following changes to UC have been made to help Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The Waiting Week is suspended. Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the “waiting week”). This has been suspended; eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed.
  • Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with PACareerLink.gov.

Find out more about UC and WC eligibility and how to apply.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements

To find out more regarding the recently enacted federal law providing sick leave during the Coronavirus-19 outbreak, click the US Department of Labor site at:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Expanded Family and Medical Leave Requirements

 

 

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