In this update:
How to get state-related assistance during the coronavirus shutdown
I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time. While our offices are still not able to accept in-person office visits or take in-person meetings, my staff and I are still handling constituent-related issues during this time.
Here are the various ways you can contact me:
Resource guides for employers, employees, and other individuals affected by COVID-19 are also posted at SenatorKristin.com.
Please note: You and your concerns are very important to me! Our office continues to receive a high volume of inquiries. Please only contact our office one way as this will ensure we handle your matter and can assist others in a timely manner. Again, I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.
If you have a specific inquiry regarding unemployment compensation, you can fill out a form here: SenatorKristin.com/contact-me. Select “Unemployment Compensation” from the drop-down menu. This will expedite your claim with our office.
Find confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP Code – the latest figures from PA Dept. of Health
Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health finally released a new online tool that allows citizens to see the total number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus by ZIP Code. My colleagues and I have been pushing the department to release more detailed information on the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access the new online mapping tool here.
The Department of Health released their latest data this morning that show York County has 531 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Pennsylvania currently has 35,684 confirmed cases.
More information from the Department of Health can be found here. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information.
Below are a few charts that I think you may find to be of interest.
Our podcast series continues to highlight how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting various sectors in our county. You can listen to a conversation I had with Dr. Gasperack of WellSpan; Kevin Schreiber, YCEA President & CEO; District Attorney Dave Sunday and Dr. Gunter-Smith, President of York College.
South Eastern School District Superintendent Dr. Nathan Van Deusen joins the podcast
Dr. Nathan Van Deusen, Superintendent of the South Eastern School District, joined us for our latest podcast episode where we discussed the current reality of public education during the coronavirus pandemic.
Our local school districts were forced to quickly transition from classroom to Chromebook last month.
This podcast episode gives local listeners valuable insight on how our school districts are working through this new normal in light of the governor’s decision to extend school closures through the remainder of the academic calendar.
Website with latest information on unemployment compensation, including instructions
The number one inquiry our office received over the last two weeks has been on unemployment compensation. I understand your frustration. Over the years, the General Assembly has transferred funding to allow for the modernization of the state’s unemployment compensation system to streamline the process to apply and receive benefits. The issues many of you are facing are inexcusable.
After fielding calls and replying to your emails, I created this website, which I hope provides some clarity on the application process as well as answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
You can visit that new website here.
And based on the complaints I’ve received, I looked into what the legislature has done to address our systemic problems with our UC system. The current situation is unacceptable, as evidenced in the graphic below.
For those who have reached out to me to explain why your business is life-sustaining, I hear you! And I agree!
Upcoming VIRTUAL job fair for York County residents
Join the York County Economic Alliance for their first virtual Career Fair on Friday, April 24 at 12:00 p.m. This is a free opportunity to hear from businesses with current employment opportunities.
Registration is free and can be completed by clicking here.
The series will take place every Friday at 12:00 pm, see PreparedYork.com for more information.
Senate hearing to hear from employers, administration officials
On Thursday, the Senate will hold a public hearing to receive testimony from businesses and Wolf Administration officials about COVID-19 mitigation orders and their impact on Pennsylvania workers.
The joint hearing by the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and the Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
You can view the hearing live at PASenateGOP.com. I am not a member of either committee, but will be closely monitoring the public hearing.
Senate approves telemedicine bill
I supported passage of a bill this week that will help more patients overcome barriers to healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic by promoting the use of telemedicine. The delivery of healthcare services through telecommunications technology will ensure these services are more accessible, reduce costs and limit in-person contact during the public health emergency.
You can watch my comments below.
Under the bill, physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania. In addition, the prescribing of medications that could create a danger to the patient if misused would be prohibited; those prescriptions would still require an in-person visit.
The telemedicine bill was sent to the governor to be signed into law.
Senate passes bill to protect law enforcement, first responders, and National Guard members facing COVID-19
I supported a bill that would ensure law enforcement, first responders and active duty National Guard members who contract COVID-19 can still receive compensation while quarantined or receiving treatment for the virus.
House Bill 1869 would allow first responders who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or subject to quarantine resulting from exposure to the virus to receive disability benefits in accordance with the Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law, more commonly known as the “Heart & Lung Act.” The bill also ensures active duty National Guard members affected by COVID-19 would still continue to receive their average weekly wage.
More details about the bill are available here.
New law authorizing remote notarization clears the way for online auto sales to resume
Auto dealers will soon be able to resume business online thanks to a new law that I supported. The bill allows notaries to do business remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, clearing a major hurdle that prevented online auto sales from taking place.
As a result of the new law, auto dealerships will be able to conduct online vehicle sales under new guidance that was issued this week. The notary provision was part of a bill to help local governments respond to COVID-19. More details about the bill are available here.
Construction activities set to reopen on May 8
At the strong urging of lawmakers and employers, construction activities are set to resume in Pennsylvania on May 8 under new guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most states have allowed construction companies to continue to operate throughout the pandemic; Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation to completely halt all construction projects not deemed “essential” by the administration.
I am hopeful that the re-opening of the construction industry will demonstrate that many employers can continue to operate safely during COVID-19 mitigation efforts with the proper guidance from national health and safety experts.
Reminder: You can apply to vote by mail in the Primary Election
Voters have the option to vote by mail-in ballot rather than going to their polling place for the June 2 primary election.
Mail-in ballot applications must be received by the local county election office by Tuesday, May 26. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the date of the primary election was changed from April 28 to June 2. If you have already applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot, you do not need to reapply.
More on mail-in ballots and how to apply here.
Loan forbearance announced for businesses impacted by COVID-19
In order to help businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus, the Department of Community and Economic Development recently announced the forbearance of May and June payments for many loans administered by the department.
Deferrals will also be requested for borrowers with the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, the Commonwealth Financing Authority (excluding PENNWORKS program loans), the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, and the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority. More details about the announcement are available here.
Limited number of state liquor stores reopen for curbside pickup
Curbside pickup services are now available at a number of state-owned Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores throughout the state. Customers can call their local store beginning at 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., or until the store reaches its maximum number of daily orders.
Only one order will be accepted per caller per day, and orders are limited to no more than six bottles. Payment will only be accepted by credit card over the phone. The complete list of stores offering curbside pickup is sorted by county. Four stores are located in York County.
Guidance available for community garden workers
The Department of Agriculture has issued guidelines to help volunteers and employees of community gardens stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines are available here.
For more information about the department’s actions during the COVID-19 mitigation, visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID.
Stay safe – follow these tips