Senator Gene Yaw E-Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!

This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Gene Yaw
State Senator
www.SenatorGeneYaw.com

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* Stay-At-Home Order In Effect

*Click here to find the latest information on coronavirus from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Telephone Town Hall Monday COVID-19 Update

On Monday, April 6th, at 11:20AM, I am inviting residents living in Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Union counties to join me for a Telephone Town Hall discussion to answer your questions about the statewide response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Numerous topics are expected to be discussed including unemployment compensation and other assistance available for out-of-work individuals, grant and loan opportunities for area businesses, healthcare matters and more.

You can sign up for the event in advance by visiting Senator Yaw’s website at www.senatorgeneyaw.com. The event will also feature a live audio stream page that allows smartphone, tablet and computer users to listen in and submit questions for the Senator online. A link to the live audio stream will be available at https://www.senatorgeneyaw.com/tele-town-hall/, immediately prior to the event.

Friday Deadline for Businesses to Apply for Waiver from Closure Order

The Wolf Administration has set a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday for Pennsylvania businesses to apply for a waiver from the governor’s closure order.

Gov. Wolf ordered all businesses not deemed life-sustaining to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. on March 19 to slow the spread of COVID-19. My Senate colleagues and I have urged Governor Wolf to be more open and transparent about the decision-making process on these waivers.

Companies that believe they should be considered a life-sustaining-business can apply for a waiver here. Find answers to common waiver questions here.

Senate Leaders Urge Governor to Classify Residential Construction As Essential

Governor Wolf’s order to close all non-essential businesses two weeks ago idled numerous construction projects throughout the state. Senate leaders wrote a letter to Governor Wolf this week encouraging him to reclassify residential construction activities as an essential business and allow these projects to resume – as long as social distancing protocols are followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently classified residential construction as an essential business. Pennsylvania is the only state to shut down all active public and private construction sites as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. New Jersey, California, Illinois and New York have issued shelter-in-place orders, but provide an exemption for construction personnel and construction activities.

The letter from Senate leaders is available here. Several lawmakers have also announced plans to introduce a bill to allow construction activities to resume with the proper protections in place to protect workers. More information on that bill is available here.

State Business Loan Program Reaches Maximum; New Loan Program Created to Help Businesses

The COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program created by the Commonwealth Financing Authority last week has reached its maximum level of funding and will no longer accept new applications. However, a new federal program will offer loans that can be forgiven to help affected small businesses and self-employed individuals cover operating costs during the pandemic.

The new Paycheck Protection Program will offer loans to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utility costs over an eight-week period. No more than 25 percent of the loan may cover anything other than payroll costs, and loan payments will be deferred for six months for any amount that is not forgiven. Businesses must maintain their number of staff and level of payroll and quickly rehire any recently displaced employees in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.

The program is open to small businesses, veterans organizations, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals and independent contractors, so long as each entity has 500 or fewer employees.

The application period for small businesses and sole proprietors will open on April 3. Self-employed individuals and contractors can apply starting on April 10. Applications are available here.

More details about the program are available here.

Beware of COVID-19-Related Investment Schemes

The North American Securities Administrators Association and the state Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) are warning investors to be on the lookout for investment scams specifically tied to the threat of COVID-19, such as:

  • Falsely purporting to raise capital for companies manufacturing surgical masks and gowns; producing ventilators and medical equipment; or manufacturing vaccines or other miracle cures.
  • Taking advantage of concerns with securities market volatility to promote “safe” investments with “guaranteed returns” including investments tied to gold and other commodities; oil and gas; and real estate.
  • Touting “get rich quick” schemes with quickly earned returns to be used for rent, utilities, and other expenses.
  • Targeting retirees and senior citizens, falsely claiming they can quickly and safely recoup any losses to their retirement portfolios.

For more detailed information related to schemes and tips for protecting yourself, DoBS has developed a guide for investors. More information is also available at COVID-19 information and guidance for financial Institutions and consumers.

Contact DoBS toll-free at (800) PA-BANKS or (800) 722-2657 for more information or to file complaints about financial transactions, companies or products.

Educational Resources Available for Students During Indefinite School Closures

Governor Wolf recently announced that all schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed indefinitely to limit the spread of COVID-19. A number of resources have been developed to provide a continuity of education for Pennsylvania students.

Schools that are interested in offering new courses or supplementing existing programs can subscribe to the online learning platforms Odysseyware and Edgenuity. These resources are available at no cost to school districts through their local intermediate unit.

The Department of Education also plans to provide grants for schools to purchase computer equipment to support online learning programs. Applications will be available through the department’s e-grants system by April 6 and must be submitted by April 10.

In addition, Pennsylvania’s seven Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) channels will also provide instructional programming for students. The Learning at Home resources are available to families and educators at https://learningathomepa.org/.

More information about continuity of education for Pennsylvania students during the COVID-19 shutdown is available here.

PA 2-1-1 Steps Up COVID-19 Information Efforts

The United Way of Pennsylvania and PA 2-1-1 are ramping up efforts to keep Pennsylvanians connected to verified sources of information on the coronavirus and resources to help households struggling with a loss of income.

PA 2‑1‑1 is part of the national 2‑1‑1 Call Centers initiative that provides an easy-to-remember telephone number and web resource for anyone seeking health and human services information – for everyday needs and during crisis situations.

Pennsylvanians can now text “PACOVID” to 898-211 to receive text messages with links to vetted sources of factual information. Pennsylvanians can also visit www.uwp.org/211gethelp for information on statewide, regional and local resources.

Text and website are the quickest ways to access help since PA 2-1-1 has seen more than double its normal contact volume over the past week. However, Pennsylvanians can also dial 2-1-1 on their land line or mobile phone to be connected to a resource navigator.

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