COVID-19 Updates 18 May, 2020

COVID-19 Updates 18 May, 2020

Federal

Trump, Mnuchin signal support for easing small business loan restrictions

  • President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday signaled the administration would support giving companies more flexibility in how they use emergency small business loans, amid mounting complaints that restrictions on the aid are too onerous.
  • Restaurants and other industries are lobbying lawmakers and the administration to give businesses more time to spend the funds as shutdown orders across the country are lasting longer than expected. The group is asking Capitol Hill to extend the window to 24 weeks. 
  • The industry representatives also urged Trump to allow businesses to spend more of the loan money on non-payroll expenses. 

Summer Camp Associations Release Detailed Field Guide For Opening Safely

  • The American Camp Association and the YMCA of the USA have released a “field guide” for how summer and day camps can operate more safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The 82-page document is far more detailed than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official guidance for summer camps.
  • The field guide emphasizes that camps should open only where state and local authorities permit it, and in locations that have met the criteria for “Phase 2” and “Phase 3” reopening as designated by the Trump administration 

Small businesses can apply for PPP loan forgiveness. But questions remain unanswered

State

COVID-19 Update: To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported 66,666 COVID-19 cases (including confirmed and probable cases).  Pennsylvania’s death toll stands at 4,505.

Pa. extends benefits window for unemployment compensation

  • Pennsylvania has extended the amount of time residents of Pennsylvania can collect unemployment benefits launched over the weekend.
  • Called Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, the federally-backed initiative will allow people whose benefits have run out or will run out soon to continue to receive them.

Democrats send letter to Wolf, lobbying against the call to re-open real estate activities

  • Democrats are asking Gov. Wolf to veto a bill sent to his desk last week which would allow all real estate which can adhere to social distancing to resume, provided they follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. They argue the bill would allow for open houses and other unnecessary activities.
  • The Democratic leadership is asking for Gov. Wolf to support limited real estate with enhanced safety procedures. 
  • Currently, in-person showings and walkthroughs also are allowed on an appointment-only basis and will be limited to two people on-site at a time, according to the guidance. 
  • Gov. Wolf has said that he will veto the Republican legislation, as well as other legislation that would reopen car dealers, lawn and garden centers, cosmetology salons, barbershops, messenger and agent services, and animal grooming services.

Philadelphia

COVID-19 Update: Since Saturday,  there have been 347 new cases of COVID-19 and nine new deaths reported in the city since Saturday. In total, 19,950  people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,040 have died.

City Council is skeptical of Philly Mayor Jim Kenney’s plan to offset the coronavirus impact by hiking taxes

  • Mayor Kenney has proposed tax increases to help plug a $649 million budget hole caused by the pandemic. The proposed revenue increases — primarily a wage tax hike for suburban commuters and a property tax increase that would benefit the School District — amount to only $49 million. 
  • Council members have continued to question the administration on the budget cuts and tax increases. Councilmember Thomas has proposed legislation that would not raise taxes and lay off city workers, but would instead redirect soda tax revenue.

Philadelphia’s health commissioner urges residents to stay away from the beach this Memorial Day weekend

  • The Jersey Shore may be open, but Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley urged Philadelphians to stay away from the beach over the holiday weekend.
  • “We are not recommending people go to the beach this weekend,” he said. “We understand the draw…but this is not the time to do that. Let’s wait until the case counts are lower and for it to be safer.”

Good News of the Day

People Are Installing Portable Hand-Washing Sinks for the Homeless in Cities Across the US

Via The Good News Network –

Portable sinks are being installed across the United States as a means of helping homeless people wash their hands amidst the novel coronavirus outbreaks.

Over the course of the last two months, Love Beyond Walls—a Georgia-based nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless—has been setting up dozens of hand-washing stations in areas popularly visited by rough sleepers.

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