COVID-19 Updates 04/06/2020
- As we have mentioned previously, Phase 4 will now likely include a focus on funding for hospitals, medical providers, hazard pay and additional funding for small businesses. An infrastructure bill, that many thought would be included in the next stimulus package, will be pushed back until the summer.
- To offer some guidance, the House Democrats will most likely use their draft bill, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act as a guide for a Phase 4 legislative package. Republicans are meanwhile focused on ensuring that the CARES Act is implemented correctly.
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi will be seeking $1 trillion for the next stimulus package.
- The Small Business Administration approved 130,000 loans worth $38 billion as of 9:30 a.m. on Monday, according to Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council. That represents nearly 10% of the total pot.
- Independent contractors and self-employed individuals will be able to apply this Friday, April 10th.
- Wells Fargo announced today that they will no longer be accepting applications for the PPP program. This is in part due to an asset cap imposed by regulators due to the actions of past leadership at Wells Fargo.
- Many smaller nonprofits worried that they would be left out of the Paycheck Protection Program since banks are not used to lending to smaller nonprofits. In addition, many banks have offered confusing rules around the program such as having to have an existing line of credit.
- Today, the nonprofit advocacy group Independent Sector released a statement urging lenders to prioritize the applications of nonprofit groups and noted many small nonprofits lack the resources to navigate and understand a rapidly evolving relief system.
- Please reach out to Bellevue Strategies if you need help applying for this program.
- In New York State, the legislature passed a $177 billion budget overnight. The budget added more money to the paid sick leave, banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, capped insulin copayments at $100 a month and increased support for housing and services to the homeless.
- In Massachusetts, the state house passed a bill that would place a temporary moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for nonpayment until 30 days after the state of emergency ends. It also would prevent landlords from charging late fees or sending reports to credit rating agencies if tenants alert them within 30 days of late payment. The state senate passed a bill that would offer more relief to low-income families and businesses by ensuring that workers receive 30 weeks of compensation.
Updates from the legislative session today:
- The House State Government Committee passed Representative Mike Turazi’s HB2400 that would issue a waiver to the Governor’s Business Closure order to allow all public and private construction activities to continue working. It now goes to the House floor for a full vote this week. Gov. Wolf has said that he is against this bill as it jeopardizes the health of PA citizens. Senate and House Democrats have also expressed public health concerns about this bill.
- Additionally, the House State Government Committee passed Rep. Brad Roae bill that would allow small businesses to serve their customers in a way that complies with public health officials’ recommendations for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would allow retail businesses that are staffed by one employee to open for business if they allow one customer into the store at a time.
- The House Republicans introduced a liability amendment that creates broad immunity for healthcare providers. Specifically, the amendment provides that a healthcare worker is not subject to civil liability arising from nature or condition of equipment or other goods manufactured for or utilized by a healthcare facility or healthcare practitioner. Healthcare providers are given immunity for both civil and criminal liability for covered providers involved with or providing medical care.
- Amendment 10430 was also proposed that would limit all school districts from increasing property tax rates in their budgets for fiscal years beginning July 1st, 2020.
- The Senate passed HB775 (Rep. Russ Diamond, R) that requires the Department of Aging to cross-reference its list of beneficiaries with death records maintained by the Department of Health on a monthly basis.
House and Senate Democrats urge passage of the American Working Family Relief Action Plan. Bills included in this package included proposed legislation by Rep. Jennifer O’Mara (D-Delaware) and Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Greene) that would address workers’ compensation for first responders. The action plan also includes funds to reopen child care centers, and House Minority Leader Frank Demody’s bill, HB2372, that clarifies the business interruption policies for small business. Talking to reporters today, the House and Senate Leadership also mentioned that they are hoping the Governor and the legislature will be able to work together in deciding how stimulus funds will be spent.
COVID-19 Update: 3,198 confirmed cases and 43 known fatalities.
- Lt. James Walker, 59, died Sunday from complications related to COVID-19. He is the first city employee to die in the coronavirus outbreak.
- A member of the police department for more than three decades, Walker served in the traffic division.
- The District Attorney Office and the Defender Association are urging the courts to move faster in releasing qualifying inmates to stop the spread of COVID-19 on the city’s jail population.
- On Friday, the First Judicial District announced it would begin expediting reviews of inmates for potential release to begin Tuesday of next week.
- On Friday the city announced that 31 justice-involved individuals in city jails tested positive for COVID-19.
- SEPTA ridership has decreased by 80% since the start of the outbreak in Philadelphia. Regional rail ridership has fallen by 97% as SEPTA anticipates a $150 million shortfall in revenue. SEPTA also expects another $250 million in losses due to reductions in state funding.
- SEPTA announced that it will get $643 million from the federal government stimulus bill.
- SEPTA will use the bailout funds to make up for lost revenue from a severe drop in ridership and the anticipated shortfalls in state grants. It will use $93 million towards cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment.
- In general, Pennsylvania is expected to receive $1.13 billion in emergency funding to support transit systems.
- The city-run COVID-19 test site at Citizens Bank Park will close on Friday and Philly Health Commissioner mentioned that funding is being pulled. The city decided against keeping it going, opting instead to distribute the resources there to other sites around the city.
- There are currently 20 sites around the city where residents can get tested for free.