March 20, 2020; 4:00 PM

State Updates

  • Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine gave a 2 pm press update this afternoon. Highlights from their comments include:

Sec. Levine

    • 83 new cases / 268 total PA cases
    • 37 new cases in the day yesterday / 83 new cases today
    • 26 in PA needed hospitalization since March 6 (10%)
    • This shows need for aggressive steps by Governor
    • CDC said 20% of hospitalized are between 20-44 years old
    • Seriously concerned that this population of individuals are not staying home and spreading COVID
    • Continues to work with hospitals to add capacity; looking at space consideration, staffing and supplies
    • Reinforcing to stay home and limit interactions with immediate family
    • Daily reminders to stay safe
    • Text “PA” to 741741 for health or mental health issues

Governor Wolf

    • Yesterday made decision to close non-critical businesses
    • Not easy decision and made in conjunction with Sec. Levine
    • Exponentially growing number of cases
    • Limiting exposure means fewer will die
    • We won’t do everything perfectly but working to make updates to what we released yesterday
    • Will be updating policies to use U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidance
    • Any business with a question should consult with DCED on the waiver process – trying to make process as easy as possible
    • Taking these precautions because of cues from other countries around the world
    • Can recover quickly if we adhere to closures
    • Understands small business especially hard hit
    • Need to use every tool
    • Will get more difficult before it gets better
  • The link to the online waiver form for a business through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development is: Please note that likely due to a high traffic volume the link seems to be slow. PDF showing the questions asked on the waiver.
  • The PA Department of Revenue is waiving penalties for businesses that are required to make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) prepayments by the deadline of Friday, March 20. Additionally, for April sales tax payments, the department is waiving the AST prepayment requirement and asking businesses to simply remit the sales tax that they have collected in March. For more information on this and other tax alerts, visit the Department’s resource site here.

Regional Coronavirus Update:

Allegheny County

  • Office of the County Executive
  • Allegheny County Health Department Clinics
    • Immunization Clinic: Closed until further notice starting Monday, March 23rd
    • Pulmonary Center: Will not perform Tuberculosis skin tests until further notice.
    • Pediatric Dental Clinic: Closed through March 30th. Staff will be available to answer questions and provide guidance. Any inquiries should be referred to 412-687-2243
  • Air Quality complaints will continue to be processed. All planning and permitting meetings will be scheduled by phone. Air Monitoring Network will be maintained as much as possible. Air Advisory Committee and its three subcommittees have been cancelled. For more information call 412-578-8103
  • Food Safety Program will remain coverage and respond to questions from the public,  and food facilities regarding operations Previously submitted will continue to be reviewed as well as previously scheduled appointments. Food Manager testing and seminars have been canceled through March 31st. Food Safety  is providing all restaurants offering take-out to follow guidance issued by ACHD
  • Housing and Community Environment (HCE) program will maintain facility and emergency complaints: no heat, no electric, or sewage backup.
  • Allegheny County has begun releasing inmates to mitigate COVID-19 concerns.  Staff in the Criminal Court Administration, the Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office are continually reviewing cases to determine which inmates are appropriate for release. The review is not limited to inmates with health problems – although those are a priority – all non-violent inmates held only on cash bails will be considered.
    • Inmates releases are sent to the jail and processed as received.
    • Released inmates have access to a free phone call, free bus ticket, free Intranasal Narcan(Inmates are offered and can decline the Narcan), packet of requested community resource info, letter of Incarceration Verification, and information for the Discharge and Release Center.
  • Women Infants and Children (WIC)
    • The WIC program is operating on a modified schedule. M-F, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. in McKeesport, Mt. Oliver, Wilkinsburg and Downtown Pittsburgh.
    • The Springdale WIC office will be open for benefit pickup Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. through March 30th
    • All are encouraged to schedule an appointment and leave children at home to lower exposure risk. More information and questions can be asked by calling 412-350-5801.
  • County Treasurer
    • Treasurer John Weinstein has extended the early payment discount deadline for property owners. The 2% discount will be available until April 30th (previous deadline was March 31st)
    • Treasurer Weinstein will also suspend new court enforcement action to collect delinquent drink, hotel, and car rental taxes.

Federal Coronavirus Update:

  • Department of Defense
    • DoD contractors have been advised to maintain normal work schedules amid COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Senate
  • Democrats have made a counterproposal to Republicans for small business tax aid. Senate Finance Democrats rolled out a version of tax cuts that help smaller business stay afloat. Key features include a tax rebate, tax credit and tax payment relief.
    • Rebate provides $75,000 to smaller-sized companies with no more than $1 million in gross receipts and have less than 50 employees.
    • 50% wage credit to small business to help maintain payroll would apply to the first $7,500 in wages paid per employee over the next four months
  • White House
    • President Trump has demanded Congress put restrictions on stimulus funds, requesting a ban on stock buybacks
    • President Trump has noted he is not considering a nationwide lockdown. Several Governors have suggested this to combat the current pandemic.