Community Action Covid-19 History Since March 2020
2020.03.21 - DCED Guidance on services considered emergency, life-sustaining services.
The Governor announced an updated strategy to keep Pennsylvanians safe and to stop the spread of the Coronavirus by practicing social distancing. The intent is to “flatten the curve” and keep person-to-person contact at a minimum. The exception to this, which applies to our DCED-funded housing community service networks, is emergency life-sustaining services such as food distribution, Crisis Interface (heating emergencies) and any emergency-type community or family services.
According to the list established by the Governor’s Office, the Construction category (meaning all types of construction which would include home repair and weatherization etc.) is very clearly marked as non-life sustaining. The only exception to this is if weatherization or rehabilitation work is already underway, where work has started on a unit and you/subcontractor were unable to finish such that it left the home in some type of non-usable situation or emergency repairs are required. In those instances, you should take every precaution to enter with customer permission to finish work on the unit such that the home is left in a safe status.
At this time work should not be commencing on any projects that may have been awarded and not yet started.
For other non-profit services, there is a category of Social Assistance that does allow for continued opening of:
- Individual and Family Services;
- Community Food and Housing and Emergency and Other Relief Services;
- Vocational Rehab Services. HOWEVER, this is meant in relation to life-sustaining services ONLY. [Emphasis added by CAAP for Website Publication.]
- Teleworking should be used as much as is feasible via use of phone contacts and email and webinar/video/conference calls, etc. to address normal operations as much as is possible. DCED staff is teleworking and available for any questions or concerns you may have.
From the Governor’s Office:
“We continue to examine the evolution of this disease and pandemic impact with a priority on Pennsylvanians’ health and safety, and make decisions to mitigate the risk to our hospital system and the people of Pennsylvania. As we have seen in other countries, we need to alleviate the flow of patients into our hospitals when this virus peaks in order to give our doctors, nurses, and all of our medical professionals and first responders a fighting chance.
That said, in regard to all questions pertaining to life-sustaining and non-life sustaining businesses, these closures are for non-life sustaining physical operations. Any business that can continue to conduct virtual or telework operations through employees working at their homes is allowed to do so.
The spread of COVID-19 is increasing at an exponential pace, especially in urban areas and southeast Pennsylvania. New cases are beginning to appear in other counties, which suggests community spread. The health and safety of all Pennsylvanians remains the highest priority, and the governor must do everything in his power to stop the spread because that will prevent worst-case-scenarios – thousands of sick Pennsylvanians, many deaths, and an overwhelmed health care system.
The governor is using his authority under the declaration of a disaster emergency to take decisive action to protect Pennsylvanians. We understand that this will mean a significant economic disruption but we are heeding the advice of the medical community, the CDC and the White House. We have determined that this is the best course of action to help stop the spread of COVID-19. and allow our hospital system to manage the influx of patients.
Again, it’s important to remember that these closures are for non-life sustaining brick-and-mortar operations. Businesses should still operate if they’re able to telework or, as in the cases of restaurants and bars, provide takeout or delivery services. Further, we’re continually reviewing the list of life-sustaining businesses to ensure that life-sustaining services are being provided to the public during this crisis. Businesses, which are listed for closure but believe that they could help mitigate this crisis by providing a life sustaining service, will be given an opportunity to apply for a waiver.
This is an evolving situation and decisions will continue to be made and revisited as needed. In the meantime, businesses and employees seeking guidance should contact the Department of Community and Economic Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH and selecting option 1.”
2020.03.20 3.20 DHS Stakeholder Update to keep stakeholders apprised of new action DHS is taking in response to COVID-19 and necessary updates.
2020.03.19 - Update from the PA PUC
An Emergency Order directing a moratorium on terminations included gas, electric, water, wastewater, and steam heat, in addition to telephone. The Order also requested that utilities restore service to previously terminated customers, where possible and considering safety. Note that this is only for utilities over which we have jurisdiction. The Commission does not regulate cooperatives or municipal authorities, with one exception – Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. However, we have spoken with the Pa Rural Electric Association (electric CO-Ops) and they indicated that they have strongly advised their members to follow the same guidelines. We have also heard from the PA Municipal Authority Association (water and wastewater authorities), and they indicated that they have provided guidance on the issue and encouraged their members to consider moratoriums on terminations. Hope that information helps.
2020.03.19: The PA Supreme Court today announced that all non-essential functions will be halted at least until April 4, 2020.
Therefore, no eviction, ejectment or other displacement from a residence based on failure to make payment can be made.