FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2020
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Gov. Wolf Unveils Plan for Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Recovery

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced a Plan for Pennsylvania that will provide citizens and businesses relief, allow for a safe and expedient reopening, and lay a road to recovery from the challenges and hardships created by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

“I asked for you to close schools and businesses, cancel large events, stay at home, all in an effort to simply keep our friends, our neighbors, our families, our coworkers, alive,” said Gov. Wolf. “I will be forever grateful for your courage, compassion, and speed. Despite uncertainty, Pennsylvanians acted collectively, not because of any order, but because we care deeply for each other. Now I am asking again for you to believe in our Commonwealth.”

Relief for Pennsylvanians

The Wolf Administration has taken broad and far-reaching actions to help meet the short- and long-term needs of individual Pennsylvanians in the face of this unprecedented pandemic. Ensuring that Pennsylvanians from all walks of life have access to the resources they need has been and will continue to be a top priority of the governor.

Food Insecurity

Student Loan Debt

Individuals Who Have Been Furloughed, Laid Off, or Have Reduced Hours

In addition to regular state Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits, which provide roughly half of an individual’s full-time weekly income up to $572 per week, the federal CARES Act expanded UC benefits through several new programs:

Individuals Who Are Uninsured or Underinsured

Students and Families

In this time of unprecedented school closures, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has worked with Intermediate Units (IUs) throughout the commonwealth to develop and implement continuity of education plans to ensure seniors graduate, students can be promoted to the next grade, and all students continue to have access to remote learning through the remainder of the academic year. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has:

Relief for Businesses

Pennsylvania’s businesses are in an unprecedented position, many shuttered across the state to protect against the spread of the deadly coronavirus, others changing their entire business plans around to help meet the many needs of people across the state.

Many businesses have had to furlough or lay off employees, and others that have relied on in-person transactions have had to move to remote platforms overnight. While the needs are varied among the business community, the severity of the impact of the coronavirus on the overall economy is, and will remain, unforeseen for some time.

The Wolf Administration has worked diligently with federal, state, and local government partners, the business community, and other critical external partners to ensure businesses can avail themselves of all the tools available to offer a modicum of relief in the face of this crisis.

Department of Revenue

The Department of Revenue (DOR) has extended tax filing deadlines to assist with short-term liquidity for businesses. DOR has also worked to reduce or suspend enforcement actions, including liens filed will be reduced; bank attachment actions will not be taken; license inspections, revocations, and citations will be limited; and tax clearance requirements will be the more lenient debt collector standards. DOR is also providing flexible terms for new payment plans allowing up to $12,000 for up to one year.

Department of Community and Economic Development

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) made more than $60 million available for small businesses through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program.

Although the funds were depleted in four days and the department received more than 900 applications, we are looking at ways to recapitalize the program given its need as a bridge to federal stimulus funds.

DCED has also allowed for three-month loan payment deferrals for loans administered by the department.

Banks and Mortgage Servicers

In alignment with federal CARES Act, Pennsylvania banks and mortgage servicers are implementing 60-day foreclosure moratoriums and 180-day forbearances on all federally backed loans. In addition, there is now a 120-day moratorium on evictions from properties with federally backed loans.

The PA State Treasury, the PA Department of Banking and Securities, and the PA Housing and Finance Agency have come together to develop a series of relief recommendations and are working collaboratively with banks and other creditors to push for broad flexibilities and relief actions to assist businesses and consumers across the state.

Federal CARES Act

With the passage of the federal CARES Act, businesses of all shapes and sizes will be able to access billions of dollars in federal resources to assist with everything from payroll support, more favorable loan terms, and fully refundable tax credits for businesses that are trying to keep workers employed while keeping their doors are shut to the public.

Relief for Health Care Systems and Providers

The Wolf Administration has undertaken every possible effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and ensure our health care system, and the providers that make up its fabric, can withstand the ramp-up, surge, and aftermath of this deadly pandemic.

While hospitals and health systems have been promised significant financial aid from the federal government, many are facing financial strain now and need relief before those dollars become fully available. The Wolf Administration has taken steps to provide that immediate relief.

Businesses across the commonwealth have pivoted from current business models to manufacture or produce personal protective equipment (PPE), gowns, masks, and other critical supplies meant to assist individuals and communities in responding to COVID-19.

Reopening Pennsylvania

With new case counts showing that these aggressive efforts have flattened the curve, the governor and his administration will begin to plan for a reopening process that protects Pennsylvanians and helps to stabilize the economy. The administration will work with economic and public health experts to determine the metrics used for safe reopening by taking a regional, sector-based approach.

In consultation with Team PA, the Department of Health, the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Department of Labor and Industry, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and others, the administration will develop guidance for businesses, local governments, workers, customers, and others and guide a safe reopening process.

Standards

Recovery for Pennsylvanians

Developing a recovery framework and programs that make a difference for the people of Pennsylvania is paramount. That framework must include, at a minimum:

Recovery for Businesses

While the plan for long-term recovery still lies ahead, there are already lessons learned from this disaster that allow us to put markers down for where we need to go once the disaster subsides. There is still much we do not know, including when businesses can begin to reopen safely. But the broad contours of a policy agenda in the future must include the following:

Recovery for Health Care Systems and Providers

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the fragmentations within our health systems. Pennsylvania has banned together to support and equip our hospitals and medical professionals with the tools they need to respond, but our recovery is dependent upon long-term policy change. A policy agenda to support the health and recovery of Pennsylvania’s residents must include:

For more information on the Governor’s Plan for Pennsylvania visit www.governor.pa.gov/plan-for-pennsylvania/.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Lyndsay Kensinger, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov

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