As of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts are effective throughout all 67 counties in the commonwealth, continuing for 14 days. These efforts include:
Essential services and sectors that may remain open include, but are not limited to:
Other businesses, including but not limited to legal services, business and management consulting, professional services and insurance services are encouraged to have employees work remotely or telecommute.
Pennsylvania workers may be eligible for UC benefits if their employer is closed (temporary or otherwise) because of COVID-19. Workers who have their hours reduced as a result of the virus, or are out from work due to quarantine related to the virus, may also be eligible for UC benefits.
In addition, work search and work registration requirements for UC claimants have been temporarily suspended. The waiting week requirement has also been temporarily suspended. This means that new claimants who are approved for UC benefits will receive payment for their first week of unemployment.
On March 16, 2020, the city of Philadelphia announced new restrictions on commercial activity, and a halt to all non-essential city government operations, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia.
The following changes on commercial activity went into effect at 5:00 p.m. on March 16, 2020 (an end date for the restrictions was not provided). Only essential commercial establishments should remain open. To allow for essential goods to be accessible to the public, the city of Philadelphia designates the following businesses as essential:
Also deemed essential are commercial establishments that sell any of the following:
Food establishments may only accommodate online and phone orders for delivery and pick-up, and cannot allow dine-in service, for the duration of these restrictions.
Non-essential city of Philadelphia government operations are halted, and all city government buildings will be closed to the public, effective March 17, 2020. Essential city operations will include public safety, health and human services, utilities, sanitation, and payroll.
Update: On March 17, 2020, the mayor of Philadelphia issued an emergency order temporarily prohibiting the operation of non-essential businesses, which confirms the above described restrictions. Furthermore, the order provides for various remedies for any failure to comply with the order, including the issuance of orders to cease operations and penalties.
The city’s Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, otherwise known as the sick leave law, has been expanded so that covered workers can use their paid sick leave for COVID-19 related business closures, quarantine, and to stay home with their children during school closures without fear of retaliation.
The city and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) will launch a program to support Philadelphia businesses, help maintain payroll obligations, and preserve jobs impacted by the spread of COVID-19.
The program will be a tiered program that aims to provide targeted support for small businesses. The program will include a mix of new grants and zero-interest loans for Philadelphia businesses that make under $5 million in annual revenue. PIDC will continue to offer its existing lending programs for small and midsize businesses on flexible terms to provide working capital, fund contract receivables, refinance high-interest debt, and meet other needs.
More details about the program, including how businesses can apply, will be announced in the coming days.
In response to the COVID-19 health emergency, the Office of Benefits and Wage Compliance will not be enforcing predictability pay as of the April 1, 2020 effect date of the Fair Workweek law until further notice. However, employers are still expected to comply with other portions of the law. The city, through the Office of Benefits and Wage Compliance, will continue to work with businesses on compliance during this difficult and constantly-evolving situation.
For more information, please contact: