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KEY UPDATES – May 8, 2020

As of this posting, there are 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Schuylkill Township.
The Township government continues to operate on an essential services-only basis. The municipal building remains closed to the public. No on-site Township public meetings and events will be held until further notice. The Township is holding virtual public meetings of the Board of Supervisors and other Township organizations-meeting information is published on the website . Township staff is working remotely and will respond to emails and phone messages (610) 933-5843. The Police Department continues to operate for the protection and safety of the community. For police assistance in a non-emergency situation, please call (610) 935-2440.

For statistics on the COVID-19 impact regionally and worldwide, please visit the following sites:
Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CCSE) at John’s Hopkins University (world-wide)
PA Department of Health (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)
Chester County Health Department (local)

For more information resources on COVID-19, please visit Chester County’s Coronavirus information website: https://www.chesco.org/4376/Coronavirus-COVID-19.

A COVID-19 human services resource guide is available at https://www.chesco.org/615/Mental-HealthIntellectual-Dev-Disabiliti

Governor Tom Wolf extends Stay-at-Home Order: Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine extended the orders for all counties in red, and signed new orders for the 24 counties moving to yellow. The original stay-at-home order is now extended to June 4. See the full announcement and new orders here.

Governor Announces 13 Southwest, Southcentral Counties Will Move to “Yellow”: This phase of the reopening plan for Pennsylvania will be effective May 15. Read the full announcement.

Governor and Attorney General Announce Protections from Foreclosures & Evictions through July 10. The complete press release may be read here.

Gov. Tom Wolf is creating the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts in the fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector. The intent is to fund these positions with federal dollars. See the full announcement here.

Gov. Wolf Signs Executive Order for Medical Immunity: Governor Wolf signed an executive order protecting health care practitioners from liability for good-faith actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details are available here.

The first steps of Pennsylvania Reopening began May 1st. For the governor’s Plan for Pennsylvania website, click here . Detailed information on the Process to Reopen Pennsylvania may be found here.

The PA Department of Labor & Industry has a website for job opportunities with businesses that are currently hiring.

Pennsylvania Primary Election is June 2nd. All voters now have the option to vote by mail. For more information on the new mail-in ballots and all things related to voting in Pennsylvania, call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.

Schuylkill Township’s Board of Supervisors Offers Township Property Tax Relief: The Board recognizes that many Township residents have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 crisis and has waived any fees or penalties on property taxes paid in full by December 31, 2020. All payments, in full, which are received by December 31st will be credited as paid on-time. Additionally, the 2% discount period has been extended through June 30, 2020.

Township permit processing and inspections resumed with the opening of construction on May 1st. All construction activity must follow state guidance to keep workers and the public safe. The state Department of Labor and industry has compiled Frequently Asked Questions on the guidance.

Permit applications should be mailed to the Township office or dropped off in the bin at the front door with the permit application fee. NO IN-PERSON CONSULTATIONS WILL TAKE PLACE until the stay at home order is lifted. Approved permits will be mailed to the applicant or may picked up in the front bin by appointment. As per the township’s standard practice, inspection appointments are Monday & Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons. Inspection appointments must be scheduled 48 hours in advance.  Email zoning@schuylkilltwp.org for inspection appointments.

The Phoenixville Area School District is still providing meal support to students. Visit www.pasd.com/home for information on the new distribution schedule. To find out how you can help, please click here.

Food assistance resources may be found at local food banks or pantries. Visit the Chester County Food Bank, Feeding Pennsylvania or Hunger-Free Pennsylvania , or check dhs.pa.gov/services/assistance/pages/SNAP.aspx for information on the Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

FOR BUSINESSES

PA Labor and Industry Secretary Offers Reminder; As parts of PA begin to re-open and others are called back to work, Commonwealth Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said if workers refuse to return to a job, they will not be eligible for unemployment payments from the state or federal government. Labor & Industry reminds employers that they must file the “Refusal Suitable Work” form within 7 days of the employees’ refusal to return to work. This applies to all employers including townships. The form can be filed online and is available here.

List of Life-Sustaining Businesses, FAQs; The Life-Sustaining Business List and Life-Sustaining Business FAQs are available at dced.pa.gov. Please note that updates are ongoing, visit this site for the most current guidance.

Unemployment information under the CARES Act may be found at https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/CARES-Act/Pages/default.aspx. The CARES Pandemic Unemployment Assistance offers extended eligibility for individuals traditionally ineligible for UC benefits (e.g., self-employed, independent contractors).

DCED announced certain loan deferrals for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Read the full announcement here.

An Employee Retention Credit is available for many businesses financially impacted by COVID-19 under the March 27, 2020. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Information on qualifying businesses, the implementation of this credit, frequently asked questions on Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave and other COVID-19 economic relief efforts can be found on the Coronavirus page of IRS.gov.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) has information and resources available for businesses affected by COVID-19. Details may be found at https://dced.pa.gov/. Funding is available to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

.Here are some additional resources to keep in mind when staying up to date:
Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania – guide to resources for Pennsylvania
Coronavirus.gov – the latest official information from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – official Coronavirus (COVID-19) health information.
FEMA Rumor Control page – answers to coronavirus myths and rumors.
USA.gov/Coronavirus – see what government agencies are doing in response to COVID-19.