A business owner’s guide to Pa.’s next wave of COVID-19 relief grants

By: Charlotte Keith

Help is on the way for Pennsylvania’s struggling bars, hotels, and restaurants, as $145 million in state grants becomes available this month.

The aid is targeted at businesses with fewer than 300 employees that have lost at least 25% of their sales as a result of the pandemic. Priority will go to those that have not received relief from other state and federal programs, had to temporarily close as a result of Gov. Tom Wolf’s business shutdown orders, or lost more than half of their revenue in 2020.

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Gov. Wolf Signs Bill Preparing National Guard to Assist with Vaccination Efforts

Press Release

Governor Wolf signed House Bill 326, which permits the Pennsylvania National Guard (PANG), in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, to develop plans for the establishment and operation of regional sites for community distribution and administration of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, and vaccines for a virus, including COVID-19. The bill also requires a report on the Administration’s plans to incorporate the National Guard into its overall vaccination strategy while taking into account vaccine availability and other vital ongoing missions.

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Could teachers become a higher priority on Pa.’s list for COVID-19 vaccinations?

By: Jan Murphy

Pressure has been building for teachers and other school employees to jump to the front of the line in Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution to allow a return to in-person classes.

The authorization of the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine could be their ticket to do just that.

On Monday, a state Department of Education official said updated information about vaccine distribution to educators is forthcoming. A state Department of Health spokeswoman elaborated on that point, saying specific details are hoped to be announced later this week.

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Budget hearing explores Pa. Education Department’s pandemic response

By: Robert Swift

HARRISBURG — Providing a timetable for returning grade K-12 students to regular in-person education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic was a popular topic at a House hearing Monday devoted to education spending.

This was the lead-off question at the Appropriations Committee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget request for the state Education Department.

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Pa. counties will again be unable to process mail ballots early during state’s primary election

By: Marie Albiges

HARRISBURG — Local officials in Pennsylvania are facing another election without extra time to process mail ballots, likely leading to delayed results and putting increased pressure on counties reeling from the most expensive contest ever.

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, and Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, told the New Castle News last week they likely wouldn’t consider any election-related legislation until after the House State Government Committee completes its 14 election oversight meetings, the last of which is scheduled for May 5, less than two weeks before the May 18 primary.

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Official gets an earful about COVID-19 business closures during Pa. budget hearing

By: Chris Comisac

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf’s controversial business closures and waiver program was a big topic of conversation during Monday’s budget hearing for the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

DCED Secretary Dennis Davin said he takes full ownership of those business closure and waiver decisions, acknowledging they were made with imperfect information at a time when people were dying around the world from what was still a mostly unknown COVID-19 virus.

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Wolf says state must do better with inoculations as Pa. reports 3,427 new cases

By: Mick Stinelli

Even though new cases of COVID-19 continue to drop after a winter surge, the United States on Monday still reached the sobering milestone of 500,000 people who have died of the virus.

In Pennsylvania, 3,427 new cases were recorded between Sunday and Monday, one of the lowest daily case counts in recent months. The state Department of Health also confirmed 44 more people had died of the virus.

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