Governor Wolf Outlines Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania
Follow the link for a breakdown of the plan's key points
Governor Tom Wolf announced today a three-phase plan for the relief, reopening, and recovery of Pennsylvania from the scourge of the SARS CoV-2 novel coronavirus. The timing and rollout of the plan will be guided by statistical data and benchmarks such as widespread availability of testing supplies.
As per the outline at governor.pa.gov/plan-for-pennsylvania, Gov. Wolf's agenda can be broken down into bullet points.
Phase 1: Relief
Relief for Pennsylvanians
• Food Insecurity
• Student Loan Debt
• Individuals Who Have Been Furloughed, Laid Off, or Have Reduced Hours
• Individuals Who Are Uninsured or Underinsured
• Students and Families
Relief for Businesses
• Department of Revenue
• Department of Community and Economic Development
• Banks and Mortgage Servicers
• Federal CARES Act
Relief for Health Care Systems and Providers
• Pennsylvania Hospital Emergency Loan Program
• Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for Providers and Suppliers
• Equipment, Supplies, and Coordination
• Technical Assistance
Phase 2: Reopening
The six-points are, as taken verbatim from Wolf in his address:
ONE: "First, our approach will be data-driven. We will rely upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopen in Pennsylvania.
TWO: "We will put forth guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and healthcare facilities for assured accountability as we reopen.
THREE: "Reopening necessitates that adequate personal protective equipment and testing are available.
FOUR: "Reopening requires a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the Commonwealth to deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation if it's necessary.
FIVE: "Protections for vulnerable populations must remain steadfast throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate at care facilities and prisons.
SIX: "Limitations when large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process."
Phase 3: Recovery
Recovery for Pennsylvanians
Pennsylvania will seek to increase its statewide minimum wage to $12, with a pathway to $15. Essential frontline healthcare workers will be granted additional hazard pay during future public health crises. Other measures would include improved work protection standards; enhanced access to child care, healthcare, and distance education resources; strengthening of the unemployment and worker's compensation programs; greater transparency about federal, state, and local fund allocation; student loan forgiveness, especially in relation to interest payments; and rapid reemployment programs.
Recovery for Businesses
Pennsylvania will implement innovative strategies and incentive programs to attract smart new companies and the talented employees to staff them. Small businesses will receive the state's full support as they attempt to rebound from the economic damages of the pandemic, including a recapitalization of the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program and a new grant program for businesses of 30 employees or fewer. Tax credits for manufacturers that have switched over to the production of medical supplies have been proposed. Other points of emphasis include statewide broadband access, infrastructure upgrades, and diverse investments in the agricultural sector.
Recovery for Health Care Systems and Providers
The governor's plan calls for an expanded health care system that is transparent, accessible, and affordable for all Pennsylvanians. Telehealth will continue to be expanded upon as a primary mode of care delivery. Investments in housing services and low-income housing developments will allow Pennsylvanians to be safely discharged from hospitals and promote health and wellness in these communities. Reforms within group home settings for children, individuals with disabilities, and seniors will be explored and implemented. Community health-based organizations will be empowered to serve a greater role in health and wellness activities and healthcare delivery.