Gov. Wolf Expands 'Stay-at-Home' Order, U.S. House Passes CARES Act, and Other News
Gov. Wolf issues "stay-at-home" order for nine more counties.

As Pennsylvania continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth, Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Friday afternoon that nine additional counties would be added to the state's "stay-at-home" order. This now makes 19 total counties that are under the governor's mandated restrictions.

Pennsylvania's "stay-at-home" order now includes Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties. To read the governor's proclamation, click here. To see the guidelines for affected counties, click here.

In addition, Gov. Wolf signed the myriad of bills passed by the General Assembly this week as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The bills approved by the legislature and signed by the governor delay Pennsylvania's primary until June 2, provides flexibility for schools to address instruction time and keeps teachers paid during the school closures as a result of the pandemic, and makes emergency changes to Pennsylvania's Unemployment Compensation law.

The governor also vetoed a controversial measure passed by the General Assembly last month that would provide tax credits and other incentives to the state's natural gas industry. The bill, House Bill 1100 , was a cornerstone of the House Republican's Energize PA initiative to create jobs and foster growth in the Commonwealth.

U.S House passes CARES Act, sends historic relief package to President Trump.

As was reported previously in Capitol Buzz, Congressional leaders and the White House agreed to a massive, $2 trillion relief package for individuals and businesses to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Late Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). And on Friday afternoon, the U.S. House followed suit and sent the bipartisan compromise to the President , who signed the bill early this evening.

To recap from yesterday's edition of Capitol Buzz , at the core of the legislation is $300 billion in direct payments to households to help put more money into the hands of most Americans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment compensation for workers who have been furloughed or laid off due to the pandemic, significant funding to help small businesses and nonprofits weather the economic storm caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, and $500 billion to help “severely distressed” sectors of the economy that have been devastated by the virus.

The bill also provides $117 billion for hospitals and other healthcare providers to deal with the firestorm of coronavirus cases facing the industry. The package also includes $45 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, $4.2 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other medical needs.

Dentists in Pennsylvania can provide emergency dental care to patients.

After weeks of working with the Department of Health and the governor's office, leaders within organized dentistry were able to revise guidelines developed by the state to allow Pennsylvania's dentists to provide emergency dental care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Routine dentistry is still prohibited under the new guidance.

Under the new guidelines, dentists in Pennsylvania will be able to provide care for patients with severe pain and swelling, or who have had traumatic injuries to their teeth without the requirement to use negative pressure rooms, which are not available in dental offices, hospitals, public health facilities or dental schools.

Pennsylvania Speaker of the House introduces bill to provide blanket construction exemption.

In the wake of Gov. Wolf's reluctance to provide a statewide, blanket exemption for Pennsylvania's construction industry to his order closing the physical locations of "non-life-sustaining" businesses, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai filed a memo today expressing his intention to introduce a bill that would compel the administration to allow construction projects to continue during the shutdown order.

Rep. Turzai's proposed legislation would require the Department of Community and Economic Development to issue a waiver to the Governor’s COVID-19 business closure order to all public and private construction activities that can adhere to social distancing practices and other mitigation measures defined by the Centers for Disease Control.

 Unprecedented times, but McNees is here to help.

The situation surrounding COVID-19 is changing by the hour. Capitol Buzz will do its best to keep our readers as up-to-date as possible as to local, state and federal actions relating to the virus.

As we have stated in previous editions, for those businesses seeking guidance or assistance on how to proceed during this unprecedented time, please contact the McNees Labor and Employment Practice Group, or for government relations assistance please contact the McNees Strategic Solutions Group (MSSG).

For more information on what you can do to protect yourself and others, check out the CDC's coronavirus information page or visit

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