Governor Wolf Announces Restaurants May Increase Indoor Occupancy to 50 Percent Starting September 21: Restaurants Must Self Certify

Governor Tom Wolf today announced that restaurants may increase indoor occupancy to 50 percent starting September 21. To ensure that these businesses operate safely as Pennsylvania continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and to instill customers and employees with confidence knowing that they can dine safely, restaurants will commit to strictly complying to all public health safety guidelines and orders through a self-certification process.

“While our aggressive and appropriate mitigation efforts have kept case counts low, we must continue to take important steps to protect public health and safety as we head into the fall. At the same time, we must also support the retail food services industry that has struggled throughout this pandemic,” Gov. Wolf said. “The self-certification ensures that restaurants can expand indoor operations and commit to all appropriate orders so that employees and customers alike can be confident they are properly protected.”

Restaurants that self-certify will appear in the Open & Certified Pennsylvania searchable online database of certified restaurants across the commonwealth. Consumers will be able to access this database and find certified businesses in their area, ensuring that consumers can make more informed choices about the food establishments they are looking to patronize.

Click here to read more.
Wolf Administration Calls for Paid Leave Mandate

At a press conference early last week, Gov. Tom Wolf called on the General Assembly to pass legislation imposing a paid leave mandate on employers. The governor also announced that state employees would be offered a new paid parental level policy starting Oct. 15 of up to six weeks following a child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement, which is separate from any accrued sick or paid time off that the employee may have already earned.
 
The PA Chamber testified at a Senate Labor and Industry Committee hearing this past January which focused on one particular paid leave proposal: S.B. 580, which would create an employee-financed fund from which workers could receive paid leave of up to 20 weeks per year. Under this proposal, the state would require employers to deduct and remit a portion of a worker’s weekly earnings into a fund administered by the Department of Labor and Industry. At the hearing, the PA Chamber recognized the attempt to mitigate the financial burden on employers but still expressed concern with the impact of this proposal, particularly on small business owners who would still face significant personnel and additional administrative costs.
 
PA Chamber President Gene Barr expressed the PA Chamber’s reservations with the governor’s call for a paid leave mandate in a recent Pennlive article and was also interviewed on the WITF radio program, “Smart Talk,” last week regarding concerns with mandated leave policies. He emphasized that the middle of a pandemic and economic fallout is an especially unwise time to impose new mandates that will hit small businesses particularly hard. Barr said that the PA Chamber believes employers should adopt leave policies, and those who do better attract and retain good workers, employers are best positioned to develop plans that work for their particular business, as opposed to a specific set of policies mandated by government.
NFIB Webinar: Security in the Remote Working Environment (Presented by Dell Technologies)

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, 12:00 PM ET
 
Presented by: Matt Papendorf, Senior Advisor, OEM Security Brand Manager

Get an understanding of where to start on developing a security package for your small business from Dell Technologies. They’ll cover the current landscape of security threats and how the work from home environment has changed the need to secure your companies and customers more. During this session, you’ll get answers to questions like, “why security matters” answered and advice on where to start to secure your business.

Can't make this Webinar? Don't worry! Register Now and we'll email you an on-demand version!
Presented by PHEAA: Borrowing for Higher Education

Following up on the highly successful "Covering The Gap" webinar series, PHEAA now offers a series of one-hour webinars focused more specifically on the borrowing aspect of higher education finance. A significant percentage of students find that grants, scholarships, work-study, savings, PA529, and other funding sources are insufficient to meet the total cost of attending postsecondary school. In an ideal situation, borrowing would not be necessary; yet, considering the lifelong value of a higher education, borrowing can be a smart investment. Linda Pacewicz and Dan Wray of PHEAA's PA Forward Private Student Loan Program will provide an in-depth look at federal and private education loans, to include calculating the amount to borrow, understanding loan terms and conditions, navigating the application process, keeping an eye on debt levels while attending college, and effectively managing debt after graduation. The discussion will also provide a glimpse into the world of credit decisions. Please register below to join us for one or more of these informative presentations. Active participation is encouraged via Q&A!


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Free Re-opening Signage

As Pennsylvania businesses begin to reopen, each business owner will need to examine their operations and make changes to meet public safety guidelines. PASBDC has created signage to address common health concerns. All images are completely free to use, so please share, download, print and distribute as you wish!

The Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund is a non-profit recently launched to provide forgivable loans of $3,000 to Pennsylvania small businesses struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility criteria is simple:
 
  • Employs between 3 and 30 people
  • Based in Pennsylvania and operating for at least a year
  • Owned and operated by a Pennsylvania resident
  • Operate as a for profit business.
 
Eligible employers must complete a short application and submit a video detailing how they could benefit from the funding. The funds do not need to be repaid. However, business owners who are able may choose to "pay it forward" by paying the proceeds back to the Fund to be used by other small businesses.
 
Additional questions about the PA 30 Day Fund can be directed by Maia Comeau at maia@comeaucompany.com.

The Chamber has been informed that the application process is simple and that preference is being given to those that are involved in their community.
Flowchart Helps Employers Understand New Tax Credits

The IRS recently issued Publication 5419, New Employer Tax Credits (PDF) to help employers understand the tax credits available to them due to the coronavirus pandemic. The one-page document breaks down the details of the Employer Retention Credit and the credits for paid sick and family leave in easy-to-follow charts. Using the document, employers can quickly determine whether they are eligible for the credits, the amount of the credits and which wages apply to the credits.

Click here for access to timely resources.
Office Hours

Following the Governor's guidance, staff is once again working remotely and only going to the office as necessary. If you need to reach us, please call 814-643-1110 and leave a message for Yvonne or email ymartin@huntingdinchamber.com

Download this questionnaire for sample screening questions to ask employees upon return to work and on a regular basis moving forward. This template is based on questions required or recommended by various states as well as input from U.S. Chamber member companies of all sizes and sectors.
Huntingdon County Strong:
Business and Community Resources

Click graphic below.
Quick Connect Coaching Sessions
Weekly, Tuesdays at 8:30 am

Looking for a quick answer to a question related to disaster recovery, reopening, stabilizing, or projecting for growth? Then attend a "Quick Connect" session to get your questions answered. Each week a consultant will address answers related to a specific topic.

Contact Us

Yvonne Martin
President/ CEO


MacKenzie Huntsman
Program Director



Phone: 814-643-1110
Fax: 814-643-1115
    
Stay Connected

Looking to start an endowment or to support community efforts? Click the logo above to learn more about the Huntingdon County Foundation.