Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick | Our Independent Voice
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CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 RESOURCES & UPDATES

 

Pennsylvania Updates

  • Bucks County Positive Cases of COVID-19: 5,116
  • Montgomery County Positive Cases of COVID-19: 7,172
  • Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order effective on April 1 at 8 p.m. for all 67 counties in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Governor Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21.
  • All restaurants and bars close their dine-in facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses that offer carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service may continue to do so but eating and drinking inside restaurants and bars are temporarily prohibited.
  • Supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations will remain open. The administration issued guidance for non-essential businesses, such as gyms, movie theaters, and shopping malls during county-specific mitigation periods to protect employees, customers, and suppliers and limit the spread of the virus through personal contact and surfaces. Additional statewide business guidance is forthcoming.
  • Pennsylvania Specific Links
    • For the daily COVID-19 Report, visit here.
    • For all press releases regarding coronavirus, please visit here.
    • Find the latest information on the coronavirus here.
    • Photos of the state’s lab in Exton are available for download and use here.
    • Coronavirus and preparedness graphics are available here near the bottom of the page: On.pa.gov/coronavirus
    • Community preparedness and procedures materials are available here.

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Federal Actions

It is incredibly important that Congress and the American public stay up to date on all the facts relating to Coronavirus. We must provide the public with all available information to provide a full picture of how this has affected other countries, as well as our own. As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I know that a global crisis can quickly reach our borders, and we must have every resource available to properly respond. 

On March 13th, President Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic to be a National Emergency which will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to use reserved funds to address the virus. Private organizations such as Target, Walmart, Google, Walgreens, and CVS, will also help our country to tackle this pandemic head-on.

I joined with Congresswoman Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Congressman Ruiz (D-CA) to start the Bipartisan Congressional Coronavirus Taskforce. This taskforce will marshal the collective experience and expertise of Members of Congress and Congressional Committees to produce an action plan and provide input into health policy and legislative efforts, be a vehicle for receiving and disseminating information regularly to the entire Congress and the general public, to advocate for needed resources, and to compel the Administration to act promptly on all matters related to the coronavirus.  

Phase 1 Response:

On March 8th, the President signed in to law a bipartisan deal to allocate $8.3 billion to combat the coronavirus. This bill provides the funding to address the virus at home and abroad, including expediting vaccine development, purchasing essential equipment and supplies, and assisting state and local health departments.

Phase 2 Response:

On March 18th, the President signed in to law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide Americans and their families with the resources necessary to tackle economic and health challenges ahead. This bill puts American families and workers first by providing free coronavirus testing and paid sick leave. This legislation also includes paid emergency leave throughout this crisis while also giving America's small businesses the flexibility they need to keep millions of Americans employed during this outbreak. 

Phase 3 Response:   

On March 27th, the President signed in to law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability (CARES) Act. This bill will provide much-needed relief to our healthcare workers, small businesses, families, and workers. By giving direct payments to Americans, and giving relief to small businesses and workers, this bill will work to stabilize our economy. Additionally, this bill provides support to healthcare workers, the heroes on the front lines of this pandemic.

Phase 3.5 Response:

On April 24th, the President signed in to law the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This bill provides much-needed funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, hospitals, and testing.

Specifically, the bill provides:

  • $310 billion for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) successful Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which will allow SBA to continue providing forgivable PPP loans to our nation’s small businesses to help cover the cost of payroll and operating expenses during this difficult time.
  • $60 billion for the SBA’s economic injury disaster loans and grants, which is another key source of assistance for small businesses.
  • $75 billion to support the heroes on the front lines of this crisis: our hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • $25 billion to expand testing, which will provide information on where cases are occurring and support continued efforts to reopen communities and reignite our record-breaking economy.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.

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Resources

Experts have been working hard to understand this new strain of coronavirus. Because new information is coming out every day, please visit the sites below to stay up to date. 

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Tax Relief

The income tax filing date has been pushed from April 15 to July 15, per an announcement from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. In the announcement, Mnuchin said that all taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. 

On March 25th, the IRS released its “People First Initiative,” which is designed to provide relief to taxpayers during the fight against COVID-19. The relief includes postponing certain payments related to installment agreements and offers in compromise. It also includes limiting certain enforcement actions. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig noted that the IRS is “temporarily adjusting [its] processes to help people and businesses during these uncertain times.” To determine whether this relief applies to your specific situation, review the IRS guidance here.

This new initiative adds to other recently released updates from the IRS on its efforts to aid taxpayers in response to COVID-19. The IRS released information related to its continuing operations and tips for taxpayers and tax professionals on how best to interact with the agency during the crisis. That information can be found here. Additionally, the IRS developed a Frequently Asked Questions page aimed at addressing taxpayer questions regarding changes to the tax filing and tax payment deadlines. That information can be found here.

Additional tips and resources for taxpayers:

  • Taxpayers should still file their taxes as soon as possible if they expect to receive a refund. Although the tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, the sooner you file your taxes, the sooner you can receive your refund during as we face this COVID-19 challenge together.
  • Taxpayers are encouraged to file their taxes electronically and use direct deposit if possible. Under current circumstances, this is the fastest way for taxpayers to receive refunds.
  • The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) remains operational at the local level and taxpayers in need of assistance should visit the TAS website here to locate the appropriate local office phone number. Note that TAS has suspended walk-in services and their toll-free centralized number until further notice. Contacting a local office is the most effective way to get assistance at this time.

The IRS is continuing to provide new information for taxpayers related to regulatory changes and agency guidance at its dedicated coronavirus website here.

IRS resource page on Coronavirus Tax Relief: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

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Small Business Relief

Economic Disaster Assistance

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Eligibility

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Faith-Based Organizations Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and loan advance, click here.

• For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

For affiliation rules applicable for the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

The Interim Final Rule for Applicable Affiliation Rules for the Paycheck Protection Program information is being posted in advance of publication in the Federal Register.  The official version will appear in the Federal Register.

Frequently Asked Questions for Faith-Based Organizations Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Who Can Apply

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible if their individual locations employ less than 500 workers.

Loan Detail and Forgiveness

The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%.

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a copy of the PPP borrower application form to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender.

Additional Assistance

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are currently eligible to apply for disaster assistance.

Enhanced Debt Relief is also available in SBA’s other business loan programs to help small businesses overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.

For information on additional Lending options, please click here.

SBA provides local assistance via 68 district offices and a nationwide network of resource partners. To find resources near you, please click here

Lender Forms and Guidance

The Interim Final Rule announcing the Paycheck Protection Program information is being posted in advance of publication in the Federal Register.  The official version will appear in the Federal Register. Click here to download.

Click here to download the Paycheck Protection Program Lender Application Form. Lenders who need assistance accessing SBA's E-Tran system to process loan guarantee requests may call our Lender Customer Service Line at 1-833-572-0502.

Click here to view the Lender Agreement and enroll as a participating SBA Lender to make Paycheck Protection Program financing available to your customers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and other circulating among animals.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness is people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms?

- Fever

- Cough

- Shortness of breath

The symptoms may appear in a few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

How can the coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

- Through the air by coughing or sneezing;

- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;

- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;

- Occasionally, fecal contamination.

How can I help protect myself?

Prevention:

- Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!

- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

- Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.

- Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

Also, it is recommended that Pennsylvanians take time to prepare now. View the PA Emergency Preparedness Guide.

Should I wear a mask or respirator in public?

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. Most often, the spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). These devices must be readily available to health care workers and others who need them.

Should I cancel my trip to a country with a level 3 travel advisory?

Yes. The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries with a level 3 travel advisory at this time. For more travel information, visit our Travelers Page.  

What about animals or animal products imported from China?

The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

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Travel
 

The White House is proclaiming Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to restrict travel to the United States from foreign nationals who have recently been in certain European countries. Section 212(f) of the INA only applies to the movement of human beings, not goods or cargo.

 

 

The restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area, 26 countries in Europe with open border agreements, the United Kingdom, or the Republic of Ireland, in the last 14 days.

The 26 countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Those who are exempt from these restrictions, such as American citizens, will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening can take place.

Americans returning from Europe will be tested for the virus, and would not be allowed in the country if they test positive for the virus. Upon arrival, Americans will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Legal permanent residents and immediate family members of U.S. citizens are exempt from the travel restrictions but will be subject to quarantine.

The restriction will go in to effect at 11:59 pm ET on Friday, March 13. The restriction will last until terminated by the President.

The Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State have issued the following countries as travel risks due to the Coronavirus COVID-19. If you have plans to travel to these regions, please reconsider.

 
 
 
 
 
For a complete list of State Department travel advisories, please click here.
 
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