Tag Archives: Governor Wolf

COVID-19: PA to allow 50% indoor dining capability effective 9-21-2020

Earlier today on September 8, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that restaurants in Pennsylvania will be allowed to increase their indoor seating capacity to 50%, effective Sept. 21.

The 25% indoor restriction has been in place since July, 2020.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, it is not clear whether Philadelphia County will make the increase to 50% capacity considering it just beginning to reopen indoor dining at 25% on Tuesday following a nearly a six-month closure.

To qualify to be able to open at 50% occupancy, restaurants will be required to self-certify that they comply with all public safety guidelines. The self-certification process is an on line process and will appear in a special database available online. There will also be special branded material, including window clings and other signs, that show certification.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

Cannabis: Governor Wolf calls on PA Legislature to pass a Recreational Cannabis Bill; $1B of CARES relief

Earlier today, August 25, 2020, Gov. Tom Wolf called on the Pennsylvania Legislature to legalize recreational marijuana and use the tax revenue to help small businesses that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Gov. Wolf’s proposal on recreational marijuana was part of a package unveiled to spend the $1 billion remaining out of $3.6 billion CARES Act funding. The Governor called for a range of spending that would include $225 million in forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and another $100 million for restaurants and bars, hospitality and leisure businesses that have taken a big hit since March with business closures and occupancy restrictions.

Tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana would add to the state’s small business funding and half would go to historically disadvantaged businesses.

While the recreational marijuana legalization was NOT tied to CARES Act funding, Gov. Wolf in the news conference said legalization would add even more money to the programs that Pennsylvania residents and businesses would need to get back on their feet after the Covid-19 hit to the economy.

His proposals for the remaining CARES Act funding would also include paid family and sick leave for all Pennsylvanians while announcing six weeks for all state employees; $225 million more in hazard pay for frontline workers; $10 million to help employers pay for the cost of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies; and $250 million more in child care investments.

Governor Wolf also wants the alcohol tax to be canceled or reduced for 6 months and also allow bars, restaurants and other hospitality industries to buy alcohol at cost for six months.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. We also have a Cannabis Practice Group that in active in the cannabis regulatory, licensing, IP, real estate and fund raising aspects of the cannabis industry. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Tracy A. Gallegos, Paul Josephson, Seth Goldberg, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe

COVID-19: PA Announces New Gathering Limitations – Effective July 16th

Earlier this afternoon, around 3:30 pm, on 7-15-20, PA Governor Wolf announced new gathering restrictions that will go into effect at 12:01AM on Thursday, July 16, 2020.

For a copy of the Governor’s order – 

Bars:

1. All bars are prohibited from conducting operations unless they offer sit-down, dine-in meals.

2. Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.

3. All service must be at a table or booth; bar service is prohibited.

4. Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

For purposes of the order, occupancy requirements are:

1. Limited to 25% of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining.

2. A discrete indoor event or gathering in a business in the retail food services industry is limited to 25 persons.

Restaurants and private catered events:

For purposes of the order, occupancy requirements are:

1. Limited to 25% of stated fire-code maximum occupancy for indoor dining.

2. A discrete indoor event or gathering in a business in the retail food services industry is limited to 25 persons.

All businesses in the retail food services industry, including restaurants, wineries, and bars, are permitted to provide take-out and delivery sales of food, as well as dine-in service in both indoor and outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, as required by the order, including:

1. Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.

2. Customers being served must be seated at a table.

3. The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

4. Social distancing, masking, and other mitigation measures must be employed to protect workers and patrons.

5. Alcohol only can be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal. Take-out sales of alcohol for the purposes of off-site consumption are permitted subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law.

Nightclubs:

1. All nightclubs, as defined by the Clean Indoor Air Act, 35 P.S. § 637.2, are prohibited from conducting operations.

Other events and gatherings:

Events and gatherings other than those in businesses in the retail food services industry must adhere to these gathering limitations:

2. Indoor events and gatherings of more than 25 persons are prohibited.

3. Outdoor events and gatherings of more than 250 persons are prohibited.

4. The maximum occupancy limit includes staff.

Teleworking:

1. Unless not possible, all businesses are required to conduct their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of their employees in the jurisdiction or jurisdictions in which they do business.

2. Where telework is not possible, employees may conduct in-person business operations, provided that the businesses fully comply with all substantive aspects of the business safety order, the worker safety order, and the masking order.

Gyms and fitness facilities:

All gyms and fitness facilities, while permitted to continue indoor operations, are directed to prioritize outdoor physical fitness activities. All activities must follow masking requirements as provided by the July 1 order, and must provide for social distancing requirements of persons being at least 6 feet apart, as well as being limited by any limitations related to.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Jonathan Segal, Eve Klein or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA permits reopening of Real Estate Businesses per Published Guidelines

On May 19th, Governor Tom Wolf announced that businesses and employees in the real estate industry may conduct limited business-related activities statewide and provided guidance for this industry to operate in red phase and yellow phase counties.

Previously, businesses and employees in the real estate industry were permitted to conduct limited in-person activities in counties in the yellow phase of the commonwealth’s phased reopening plan.

The real estate guidance https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200519-Real-Estate-Guidance.pdf requires businesses and employees to follow all applicable provisions of the Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public, which includes provisions requiring that every person present at a work site, business location, or property offered for sale, wear masks/face coverings, and provisions requiring the establishment of protocols for execution upon discovery that the business has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.

All in-person activities are supposed to be scheduled and limited to no more than the real estate professional and 2 people inside a property at any time, exercising appropriate social distancing.

When conducting settlements/closings the guidance suggests utilizing remote notary, powers of attorney or the exchange of contract documents electronically or by mail wherever possible. Where it is not possible to conduct settlement/ closing via remote notary or POA, attendance in-person is required to be limited to required signatories and their legal counsel or real estate professional only, and steps to preserve social distancing must be followed to the maximum extent possible.

Businesses and employees are also encouraged to provide sellers with relevant safety information and protocols for cleaning and sanitizing properties; utilize electronic marketing as much as possible; provide all individuals at an in-person activity with a verbal health screening; stagger scheduling of property showings; avoid physical contact with the property by staging in advance to prevent the need for interaction with items like lights, interior doors, drapes and blinds; and minimize time spent in the property by having discussions away from the property via remote means.

The Governor also vetoed House Bill 2412, stating that the Bill did not provide enough safety protocols for the COVID-19 public health crisis. Further, the legislation would have placed restrictions on municipalities related to property transfers; specifically, it would have eliminated a municipality’s ability to issue use and occupancy permits and conduct safety inspections, which are conditions of a property transfer.

To read the Governor’s Order – https://www.governor.pa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/20200519-TWW-Business-Closure-Amendment.pdf

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin, and Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA Plan now allows re-opening of Construction, Vehicle Dealerships and Real Estate Industry per recent Executive Orders

While Governor Wolf extended the “Stay at Home” order until June 4, 2020 by Amendment to his earlier order, he also updated guidance on opening businesses in PA.  As you are likely aware, PA is employing a regional and industry-specific approach to reopening “non-life-sustaining” businesses.

In counties that have been designated as in the Red Phase, businesses permitted to conduct in-person operations are:

1) those listed as life sustaining according to the Governor’s and Secretary’s Non-Life Sustaining Business Closure Orders (as amended),
2) those that received an exemption from those Orders from the Department of Community and Economic Development, or
3) those permitted to conduct in-person operations pursuant to a subsequent applicable Order or amendment to those Orders from the Governor and Secretary including:

a. Construction Industry;
b. Vehicle Dealerships; and
c. Real Estate Industry.

In counties that have been designated as in the Yellow Phase, all businesses, except those categories specifically excluded in the Governor’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania and the Governor’s and Secretary of Health’s orders, are permitted to conduct in-person operations, so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance.

In counties that have been designated as in the Green Phase, all businesses (including those restricted or prohibited in the Yellow Phase) are authorized to conduct unrestricted in-person operations as long as the businesses follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

 

COVID-19: PA Outlines Plans to Create a Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (“CCCC”)

As Pennsylvania plans to safely reopen the economy and recover from COVID-19, Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (“CCCC”), a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector.

Per Governor Wolf, “the CCCC will serve as a public service program that will expand our ability to conduct contact tracing and testing and mobilize Pennsylvanians to contain COVID-19.”

The Wolf Administration’s continued efforts to reopen Pennsylvania will, in its own words, depend on its ability to expand the availability of COVID-19 testing and develop a robust infrastructure to conduct surveillance and contact tracing. This work will allow Pennsylvanians to effectively monitor and respond to new cases and quantify mitigation efforts.

As PA plans to ramp up these efforts in the coming months, the CCCC would help bring these efforts to fruition by:

• Partnering with local public health agencies, community organizations, and the nonprofit community to expand Pennsylvania’s existing testing and contract tracing initiatives;

• Leveraging additional resources to fund testing and contact tracing initiatives;

• Exploring creative ways to recruit experienced Pennsylvanians with health care and public health experience to support this initiative; and

• Coordinating existing resources deployed by the commonwealth, including community health nurses and county health departments who are currently conducting testing and contact tracing throughout the state.

The CCCC is also hoped to provide for a unique opportunity for PA to recruit and train COVID-19-impacted dislocated and unemployed workers into public service for contact tracing roles, which would address Pennsylvania’s health and economic needs.

To foster this new workforce, the CCCC would:

• Engage partners in the workforce development system, existing allied health training programs, and AmeriCorps programs to build and strengthen a public health workforce across the commonwealth;

• Leverage existing workforce development resources to recruit, train, and connect the public health workforce with employment opportunities; and

• Engage public health and health care employers to connect trained workers with long-term career opportunities.

According to Governor Wolf said. “Through this public service initiative, Pennsylvanians will have opportunities in the months ahead to join a collective effort to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic a stronger Commonwealth.”

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Eve Klein, Sharon Caffrey, Sandra Stoneman or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: PA Extends Closure Order until May 8th but will relax Auto Sales, Liquor Sales and some Construction Activities Restrictions (May 1)

On April 20, Governor Tom Wolf extended Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order until May 8, 2020.

The governor indicated he would be using a region-by-region approach that is data-driven and will include strict social-distancing measures as he considers reopening parts of Pennsylvania.

However, he announced three actions that offer some flexibility to businesses, including permitting curbside pickup of orders at state liquor stores, allowing auto sales online and opening what he said were various construction activities statewide on May 1st. More specific guidelines will be released at a later date.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.