COVID-19: As of 4-2-21, NJ Expands Outdoor Gathering Numbers and Indoor Seating Capacity for Large Venues

Earlier today on 3-30-21, NJ Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 234, which will increase outdoor gathering limits and increase capacity for seated events at large venues. The Order also clarifies indoor capacity limits for banquet halls and similar venues.

Executive Order No. 234 enables the following changes on Friday, April 2, at 6:00 a.m.:

Outdoor Gatherings:

The general outdoor gathering limit will increase from 50 people to 200 people.

Outdoor gatherings that are religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, or memorial services will continue to not have any limit.

College and youth sporting events will be permitted up to 200 spectators if the outdoor venue can accommodate appropriate social distancing.

Large Venues:

Venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more will be permitted to host events at 20% capacity indoors and 30% capacity outdoors. The capacity limits will continue to exclude participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers.

Facilities that host such events must ensure that all attendees at the event remain six feet apart from other attendees, except those individuals who purchase or reserve tickets together may be seated together. Attendees will also be required to wear masks within the facility, except when eating or drinking.

Catered Events:

The Order also clarifies that banquet halls and similar dining establishments and venues that use a licensed caterer can host indoor celebrations and other private catered events at 35% of the room’s capacity, up to 150 persons.

Indoor Gatherings:

The general indoor gathering limit will remain at 25 people.

Indoor gatherings that currently have a higher limit – religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services, or performances – will remain unchanged.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein, Kathy O’Malley or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: NJ Expands list of Eligible Vaccine Recipients

Late last week (on March 27, 2021), Governor Murphy announced the expansion of eligibility for vaccines to more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Eligible groups include individuals ages 55-64, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and staff, and communications and utility infrastructure workers among others.

Beginning Monday, April 5, the following groups are eligible for vaccination:

Individuals ages 55-64;

Individuals ages 16 and up with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
Educators, including support staff, in higher education settings;

Communications infrastructure support, including engineers, and technicians, and members of the press;

Real estate, building, and home service workers, including construction workers, code officials, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, property management, and maintenance workers;

Retail financial institution workers, including bank tellers, lending services, public accounting, and check-cashing workers;

Sanitation workers providing disinfection and janitorial services, city sanitation workers; residential, commercial, and industrial solid and hazardous waste removal workers;

Laundry service workers, including those working in laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners;

Utility workers including, electrical generation and supply system, natural gas delivery, nuclear power plant, water supply, telephone, cable/fiber/optical/broadband/cellular service workers; and,

Librarians and support staff at municipal, county, and state libraries.

For more information about eligibility, statewide vaccination site locations, and to preregister for a vaccination, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: PA announces April time frame for additional restaurant and hospitality indoor and outdoor rules relaxation

Earlier today, Monday, March 15th, PA Gov. Wolf relaxed certain Covid-19 restrictions, including making substantial modification to some of the more  restrictive guidelines that apply to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Effective April 4th at midnight, “self-certified” restaurants, gyms, casinos, malls and theatres in PA will be permitted to operate at 75% capacity. Non-self-certified restaurants are required to remain at 50% capacity. The self-certification process involves agreeing to strictly comply to all public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements issued by the CDC and the PA Department of Health.

The previous guideline that required restaurants and bars to have “last call” at 11 p.m. has also been eliminated. Additionally, bar seating will now be permitted so long as barriers exist between guests. Per the Philadelphia Business Journal, the changes also lift requirements that patrons order food with alcohol, i.e., merely drinking will be permitted on a go forward basis as of April 4.

The governor also announced revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, also regardless of venue size.

The City of Philadelphia is currently allowing a 50% indoor capacity maximum if the applicable restaurant is approved under a certification process. Philadelphia which has set its own stricter rules has advised that it will review its rules in light of the new Commonwealth guidance.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer, Eve Klein or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia begins Reopening Indoor and Outdoor Sporting Events to Live Fans!

The City of Philadelphia has elected to follow the Commonwealth’s guidance on enabling sporting events to begin bringing back fans live.

The revised restrictions allow outdoor venues to have occupancy of 20% of maximum capacity and indoor venues to have occupancy of 15% of maximum capacity, regardless of venue size.

Gov. Tom Wolf had announced this updated statewide guidance earlier this week on March 1, 2021.

According to Philadelphia Business Journal reporting, the Wells Fargo Center will initially be able to host 3,100 fans for Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers game and will begin to allow fans live as of Sunday night’s game against the Washington Capitals.

The 76ers will begin hosting fans starting March 14.

According to press releases from the teams, the Wells Fargo Center recently completed an $11 million installation of a new HVAC system that replaces indoor air every 30 minutes.

The Phillies will host Opening Day at 42,729-seat Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves on April 1. Under current guidance, 8,558 attendees will be allowed at the event, noting, it is unclear exactly how many fans will be permitted inside the stadium as the limits include coaches, players, team employees and arena staff.

Duane Morris has an active team of lawyers who have been engaged in the review and dissemination of COVID related alerts, blogs and advice on various COVID related topics.  Please see our website for a few list of all available articles and blogs.  

If you have any questions or thoughts, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Sharon Caffrey, Elizabeth Mincer or any of the Duane Morris lawyers you regularly engage with.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: Philadelphia to lift certain COVID-19 bans on 1-15-21

Earlier today, January 12, 2021, the Kenney Administration announced that Philadelphia will lift its ban on theaters, indoor dining, and in-person college instruction on January 15, 2021.

Theaters will able to reopen, with a maximum audience of 5% of total capacity or 5 people per 1,000 square feet, including both attendees and staff. Food and drink will not be allowed, and all guests must wear masks.

Restaurants will be permitted to have indoor dining for 25% of their seating capacity.

Colleges and universities will now be allowed to resume in-person instruction.

Other indoor gatherings, indoor recreational sports, indoor catered events and senior day services will remain in restricted status for the moment.

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, Sharon Caffrey, Eve Klein or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: Vaccines to arrive in NJ on Tuesday 12-15-20 – Who will Receive them First?

As the Pfizer FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines begin to arrive in NJ on 12-15-20, the burning question on some people’s minds is who will be getting inoculated first?

Per the NJ Health Commissioner, vaccines will be distributed to almost anyone who works in the healthcare field. The list of eligible recipients is intentionally broad.

Vaccinations will take place at 6 regional hospitals, including AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Cooper University Hospital in Camden, University Health in Newark, AtlantiCare and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick

The list of those at the front of the line includes any “licensed healthcare worker” in the state of New Jersey, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists and occupational therapists, as well as anyone on their staff, such as receptionists.

The list of eligible healthcare workers includes:

– Community health workers such as midwives and doulas
– Dialysis center workers
– Environmental service workers
– Funeral care and autopsy workers
– Homeless shelter workers and residents
– Hospice facility staff
– Lab technicians
– Mortuary service workers, consultants or contractors who deal with medical services but who may not work in an actual medical office,
– Medical marijuana facilities
– Paramedics, EMTs and first-aid responders.
– Rehabilitation staff
– Residents and workers in psychiatric hospitals
– Unpaid workers like students who are studying in hospitals
– Visiting nurses, nurses who work at assisted living homes
– Workers and residents at group homes and assisted-living complexes
– Workers at family planning sites.

Per NJ BIZ, there are 650,000 New Jersey residents who fit into one of those above categories. It does not mean all 650,000 will get the vaccine in December: The state of New Jersey has 76,050 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to give in the first round.

Those who live in long-term care facilities will also start receiving their first round of the vaccine this week.  More than 20,000 doses will go to long-term care facilities and 54,000 will go to hospitals, which will be the only points of dispensing this week.

 All 6 hospitals receiving the vaccine have arctic-level, subzero freezers in place to store the vaccines.  Very soon, however, 53 acute-care hospitals in New Jersey will also have the Pfizer vaccine.

A second vaccine from Moderna is expected to receive Food & Drug Administration approval later this week.

18 acute care hospitals will receive the Moderna vaccine likely by the beginning of next week. The Moderna vaccine does not need to be kept at such a cold temperature as the Pfizer vaccine.

By way of comparison, the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius while the Moderna vaccine may be stored at -20 degrees Celsius.

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, Sharon Caffrey, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: PA Adopts CDC 10 day Quaratine timing for Travel

Per PA Department of Health guidelines posted on Friday, December 5, 2020, PA is lowering the COVID-19 quarantine period that out-of-state travelers will need to observe. The new guidance, in line with CDC recommendations, reduces the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 days.

Under the new guidance, travelers to PA should self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19 or if testing is not available. They should also self-quarantine for 7 days after travel even if they test negative. Note that the self-quarantining is suggested rather than mandatory.

Recommended timing for tests per the CDC are to get a test between 1 and 3 days before the trip, and between 3 to 5 days after the trip.

In November, the Department of Health provided an updated travel order requiring anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering. Travel quarantine guidance was changed to 10 days last Friday, on Dec. 5 based on new CDC guidance.

The PA order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment, those who left the state for less than 24 hours, and those complying with a court order, including child custody.

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, Linda B. Hollinshead, Elisabeth Bassani, Sharon Caffrey, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

 

COVID-19: PA announces Emergency Assistance Program (“EAP”) for lower income families

Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller today announced on May 8, 2020, an Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) to help low-income families who lost wages experiencing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families who qualify will be eligible for a one-time payment to assist them in meeting basic needs and help them secure more stable financial footing in the future.

The program will use existing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to provide support to low-income families who qualify. The program will be open to families with a child under the age of 18 or a woman who is currently pregnant.

In order to qualify, families must have at least one person in the household who was employed as of March 11, 2020 and experienced an hour or wage reduction of at least 50 percent for two weeks or more or lost employment entirely due to the public health crisis.

Families must meet income limits of 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and have no more than $1,000 in a savings or checking account.

Household               Monthly Income                Annual Income Limit
1                                           $1,595                                            $19,140
2                                           $2,155                                            $25,860
3                                           $2,715                                            $32,580
4                                           $3,275                                            $39,300
5                                           $3,835                                            $46,020
6                                           $4,395                                            $52,740
7                                           $4,955                                            $59,460
8                                           $5,515                                            $66,180
9                                          $6,075                                             $72,900
10                                        $6,635                                             $79,620
Each + Person                    $560                                               $6,720

Qualifying families will be issued a one-time grant equal to two months of TANF benefits. The average monthly TANF grant for a family of three is $403, so a qualifying family of three would receive a one-time grant of $806 through the program. Information on monthly grants by household size and county is available online here. Funds will be issued through an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.

The emergency assistance application is available online at www.compass.state.pa.us. Families should be prepared to submit all necessary documentation with their application to expedite processing and avoid having to apply again. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, May 11 through June 12 or until all funds are expended.

Secretary Miller also provided an update on the number of public assistance applications received by DHS. Applications are generally down from where they were before County Assistance Offices began to close in Pennsylvania. Applications did begin to increase to pre-closure levels towards the second half of April but are declining again.

Pennsylvanians can apply for Medicaid, the EAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other public assistance programs at any time through DHS’ online COMPASS application at www.compass.state.pa.us.

Those who prefer to submit paper applications can mail documents to their local County Assistance Office (CAO) or leave documents in a CAO’s secure drop box, if available. CAOs are still closed to the public, but mail and drop boxes are being monitored so applications can be processed.

Visit pa.gov for a “Responding to COVID-19” guide or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

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, Sharon Caffrey, Eve Klein, 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 – $324 Million Dollars awarded to 31 hospitals under the HELP Program

PA Governor Tom Wolf announced that nearly $324 Million in funding has been awarded to 31 hospitals across the Commonwealth through the “Hospital Emergency Loan Program” or HELP, which provides short-term financial relief as hospitals combat the surge of COVID-19 cases in their area.

“As Pennsylvania continues to practice social distancing, we have successfully flattened the curve, but we know that our fight against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Gov. Wolf. “This funding will allow our hospitals to hold steady in that fight with the peace of mind that they have access to the resources they need to provide critical care to their communities.”

The loan package was made available to the Commonwealth’s hospitals to provide immediate financial support for working capital to ensure that these facilities have sufficient personnel, equipment, and personal protective equipment.

The funding was dispersed by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and is being administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) through the Pennsylvania First Program (PA First).

Pennsylvania health care facilities licensed as hospitals by the Pennsylvania Department of Health under the Health Care Facilities Act of 1979 that are eligible to receive federal grant funding through the CARES Act are eligible for HELP.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.

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, Delphine O’Rourke, Sharon Caffrey or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!