Coronavirus (COVID-19)

PSATS Daily COVID-19 News

Monday, August 10, 2020


Trump Signs Executive Orders Providing Stimulus Funds

This weekend, President Donald J. Trump signed several memoranda and an executive order intended to provide financial assistance to individuals due to the lack of congressional authorization. The actions include:

  • Authorization to use up to $44 billion of the remaining Disaster Relief Funds for lost wage assistance and a call for states to use a portion of remaining CARES act funds for supplemental unemployment benefits.
  • Deferment of payments of the employee portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes paid between September 1 and December 31, 2020 for individuals who make less than $4,000 per biweekly pay period.
  • Deferment of student loans due to economic hardship until December 31, 2020.
  • Federal assistance to minimize residential evictions and foreclosures. 

None of these actions involve new spending, but rather reallocating previously authorized unspent dollars until Congress provides new funding. Details of Trump’s actions are available by clicking here.


Daily PA COVID-19 Cases Decrease for Second Straight Week

The statewide COVID case total now stands at 118,852. New per-day positive COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania decreased for the second straight week. The seven-day average new case count is now 747, down 15 percent from 879 one week ago. In addition, the statewide percent-positivity also decreased from 4.6 percent one week ago to 4.1 percent, which is below the recommended rate of 5 percent. This number is the total positive COVID-19 tests out of all COVID-19 tests conducted.   

“The decreased case counts across the state, and in many counties this week, indicate that the tough decisions we have had to make are protecting Pennsylvanians,” Gov. Wolf said. “Our percent positivity decreased for the second week in a row, which continues to reflect the willingness of Pennsylvanians to take steps to protect themselves and their neighbors. We must continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings to keep our numbers low, which will stop the spread and allow more freedom.” 

However, the number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania saw an increase of 6 percent since August 2, from 564 to 600, while the number of patients on ventilators statewide also increased from 90 to 103 in the last week.    

On Friday, the commonwealth identified a number of counties as having percent-positivity rates of 5 percent or more for the past week and as such, will carefully monitor these counties, which include Beaver, Clearfield (new), Delaware, Erie (new), Fayette, Fulton (new), Huntingdon (new), Indiana, Juniata (new), Lancaster, Lawrence, Luzerne (new), Mercer (new), Mifflin (new), Northumberland (new), Philadelphia, Union (new), and York (new). Townships should note that Allegheny, Armstrong, Berks, Chester, and Franklin counties saw their percent-positivity rates drop under 5 percent last week and were removed from the state’s “watch” list. Mercer and York saw their rate increase above 5 percent after being off for one week and were placed back on the list. Click here for more.   


Commonwealth Adds Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin to Quarantine Advisory  

The commonwealth has added Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin to the list of states that Pennsylvania residents are urged to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. To view the advisory and the current list of states on the advisory, click here.   


U.S. Unemployment Level Drops in July  

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment level dropped from 11.1 percent to 10.2 percent in July. Nonfarm employment rose by 1.8 million jobs in July, a significant improvement, but less than the 4.8 million jobs added in June and the 2.7 million jobs added in May. Despite significant improvements in unemployment numbers over the last few months, there are 10.6 million more unemployed Americans than there were in February before the shutdown, when unemployment was at 3.5 percent. 


The improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employment in leisure and hospitality accounted for about one-third of the gain, while notable job gains also occurred in government, retail trade, professional and business services, other services, and health care.Click here to learn more.    


Previous PSATS Daily COVID-19 News



 COVID-19 Fact Sheets

PSATS has developed new fact sheets to help townships answer questionslearn best practices, and navigate Pennsylvania’s phased reopening. The fact sheets are a new PSATS member service that also link townships directly to the supporting state and federal guidance.


Public Works and the COVID -19 Challenge by LTAP



 Yellow and Green Phase Guidance

Life in the Yellow Phase

Life in the Green Phase 

*The green phase is the new normal for the foreseeable future until vaccines or effective therapies or treatments are available. *


What restrictions are lifted in the yellow phase? 

The stay-at-home order will be lifted, childcareday camps, and community pools may reopen, but must follow state and federal guidance (note: click on each for the appropriate guidance). Click here for the state guidance for summer recreation

The number of people allowed at large gatherings increases to 25 and in-person retail will be allowed (with curbside and delivery preferred). All businesses except those specifically excluded from the orders may resume in-person operations as long as they strictly adhere to the commonwealth’s guidance. Professional sports may resume with a state-approved plan but without spectators.

What restrictions are lifted in the green phase? 

All businesses may resume in-person operations as long as they strictly adhere to the commonwealth’s guidance (note that the business guidance document is the same for both yellow and green zones). Businesses that were authorized to operate in the yellow phase at 50 percent occupancy may operate at up to 75 percent of the maximum occupancy in the green phase. Businesses may reopen in green that were restricted to telework in yellow but are strongly encouraged to continue to telework and stagger the return of employees to in-person operations. 

Personal care facilities, such as hair salons and barbershops, may reopen in the green phase but must operate by appointment only and are limited to 50 percent of their maximum capacity. Indoor recreation and health and wellness facilities, such as gyms or spas, may reopen in the green phase and are strongly encouraged to operate by appointment or reservations only and must also operate at 50 percent occupancy. 

All restaurants may reopen but must follow the commonwealth guidance noted above, as well as dining guidance that provides specific details on operations. Strict physical distancing, barrier requirements and maximum occupancy rules will be in effect. Click here for the specific restaurant guidance. 

Recreational and Amatuer team sports may resume and waterparks and playgrounds may reopen, however, CDC guidance should be followed. Visits to prisons and hospitals may resume at the option of the individual facilities. 

What restrictions remain in the yellow phase? 

Restaurants and bars are limited to outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery only, while indoor malls, indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities (such as gyms and spas), and entertainment facilities (movie theaters and casinos) remain closed. A detailed listing of these categories appear in the FAQ document.  

Waterparks, playgrounds, and recreational and amateur team sports are included in the list of facilities that are to remain closed. Visitors will continue to be prohibited from nursing homes and prisons. In addition, businesses are encouraged to continue telework where feasible, and all are urged to continue to practice social distancing and universal masking and to remain home whenever possible. 

What restrictions remain in the green phase? 

Everyone in the green phase is strongly encouraged to continue to practice social distancing by staying six feet apart, wearing cloth facemasks, and frequently washing hands. All businesses must follow the commonwealth’s guidance, including universal masking. Nursing home visitation restrictions will remain in place for 28 days after a county goes green. 







June 4, 2020 Town Hall