Resources During Uncertain Times

In this rapidly changing environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, finding information and resources for municipalities can be overwhelming and time consuming. Our staff has been working to identify resources for municipalities and organize them in one central place. SRCOG is committed to supporting our local governments in these challenging times and we will update these resources as more information becomes available.  Last updated March 16, 2021.

American Rescue Plan Act

Funds for local governments can be used for:

  • Responding to the COVID-19 emergency and address its economic effects, including through aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality.
  • Providing premium pay to essential employees or grants to their employers. Premium pay couldn’t exceed $13 per hour or $25,000 per worker.
  • Providing government services affected by a revenue reduction resulting from COVID-19.
  • Making investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
  • PA Department of Health’s Guide to Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine – use this guide to find out if you are eligible and locate a provider in your area
  • UPMC is including police officers in their definition of 1a and asking departments to alert them of their interest in vaccination– use this sign up form to submit requests for officers in your department. Requests should be completed by the police department on behalf of the officers who need to be vaccinated.
Guidelines for Reopening Pennsylvania

Municipal governments are permitted to continue operations at a higher capacity once their county moves to the Green Phase, as outlined in Governor Wolf’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania. Businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the Yellow Phase may now increase to 75% occupancy. Municipalities are still required to maintain social distancing protocols and are subject to the same requirements as businesses, which include:

  • Employing remote or virtual methods of doing business is strongly encouraged. Businesses with in-person operation must follow CDC and DOH guidelines. All businesses that have been conducting their operations in whole or in part remotely through individual teleworking of its employees are encouraged to continue telework. 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas frequently.
  • Establishing and implementing a plan in case the organization is exposed to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Staggering work times to prevent large groups from entering or leaving the building.
  • Limiting the number of people in employee common areas, like locker rooms or break rooms, and ensure these areas are cleaned frequently.
  • Conducting meetings and training virtually when possible.
  • Limiting in person gatherings to less than 250 people and ensuring that everyone attending maintains a social distance of six feet apart.
  • Providing non-medical masks for employees to wear at all times and making it mandatory to wear masks while on the work site. Employers may approve masks obtained or made by employees according to Department of Health policies.
  • Discouraging non-essential visitors from entering business premises.
  • Communicating these procedures to all employees. Businesses must print, sign, and post the “COVID-19 Safety Procedures for Businesses” flyer on their premises, which can be found here.

Additionally, construction and public works projects can resume at full capacity while maintaining social distancing where appropriate. 

For more information about Governor Wolf’s Plan to Reopen PA, please see these links below:

Crisis Response & Law Enforcement
Small Business Support

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship outlines the following programs:

  • Paycheck Protection Program Cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven. As of January 11, 2021, a new round of PPP loans are now available to both first time and second time borrowers.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans Low interest loans up to $2M, receive up to $10K advance within 3 days of applying if you request it when you apply. Advance does not need to be repaid.
  • Small Business Debt Relief Program Covers loan payments for 6 months for businesses with existing non-disaster SBA loans.
  • Employee Retention Credit Payroll tax credit for employers who had to close operations due to government order. For employers over 100 people, credit is eligible for up to 50% of wages paid to employees who were furloughed or had their hours reduced as a result of Covid-19. For employers with less than 100 people, credit is eligible for wages of all employees regardless of furloughs. Employers receiving PPP loans are not eligible.
  • Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes This provision would allow taxpayers to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Employers receiving PPP loans not eligible.

Pennsylvania business loan programs include:

Additional resources:

    Related Legislation


    • Families First Coronavirus Response Act– signed by President Trump on 3/18/20:
      Expands FMLA until the end of 2020 for employees who need to care for children due to COVID-19 related school and daycare closures
      Requires government entities and private employers with less than 500 employees to offer paid sick leave
      Employee Paid Leave Rights from U.S. Department of Labor
      Presentation from Campbell Durant, P.C. offering guidance for employers
      FAQ on FMLA amendments and paid sick leave requirements
    • CARES Act– signed by President Trump on 3/27/20:
      $2 trillion Coronavirus relief package
      Established the Paycheck Protection Program and other small business assistance loans
      Increased and extended unemployment assistance payments
      Provides certain retirement plan sponsors the option to amend various loan and distribution provisions
      Coronavirus Relief Fund available for municipalities with over 500,000 population


    • Act 15– signed by Governor Wolf on 4/20/20:
      Explicitly allows municipalities to engage in remote meetings
      Gives municipalities greater flexibility on property tax deadlines
      Allows remote notarization of documents
      Note: All Allegheny League of Municipalities staff are notaries and available to perform any municipal notary work at no cost.

    • HB 2387– budget signed by Governor Wolf on 5/29/20:Provides school funding at 2019-20 levels for 12 months
      Allocates $2.6 billion in federal CARES Act funding for COVID-19 response efforts
      Technology Tools
        Best Practices in Local Government Response
        Innovative Local Programs & Community Engagement
        Additional Resource Lists

        Thank You to Our Community Partners!