Creating Sustainable Solutions
to Local Challenges
COVID-19 RESOURCES LIST
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
- Summary of the legislation’s impact on states from the National Conference of State Legislatures
- Blog post detailing the legislation’s impact on local governments from Center for Community Progress
- Legislative Analysis from the National Association of Counties
- Estimated Borough Allocations
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.
- More information on UPMC’s Vaccine Rollout Groups for stage 1A
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:
- Plan for Pennsylvania
- Process to Reopen Pennsylvania
- Responding to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania
- Life Sustaining Business Frequently Asked Questions
- Summer Recreation, Camps and Pools Frequently Asked Questions
- Guidance for Businesses Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency
- Guidance for Businesses in the Construction Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency
- Guidance for Businesses in the Real Estate Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency
- Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency
- COVID-19 Guidance for Essential Businesses Fact Sheet
- OSHA COVID-19 Standards
- Health and Safety Communications Resources from Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
- READY PITTSBURGH Return to Work Resources
- FAQ: Coronavirus and the workplace from Premium Reduction Center Blog
Crisis Response & Law Enforcement
- FEMA Public Assistance Grants– offers reimbursements up to 75% federal cost share for some emergency protective measures related to Covid-19.
- Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grants– Grants up to $50,000 for lifesaving equipment, prevention education, scholarships and continuing education, disaster relief, support for members of the military. Next funding deadline May 13, 2020.
- Emergency Solutions Grants– Grants awarded by PA DCED to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance and to support additional homeless assistance and homelessness prevention activities to mitigate the impacts created by coronavirus.”
- What Governor Wolf’s Disaster Declaration Means for Boroughs
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal
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:
- COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 for small businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19
- Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund– forgivable loans up to $3,000 for small businesses in need
- Five Ways Local Governments are Supporting Small Businesses During COVID-19 article from National League of Cities
- Helping Entrepreneurs Put Together Strong PPP Applications– overview of the application process for the Paycheck Protection Program
- 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
- Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act– signed by President Trump on 4/30/20:
Reauthorizes funding for Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses
Includes funding for hospitals and additional COVID-19 testing
- American Rescue Plan Act– signed by President Biden on 3/11/21:
Includes stimulus funding for state and local governments
- 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 deadlinesAllows 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
- Technical Assistance: Sustainable Pittsburgh and the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) are offering direct technical assistance to local governments to implement online strategies for engaging the public and holding public meetings. If your elected officials or municipal staff are having difficulties implementing any of these strategies, please use this form to request assistance.
- Tech-savvy Sustainable Pittsburgh and CONNECT volunteers and staff are on call to help you however we can. If you are tech-savvy and would like to volunteer your time to assist with such requests, complete this form to sign up.
- Database of technology resources to aid in remote working and COVID-19 response, especially for municipalities, compiled by Sustainable Pittsburgh
- Free Emergency Remote Work Kits from LogMeIn – provides free 3 month subscription to GoToMeeting video conferencing platform and other remote work tools
- Adapting City Processes and Staff to Telework article from National League of Cities
- Moving City Council Meetings Online in Response to COVID-19 article from National League of Cities
Best Practices in Local Government Response
- Local Government COVID-19 FAQs from PA DCED
- ICMA Considerations and Technical Resources for Local Governments
- ICMA Coronavirus Resource Page
- Lexipol Coronavirus Learning and Policy Center– courses and policies on local government Coronavirus response
- Center for Community Progress blog post on the serious drawbacks of selling tax liens to private investors. This practice will lead to long term negative consequences of increased vacancy and abandonment, decreased community wealth, and loss of a critical municipal funding source.
- Webinar Series on Preventing Post-COVID-19 Vacancy from Center for Community Progress
- Business Closure Order Enforcement Guidance from PA State Association of Boroughs
- Processing Right to Know Requests during the COVID-19 Emergency
- COVID-19 Legal Guidance from MBM Law
Innovative Local Programs & Community Engagement
- Local Action Tracker from National League of Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies
- Q&A about how to create a buddy system to help the most vulnerable people in your community (led by New Sun Rising, Cranberry
Township, and Sustainable Pittsburgh) with webinar slides
- Public Information and Community Engagement Resources from Sustainable Pittsburgh
- Coronavirus Infographics from PA Dept. of Health to help educate the public
Additional Resource Lists
- Sustainable Pittsburgh list of resources for nonprofits, small businesses, growers, restaurants, and communities
- PA Housing Alliance housing-related resource list
- Pennsylvania Senate Republicans resource guide for PA communities
- Pennsylvania Municipal League news and announcements
- National League of Cities tools, actions, and resources for local leaders
- Local Initiatives Support Corporation COVID-19 Toolkit for community development practitioners
- COVID-19 Legal Guidance from MBM Law
- PA State Association of Boroughs COVID-19 resource list
- Appalachian Regional Commission COVID-19 updates and resources