Pennsylvania Business Reopening Plan (5.1.2020)
Jacob M. Dietz, CPA
In addition to construction reopening statewide like we mentioned earlier, some recreational activities are opening in PA on May 1. A press release explained that across PA “golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately owned campgrounds may reopen statewide” on May 1. “Pennsylvanians have remained resilient throughout this COVID-19 crisis, and as we successfully continue to flatten the curve to protect our physical health, it is critical that we also focus on our physical and mental health during these extraordinary times. As the weather warms and daylight lengthens, enjoying time outdoors is an important way to manage stress,” Governor Wolf explained in the press release.
If you are stressed about the Covid-19 ramifications, consider going camping. Perhaps the wonders of creation will help you refocus and reenergize.
Business owners and gig workers did not qualify for unemployment under the old pre-Covid-19 rules, however the CARES Act can allow them to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Some business owners that are not allowed to be open in PA will be collecting PUA, even as businesses in other industries reopen. Programs like the PUA and the Paycheck Protection Program are part of the government’s plan to sustain people and businesses through the Covid-19 challenges.
PA Food Recovery Infrastructure Grants
Demand for charitable food has increased. A “wholesale” food bank in Leola indicated that their average output is about 3 semis per day. Governor Wolf’s administration made various changes to the grants, including “expanding the list of potential partners beyond retailers and wholesalers to also include farms, processors and cooperatives.”
PA Plan to Reopen
PA has been broken into 6 regions. The Wolf administration is targeting a May 8th switch from red to yellow for the north central and northwest regions, per an April 22 release. The release explains that “As regions or counties move into the yellow phase, some restrictions on work and social interaction will ease while others, such as closures of schools, gyms, and other indoor recreation centers, as well as limitations around large gatherings, remain in place.”
Lancaster in Southeast Region
Some are unhappy that Lancaster is listed in the Southeast region, which is the same region as hard-hit Philadelphia.
“Lancaster County is south central PA, not the southeast. This would be unacceptable and not based on data and outcomes…. That’s why my Senate Local Government Committee along with the Health & Human Services Committee will be holding a joint hearing on the creation of these regions,” said Scott Martin, PA State Senator.
Fortunately, however, “a county can make the list for consideration to open if they have had fewer than 50 new confirmed cases per 100,000 population reported in the previous 14 days” Governor Wolf tweeted, so there may be some hope for Lancaster County if they can control the new infection rate even though Lancaster is in the same region as Philadelphia.
Some Other States
Missouri Governor Parson’s “Stay Home Missouri” order is set to end after May 3. Missouri will still have safety guidelines in place as they enter Phase 1 of the recovery plan.
New Jersey’s stay-at-home order is still in effect. Governor Murphy released some principles as they go forward, including decreases in new cases in a two-week trend. It is unknown when that will happen.
Maryland Governor Hogan has a Maryland Strong Roadmap to Recovery dated April 24, 2020 that “is designed to get Maryland moving again.” The document, however, declines to set dates on when reopening will happen.
Kentucky Governor Beshear explained 10 rules to reopening again in Kentucky, including a phased return to work.
Tennessee is ahead of some states in reopening, including allowing dining at restaurants.
There are plans for reopening, but the exact nature and timing is not certain, and some things may go awry. What can go awry, and what can be done to succeed if some things go awry? Consider grabbing a pen and paper, going to a quiet place, and taking 15-30 minutes to write down what can go wrong. More importantly, write what you can do to manage that risk. Burns concluded his poem with “An’ forward tho’ I canna see, I guess an’ fear!” Perhaps a better path would be to guess and trust.