This week, my family celebrated not one, but two birthdays at home -- my son August turned 8 and my dad turned 85. Of course it was bittersweet. But like so many of you, we are finding new and creative ways to mark important milestones. We ordered cake for delivery, shared a meal together, and video messaged family. Social distancing can be tough, but we all have to do our part to slow the spread of this virus and protect our communities.
With that in mind, the Governor expanded his Stay at Home order to the entire state this week. At this point, the Stay at Home order will continue through April 30 for all counties. Today, the Governor also asked that Pennsylvanians wear cloth or homemade masks (not N95 or medical masks) when we have to go to the pharmacy, get groceries, or be around others. For the latest guidance from the Governor’s office, visit his website or follow him on social media.
I will continue to send out weekly email updates like this one and share important resources on my Facebook, Twitter, and website. If you have a specific question, COVID-19-related or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. We are here to help in any way we can.
As always - wash your hands, stay home, and stay well.
Senator Maria Collett
12th Senatorial District
Protecting Front-Line Workers
Our doctors, nurses, first responders, senior care aides and others should not have to worry about getting sick or infecting others while performing their essential work. As a nurse, I know firsthand the challenges they face.
That’s why Senator Lindsey M. Williams and I introduced legislation to provide our front-line workers with the tools they need to protect their mental and physical health as they work to keep us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Provide emergency funding for safety equipment and mental health supports
- Create clear standards for the implementation of containment control plans in healthcare facilities
- Prioritize front-line workers in COVID-19 testing
- Suspend, or limit, in-person services to the greatest extent possible
- Require cleaning standards for workplaces that remain open to meet or exceed state and federal standards for COVID-19 prevention
Last week, the federal CARES Act was signed into law. Among other things, it:
- Opens up benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers;
- Provides additional weeks of benefits for those exhausting unemployment compensation; and
- Increases the total weekly amount received by claimants for the period beginning March 29 through July 31.
As you can imagine, between this expansion and the many temporary business closures, Pennsylvania, like all states, is seeing record unemployment applications. Rest assured, hundreds of staffers are being brought in from other sectors of the government to help process claims and every effort is being made to get your applications processed in a timely manner.
To learn more about delays and timelines, click here. To file for UC, click here.
For those of you who are self-employed, independent contractors, or gig workers, and those of you who have exhausted your unemployment compensation, the department is still working with the federal government to finalize the process and is not yet able to accept your applications. For the latest on this, click here.
If you are concerned about your benefits or need assistance with the application process, you can reach out to my office at email@example.com or leave us a detailed message at 215-368-1429.
If you are looking for a job, a number of places are hiring. Although no longer required for unemployment claimants, CareerLink is still being updated regularly with new postings in our region.
Are You Hungry?
If you need help with groceries, know that there are local resources available to you and your family. There is no shame in seeking help, especially during a time like this.
For a list of local food cupboards and senior meals on wheels programs, visit SenatorCollett.com/coronavirus and click on “Food Assistance.”
Though schools are closed, our school districts are still providing free meals to area students. For more information on distribution, visit your school district’s website.
To apply for SNAP (Pennsylvania’s food assistance program) and other benefits, please use Pennsylvania’s online COMPASS application system. New applicants may experience delays in processing because our County Assistance Offices are operating on staggered shift times to stay safe.
- For anyone currently on SNAP who misses a deadline, who is not able to submit the paperwork, complete an interview, or provide verifications for any reason during this emergency, the Department of Human Services will ensure their SNAP benefits are not terminated.
As always, our staff is here to help you with this process.
Homemade Mask Donations
My office has received a lot of questions about homemade masks. While not every healthcare or nursing facility are accepting them at this time, there are several in our area that do. Please note that some facilities, like Doylestown Hospital, will have specific standards. When in doubt, give the facility a call before you donate.
I’ve been blown away by how our community is coming together to support one another, and especially our healthcare workers. To make your own masks, try this tutorial from the New York Times.
This week, my staff and I celebrated National Census Day by completing our census online or through the mail. Have you completed your census yet? It takes less than 10 minutes to fill it out online at 2020census.gov!
For each person who is not counted, our state loses out on $2,000 each year for a decade. Let’s make sure our community has the resources it needs for the next decade. Encourage your family and friends to fill out their census too!
Additional COVID-19 Resources
Looking for assistance? Want to share your thoughts on legislation or community issues? You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 215-368-1429 if we can be of service.
Stay up-to-date by ‘liking’ my Facebook page and following me on Twitter and Instagram.
Offices of State Senator Maria Collett
All offices are temporarily closed to visitors due to COVID-19.
|North Wales Office
Gwynedd Corporate Center
1180 Welsh Road |
North Wales, PA 19454
1410 W. Street Road
Warminster, PA 18974
183 Capitol Building
Senate Box 203012
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3012