The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture wanted to share an update of information related to coronavirus (COVID 19), and the Wolf Administration’s efforts to mitigate its effects in the commonwealth.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Pennsylvania hospitals began receiving shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 14 and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine the week of Dec. 21.
Through Jan. 24:
- 680,219 doses of the vaccine have been administered. Please note that this does include vaccine administration through the CVS as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership.
- There are 451,467 people who have received one dose (partially covered).
- There are 114,376 people who have received two doses (fully covered).
- The math results in 680,219 doses administered to 565,843 people.
A spreadsheet of facilities that have received vaccine can be found here. (Link is not compatible with Internet Explorer)
Links to updated guidance and Frequently Asked Questions can be found below:
Frequently Asked Questions for Businesses Operating During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency: https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/business-faq/
Guidance for Businesses in the Construction Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency: https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/construction-industry-guidance/
Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public: https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/restaurant-industry-guidance/
COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses: https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/business-guidance/
National Conservation Planning Partnership Survey Question
This national survey of producers will obtain feedback on specific ways to improve the format, usefulness and value of a conservation plan and help you carry out your goals for your land, whether on one acre or thousands of acres.
The survey will only take approximately 8-10 minutes to complete. When providing any narrative answers please be as specific as possible.
All responses will be confidential, and any background information provided will be used for statistical purposes only.
The survey results will be available in May on the National Conservation Planning Partnership website.
(Courtesy of PA State Conservation Commission.)
2021 Happy Traveler Guide Inspires Dreams and Plans for Future Travel
Today, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office announced the release of its annual Happy Traveler travel guide, a resource to inspire all to continue dreaming of and planning for future getaways in Pennsylvania.
Released annually, the Happy Traveler guide is packed with unique destinations, exciting outdoor adventures, and hidden gems throughout the commonwealth to inspire travelers for adventures to come. This year, the guide brings new inspiration to travelers who are ready to plan even as we continue to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
“After months of staying at home and dreaming about travel, it is more important than ever to make our wellbeing a priority and pursue our happiness wherever possible,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary, Marketing, Tourism, & Film at DCED. “The decision to travel is a personal one and when travelers feel safe, Pennsylvania is ready to welcome them. This year’s Happy Traveler offers inspiration for outdoor adventurers, history buffs, culture vultures, and foodies. With 121 free state parks, a diverse array of museums, a rich performing arts scene, and a delicious culinary plate, Pennsylvania is perfectly positioned to help everyone use those vacation days.”
Tomorrow, January 26, is National Plan for Vacation Day, and while Pennsylvanians may not be ready to travel just yet, they can take the time now to plan for what’s ahead. Travel has the benefit of helping local economies and struggling small businesses, and while Pennsylvanians stay home now and support these businesses virtually or curbside, brighter days are on the horizon.
National Plan for Vacation Day, developed by the U.S. Travel Association, highlights the importance of taking time off to travel, both for personal health and to bolster the economy, each of which is more relevant than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Institute for Applied Positive Research, 97 percent of survey respondents report that having a trip planned makes them happier, and 71 percent reported feeling greater levels of energy knowing they had a trip scheduled in the next six months. With the release of the 2021 Happy Traveler guide, travelers are encouraged to look forward and plan future getaways in Pennsylvania.
U.S. Travel’s President and CEO Roger Dow added, “In the face of so much uncertainty, and with more than 63 percent of Americans saying they desperately need a vacation, National Plan for Vacation Day is the perfect opportunity for Americans to renew their love of travel and to look ahead to better days.”
The 2021 Happy Traveler feature story touts the culinary gems that make up the fabric of the commonwealth. It celebrates Pennsylvania’s flavorful heritage with four new self-guided culinary trails: Picked – An Apple Trail, Baked – A Bread Trail, Chopped – A Charcuterie Trail, and Pickled – A Fermented Trail. The trails, developed in partnership with Chatham University’s Center for Regional Agriculture, Food, and Transformation (CRAFT), will take visitors through historic small towns, along country backroads, and into artisanal shops to discover what makes Pennsylvania’s rich culinary heritage so unique.
Other special features in the guide include:
- Uncommon history lessons from haunted locales to distilled spirits;
- Urban green spaces, children’s museums, and waterside must-sees;
- Great pasta points of interest, snack food tours, and Amish delight destinations;
- The greatest gravel trails, fall foliage hot spots, and on-the-water adventures;
- RV rendezvous from state parks to castles; and
- Virtual events and museum experiences.
“Over the past year, COVID-19 has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. It has impeded our ability to gather and to travel, but it hasn’t taken away our ability to imagine a not-so-distant future when things are back to normal,” added DCED’s Lepore. “Start planning your Pennsylvania getaway today using inspiration from our free travel guide at visitPA.com, and imagine all the ways you’ll be free to pursue your happiness in Pennsylvania.”
Free copies of the Happy Traveler are available at visitPA.com or by calling 1-800-VISIT-PA. Travelers are encouraged to explore Happy Traveler content across visitPA’s social media platforms and share photos of their favorite Pennsylvania adventures using the hashtag #PAHappySnaps.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, housed within the Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to Pennsylvania. For more information, go to the visitPA website or sign up for our Happy Thoughts newsletter, become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out photos on Instagram, share pins on Pinterest, watch us on Youtube or listen with us on Spotify.
Pennsylvanians Can Now File Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Applications Online
Older and disabled Pennsylvanians can now apply for rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2020, the Wolf Administration announced today. This assistance is available through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which has delivered more than $6.8 billion to eligible Pennsylvanians since the program’s inception in 1971.
Officials with the departments of Revenue and Aging are encouraging applicants of the program to take advantage of a new online filing option that will allow them to submit their applications electronically. Applicants should visit mypath.pa.gov to electronically submit their applications. The Department of Revenue launched this online portal to make it easier for those who benefit from the program to submit their applications. Previously, all applicants were required to submit a paper application.
“Offering an online filing option gives us a new, user-friendly tool that helps us ensure everyone who is eligible for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has a simple way to submit their applications,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “This online option will be especially helpful this year during the COVID-19 pandemic because it will provide applicants with a way to file their applications from the comfort of their homes. This will help us deliver needed support to more than half a million Pennsylvanians who benefit from this program each year.”
“Most seniors want to age in place by staying in their homes for as long as they are able. Every year, the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program offers older adults a great opportunity to get some money back on what they have paid out. Many of them live on fixed incomes, so they benefit from the financial assistance provided by this program. The Department of Revenue’s new online option is a convenient way for older Pennsylvanians to apply for their rebate,” Secretary of Aging Robert Torres said.
A New Way to Apply for Your Rebate
Pennsylvanians can visit mypath.pa.gov to file their 2020 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program applications. Submitting your application online is easy and does not require you to sign up for an account. Applicants will be asked to provide specific information on their income and rent/property taxes. Applicants should check the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program instruction booklet to learn which information they will need to input/upload to complete the process.
Using the electronic option available through mypath.pa.gov offers many benefits, including:
- Fast processing and direct deposit options
- The Where’s My Rebate? tool to track the status of a claim online
- Error-reducing automatic calculators
- Instant confirmation that your application has been filed
- Security features to ensure your sensitive information is safe
Applicants who still wish to file a paper application form may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information on the Department of Revenue’s website or by calling 1-888-222-9190.
It’s free to apply for a rebate, and applicants are reminded that free assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state, including Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators’ offices. The department encourages applicants to call ahead to their preferred location to confirm whether an appointment is required.
Applicants must reapply for rebates every year because rebates are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid in each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of claimants who lived at least one day in 2020 and meet all other eligibility criteria.
Visit the Property/Tax Rent Rebate page on the Department of Revenue’s website for further information on the program and how to apply for a rebate.
When Can You Expect Your Rebate?
Rebates will be distributed beginning July 1, as required by law. Here is additional information to keep in mind:
- If you provide your phone number on your Property Tax/Rent Rebate application form or in the myPATH electronic application, you will receive an automated call from the Department of Revenue when your claim posts to the department’s processing system. You will also receive another automated call when your claim is approved.
- The easiest way to check the status of your rebate is to use the Where’s My Rebate? tool. To check on the status of your claim, you will need your:
- Social Security number
- Claim year
- Date of birth
About the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. The Department of Revenue automatically calculates supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners. The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.
State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement January 22-24: 470 Compliance Checks; 17 Notices of Violation
Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 470 licensed liquor establishments from Friday, January 22 through Sunday, January 24 to ensure businesses are abiding by COVID-19 mitigation requirements that include social distancing, masking, and other health and safety requirements of the liquor code.
Liquor Control Enforcement Officers issued 17 notices of violation and 30 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. As mandated by the liquor code, a notice of violation precedes the issuance of an administrative citation, which is civil in nature, and is intended to provide licensed liquor establishments notification of the nature of violation(s) discovered. The investigation remains open during this period, pending review by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE). Because the investigation is ongoing, names of establishments issued a notice of violation will not be released at this time. Each BLCE district office posts a monthly public information release that includes details on citations issued by that office.
Compliance checks are unannounced and can occur anywhere in the commonwealth, although the focus is on areas experiencing higher coronavirus transmission rates. Among other requirements, all businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry authorized to conduct in-person activities are mandated to:
- Require all customers to wear masks while entering, exiting or otherwise traveling throughout the restaurant or retail food service business (face masks may be removed while seated). Further, employees are required to wear masks at all times.
- Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back.
- Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and enforced.
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement | January 22-24, 2021
|ENFORCEMENT OFFICE||TOTAL LICENSEE CHECKS||WARNINGS |
|NOTICES OF |
Violators may face administrative citation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. Continued violations put an establishment’s liquor license at risk, either through the citation process or upon application for renewal. More information is available on the enforcement page of the state police COVID-19 portal.
Complaints regarding licensees not complying with COVID-19 mitigation mandates may be directed to the BLCE at 1-800-932-0602 or reported through the BLCE’s online complaint form.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently.
- Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
- If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
- Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.
Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics