COVID-19 is impacting our members and communities across the state. Our association will be taking every step possible to ensure our membership is receiving the information and guidance they need to navigate through this evolving situation. We created the following resource to compile the relevant association, state, and federal information you need to be aware of.
General Business Operations & Best Practices
Regularly update company policies and procedures for COVID-19. Ensure employees receive continuously training on new policies for both customers and co-workers.
Close corporate office locations to customers.
Create procedures and/or restrictions for vendors who need to access company building.
Consider having office staff work remotely if possible.
Consider having essential employees split time in the office or alternate days at the office.
Equip employees with necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for any exposure that may occur as a part of their specific job function. This could include but not limited to facemasks, gloves, eye protection, shoe covers, and disinfectant.
On April 15, Dr. Rachel Levine, under her authority as Secretary of the Department of Health to take any disease control measure appropriate to protect the public from the spread of infectious disease, signed an order directing protections for critical workers who are employed at businesses that are authorized to maintain in-person operations during the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
Share your updated COVID-19 mitigation policies with customers by adding it to your website and distributing by email.
Customer Interactions - Heating Fuels & HVAC
Screen customers for COVID-19 systems prior to the service visit. Have field personnel confirm the information upon arrival if they are required to interact with the customer.
Ask customer for alternative access points (cellar door, garage door, etc.) to area of the home that requires service.
Avoid in-person conversations with customers. Instead rely on phone, text, email, social media, teleconferencing, chat, and other electronic communication methods.
Avoid all direct contact with customers and maintain the maximum distance possible: at least six feet.
Facemasks should be worn for life sustaining activities operating in a worksite per the April 15 Order.
Strongly consider other PPE equipment (gloves, shoe covers, eye protection, disinfectant) for all service calls and fuel deliveries.
Encourage customers to utilize any online account management service you offer unless they need to contact you for an emergency.
Consider suspending requirements for printed signatures.
If possible, send invoices/receipts electronically or by mail.
Customer Interactions - Convenience Stores
The following COVID-19 guidance for convenience stores has been developed by PA Department of Agriculture. Click here to view the complete document.
Businesses must limit occupancy to no greater than 50% of the number stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy at any given time, as necessary to reduce crowding in the business.
Businesses should encourage use of online ordering by providing delivery or pick-up options.
Businesses must maintain a social distance of 6 feet at check-out and counter lines and must place signage throughout each site to mandate social distancing for both customers and employees.
Businesses must designate a specific time for high-risk and elderly persons to use the business at least once every week if there is a continuing in-person customer-facing component.
Require all customers to wear masks while on premises, and deny entry to individuals not wearing masks, unless the business is providing medication, medical supplies, or food, in which case the business must provide alternative methods of pick-up or delivery of such goods. However, individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition (including children under the age of 2 years per CDC guidance) may enter the premises and are not required to provide documentation of such medical condition.
Enforce social distancing in lines to separate customers by six feet whenever possible but allowing families to stay together.
Visual cues may be helpful to implement social distancing in lines or other areas of the store. For example, tying a ribbon or using a bright piece of tape on the floor every six feet throughout the store can help customers keep a six-foot distance between themselves whenever possible.
Install floor markings to require customers to stand behind, until it’s time to complete the transaction.
Encourage customers to come prepared with a list and to avoid touching objects that they do not plan to purchase.
Ensure customers who use SNAP have access to the same delivery services and pick up options whenever possible. Consider waiving delivery fees for these customers during the COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Consider posting signs to raise awareness about the need for universal masking of employees AND customers in the store.
Click here to access Office of Unemployement Compensation Live Chat
Click here to view PA L&I flyer on Federal CARES Act
PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
Click here to all of the PennDOT operational changes in response to COVID-19. The following changes directly impact PPA members:
CDL’s set to expire from March 16, 2020 through May 31, 2020 have now been extended to June 30, 2020.
CDL and CLP holders Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) requirement is waived until June 30, 2020 provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification that was issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
Click here to see complete FMCSA waiver which was adopted by PA.
On May 12 PennDOT issued a new waiver exemption for individuals who have a Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) that is set to expire between March 6, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
PA Department of Human Services - LIHEAP Information
In response to the COVID- 19 health emergency, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will be accepting applications for its Recovery Crisis Program beginning May 18, 2020. The program is scheduled to run through August 31, 2020, or until funds are exhausted — whichever comes first. A important change to the new LIHEAP season allows for an outstanding fuel bill to be considered for the Crisis grant. This is normally precluded during the regular LIHEAP season.
Click here to view the DHS LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program page which provides more details on the new program including a a shortened paper application.
PA Emergency Management Agency
Click here to access the PA Business Emergency Operations Center – Live Dashboard
PA Department of Agriculture
Click here to view COVID-19 Guidance for Convenience Store Employees
PA Department of Community & Economic Development
June 11: Govenor Wolf Announces $225 Million Grant Program to Support Small Businesses
Paycheck Protection Program: Loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan: The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Emergency Economic Injury Grant: Small business owners in all U.S. states are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
Employee Retention Tax Credit: Designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Click here to view Resources for Businesses and Employers
Click here to view Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Click here to view Prepare your Small Business and Employees for the Effects of COVID-19
Click here for CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
Click here for CDC Fact Sheet – Cleaning & Disinfecting Decision Tool
Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
Click here to general OSHA COVID-19 resources page
Click here to view OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
Click here to view interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the requirements of 29 CFR Part 1904 with respect to the recording of occupational illnesses, specifically cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
FMCSA & DOT
Automatic Extension of Expiring CDLs, CLPs and Medical Certificates
FMCSA waiver allows state licensing agencies to automatically extend expiring CDL licenses, CDL learners permits and driver medical certificates. This waiver is effective March 20, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
Pennsylvania has adopted this.
Limited Extension for Expiring CDLs, CLPs and Medical Certificates
FMCSA waiver provides important relief resulting from situations where many CDL and CLP holders are unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs, and/or are unable to provide medical certificates to their State Driver Licensing Agencies. In addition, many medical providers nationwide have not provided for the scheduling of appointments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, drivers remain unable to obtain appointments for physical examinations with medical examiners. This waiver is effective on July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.
Pennsylvania has not yet adopted this waiver on a state level.
Extension of Commercial Leaner’s Permit Waiver
FMCSA has issued a new three-month waiver for States and Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) holders operating commercial motor vehicles. The waiver allows a commercial learner permit driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle alone without having a commercial driver license (CDL) holder in the front seat with the learner permit holder. The benefit of this waiver will allow CLP drivers to continue their training, due to the closures of state departments of motor vehicle facilities. This waiver takes effect on July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020
Pennsylvania has not yet adopted this waiver on a state level.
Driver Hours of Service Waiver
FMCSA issues a national HOS waiver for CDL drivers supporting emergency response. This waiver is effective through from March 26, 2020 through midnight June 14, 2020.
Click here to view FAQs related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration
Pennsylvania has adopted this.
TSA Allows States to Automatically Renewal Driver HAZMAT Endorsements for 180 Days
Click here to view Department of Homeland Security document
PHMSA COVID-19 Notice of Enforcement Policy Regarding Training Requirements
PHMSA gives notice that it will not take enforcement action against any carrier who is unable to provide recurring HMR training requirements found in 49CFR 172.704(c)(2). This is also commonly known as HM-126F Certification and Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA).