- All non-essential businesses are asked to close. Non-essential businesses include public-facing industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and recreation facilities.
- People are asked to only travel if necessary. Businesses that can have workers telecommute are encouraged to do so. UWP has developed Virtual Meeting Guidance for our members.
- In an effort to further restrict potential COVID-19 exposure within the courts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that all Pennsylvania courts – including trial and intermediate appellate courts – are closed to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 30, 2020.
Department of Corrections Changes
The Department of Corrections has implemented a statewide inmate quarantine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All inmate movement will be controlled to conform to social distancing recommendations.
PA State Police Procedure Changes
The PA State Police will be implementing a limited-contact response to some calls. Call types eligible for a modified response include lost and found items, littering, identity theft, and general requests to speak to a trooper. While limiting in-person contact and collecting as much information via telephone is the goal, the actual response will be based on the totality of the circumstances of each unique situation in consultation with a supervisor on duty. State police response protocol to emergencies and crimes in progress remains unchanged.
Changes to Tolls
- Cash and credit cards will no longer be taken by PA Turnpike Workers. Invoices will be sent if a person does not have an EZ Pass.
- Toll bridges from PA to NJ will also be cashless and invoices will be sent if a person does not have an EZ Pass.
PA Voting Information
PA Voters have the option to vote by mail in 2020. These ballots can be completed by voters at home at their convenience. Voters must:
- Request a mail-in ballot by 5:00pm the Tuesday before the election. The next election, the PA Primary, is on June 2nd, 2020 so mail-in ballots must be requested no later than 5:00pm on May 26th.
- Apply using an online application at votesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot, by mailing in a paper application, or by submitting a paper application in person at the county election office
- When voters apply in person, they can ask for the ballot immediately. If the ballot is available, they can complete it in the office and return it to the county election staff.
- Return completed ballot by mail or in person at your county election office. The county must receive your completed ballot by 8:00 pm on election day in order to count it.
- Voters can ask to have the ballots for every election that year mailed to them. Simply check the box for “annual mail-in request.”
Nonprofit staff may utilize this link if they’d like the Department of State to send any paper applications (absentee, mail-in, or voter registration) to clients who may not have access to a computer: https://expressforms.pa.gov/apps/pa/DOS-VotesPA/Paper-Application.
Registering to Vote
- Voters now have until May 18th, 2020 to register and be eligible to vote in the June 2nd, 2020 primary election.
- The deadline to register for the November general election is October 19, 2020.
- Voters must submit a voter registration application to update their address, change party affiliation, or change their name.
- Check voter registration status at VotesPA.com/Status.
- Register or update information at VotesPA.com/Register.
Resources for Partners
The Department of State has created an easy-to-use Ready to Vote Toolkit that includes recommended social media graphics and posts to help educate Pennsylvania voters on what to expect this year. Please check out the toolkit here.
The 2020 Census
- The 2020 Census is already in the self-response phase. Households will begin to receive their census forms in the mail and may have already done so. All households will receive a form by April 1st. The census can be completed either:
- Census operations will not cease during this time period. We are asking you to follow PA Department of Health and CDC recommendations. Top priority for us all is to protect Pennsylvanians, especially the most vulnerable.
On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau announced some adjustments to 2020 Census operations to protect the health and safety of the public and its staff, while fulfilling its statutory requirements for delivery of its counts on schedule.
- Currently, the planned completion date for data collection for the 2020 Census is end of October, but that date may be adjusted as the situation evolves. The start of certain operations will be delayed.
- In August, census takers around the nation will begin visiting households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to help complete the count.
- Working with group quarter administrators, including nursing homes, college dorms, prisons, and other institutional living facilities, encouraging counting methods like eResponse that minimize in-person contact
- A full document explaining the timeline shift is available here.
This increases the potential of HTC populations being missed. Please elevate the safe, social-distancing methods of completing the census (online, phone, mail) as often as you can.