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Latest Lehigh Valley coronavirus headlines

April 13

Republican lawmakers challenge Wolf administration’s business closures

“I believe that an undue burden has been placed on our consumers, on our dealers and on the 50,000-plus workers from the industry who are now without jobs,” said Mihalek. “This is why I introduced House Bill 2388.” Read more.

‘It’s not a joke.’ -LVH-Muhlenberg patient talks of his battle with COVID-19

The first coronavirus patient at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg to come off a ventilator, Chris McMillan tells of his harrowing battle with COVID-19 and his gratitude to the nurses and staff who stood by him. Read more.

Applications for $450M state loan program for hospitals opens today

The Hospital Emergency Loan Program, an effort to provide short-term financial relief to hospitals, is expected to help ensure they have sufficient personnel, equipment and personal protective equipment. Read more.

St. Luke’s provides free meals to employees during COVID-19 crisis

St. Luke’s University Health Network is providing free cafeteria meals to employees during the COVID-19 public health crisis. In addition, SLUHN started a “Feeding the Frontlines” fundraising campaign to purchase restaurant gift cards for staff. Read more.

April 10

Paycheck protection loan program hampered by uneven rollout

In an effort to provide small businesses faced with the imminent prospect of bankruptcy due to COVID-19, lenders hurried to comply with incoming guidelines from the Small Business Administration that qualify them to make federally-guaranteed loans to small businesses, to the extent that 75% of those funds are used to keep workers on payroll and 25% on overhead costs. Read more.

GIANT creates $250K COVID-19 fund to help small businesses in food industry

The GIANT Co. of Carlisle has established a $250,000 emergency fund to help support small businesses in Pennsylvania’s food supply chain that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Pa. facing up to $4B shortfall as coronavirus shutdown upends state budgets

The coronavirus outbreak could cost Pennsylvania $2.7 billion in lost tax revenue over the next 15 months, blowing a serious hole in the state budget, according to a report released Wednesday by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office. Read more.

Quakertown welder develops simple device to avoid germs

Kevin Johnson, owner of JMW Fabrication, has created a simple device that can be attached to most standard commercial door handles, allowing people to open the door using their arm or wrist instead of their hands. Read more.

Pa. coroners, health department at odds over how to handle suspected coronavirus cases

Until late last week, Dr. Christina VandePol, the coroner in Chester County, said, she had to turn to local hospitals if she wanted to test a deceased person for the coronavirus. Read more.

FirstEnergy Corp. offers financial assistance to customers during coronavirus crisis

FirstEnergy Corp., an electric utility company that services Pennsylvania, is offering financial assistance to its customers who need help paying their electric bills due to the coronavirus crisis. Read more.

April 9

FedEx plans to hire 400 workers for Lehigh Valley hub

FedEx is looking to hire 400 workers for its Lehigh Valley hub in Allen Township. The company said it needs to meet a critical demand for service because of COVID-19. Read more.

With PA liquor stores closed, consumers are flocking to the border

An Allentown man, who asked to not be identified, admitted he broke down and crossed state lines when he ran out of his favorite liquor. With Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor stores closed under orders from the governor, what else could he do? Read more.

Gov. Tom Wolf extends school closure to the end of the school year

Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all Pennsylvania schools are to remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. Read more.

COVID-19 cases in PA approach 20,000

State health officials reported another 29 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state total to 338. Most deaths have been in people over the age of 65.  Health officials noted there have been no pediatric deaths from COVID. Read more.

CARES Act tax modifications promote cash flow, worker retention…but come with a catch

Modifications to the U.S. tax code under the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, are designed to help companies hold onto capital and retain employees until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, federal officials and local accounting professionals say. Read more.

Lehigh Carbon Community College to offer online classes for first summer session

Lehigh Carbon Community College students will be unable to take classes on campus for the first half of the summer.  The Schnecksville-based college will offer its first five- and 10-week summer sessions online only as a health precaution. Read more.

Shuttered gyms are shifting to virtual training

Since COVID-19 forced the shutdown of gyms across the state, some smaller, boutique-style gyms have shifted their focus to virtual classes and training sessions, offering a service to members even though their doors are closed. Read more.

ALDI is limiting the number of shoppers in its grocery stores

ALDI, which has a number of grocery stores in the region, is implementing new safety protocols to limit how many people can shop in its stores at one time. The new protocols are aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Read more.

Gov. Tom Wolf orders state to track PPE supplies, direct distribution to hospitals

Gov. Tom Wolf signed an order on Wednesday that will allow the state to track all personal protective equipment and supplies held by health care providers, as well as manufacturers and distributors, and allocate it to facilities with the greatest need. Read more.

April 8

Three loan opportunities that could help small businesses survive COVID-19

Federal officials are working with local lenders to help small businesses pay the bills and keep workers on furloughed status — a kind of induced economic freeze — so they are positioned to make a successful economic rebound on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Survey: Nation’s hospitals lack access to COVID-19 testing supplies

Hospitals across the country are experiencing a widespread lack of access to COVID-19 testing supplies, according to a survey from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read more.

Pandemic is beefing up demand for milk delivery service

Up until three weeks ago Angie Rondolet’s milk delivery business was growing steadily. Now the demand is more than she can keep up with. Read more.

April 7

In Easton, stakeholders raise cash for small businesses

To help business owners struggling to recover from COVID-19, an Easton nonprofit is collaborating with the city and another organization to create a relief fund of $300,000 in emergency capital. Read more.

St. Luke’s adds telehealth system to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients

St. Luke’s University Health Network is using a new cloud-based telehealth platform to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients.  The platform, called Masimo SafetyNet, uses wearable single-use sensors to keep track of patients’ symptoms. Read more.

“I have moments where I break down.” – Tales from salon owners

Area hair salon owners, forced to shutter their doors due to the coronavirus crisis, discuss how they are managing, both financially and emotionally. Read more.

Treasury Department asks Congress for $250B more for paycheck protection funds

Treasury Department officials confirmed Tuesday they are asking congressional leaders for an additional $250 billion for companies to retain workers as the initial $350 billion allocated by the CARES Act is threatening to dry up after going live four days ago. Read more.

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped Wing Night at regional sports bar chain

On a Tuesday night any of the P.J. Whelihan’s locations in the region would normally be filled with the sounds of sports and hungry customers taking advantage of the regional chain’s popular Wing Night specials. Read more.

PA CARE Package program now includes banks from all over U.S. 

The list of financial institutions affiliated with PA CARE Package, a program slated to facilitate the rollout of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in Pennsylvania, is growing and now includes banks from across the country with branch locations in the commonwealth, as well as some based in the midstate. Read more.

PLCB: Web liquor sales are happening, but slowly

Nearly a week after the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced that it was going to resume online sales, many consumers are wondering why they still can’t buy liquor on the website. Read more.

Local company starts making hand sanitizer for first responders, military

E.T. Browne Drug Co., manufacturer of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula and Coconut Oil Formula skin and hair care products, said its East Stroudsburg-based manufacturing facility, Hayward Laboratories, has started producing sanitizer for immediate distribution, to address widespread supply shortages in the wake of COVID-19. Read more.

Wardog Spirits the latest distiller to switch to hand sanitizer production

Wardog Spirits, a distillery at Black River Farms Vineyard & Winery in Lower Saucon Township, is the latest to shift from distilling spirits to producing hand sanitizer. Wardog’s hand sanitizer will be donated to local emergency workers and healthcare personnel. Read more.

April 6

Nurse practitioners seek ‘full practice authority’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Pennsylvania nurse practitioners are pushing for Gov. Wolf to remove barriers ­­­­­­­keeping many NP’s from the coronavirus front lines. Read more.

Realtors Association seek life-sustaining business designation

The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors is suing the state to win “life-sustaining” business status for its members. Read more.

Rite Aid to hire 5,000 associates in response to COVID-19 

Rite Aid plans to hire 5,000 new associates for full- and part-time positions at its stores and distribution centers. Read more.

Berks screen printer helps small businesses with T-shirt promotion

A Berks County screen printer is working on a way to support itself and other small businesses in the region by creating T-shirts businesses and non-profits can sell to customers and supporters on social media. Read more.

OraSure earns federal grant to develop at-home COVID-19 test

OraSure Technologies of Bethlehem said it earned a $710,310 contract from the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop a pan-SARS-coronavirus antigen rapid in-home self-test. The test uses saliva samples and provides results in 20 minutes. Read more.

PA company testing COVID-19 vaccine today

INOVIO Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the Plymouth Meeting-based pharmaceutical company, will test the first dose of its COVID-19 vaccine today on a healthy volunteer. Read more.

Pictures-for-patients campaign sends positive message to Good Shepherd patients

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network is asking the public to draw, paint or color pictures for their patients who are in long term care. The campaign, #PicturesForPatients, aims to increase hope at a time when patients have limited visitation due to the COVID-19 crisis.  Read more.

State launches new resource for manufacturers producing supplies for COVID-19 relief

A new online portal to identify the needs of Pennsylvania manufacturers that are, or could, provide products for the COVID-19 pandemic was launched over the weekend by the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Read more.

Pennsylvania issues new orders for cleaning life-sustaining businesses

Pennsylvania businesses with in-person operations permitted under the governor’s life-sustaining business orders, now have a new set of guidelines for maintaining and cleaning their buildings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read more.

April 3

COVID-19 poses challenge to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society campaign

It’s that time of the year when the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society launches its annual Man & Woman of the year campaign, but this year will be a different campaign. Read more.

Coronavirus stimulus small business loans: your next steps

One of the provisions of the 2020 CARES Act is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) where businesses will receive loans meant to help support payroll during the period February 15, through June 30, with 100% federally guaranteed loans, if they maintain their payroll during this emergency. Read more.

Governor Wolf advises all Pennsylvanians wear masks

Gov. Tom Wolf is recommending that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask when they leave their homes as COVID-19 cases steadily rise in the state. Read more.

A look at businesses A.C. (After Corona)

The sudden shutdown of businesses, schools and much of normal day-to-day life has brought about a new normal for professionals across Pennsylvania and much of the nation. Read more.

COVID-19 death rate 10 times that of seasonal flu

The coronavirus has a roughly 1.2% death rate in Pennsylvania, making it 10 times as deadly as the seasonal flu. Read more.

April 2

What is an employer’s duty to report confirmed coronavirus cases?

In 2009, the EEOC published guidelines for employers to handle the H1N1 virus in the workplace. On March 19, 2020 they re-issued the document with COVID-19 specific guidelines. As the U.S. continues to respond to the growing number of coronavirus cases, what is the obligation of employers to report confirmed cases? Read more.

Applications for business closure exemptions to cease Friday

DCED Secretary Dennis Davin suggested businesses who think they may be applicable for the waiver to review the department’s life-sustaining business FAQ and file a form before the end of the day Friday. Read more.

7 Lehigh Valley businesses file WARN notices due to COVID-19

Seven businesses in the Greater Lehigh Valley have filed WARN notices announcing layoffs or closures since Gov. Wolf on March 19, ordered non-life sustaining businesses to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Josh Early Candies donates leftovers to health care workers

Josh Early Candies, temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is donating leftover inventory to the doctors, nurses, and volunteers who are helping to fight the coronavirus. Read more.

Study: COVID-19 lifts public support for government health care

In early March, just as the coronavirus started to rattle households and workplaces statewide, Muhlenberg College conducted its annual public health survey, which showed that Pennsylvanians increasingly support government’s involvement in health care. Read more.

Highmark waves deductibles, copays for COVID-19 hospital treatment

Highmark members who require in-network, inpatient hospital care for COVID-19 will not have to pay deductibles, coinsurance and copays, effective immediately. Read more.

Construction officials push for safe reopening of industry in Pennsylvania

Advocates for the construction industry say Pennsylvania should allow all construction projects to safely continue. Stalled projects exposed to the weather elements could be damaged and create hazardous conditions, they argue. Read more.

CARES Act loans for small businesses available Friday

This $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, a partnership between private lenders and the Treasury Department, is meant to cover eight weeks of small business costs and keep workers employed while the COVID-19 pandemic can be contained and the economy can recover, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Read more.

April 1

Foreclosures, evictions halted under Pa. Supreme Court order

“In view of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, during this timeframe no officer, official or other person employed by the Pennsylvania judiciary at any level shall effectuate an eviction, ejectment or other displacement from a residence based on the failure to make a monetary payment,” the order states. Read more.

Gov. Tom Wolf announces stay-at-home orders for entire state

Gov. Tom Wolf expanded his stay-at-home orders to the rest of the state on Wednesday afternoon. Read more.

State AG Josh Shapiro urges landlords to hold off on evictions

In a March 30 letter to the state’s leading residential trade association, State Attorney General Josh Shapiro urged them to suspend evictions and give Pennsylvanians the chance to recover economically. Read more.

Berks Community Foundation offers grant to nonprofits hurt by COVID-19

Berks County Community Foundation has launched an emergency grant program to help Berks County nonprofits fill funding gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

March 31

Buisness leaders praise $2 trillion CARE Act stimulus package

The largest stimulus package in American history was signed into law last week and while it may take time to feel its effects, businesses are beginning to look at what it could mean for their employees and communities. Read more.

Banks, Consumer Protection Bureau offer help with stimulus funds

PNC Bank and First Commonwealth Bank have joined the state’s “PA CARE Package,” an initiative to facilitate the transfer of funds from the federal government’s stimulus package to consumers and businesses. Read more.

PA confirms 4,843 cases of COVID-19, most sufferers under age 50

There are 4,843 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as of March 31, according to the state Department of Health, with 756 new cases since March 30.  Of the patients who have tested positive, the largest percentage, at 41%, are in the 25 to 49 year old age bracket. Read more.

Governor Tom Wolf’s ‘major disaster’ declaration request granted by Trump

President Trump declared that a major disaster exists in Pennsylvania, a status which mobilizes many of the nationwide disaster response measures under the president’s March 13 state-of-emergency declaration to accommodate the commonwealth’s specific requests during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.

LCTI donates PPEs to Lehigh Valley health care providers

Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, the Schnecksville-based technical school, is donating 17K in personal protective equipment to Lehigh Valley health care workers. Read more.

Pa. Senators seek support for bill to allow construction to continue

Several senators led by Sen. David J. Arnold Jr., (R-Lebanon) are seeking relief for construction firms throughout the state who have largely shuttered their companies and most projects after Gov. Wolf’s business closure order on March 19. Read more.

March 30

You can compete against coronavirus with creativity

Marketing and communications experts agree that it’s best to be present but not pushy, branded but not brand-forward, and to be ready to transform strategies on a dime. Here are some notable examples of these kinds of pivots from food and beverage, apparel and other industries. Read more.

Carbon, Schuylkill counties added to Pennsylvania ‘stay-at-home’ orders

Four more counties, including Cumberland and Dauphin have been given stay at home orders until April 30, and Pennsylvania’s schools and non-life-sustaining businesses are to stay closed until further notice, Gov. Tom Wolf said during a press conference on Monday. Read more.

Chamber announces COVID-19 emergency grant pool

Critical support is being made available to small businesses and nonprofits in the Greater Lehigh Valley thanks to an emergency grant fund put together by a group of business leaders. Read more.

Local colleges, universities issue partial refunds amid COVID-19 closure

The move to close colleges and universities amid the COVID-19 outbreak has led many students and families to wonder if they would get some type of refund for losing access to housing, dining services and other amenities they already paid for. Read more.

LVHN adjusts birth and newborn visitation due to coronavirus

Lehigh Valley Health Network will now allow no more than one support person for mothers in labor in order to reduce coronavirus risks for patients, staff and visitors. Read more.

Reading pretzel company participating in Bikes & Brews – and social distancing

A Reading-based pretzel manufacturer is participating in what is turning out to be a fairly “unique” national marketing effort. Read more.

Working from home with kids during the coronavirus crisis

Working from home has become the new normal for a majority of us during the coronavirus crisis. For parents, this requires adjusting to parenting while working.  Read more.

March 27

Gov. Wolf announces ‘Stay at Home’ order for Berks and eight other counties

Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced on Friday that they would be issuing new stay at home orders to help staunch the spread of COVID-19 in Berks, Butler, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and York counties. Read more.

$2 trillion COVID-19 aid package passes House, headed to White House

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides billions of dollars for industries imperiled by the coronavirus pandemic — airlines and hotels included — and makes billions of dollars available for small businesses who have seen their income all but cease due to prohibitions on large gatherings. Read more.

Second and third Wind Creek employees test positive for COVID-19

Wind Creek Bethlehem said a total of three employees have now tested positive for COVID-19. After identifying a COVID-19 positive employee who had last worked on March 14, two more employees exhibited symptoms after the closure of the property. Read more.

Public school teachers will be paid during statewide school shutdown

Pennsylvania state lawmakers this week authorized legislation to ensure public school employees will be paid during the mandated closure of education facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

PUC prohibits utility companies from terminating service amid COVID-19 panic

State utilities officials have ratified emergency orders this week to prevent companies regulated by the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) from interrupting services due to customers’ income shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as many households and businesses have seen operations hammered by social distancing requirements. Read more.

COVID-19 creates havoc on construction industry

Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to shutter all non-life-sustaining businesses to control the spread of COVID-19 has effectively halted most construction in Pennsylvania, sending a shockwave through the industry. Read more.

Seasoned managers offer their advice on making the remote work transition

For managers delving into this unchartered territory of long-term remote work, there are some best practices and effective techniques to adopt that may be helpful in managing employees who are working outside the office. Read more.

Local payment processor seeks to raise $200M for hospitality industry

With restaurants and other hospitality businesses facing some of the earliest and largest financial losses from COVID-19, one local company established an online resource to help raise more than $200 million for them. Read more.

At Redner’s Markets, ‘it’s all hands on deck.’

To stop the hoarding, Redner’s Markets, a Pennsylvania based supermarket chain, is allowing store managers to set limits on the number of items customers can buy of certain foods, like toilet paper or meat. Read more

March 26

Temperature control device manufacturer aids companies researching COVID-19 cure

Julabo USA, a company in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, is among those businesses that’s staying open because it is helping to equip pharmaceutical companies that are working on vaccines, research, and drug therapies to directly combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

KeyBank offering support to those impacted by coronavirus

Cleveland-based KeyBank, which has more than a dozen braches in the Greater Lehigh Valley, said it is offering support services for those impacted by the coronavirus, COVID-19. Read more

Chamber promoting open restaurants and businesses with website, marketing

Now, there is one place where Lehigh Valley consumers can find restaurants still serving up meals and how they can get them, as well as information about small business goods and services still available. Read more.

Here are some tips for health care workers looking to de-stress while off duty

The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can be especially taxing for health care workers, so the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania is offering tips to help health care workers unwind and recharge when they are off duty. Read more

Pennsylvania unemployment claims jump to 650K

The state Department of Labor has reported that nearly 649,967 unemployment claims have been filed since March 16. Read more

Cedar Crest College donates face masks, gown to local health networks

Cedar Crest College’s School of Nursing donated their lab supply of approximately 400 N95 respirator masks, 700 regular masks, gloves and isolation gowns to St. Luke’s University Health Network Allentown Campus and Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Read more

Senate passes $2 trillion aid package, House expected to vote Friday

The Senate passed a record $2 trillion stimulus package late Wednesday aimed at jumpstarting the U.S. economy, which has seen mass layoffs, business closures, imperiled industries and volatile financial markets since the beginning of March due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Read more.

Distiller turned sanitizer-maker seeks a little help from his beer friends

If you have some brew your willing to spare – particularly if you’re a local brewery – the folks at Christmas City Spirits in Bethlehem are hoping you’ll donated it to them to help with their effort to make hand sanitizer for area health care and emergency services providers.

Read more.

March 25

COVID-19 ends LVIA’s 30-month growth pattern

The rapidly changing and spreading virus upended nearly 30 consecutive months of positive passenger traffic at Lehigh Valley International Airport and put a financial strain on the airport as it continues operating and providing services.

Customers Bank switches to appointment-only service

All Customers Bank branches are switching to appointment-only service. The changes are being made to protect clients and employees from the spread of coronavirus, bank officials said.  Drive-through service will still be available at five locations.

Read more

Sen. Casey: $350B small business relief to be streamlined for speed

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, said the goal of a provision in the $2 trillion federal COVID-19 rescue package to get funds to small businesses is putting an emphasis on speed to get the money where it’s needed quickly.

Lehigh, Northampton counties added to ‘Stay at Home’ order

Gov. Tom Wolf has expanded stay-at-home orders to include Lehigh and Northampton Counties. The announcement comes as the number of positive cases of COVID-19 has grown to 1,127 in 44 counties with 11 deaths in the state, including three deaths in Northampton County.

The $2 trillion stimulus package is a ‘great start’, says local business leader

With the White House and Senate reaching a deal earlier today to provide a $2 trillion stimulus package to bolster the national economy in the wake of COVID-19, Pennsylvania’s small businesses can benefit if they act now, according to the leader of a local mortgage-lending firm.

Here’s what the COVID-19 stimulus bill includes

The Senate plans to vote this afternoon on a $2 trillion stimulus bill that would inundate American households and businesses with cash with the intention of reviving the economy, which has endured mass layoffs and business suspensions due to the outbreak of the coronavirus

Read more

Dr. Rachel Levine: “COVID-10 cases doubling every 2 days

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health warns that the number of coronavirus cases is doubling every two days, underscoring the importance of self-isolation and social distancing.

Read more

bizcares.org offers place to share COVID-19 survival tips

John Dame, a CEO coach and business consultant based in Harrisburg, realized that top managers would struggle with what to do about the unprecedented crisis, so he and his son, Ed Dame, set up a forum for leaders to chat about their experiences and to share their stories

Read more

Trans-Bridge temporarily suspends bus service because of COVID-19

After passenger traffic dropped by 88% due to the coronavirus pandemic, Trans-Bridge Lines of Bethlehem said is temporarily suspending all operations.

Read more

$100,000 low interest loans available from small businesses through PIDA

Small businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees have the opportunity to apply for a $100,000 low-interest loan through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Agency (PIDA), state officials said this week.

March 24

St. Luke’s, local businesses collaborate to produce masks that protect against COVID-19

Bethlehem’s St. Luke’s and Filament Innovations of Coplay, as well as 3D manufacturer ProtoCAM of Upper Macungie Township, have teamed up to produce 3D printed masks and face shields for health care providers to help protect them from COVID-19.

Read more

LANTA bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

The City of Bethlehem is reporting that a bus driver for LANTA is among the six individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the city. The bus driver worked on March 20 and drove several trips between Easton and Bethlehem during the shift.

Read more

Statewide, 27 warnings issues to non-life-sustaining businesses

State police have issued 27 warnings against businesses considered “non-life-sustaining” who failed to comply with Gov. Tom Wolf’s order directing them to close operations at their physical locations beginning March 23.

Read more

Locals are encouraged to support area businesses with online shopping

To support buying local during self-quarantine efforts, the cities of Easton and Bethlehem have launched initiatives which aim to encourage cyber-shopping.

Read more

With COVID-19 keeping people home, gas prices at record low levels

As most people in Pennsylvania shelter in place, not going out to restaurants or stores and commuting only to the most essential jobs, gas prices are hitting record lows.

Read more

East Penn Manufacturing receives waiver to operate

Berks County battery manufacturer, East Penn Manufacturing, said it has received a waiver from the state classifying it as a life-sustaining business and it will resume operations, bringing back about half of its staff.

Local company makes air purification systems that kill COVID-19

LifeAire Systems, an Upper Macungie Township company that creates in-duct air purification systems that remove airborne pathogens such as COVID-19, is looking to produce more. The company developed the technology for the in vitro fertilization industry and installed it in its first hospital a couple years ago.

March 23

Exclusive interview: LVHN CEO Brian Nester warns “We are two weeks behind Manhattan.”

Brian Nester opened up about a possible timeline for the peak of the virus, why testing times need to be improved, and why more aggressive measures are needed to stop the spread.

Read more

Just Born reverses decision, closes production facilities

Bethlehem’s Just Born has now decided to close its production facility through at least April 7 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Read more

Gov. Wolf issues stay-at-home order for 6 counties, extends school closures

Gov. Tom Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for six counties and extended the closure of schools in the state for another two weeks to help fight the spread of COVID-19. He did not mention any timetable for the closure of non-life sustaining businesses. Those closures were ordered “until further notice.”

Read more

Builders, contractors, seeking exemption from Wolf’s closure order

In a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf, officials from the five chapters that make up the Associated Builders and Contractors of Pennsylvania, asked for a waiver for the construction-industry-at-large, and clarification of his executive order to shut down businesses.

Read more

LVHN recycling surgical wrap to extend the life of protective masks

With shortages of personal protective equipment across the nation due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Lehigh Valley Health Network is recycling surgical wrap to make coverings to extend the life of protective masks.

Read more

Pennsylvania loosens access to medical marijuana during COVID-19 emergency

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has temporarily suspended a number of provisions in the state’s medical marijuana program to allow patients to have more access to medications.

Read more

COVID-19 closes Stich-Fix Lehigh Valley distribution center

Stitch Fix, a San Francisco-based online personal clothing styling service, is temporarily closing two of its distribution centers in the wake of the coronavirus threat, including its Lehigh Valley location in Lower Nazareth Township. The other location is in California.

Read more

Pennsylvania business shutdown enforcement begins this morning

The governor originally said enforcement would begin at 8 p.m., Thursday, but the number of waiver requests coming in for businesses that wanted to be considered life-sustaining led the administration to delay the order.

Read more

March 20

Trade groups request, receive sales tax waiver from Pa. Revenue Department

Businesses will not be penalized for failing to meet the March 20 Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) deadline, officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue confirmed to Lehigh Valley Business.

Read more

Hand sanitizer replaces spirits for local distillers

There is a saying that necessity is the mother of invention, but for a family-run micro-distillery in East Stroudsburg, motherhood was the necessity.

Read more

Pennsylvania confirms another 83 COVID-19 cases

Pennsylvania now has 268 confirmed cases of COVID-19. That’s a jump of 83 cases from yesterday. The state has had one death so far and 2,574 people who have tested negative.

Read more

COVID-19 won’t stop the PEEPS – Just Born to continue manufacturing

Just Born, which manufactures PEEPS and Mike & Ikes in Bethlehem said it will continue operations, while adjusting to extra precautions because of the coronavirus.

Pennsylvania Chamber seeks clarity, modification, of Wolf’s closure order

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is seeking modification and clarification of Gov. Tom Wolf’s order closing all “non-life sustaining businesses” in the state.

Here are the businesses affected by the state-wide mandatory closure

To slow the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations late yesterday, and offered a comprehensive list of those types of businesses affected.

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Community banks are showing their strength amid COVID-19 crisis

Community banks have been working around the clock for weeks to implement pandemic protocols, which address not only hygiene and cleanliness, testing procedures and sick leave compensation, but also ensure customers maintain access to vital banking services.

Wind Creek Bethlehem employee tests positive for COVID-19

Wind Creek Bethlehem said it has been notified that one of its workers has tested positive for COVID-19.

Read more

March 19

Governor Tom Wolf orders closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses

Gov. Tom Wolf today ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. today, March 19, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement actions against businesses that do not close physical locations will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21.

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Berks Visitors Bureau lists restaurants offering takeout, curbside and delivery

Restaurants that offer TakeoutCurbside Pickup, and Delivery to your homes, businesses, and hotels are listed below. Included with the restaurant listings are wineries offering customers curbside pickup and mail delivery of wines to their homes.

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LVHN adds coronavirus testing locations in Allentown and Bethlehem

Lehigh Valley Health Network has added two more coronavirus testing site locations, making for a total of 10 COVID-19 testing sites throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Read morehttps://www.lvb.com/lvhn-adds-coronavirus-testing-locations-allentown-bethlehem/

Wolf asks SBA to approve disaster declaration for loans

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has asked the U.S. Small Business Administration to implement an SBA disaster declaration so businesses and nonprofits in the state can access SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans in all 67 counties.

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Sharps Compliance donates protective gear to area hospitals

Supplies, which were shipped out within hours of the request, include 3,700 isolation gowns, 2,700 mask and 1,500 nitrile gloves.

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Health Secretary to businesses leaders: ‘We need your help’ to fight COVID-19

“Now is the time for you to act in your roll as business leaders,” she said during a webinar on how businesses should respond to the coronvavirus organized by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. “If a local business stays open, our local residents will think it’s OK to gather and congregate and it is not.”

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COVID-19 having sharp impact on real estate market

As a relationship-driven, people-facing industry, real estate is facing the turbulent effects of COVID-19.

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Phone, broadband providers pledge to keep customers connected

For the next 60 days, Service Electric of Allentown will open Wi-Fi hotspots to all who need them, and will not terminate services to residential or small business customers who can’t pay their bills due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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U.S. Senator Bob Casey supports sending checks to taxpayers amid COVID-19 surge

As the economic fallout from the coronavirus escalates with statewide closures of non-essential businesses, federal lawmakers are considering sending thousands of dollars in direct cash payments to American households.

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A list of stores that temporarily have closed or cut hours because of coronavirus (Source: Lehigh Valley Live)

As coronavirus continues to spread rapidly, tons of major retailers are taking it upon themselves to temporarily close stores or cut hours to help try and bring the pandemic to a halt.

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March 18

Lehigh Valley providers pledge to keep internet, phones connected during pandemic (Source: Lehigh Valley Live)

Providers in the Lehigh Valley have agreed not to terminate internet and phone service for customers who can’t pay their bills amid the coronavirus shutdown of non-essential services and businesses.

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LVHN-ExpressCare-Lehighton to temporarily close

Starting today, Lehigh Valley Health Network is temporarily closing its LVHN ExpressCARE–Lehighton at 363 N. 1st Street, Lehighton, so its staff can support LVHN COVID-19 Assess and Test locations.

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Sorry folks, no free Rita’s for the first day of spring

Rita’s Italian Ice said it plans to postpone its annual First Day of Spring Giveaway. The chain, which traditionally gives away free Italian ice, said it will not be offering the giveaway this year. The giveaway would have been on March 19. The giveaway tends to draw large crowds, which are being discouraged to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Giant reserves first hour of business, 6-7 a.m., for shoppers 60+

GIANT grocery stores are reserving the first hour of each business day for shoppers over the age of 60. Starting Thursday, the stores will be open from 6 to 7 a.m. to serve older adults only. Store officials say this will help those most vulnerable to coronavirus avoid crowds and hopefully limit the spread of the virus.

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“We do what we have to do.” – Health care workers accept coronavirus risks

While most of us are self-quarantined at home, doctors, nurses and other health care workers are heading out of their front doors and off to work. For most health care workers, a certain amount of risk, including from the coronavirus, is considered part of the job.

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March 17

$19 for a bottle of hand sanitizer? Pa. Attorney General going after price gougers

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said today that his office has now received more than 1,000 tips reporting price gouging.

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LVHN establishes coronavirus testing centers

Lehigh Valley Health Network has established patient testing centers for coronavirus throughout the Lehigh Valley region.

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PLCB relaxes liquor license ‘safekeeping’ rule during COVID-19 event

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is issuing special allowances that will benefit liquor licensees over the course of Gov. Tom Wolf’s mandated closure of non-essential businesses. PLCB officials said this move is in an effort to mitigate the economic impacts caused by recommendations to close non-essential business operations amidst the spread of the coronavirus.

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Is your industry on the business essential list? 

Gov. Tom Wolf also clarified Monday’s order that all non-essential businesses close temporarily to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Many people expressed confusion over which businesses were included in the designation of non-essential.

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Pa. confirms 20 more cases, bringing state total to 96 

The additional cases are as follows: two in Allegheny County; one in Beaver County; three in Bucks County; two in Chester County; five in Cumberland County; two in Delaware County; two in Montgomery County; two in Philadelphia County; and one in Washington County. (Source: Lebanon Daily News)

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DCNR closing state park and forest facilities statewide, open spaces will remain accessible

Today, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced that all facilities at state park and forests in Pennsylvania will be closed for 14 days effective March 17 to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The public will still be able to access trails, lakes, forests, roads, and parking areas for passive and dispersed recreation, such as hiking.

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With community spread in Montgomery County anticipated, mass testing sites expected to open 

With Montgomery County leading the state in coronavirus cases and southeastern Pennsylvania in general being the hardest-hit area, four different state lawmakers told The Morning Call that state officials expect to open two “mass testing sites” for coronavirus testing in Montgomery County and Philadelphia.

 

Will business losses from COVID-19 be covered by insurance?

According to The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2020 global growth could be cut by half, to 1.5 percent for the year instead of the 2.9 percent that had been previously forecast if the coronavirus continues to spread.

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Pa. employees out of work from COVID-19 can get compensation

One of the big questions businesses are asking is “what is going to happen to the workers who find their place of work closed because of the coronavirus?”

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March 16

SBA offers $2M in loans to help businesses, nonprofits cover COVID-19 losses

The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is working with state officials to support small businesses impacted by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) with up to $2 million targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans.

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Governor Tom Wolf orders all ‘non-essential’ businesses closed

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all non-essential stores, bars and restaurants in the state to temporarily close to help slow the progression of COVID-19.

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Area small businesses feeling the effects of coronavirus threat

As we all hunker down in our homes amidst the growing threat of the coronavirus, local small business owners are feeling the effects. Now, with the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey ordering all non-essential businesses to close, even more adjustments must be made.

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Many Lehigh Valley businesses close, get creative as coronavirus spreads

The Wind Creek Casino Resort and Event Center in Bethlehem is one of the larger venues to close its doors. It said it plans to stay closed through March 30.

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First Lehigh County coronavirus case is Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th street employee

An employee of Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th Street in Allentown has tested positive for COVID-19, which is the first positive case in Lehigh County, according to the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

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