CASINO: Wind Creek Bethlehem reopened June 29. Wind Creek Bethlehem voluntarily closed to the public March 15. During that time Wind Creek Hospitality worked with health officials to establish new policies to ensure that Guests can enjoy themselves safely. This includes temperature checks for all guests and team members, and cloth masks or face coverings will be required for everyone. Guests are asked to bring their own mask. Players who do not have their own mask will be able to acquire one on property for a small donation supporting Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast PA. Smoking will only be allowed in an outdoor area located in the north parking lot.
The reservation system is open to guests at www.WindCreekCasino.com. Reservations can also be made by calling 877-726-3777 or a casino host.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE: The City of Bethlehem is partnering with New Bethany Ministries and the Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board (LVRHAB) to provide rental assistance to households impacted by COVID-19. $200,000 of the CARES Act (CDBG-CV) funding has been identified to be utilized by the program that will provide funds for eviction prevention initiatives. Funds will be administered by New Bethany Ministries for Bethlehem residents facing eviction.
The program is voluntary and free to landlords and tenants to assist with rental arrears repayment for covid-19 related financial hardships. The goal of the program is to prevent evictions for previously stable tenants who have been impacted financial hardship due to COVID-19 job loss or illness, and are now behind on rent payments.
For information on the program contact New Bethany Ministries- 610-691-5612, ext. 213
DRIVE THRU TESTING: In its 37 days of operation, the drive-through testing center at Easton Hospital tested 1,666 Northampton County residents for COVID-19, an average of 45 tests per day. The rate of positive results was 5.4 percent.
The testing site was made possible by a partnership between Northampton County EMS and Easton Hospital. Northampton County used $150,000 in CARES funds to sponsor the tests.
CORONER REPORT: As of June 29th, data collected by the Northampton County Coroner shows that 252 people have passed away due to COVID-19 in Northampton County (225 Northampton County residents, 27 residents of other counties and states). As of May 21, the Lehigh County Coroner released data of 42 COVID-19 related deaths of Northampton County residents.
Residents: Allen Twp., 1; Bangor, 1; Bethlehem Twp., 56; City of Bethlehem, 24; City of Easton, 39; Forks Twp., 6; Freemansburg, 1; Hanover Twp., 1; Hellertown, 5; Lehigh Twp., 2; Lower Nazareth Twp., 3; Lower Saucon Twp., 1; Moore, 1; Nazareth, 2; Northampton, 3; Palmer Twp., 29; Plainfield Twp., 1; Tatamy, 1; Upper Nazareth Twp., 74; Washington Twp., 10; Williams Twp., 3; Wilson, 2; Wind Gap, 1.
Non-residents: Astoria, NY, 1; Bronx, NY, 1; Bucks County, 4; City of Allentown, 3; Glen Garden, N.J., 1; Lehigh Co., 2; Lopatcong Twp. NJ, 1; Lower Macungie Twp., 1; Millersburg, PA, 1; Monroe County, 6; Montgomery County, 1; Phillipsburg, NJ, 2; Upper Macungie. 1; Washington N.J., 1.
Demographic data for 252 deaths reported by the Northampton County Coroner:
The ages of the deceased range from 29 to 106 years of age.
Average age of the deceased is 82.9 years
Gender – 52 percent Female, 48 percent Male
Race: 88 precent White, 6 percent African American, 2 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic
Demographic data for 42 deaths reported by the Lehigh County Coroner
Average age of the deceased is 76 years
Gender – 43 percent Female, 57 percent Male
Race: 74 percent White, 22 percent Hispanic, 2 percent African American, 2 percent Filipino, 0 percent Asian
SMALL BUSINESS AID: The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund has up to $10 million in direct assistance available to help rescue businesses with fewer than 25 employees and $1 million in annual sales. The funding was allocated to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of the CARES Act and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development has more than $200 million available statewide. The state’s network of 17 community development financial institutions were chosen to administer the program. The legislature and Wolf administration are requiring that half of the funding be used to assist “disadvantaged” businesses, which means, primarily, minority-owned enterprises. The Rising Tide is equally committed to that goal.
The program started taking applications June 30. The funding will not be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis, so there is no need to scramble to get an application in.
The amount of the grants will range from $5,000 to $50,000.
Priority will be given to small and microbusinesses that are, in addition to minority-owned:
· owned and operated by low- to moderate-income people
· located in low-income areas
· those businesses that took the hardest hit during the pandemic.
Business owners who believe they might be eligible are encouraged to contact Chris Hudock at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Rising Tide’s primary service area is Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe and upper Bucks counties.
RENT/MORTGAGE RELIEF: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is reminding Pennsylvanians who qualify to apply for housing-related financial assistance through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency after applications were made available on June 29.
Pennsylvania renters and homeowners who were affected by the coronavirus-related economic slowdown can file the applications for rent and mortgage relief, made available through $175 million from the federal CARES Act.
Applications are available by clicking on a red CARES banner on the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website at www.PHFA.org. Applications for rental and mortgage assistance have been accepted starting July 6.
ALERT PA: All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.
MONITORING DASHBOARD: The Department of Health has launched an online early warning monitoring dashboard that provides information statewide and county COVID-19 prevalence to track increases in disease in the community on a weekly basis.
“This dashboard provides the entire community with early warning to changes in COVID-19 infection so that we can take action to prevent spread,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Recent increases in COVID-19 cases in parts of the state have shown the need for Pennsylvanians to continue to take simple steps to prevent the spread of this virus. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing and stay home if you are sick.”
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak has announced that people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC) and federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) may now qualify for 13 additional weeks of payments through the state’s Unemployment Compensation Extended Benefits program.
Extended Benefits (EB) are additional UC benefits payable to qualified workers whenever the state’s unemployment rate reaches a certain level determined by law. The last time the EB program was triggered in Pennsylvania was 2009.
Important information about the EB program follows and will be sent by mail to all individuals who potentially qualify for the additional benefits
BAR RULES: The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) called on licensed liquor establishments and their patrons to abide by social distancing and masking requirements to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Since mid-March BLCE officers have conducted compliance checks at over 15,100 licensed liquor establishments. Officers conduct an average of 1,500 compliance checks each day and have issued 162 warnings and 103 notices of violations to date. 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.
SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF: Starting June 30, eligible businesses may apply for the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program at https://pabusinessgrants.com/.
The first application window will remain open for 10 days. Applications will continue to be accepted after 10 business days but will be considered for future rounds of funding, as this is not a first-come, first-served program. Applications will be prioritized and selected for funding based on the program criteria.
Eligible businesses will be able to use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance including training and guidance for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses.
More information about the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program can be found on DCED’s website.
TAX FILING HELP: With the deadline to file 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns set for July 15, the Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers who need help with their returns to call the department’s main call center.
The department’s Customer Experience Center is available by calling 717-787-8201. The call center will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on non-holiday weekdays through Wednesday, July 15 so that revenue call center agents can assist taxpayers who need help with their returns. Taxpayers may also schedule a call at a time that is convenient for them.
JULY 8 GAMING COMMISSION MEETING: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has announced today that its public meeting July 8 at 10 a.m. will occur as scheduled. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will occur telephonically to minimize risks associated with public gatherings. In order to assure transparency and public visibility, the board is providing opportunities for the public and interested persons to link to the meeting through an audio interface.
The board is recommending that interested persons access the meeting through its website by choosing the “live” link on the PGCB Meeting Videos section on the homepage. The board’s website address is https://gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov/. Persons accessing the website will be able to listen to the audio of the meeting as it is occurring.
The board is providing a secondary manner to connect with the meeting by dialing (267) 332-8737. This option should only be used if an individual cannot access the meeting through the board’s website. After connecting, a Conference ID of 339172164# should be entered and the caller should mute their phone.