Governor Gives Mixed Review Of COVID Relief Bill
Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday delivered a mixed review of Congress’ newly passed pandemic relief package, as Philadelphia extended its coronavirus restrictions affecting indoor dining, in-person instruction at colleges and other activities.
Also Tuesday, the state Department of Health reported 231 new deaths caused by the coronavirus, one of the state's highest daily totals, as hospitalizations continue to rise and testing turnaround times continue to lag well behind the state's goal of 24- to 48-hours as the holidays approach.
Wolf, a Democrat, said the $900 billion in federal aid will provide vital support for people, small businesses and efforts to combat the virus.
But, he said, it lacked direct aid to state and local governments trying to prop up crucial services, while more aid is needed for a hard-hit service industry — such as restaurants and bars — and in direct payments to individuals and families.
The bill would establish a temporary $300 per-week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, plus money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.
In Philadelphia, city officials extended restrictions on indoor dining, indoor events, theaters, casinos, colleges and indoor organized sports for two more weeks, through Jan. 15.
Museums, outdoor sports, gyms, in-person instruction in high schools and outdoor catered events can resume Jan. 4, with capacity limitations, unless state restrictions set to expire that day are extended by Wolf, city officials said.