On March 30, 2020, President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (the “Commonwealth”) and ordered Federal assistance to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.  This declaration follows Governor Tom Wolf’s request on Sunday for a major disaster declaration from the President.

Under the major disaster declaration, state, county and municipal governments, as well as eligible private non-profits, can receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of eligible expenses related to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Eligible expenses can include but are not limited to costs associated with paying overtime, or materials and equipment purchases. The declaration also provides direct federal assistance, which provides federal materials and supplies to support state and local response efforts.

In the coming weeks, staff from the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency will reach out to potential applicants to review the application process and necessary documentation. As the response period for the COVID-19 outbreak is continuing, the process will take weeks. All reimbursements will be handled electronically.

Governor Wolf said his request for other federal aid remains under consideration.

In determining if the declaration was warranted, the President considered state fiscal capacity and resources availability, uninsured home and personal property losses, disaster impacted population profile, impact to community infrastructure, casualties and disaster-related unemployment.

According to the President’s announcement, additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further assessments.

We will continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 and the President’s declaration.  For any questions regarding the declaration, please contact a member of the McNees Public Finance & Government Services Group.