This guide, a project of the PBA COVID-19 Task Force, provides links to information of assistance to Pennsylvania lawyers.
DISCLAIMER: This information is being issued to inform, not to advise, and should not be considered legal advice. Some information is based on Pennsylvania law. The statements are general, and individual facts in a given case may alter their application or involve other laws not referred to here.
Vaccination information for judges, lawyers and others providing legal assistance
Legal Ethics During COVID-19
Connections to the courts
- The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania monitors developments about the spread of COVID-19 and their impacts on court operations. The webpage, “UJS Coronavirus Information,” provides frequently updated, comprehensive lists of orders by the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court and common pleas courts, as well as additional court operations updates.
- Recently, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, on behalf of its members, raised concerns about the failure to assure compliance with public health guidance concerning mask wearing and social distancing within courtrooms across Pennsylvania.
In response, Geoff Moulton, Court Administrator of Pennsylvania, conveyed a message sharing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's strong desire that all Commonwealth judges take whatever actions are necessary to assure compliance with applicable guidelines. The relevant CDC guidelines are available here and provide, inter alia, that "Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don't live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain...[K]eep 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing."
Compliance is particularly important as cases in Pennsylvania have risen significantly in recent weeks...While local conditions and resources vary across the commonwealth, the need to protect all participants while conducting court business does not.
The Pennsylvania Judiciary has provided updates regarding local court operations and proceedings. The Court continues to monitor developments regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on court operations.
- By Order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the general statewide judicial emergency declared and maintained in previous Court Orders of March 16, March 18, March 24, April 1 and April 28 ceased as of June 1, 2020. Any previous Orders in this line shall expire according to their own terms.
The Court communicates regularly with the Governor’s Office and the state Department of Health for guidance on measures to continue protecting the health and safety of court users and court employees.
Contact your local court for more information or visit their website. Learn more about filing emergency PFAs during this pandemic. You can also learn more about mitigating the spread of the virus at Health.pa.gov.
- Resuming Jury Trials (Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges) - Check with the County Court Administrator of your court of interest to determine whether this protocol is being followed
- County of Butler v. Thomas W. Wolf, Ruling finds governor’s COVID-19 order unconstitutional (U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania)
- The Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System (Orders of the Supreme, Superior, Commonwealth and Common Pleas Courts)
- Third Circuit Court and District Courts
Reopening guidance for businesses
- Governor’s Mitigation, Enforcement, and Immunity Protections Order, Nov. 27, 2020
- Wolf Administration COVID-19 Announcement: Protecting the Health Care System, New Travel Testing Order, Strengthened Masking Order, Recommendations for Colleges and Universities (Nov. 17, 2020)
- Reopening Your Practice: Considerations from the Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Ventilation: Plan, Prepare, and Respond (Centers for Disease Control)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Hub (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
A comprehensive collection of guidance for businesses and workplaces, schools and community organizations. Also included are OSHA guidance for workplaces, a continually updated data tracker, travel information and advice on caring for a COVID-19 patient.
- Bringing PA Back (PA Chamber)
- Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-person Operations
- Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Resources
- COVID-19: A ‘How To’ Guide for Recovery of Operations (USI)
Federal information and programs to assist small businesses
- Guidance for 501(c)(6) organizations when calculating lobbying activities for a PPP applications, pages 27 and 28 (U.S. Small Business Administration, March 2021)
- SBA and Treasury Announce PPP Re-Opening; Issue New Guidance (Jan. 8, 2021)
- Summary of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (American Society of Association Executives)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources (U.S. Small Business Administration)
- Coronavirus Relief Options (U.S. Small Business Administration)
- Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act – Revisions to First Interim Final Rule (Small Business Administration)
- Joint Statement by SBA Administrator and U.S. Treasury Secretary Regarding Enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (June 8, 2020)
- President Trump Signs Law Easing PPP Loan Rules: 6 Things To Know (Fortune, June 5, 2020)
- Trump Signs New Law Relaxing PPP Rules: What You Need to Know (Fortune, June 5, 2020)
- Key Changes in Just-passed PPP Loan Bill Give Small Businesses 24 weeks to Use Funds (Fortune, June 4, 2020)
- Loan Forgiveness Process for the Paycheck Protection Program – Interim Rules (Small Business Administration)
- Responsibilities of Lenders and Borrowers for the Paycheck Protection Program – Interim Rules (Small Business Administration)
- Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application (Small Business Administration)
- Paycheck Protection Program Updated Information Sheet from the U.S. Treasury
- Here’s how to avoid a common mistake small businesses make when applying for loans, according to an SBA official (CNBC)
- Paycheck Protection Program Updated FAQs from the Small Business Administration
- Save Small Business: Helping Small Employers Who Are Struggling During the COVID-19 Outbreak (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation)
- Paycheck Protection Program/EIDL Grants Comparison Flow Chart (Committee on Small Business)
- Guide to the Employee Retention Tax Credit for COVID-19 Impacted Employers (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Application (U.S. Small Business Administration)
- Federal Small Business Paycheck Protection Program FAQ (U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship)
- Federal Small Business Paycheck Protection Program Guide (U.S. Chamber)
- Affiliation Rules Applicable to U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (U.S. Treasury)
- Paycheck Protection Program Interim Final Rule (U.S. Small Business Administration)
- Webinar Recording: Understanding the Paycheck Protection Program (ElderCounsel LLC)
- Guide to Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans (U.S. Chamber)
- How to Get Your SBA Loan Faster (U.S. Small Business Administration)
- The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act (U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship)
- Federal CARES Act: What you need to know and do about the federal CARES Act (Pa. Department of Labor and Industry)
- Webinar Recording: CARES Act and Important Information for Employers -- Access Webinar Recording, Password: MyBenefit@2020 (Recorded April 2, My Benefit Advisor of USI Affinity and The Harrison Group)
- CARES Act: What Do Employers Need to Know? (Orrick - Global Employment Law Group, JD Supra LLC)
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security COVID-19 Resources
- State and Federal Funding Options (Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)
State information and programs to assist small businesses
Mental health support services for lawyers
CLE resources for lawyers
Articles, blog posts and guidance for lawyers
Legislation and governmental orders of interest to lawyers
DISCLAIMER: The below enacted legislation and orders may be of interest to lawyers but do not necessarily reflect the positions of the PBA.
- Act 1 of 2021 (Senate Bill 109) – addresses COVID-19 relief funding and makes PPP loan forgiveness tax exempt for Pennsylvania tax purposes to match the federal exemption
- Act 97 of 2020 (House Bill 2370) – provides for remote notarization of all documents on a permanent basis
- Act 9 (House Bill 68) – makes applying for unemployment compensation easier for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Act 10 (House Bill 1232) – provides $50 million for the purchase of medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing facilities and emergency medical services to meet the urgent needs by patients and staff
- Act 12 (Senate Bill 422) – reschedules the 2020 primary election from April 28 to June 2 and makes other election process changes, including some due to the COVID-19 emergency
- Act 13 (Senate Bill 751) – waives the requirement for schools to be in session at least 180 days, provides for continuity of education plans, ensures school employees are paid during the closure, and provides the Secretary of Education with authority to waive student teacher and standardized assessments.
- Act 15 (Senate Bill 841) permits remote notarization of all documents and municipalities to meet remotely by telecommunications device during the COVID-19 disaster emergency after meeting certain requirements; Act 15 further permits local governments to provide greater flexibility on property tax deadlines.
Information for law students and recent law school graduates
COVID-19 resources by subject area
Discrimination and Racism
Solo and Small Firm Practice
Pro bono service during the crisis