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The City of Bethlehem is actively working with government agencies, hospitals, schools, and businesses to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Please refer to the Bethlehem Health Bureau’s coronavirus page for the most current information, best practices, and resources.

Based on Governor Wolf’s “Stay at Home” order issued for Northampton and Lehigh Counties, Bethlehem City Hall will be closed to the public effective 4:30 pm today, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 until further notice.
 
City Hall will remain operational but closed to the public. City employees will be available to assist residents via phone, email and website.

Bethlehem residents concerned with businesses operating in violation of the shutdown, are requested to call the Bethlehem Service Center at 610-865-7000. Do not call 911 for this issue.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Bethlehem Health Bureau is actively monitoring the situation and working very closely with the PA Department of Health.

Both health networks have established hotlines for coronavirus questions, including symptom and treatment guidance. They are strongly encouraging the public to utilize these hotlines before heading into emergency rooms or urgent cares. The health networks currently have test kits that can and will be used when deemed medically relevant and are expecting more shipments in coming days. For both these hotlines, nurses will be assessing symptoms in accordance with the most recent CDC guidelines.

LVHN Hotline: (888) 402-LVHN (5846), will direct to the new myLVHNrn system to begin the screening process.

St. Luke's Hotline: 1 (866) STLUKES (866) 785- 8537, select option 7 to begin the screening. Email Address: coronavirus@sluhn.org

 
pa COVID-19 updates

PA COVID-19 Update - april 8, 2020

Last updated 12:00 p.m.

  • To date, there are 16,239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
  • Counties impacted to date include:
  •  
  • Adams (33)
    • Allegheny (720)
    • Armstrong (19)
    • Beaver (128)
    • Bedford (4)
    • Berks (416)
    • Blair (6)
    • Bradford (15)
    • Bucks (756)
    • Butler (113)
    • Cambria (9)
    • Cameron (1)
    • Carbon (76)
    • Centre (57)
    • Chester (373)
    • Clarion (8)
    • Clearfield (7)
    • Clinton (3)
    • Columbia (54)
    • Crawford (8)
    • Cumberland (84)
    • Dauphin (168)
    • Delaware (1,034)
    • Elk (2)
    • Erie (29)
    • Fayette (35)
    • Forest (5)
    • Franklin (43)
    • Fulton (1)
    • Greene (17)
    • Huntingdon (6)
    • Indiana (21)
    • Jefferson (1)
    • Juniata (266)
    • Lackawanna (235)
    • Lancaster (561)
    • Lawrence (32)
    • Lebanon (169)
    • Lehigh (1,319)
    • Luzerne (1,134)
    • Lycoming (15)
    • Mckean (1)
    • Mercer (27)
    • Mifflin (10)
    • Monroe (671)
    • Montgomery (1,521)
    • Montour (26)
    • Northampton (857)
    • Northumberland (22)
    • Perry (13)
    • Philadelphia (4,456)
    • Pike (148)
    • Potter (3)
    • Schuylkill (136)
    • Snyder (9)
    • Somerset (7)
    • Sullivan (1)
    • Susquehanna (14)
    • Tioga (10)
    • Union (8)
    • Venango (5)
    • Warren (1)
    • Washington (59)
    • Wayne (47)
    • Westmoreland (183)
    • Wyoming (5)
    • York (233)

COVID-19 Testing in Pennsylvania
Negative - 82,299
Positive - 16,239
Deaths - 310
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Situation Report-April-7-2020.pdf
 
press releases
City of Bethlehem Services

The following service changes are in affect:
 

Water and Sewer
• Continue to provide highest quality water to resident and businesses
• Will remain available to respond to emergency situations
• No shut-off water service to customers
• All complaints will be evaluated and acted upon, as appropriate

Police/Fire/EMS
• No impact to emergency services
• Non-emergency fire inspections of commercial buildings will be suspended
• New construction fire inspections will continue
• All complaints will be evaluated and acted upon, as appropriate

Housing Inspections
• All housing inspections are suspended
• All complaints will be evaluated and acted upon, as appropriate

Housing Rehab
• Suspend all non-emergency housing rehab inspections
• All emergency requests will be acted upon, as appropriate

Commercial Construction
• Only new commercial construction authorized under the DHS Guidance will be inspected

Health 
• Modified annual food inspection schedule
• All requests for home based needs are being evaluated on a case by case basis
• All educational programming in the community has been cancelled
• Sexually transmitted disease (STD) screenings for symptomatic patients and treatment for STDs will be done by appointment only
• All childhood and adult immunization appointments and low risk tuberculosis screenings will be rescheduled
• Family planning services will be modified and will be done by appointment only
• No walk-ins patients until further notice
• All complaints will be evaluated and acted upon, as appropriate
 
life sustaining vs. non-life-sustaining businesses

Governor Wolf has ordered all non-life sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations.  Please see the link below for additional information:

https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForBusinesses

business resources

Small Business Financing

 

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans
    Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, small businesses and non-profits can get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan even if their previous application was declined or is pending.
           •​ Click here to apply.
     
    Express Bridge Loans
    Express bridge loans are available up to $25,000 and can be used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. The loan will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan. Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office.

     
    Paycheck Protection Program
  • The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.
  •        •​ You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any
             federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union,
             and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other
             regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are 
             approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your
             local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

  •        •​ The U.S. Treasury has documents related to this program on thier website.

           •​ Find a local lender here.


  • Debt Relief

  •        • The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of
             current 7 (a) loans for a period of six months.

  •        • The SBA will also automatically pay the princiapl, interest, and fees of
             new 7 (a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020. .


  • Lehigh SBDC can assist with applying for SBA Loans
     
    Internal Revenue Service  (IRS)

    The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.

     
    Economic Impact Payments
    The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people
     
    Employee Retention Credit
    The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

     
    PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED)

    NOTE: As of 6 p.m. on March 31, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development no longer is accepting applications for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA). The applications received as of that time surpassed the funding available to the program


    Working Capital Access Program
  • Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) has opened the application process for working capital loans up to $100,000 to help small businesses through the COVID-19 emergency. Under PIDA’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA), for-profit small businesses with 100 or fewer employees worldwide could be eligible for working capital loans up to $100,000.
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  •        • CWCA Fact Sheet
  •        • Program Guidelines

  •        • Apply for a CWCA loan

    Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal
    The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development - in collaboration with its strategic partners - wants to mobilize manufacturers that can produce critical medical supplies and products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

     
  •  Northampton County

    Northampton County COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Fund
    Line of Credit amounting to $3,000-$15,000 is administered by the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund.  The interest rate is 0% with 12 month term (No payments due the first 11 months. A balloon payment is due on the 12 month).  Any business in Northampton County, which has been in operation for at least one fiscal year and has 100 employees or less are eligible to apply.  $250,000 in funding has been allotted to this program.  Personal guarantee from ALL owners is required.

  •        • To apply, or for more information click here

  • Additional Private Program

  • Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Grant
  • Grants available up to $2,000 to help with payroll, rent and other
  • operating expenses
  •        • Click here to Apply
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    James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund
  • Micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need
  •        • If interested in the process and criteria CLICK HERE
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  • MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
  • Music industry professionals may apply for basic living assistance 
  • (rent or mortgage). Initial grant requests can be made up to $1000 to
  • compensate for cancelled work that was scheduled and lost.

  • Restaurant Employee Relief Fund
  • Through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, we will provide grants to restaurant industry employees who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, financially, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment.
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  • Facebook Boost Grants 
  • Facebook will be offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.
  •        • For updates on the availability and applications CLICK HERE.
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    For a list of additional programs and resources see the Forbes Small Business Relief Tracker

     
    Additional Small Business Financing Resources (not related to COVID-19)
  •        • Bethlehem Small Business Loan Fund

           • Exterior Improvement Loan Program
  •        • Rising Tide Community Loan Fund

  •        • Community First Fund

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    Technical Assistance

  •        • Lehigh SBDC

  •        • Lehigh Valley Score

  •        • Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board

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  • Upcoming Webinars

  •        SBA Disaster Loan Training Webinars are offered Monday through Friday. 
              Each Webinar starts at 12:00 noon and
     concludes at 1:30 p.m. Login Here

  •        • PA SBDC COVID-19 Webinars for small businesses are offered here.

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housing Resources

Property and Homeowners


Code/Permit Information
For information on housing inspections and code related concerns, see the "City of Bethlehem Services " tab of this page. Additional information can be found at the following link:
https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/Community-Economic-Development/Housing-Inspections

City Funded Housing Rehab Programs
Homeowners may still submit electronic or mailed applications but no onsite work will be performed until further notice. Emergency repairs and Lead Based Paint emergency work will be performed on an as needed basis. Information on these programs can be found at the following link:
https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/Community-Economic-Development/Housing-Inspections

Tenants Rights and Fair housing Concerns 

Questions and concerns about tenants' rights and Fair Housing violations during this crisis can be mailed to Penn Legal Services. Penn Legal is a non-profit that is supported by the City of Bethlehem in order to address concerns of this nature. At this time, Penn Legal's office is closed and is accepting online inquiries only. Send inquiries to : https://www.northpennlegal.org/

Questions on Evictions and Foreclosures

An eviction is a legal process carried out by the local court system. The Northampton and Lehigh County courts are currently closed and not proceeding with eviction hearings at this time. Questions on the County's court system can be found at the following links:
Northampton County: https://www.nccpa.org/magisterial-district-judges
Lehigh County: https://www.lehighcounty.org/Services/Suspended-Services

Additional information about evictions can be found in the "federal eviction moratorium for tenants living in certain types of housing" which provides further guidance on tenants' rights and foreclosures during this time. A summary of this moratorium can be viewed on the National Housing Law Project's website at the following link: https://www.nhlp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020.03.27-NHLP-CARES-Act-Eviction-Moratorium-Summary.pdf

If you believe that you have been wrongfully evicted from your home or wrongfully had your property foreclosed, you can file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General of PA at the following link: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/ag-shapiro-to-landlords-pennsylvanians-cannot-be-evicted-during-state-emergency/

Note: The information provided is not intended to substitute or constitute as legal advice. It is recommended to seek professional legal advice on specific matters that arise.

 

 

covid-19 resources

For any additional information, please visit the following websites:

 

PA Department of Health (PADOH)  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 


 

frequently asked questions 

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.
The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
 

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

  •  Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath 

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

As of March 30, 2020 the CDC announced period of exposure risk has changed from “onset of symptoms” to “48 hours before symptom onset”
 

How can the coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

• Through the air by coughing or sneezing
• Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
• Occasionally, fecal contamination.
 

How can I help protect myself?

Prevention

  • • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based   hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones,   remotes, and other frequently touched items.
    • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

 

Should I wear a mask or respirator in public?

The CDC does not recommend wearing masks or respirators outside of workplaces settings (in the community). A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). It is important that these devices are readily available to health care workers and others who need them.
 

Should I cancel my trip to a country with a level 3 travel advisory?

Yes. The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to countries with a level 3 travel advisory at this time. For more travel information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Travelers Page 


Countries that are currently level 3 travel advisory:

• South Korea
• Iran
• China
• Specified countries in Europe (Click link for list of countries)
 

I am an employee and I work at a company where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. What is the role of the Bethlehem Health Bureau? 

If a Bethlehem resident tests positive for COVID-19, the Bethlehem Health Bureau interviews the individual to determine who they were in close contact with since showing symptoms.  As part of that interview, we review work and school status.  If the person is employed by a business that is open to the public, we provide that information to the general community.   If it is a private employer, we work with the employer to notify close contacts of the positive case.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health has a toolkit for businesses related to COVID-19 and we provide this information to employers as well.

 

educational infographics