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The Latest News from Your State Representative
Please do not reply to this e-mail, as I am unable to respond to messages sent to this address. You can contact me directly at vgaydos@pahousegop.com or here.
It has been one week since Gov. Tom Wolf announced new mitigation efforts that took effect Saturday, Dec. 12, and will run until Jan. 4, 2021. His latest order states that no indoor dining at bars, restaurants, clubs, distilleries and catered events will be permitted. Only takeout and delivery are acceptable. While I agree that we must remain vigilant in conducting ourselves in a manner which limits the spread of COVID19, the restrictions the governor has enacted for the restaurant and bar industry are not based on science, unjustified and disproportionally punitive.

According to the Department of Health data, only a small fraction of those contact traced reported visiting a restaurant or other business and most concerning was that the Secretary of Health when asked at the announcement stated that the decision to shut down was not based on any data derived from Pennsylvania. According to the governor’s own data – data or science he claims to swear by – just 1.5% of Pennsylvanians who have tested positive for COVID-19 since mid-July say they have visited a restaurant in the two weeks prior to their positive test result. The number is even smaller for other businesses like gyms and bars.

These restrictions at any time would have serious economic consequences. To shut them down during their busiest time of year without verifiable local data is unconscionable.   

Valerie Gaydos
COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives in PA

Dozens of the Commonwealth’s hospitals have received or will soon receive doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The state’s initial vaccine allotment totals more than 97,500 for 66 of our 67 counties. Philadelphia received its own allotment of 13,650 doses.

According to the state Department of Health, in the initial distribution, 87 hospitals were set to receive vaccine directly from Pfizer. As additional allocations become available, more hospital sites will be added. Hospital sites are selected by their ability to manage the cold chain requirement with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, completion of the COVID-19 provider agreement, and successful onboarding with the Department of Health for necessary documentation for vaccination. The number of doses, recipient hospitals, and arrival dates are subject to change based on updated information from the federal government and Pfizer.

The vaccine will be available in phases beginning with critical populations due to the limited supply. The first phase is divided into two parts, with the first doses of vaccine administered to health care workers, EMS first responders, and residents and staff in congregate care settings.

In the second phase, the department anticipates more vaccine doses will be available. The third phase begins once the department has a sufficient supply of vaccine. In this phase, the entire population will have access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan here.
Warmest Holiday Wishes to You and Yours

I would like to extend the warmest holiday wishes to you and your family. May you have a wonderful and safe season that is full of peace and cheer. And may 2021 be a better year for all of us.

My district office hours may be limited in light of the holidays. Please call ahead to be sure my office is open. My phone number in Moon Township is 412-262-3780. We are also in the process of moving our district office. Our new address is 1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 106, in Moon Township. The new office is in the silver building next to where we currently reside. Our new location will help us to serve your needs in the best possible manner. We are moving to a street level office for easier access and more parking.

Also, PennDOT Driver License Centers will be closed on Friday, Dec. 25, for Christmas, and on Friday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.
Need Help?

While the holidays are a joyous time for many, they can be a depressing time for others. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, the state’s mental health support and referral helpline, Persevere PA, is available 24/7. The free resource is staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers available to counsel people struggling with challenging emotions. The helpline caseworkers can refer callers to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs. Contact Persevere PA at 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.

If you or someone you love is in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available by calling 1-800-273-8255. The hotline is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors who can offer free, confidential support. Spanish speakers who need immediate assistance can call 1-888-628-9454. Help can also be accessed through the Crisis Text Line by texting “PA” to 741-741.
Supporting Small Business

As if 2020 wasn’t already rough enough on small business owners and their employees, the latest round of COVID-19 mitigation orders by the governor are making matters worse for them.

Bars, restaurants and others in the hospitality industry have been especially hard hit. If you are financially able, consider picking up takeout from a local establishment or buying gift cards from those establishments, either to give as gifts or to use yourself later. The extra income now could mean the difference between the survival of these small businesses or their permanent closure.
Driving Safely After the Snow

Much of the state is digging out after our first big snowfall of the season. As you head out to work or to run essential errands in the aftermath, remember these steps to keep yourself and others safe:

  •   Remove ice and snow from your windows, mirrors and all vehicle lights. Be sure to also remove snow and ice from the hood and roof of your vehicle. Under state law, if snow or ice from your vehicle strikes another vehicle or person and causes death or injury, you can be ticketed.
  •   Avoid sudden stops and starts, drive at a lower speed and increase your following distance.
  •   Be on the lookout for roads that look wet but are actually frozen (black ice).
  •   Use extra caution on bridges and ramps that are more likely to freeze sooner.
  •   Be sure your headlights are on anytime you are using your windshield wipers.
  •   Make sure your gas tank is full and someone else knows where you are going before you head out. Always carry your winter emergency travel kit.

For more information, click here.
Deadline Nears for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2019 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Remember, assistance through my offices is always free. You need not pay a private firm for assistance.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

For additional information and applications, click here, or contact my office(s) for assistance.
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Office Locations
District Office:
1009 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 220, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
Capitol Office:
Room 428, Irvis Office Building, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com