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Secretary of State: Disaster Declaration Helps Pennsylvanians Get Needed Services During COVID-19


Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar outlined today the benefits to Pennsylvanians of the governor's disaster declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Department of State has worked closely with the governor over the past few months to ensure that our constituents – including professional licensees, students and trainees – are able to continue providing the services that Pennsylvanians need during this unprecedented time," said Secretary Boockvar. "We have made great strides in Pennsylvania to ensure that these critical services can continue. Ending the disaster declaration would set us back as a commonwealth in our response to this pandemic and cause unnecessary hardship for many who are on the front lines of this crisis."

An end to the disaster declaration would mean an immediate end to services like expanded telemedicine, which is keeping many people safe by allowing them access to their health care providers from the comfort of their homes. It would also mean that licensed professionals in Pennsylvania would need to immediately renew their licenses or take licensing exams at facilities that are just starting to reopen.

Pennsylvanians also would face challenges and delays to conducting and completing critical business that requires notarization, such as car and home sales, because remote notarization would end immediately.

In addition:

  • Since March, the Department of State has issued nearly 60 waivers and additional guidance for licensed professionals and facilities throughout the commonwealth. With an end to the disaster declaration, these waivers would immediately end.
  • More than 800 retired health care professionals who came back into service to respond to the COVID-19 emergency would lose their reactivated licenses significantly sooner than contemplated.
  • More than 1,500 out-of-state health care professionals who came to Pennsylvania's aid in the midst of the pandemic would immediately lose their temporary licenses
  • More than 1,000 Graduate Medical Trainees would be negatively affected by the end of the disaster declaration because of an inability to take licensing exams.
  • Any license renewal extensions granted during the disaster declaration would immediately end. Approximately 100,000 licensed professionals, including many types of nurses, would be required to renew their licenses immediately.
  • During the COVID-19 emergency, the Department of State requested – and the Governor granted – waivers that allow in-person instruction for continuing education and classroom education to be moved online. If the disaster declaration were to end, professionals and students would immediately need to return to in-person instruction in order to fulfill licensing and education requirements. Many of these facilities are in the early stages of reopening, but many do not have plans in place for reopening at this time.

"Pennsylvania cannot afford to go backward by ending the governor's disaster declaration too early," said Secretary Boockvar. "We must continue to support our licensed professionals and continue the services that Pennsylvanians need in order to move the commonwealth forward in a successful response to this pandemic."

Information for licensed professionals is available on the Department of State's website:

Visit for a "Responding to COVID-19" guide or the Pennsylvania Department of Health's dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.


MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621


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