11:54 AM - May 19, 2020
11:54 AM - May 19, 2020

Read the latest Philadelphia-area coronavirus here

After what seemed like a triumphant return for a Bellmawr gym, they received a second citation from local police for opening against the executive orders of Gov. Phil Murphy. Plus, Phillies ace Aaron Nola teams up with Yuengling to support area bartenders just as Philly restaurants see their first closures.

8:54 PM - May 18, 2020
8:54 PM - May 18, 2020

Philadelphia food trucks to remain at a standstill

People line up at various food trucks outside of Drexel University at Market Street between 33rd and 34th in Philadelphia in December.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
People line up at various food trucks outside of Drexel University at Market Street between 33rd and 34th in Philadelphia in December.

Food trucks probably will not return to Philadelphia soon, as the Kenney administration is not keen on an idea to allow a dozen vendors a day to set up in private lots with contactless takeout.

The city says it is committed to “a more holistic review” of the order that curbed food trucks a week after the March 16 shutdown of dining rooms and bars as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Philadelphia is the only jurisdiction in Pennsylvania to pull food trucks off the streets.

City officials met by Zoom on May 12 with Matt Rossi, president of the Philly Mobile Food Association, to discuss the group’s proposal to set up four trucks a day on each of three private lots. Customers would place and pay for orders in advance then pick them up from tables next to the trucks in the lot — a process identical to that used legally by most takeout restaurants.

— Michael Klein

7:46 PM - May 18, 2020
7:46 PM - May 18, 2020

$500 billion Treasury fund meant for virus relief has lent barely any money, oversight commission finds

A stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Eric Gay / AP
A stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his push for businesses to reopen as quickly as possible, but companies and cities continued to wait for the disbursement of unspent bailout funds and remain unsure what to expect as rules and programs continue to shift.

Through tweets and a meeting with restaurant executives at the White House, Trump tried to create a new sense of urgency about jump-starting the economy, which has suffered huge losses the past several months during the coronavirus pandemic. He told restaurant executives at a White House meeting that he was open to giving businesses more flexibility in how they use taxpayer funds so they could delay rehiring workers as quickly as originally required.

But while the Treasury Department has rushed to implement some stimulus programs, such as sending $1,200 checks to 140 million households and mobilizing a small-business lending program, other congressionally approved assistance funds are off to a much slower start. The Congressional Oversight Commission, a new body, released a report on Monday, finding that the Treasury Department had spent little of a $500 billion fund that it created through the Cares Act in March to help businesses and local governments, even though many of these entities have asked for immediate help.

Senators are expected to press Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about this during a hearing Tuesday morning.

— Washington Post

7:20 PM - May 18, 2020
7:20 PM - May 18, 2020

Wearing your face mask under your nose or chin isn’t as effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus

Don’t make these common mistakes when wearing your mask.
Cynthia Greer
Don’t make these common mistakes when wearing your mask.

It seems so simple: You put on a mask to help fight the spread of the coronavirus when you’re going to possibly be around other people. You take it off when you’re back home.

But then your glasses fog up, so you pull the mask lower. Your voice is muffled, so you hold it away from your face as you talk. You’re with your friends, so you take the mask off. You’re just going for a quick trip, so you forego it altogether.

We get it.

Since the CDC told us to cover our faces in public, it’s been a huge change for many of us. We’re not perfect, but we’re trying our best. “The general public is not used to wearing masks, and they’re not used to working through masks,” said Suzanne Willard, associate dean of global health and clinical professor at Rutgers School of Nursing. “We’re asking lay people to use a tool that health care professionals are trained to use … we’re going to do what we can with what we have.”

We asked Willard and other experts — doctors, scientists, professors — what they’ve seen people get wrong when it comes to masks, and tips for how to fix it. Here’s their advice, boiled down and in no particular order.

— Jonathan Lai

6:28 PM - May 18, 2020
6:28 PM - May 18, 2020

Bicycle sales surge as Americans seek to avoid mass transit and get exercise

Cyclist heads towards Center City during a bike ride along Kelly Dr. in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Cyclist heads towards Center City during a bike ride along Kelly Dr. in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

Mike Olson, who owns 13 bike shops in Oregon and California, hasn't had a moment's peace.

Since COVID-19 hit, customers have been lining up outside his Bike Gallery and Trek Bicycle Superstore shops every single day, sometimes for two hours. Models of all types have been flying out the door, leaving Olson in a struggle to stay stocked.

"It's crazy and was not expected," Olson said. "We are just seeing lots of new customers. Customers bringing out their cobweb-covered bikes and getting them tuned up." Bike sales were up 30% in April, and have risen 60% so far in May, Olson said. He is now trying to hire 40 more staffers to meet surging demand.

Bike shops across the nation are seeing a spike in demand. With gyms closed, some consumers switched to bikes for exercise and stress relief. Parents were hoping their kids - staying home from school would burn up their pent-up energy. As America slowly reopens, commuters are turning to bicycles to stay away from crowds in subways and buses. More than 80% of Americans see cycling as safer than taking public transportation, according to an April survey of 1,000 Americans by manufacturer Trek Bicycle, one of the the biggest-selling brands in the U.S., and researcher Engine Insights.

As a result, the $54 billion global bicycle market, which grew 6.9% last year, should see some road-bike categories shoot up 35% this year, according to WinterGreen Research, based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Before the pandemic, the industry largely was stagnant, with battery-powered e-bikes and gravel bikes showing growth, and sales of traditional road bikes plummeting.

— Bloomberg

6:18 PM - May 18, 2020
6:18 PM - May 18, 2020

Two years until we hear a live choir? In COVID-19 pandemic, choral music may be too risky for a very long while.

Andrew Senn, center, conducts a small number of singers from the choir inside the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia on Friday, May 15, 2020. The eight singers pre-recorded music for this Sunday's online church service inside the church's sanctuary.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Andrew Senn, center, conducts a small number of singers from the choir inside the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia on Friday, May 15, 2020. The eight singers pre-recorded music for this Sunday's online church service inside the church's sanctuary.

One in six Americans over age 18 sings in a chorus, according to Chorus America, and if any of them were looking for a glimmer of good news in a recent webinar assembled by that advocacy group and others, their hopes were likely dashed.

The ability for choirs to safely gather could be as far off as two years, experts said early this month in “A Conversation: What Do Science and Data Say About the Near-Term Future of Singing?”

One especially cruel cautionary tale emerged recently regarding a Washington State choir that met just as the virus was setting in. After a March rehearsal attended by 61 choristers, including a single symptomatic member, 87% of the group developed COVID-19, according to a CDC report released Tuesday. Two members died.

The problem stems from the proximity of singers, and the fact that the very act of singing propels viral droplets. Indeed, among art forms, it is choral singing that may face the most treacherous path back to normal.

The prospect of two years without live choirs sent a wave of anguish nationally as well as in Philadelphia’s choral-rich neighborhoods of churches, schools, and professional venues.

— Peter Dobrin

5:45 PM - May 18, 2020
5:45 PM - May 18, 2020

Photos: Penn students celebrate virtual graduation on campus

— David Maialetti

5:30 PM - May 18, 2020
5:30 PM - May 18, 2020

Philly Council members skeptical of Mayor Jim Kenney’s plan to hike taxes to offset coronavirus impact

City Council holds its first-ever virtual budget hearing.
Sean Collins Walsh
City Council holds its first-ever virtual budget hearing.

Setting the stage for the debate over how city government should navigate the coronavirus era, Philadelphia City Council members on Monday questioned Mayor Jim Kenney’s plan to raise taxes to help plug a $649 million budget hole caused by the pandemic.

“I’m not in favor of having a tax increase across the board coming out of this pandemic, when people can barely afford food,” Councilmember Allan Domb said at Council’s first-ever virtual budget hearing.

The proposed revenue increases — primarily a city wage tax hike for suburban commuters, and a property tax increase that will benefit the Philadelphia school district — amount to only $49 million. But they are shaping up as a point of contention as Council and the Kenney administration begin finalizing the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Raising the political stakes, Councilmember Isaiah Thomas and City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart have released their own plans to weather the coronavirus’ economic fall without raising taxes or laying off hundreds of city workers, as the mayor has proposed. Their plans include redirecting money from the sugary beverage tax — Kenney’s signature legislative accomplishment, one that funds high-quality pre-K, community schools and a program to improve parks and recreation centers.

Like state and municipal governments nationwide, Philadelphia’s bottom line has been devastated by the pandemic, which led Kenney and Gov. Tom Wolf in March to issue orders shutting down all but essential businesses. Through Monday, 19,953 Philadelphians have been diagnosed with the illness and 1,040 have died.

— Sean Collins Walsh

5:20 PM - May 18, 2020
5:20 PM - May 18, 2020

Sixers’ Tobias Harris lends helping hand in Philly amid COVID-19 pandemic

Sixers forward Tobias Harris looks to pass the basketball against Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince on Thursday, February 20, 2020 in Philadelphia.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Sixers forward Tobias Harris looks to pass the basketball against Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince on Thursday, February 20, 2020 in Philadelphia.

Tobias Harris is helping out in a gigantic way.

The 76ers forward will help support 12 Philadelphia families with mortgage assistance, provide lunch for 250 healthcare workers and distribute 20,000 children’s books for at-home libraries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harris has a partnership with Read by 4th. The books for home libraries will go to Read by 4th, whose partners include the People’s Emergency Center, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, Mastery Charter Schools and churches, etc.

On Tuesday, he will partner with Chick-Fil-A to provide lunches to healthcare workers at Temple University Hospital to thank them for working hard in the front lines amid the pandemic. Temple cares for the largest number of COVID-19 patients in Philly.

The 27-year-old will also donate three months of mortgage payments for 12 families experiencing financial hardship. The families will be selected by Habitat for Humanity of Philadelphia.

— Keith Pompey

4:56 PM - May 18, 2020
4:56 PM - May 18, 2020

Trump says he’s taking malaria drug in case he gets virus

President Donald Trump tells reporters that he is taking zinc and hydroxychloroquine during a meeting with restaurant industry executives about the coronavirus response, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci / AP
President Donald Trump tells reporters that he is taking zinc and hydroxychloroquine during a meeting with restaurant industry executives about the coronavirus response, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, May 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is taking a malaria drug to lessen symptoms should he get the new coronavirus, even though the drug is unproven for fighting COVID-19.

Trump told reporters he has been taking the drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.” Trump spent weeks pushing the drug as a potential cure for COVID-19 against the cautionary advice of many of his administration’s top medical professionals. The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the new coronavirus.

Trump said his doctor did not recommend the drug to him, but he requested it from the White House physician.

“I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” Trump said. "I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”

— Associated Press

4:52 PM - May 18, 2020
4:52 PM - May 18, 2020

‘Triple whammy’ of good news powers Dow more than 900 points

A “triple whammy” of good news led by promising results from a coronavirus vaccine trial buoyed investors Monday, powering Wall Street to strong across-the-board gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average surged nearly 700 points at the opening bell, then kept going, after Moderna announced that an early-stage human trial for its coronavirus vaccine successfully produced COVID-19 antibodies in participants. The biotech company said a large clinical trial to determine the treatment’s effectiveness would follow in July. Moderna’s shares soared more than 19%.

Investors also found comfort in comments made by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell during a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast Sunday. He said the central bank is “not out of ammunition by a long shot” in its resources to support the economic recovery, even while he cautioned that it could stretch late into 2021. The comments come as most states have begun to ease restrictions on businesses and social activity after weeks of stay-home orders affecting about 315 million Americans.

At Monday’s close, the blue chip index’s lead swelled 911 points, or 3.9%, to 24,597.37. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index soared 3.2%, to 2,953.91, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite advanced 2.4%, to 9,234.83.

— Washington Post

4:48 PM - May 18, 2020
4:48 PM - May 18, 2020

A journey years in the making: Mom and daughter graduate from Penn together

Stephanie Pierson, 48, (left) and her daughter, Arielle, 28, (center) who graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, were surprised by family and friends outside their home in Collingswood, N.J. on May 17, 2020. They did a drive-by graduation celebration for them. Standing with them is Stephanie’s daughter, Eliana, 10, and husband, Pedro Vadillo (right) take a photo.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Stephanie Pierson, 48, (left) and her daughter, Arielle, 28, (center) who graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, were surprised by family and friends outside their home in Collingswood, N.J. on May 17, 2020. They did a drive-by graduation celebration for them. Standing with them is Stephanie’s daughter, Eliana, 10, and husband, Pedro Vadillo (right) take a photo.

Over the last 15 years, Stephanie Pierson lost her mom and Dad, got married, had a second child, and, semester by semester, took classes toward a bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

On Monday, she got that degree. What’s more, her daughter Arielle, 28, received her bachelor’s from Penn, too. Both graduated with the highest honors.

Penn couldn’t say whether they were the first mother-daughter pair to earn undergraduate degrees at the same time. What’s certain is that nothing about the Piersons’ journey has been traditional.

Arielle attended school in Mexico as a child when Pierson worked there. She was home-schooled at times, and she dropped out of high school before getting her associate’s degree at Camden County College on her way to Penn.

Monday’s first-ever virtual commencement fits their pattern, both Piersons said.

“We have never done anything conventionally, so this graduation, of course, is going to be unconventional,” said Arielle, an anthropology major who lives in South Philadelphia.

— Susan Snyder

4:28 PM - May 18, 2020
4:28 PM - May 18, 2020

Photos: Some beaches reopen as Jersey Shore readies for Memorial Day weekend

— Charles Fox, Tyger Williams, Elizabeth Robertson

4:16 PM - May 18, 2020
4:16 PM - May 18, 2020

Pa. to send strike teams to Montgomery County long-term care facilities

The state Department of Health will deploy strike teams to a handful of long-term care facilities around the state over the next few weeks, Montgomery County chair Valerie Arkoosh said. The teams, which are launching in collaboration with the National Guard, will prioritize facilities with early and recent outbreaks, and will conduct assessments and help facilitate testing for residents and staff.

Four facilities in Montgomery County have been identified for assessment, Arkoosh said. More than 80% of the county’s deaths from COVID-19 have been among residents of long-term care facilities.

Arkoosh, a doctor who has a background in public health, urged residents to wear masks so as to help prevent spreading the virus between people who might be asymptomatic.

Commissioner Joe Gale, who has clashed with Arkoosh in recent weeks and pushed for reopening local businesses, announced that he joined members of a local VFW over the weekend to place American flags on the graves of veterans at St. Matthew’s cemetery in Conshohocken. He said the event was held as a response to a decision made by Arkoosh and vice-chair Ken Lawrence to delay distributing Memorial Day flags for cemeteries until later this summer.

“I am humbled to help lead the effort to make sure our fallen military men and women receive the proper recognition they deserve,” he said. “As we are one week from Memorial Day, the patriotic efforts that took place in Conshohocken have inspired many other organizations to do the same across Montgomery County.”

Arkoosh implored residents not to follow the example of Gale, who she said should still have been in quarantine because he has had direct exposure to someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus: Commissioner Lawrence.

“Commissioner Gale has publicly stated that he refuses to be tested,” Arkoosh said, but during the cemetery event, she said, he did not wear a mask, handed flags to older adults without wearing gloves and did not stay six feet away.

“This is not a comment about veterans, this is not a comment about a lack of respect for veterans,” she said. “I urge others not to copy this behavior … Any one of us could be positive, not have symptoms, but be contagious.”

Her remarks prompted an angry response from Gale, who accused Arkoosh of “mask-shaming” him. He said he has had no contact with Lawrence in two weeks and said people should use their own judgment in deciding when to wear masks.

“I’m not going to sit here and be bullied for honoring fallen veterans,” he said. “Enough already with the mask-shaming, the mask bullying, and creating mask hysteria … I was there to honor the dead and their families, not to stage a publicity stunt to show how politically correct I am.”

— Allison Steele

3:47 PM - May 18, 2020
3:47 PM - May 18, 2020

Delaware churches, houses of worship to resume in-person services under restrictions

Churches and other houses of worship will be allowed to resume in-person services in Delaware under certain restrictions, thanks to new orders by Gov. John Carney.

In order to resume in-person services, houses of worship must maintain social distancing of six feet, and everyone over the age of 13 must wear a mask or facial covering. The length of the service is limited to one hour, and gatherings must not exceed 30% of the facility’s stated fire occupancy requirements.

Services must be staggered to allow proper claiming of public spaces, and any material exchanges — including programs, prayer books, and hymnals — are strongly discouraged. Churches may also resume hosting events such as weddings and funerals, as long as they they can follow the same guidelines.

Carney said residents who are considered high-risk, including those over the age of 65, should continue to avoid attending in-person services and continue to practice their faith remotely.

“I know it’s difficult. Practicing your faith is a fundamental right,” Carney said in a statement. “Now’s not the time for Delawareans to let up.”

The new guidance comes as key coronavirus measurements continue to drop in the state, including the number of Delawareans hospitalized. On Monday, the state reported 240 residents were currently being treated in hospitals, down from 299 earlier this month.

Overall, 7,869 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in Delaware, with a little less than half of the cases coming in Sussex County. 297 Delawareans have died.

— Rob Tornoe

3:34 PM - May 18, 2020
3:34 PM - May 18, 2020

New program to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks

Pennsylvanians who have exhausted their unemployment benefits during the coronavirus shutdown may soon see additional relief.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), a temporary federal program funded by the pandemic stimulus package, will extend unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks. Anyone who has exhausted their benefits since July 2019 may be eligible.

The benefits will remain the same, including the extra $600 a week due to the pandemic. The program has yet to be fully developed, according to the commonwealth, and instructions for how to apply will be available once it launches.

— Erin McCarthy

3:29 PM - May 18, 2020
3:29 PM - May 18, 2020

New Jersey allows cocktails to-go in a bid to help bars idled by coronavirus

Ryfe, a bar in Atlantic City, opened March 14 and had to close March 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak. It's now reopen, offering cocktails to-go.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
Ryfe, a bar in Atlantic City, opened March 14 and had to close March 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak. It's now reopen, offering cocktails to-go.

New Jersey now allows most bars and restaurants to sell mixed drinks, cocktail kits, and other alcoholic beverages in sealed containers no larger than a pint, which can be taken out or delivered.

Gov. Phil Murphy on May 15 signed a bill that passed the Assembly unanimously making New Jersey the 32rd state plus the District of Columbia to allow restaurants and/or bars to sell to-go cocktails, bottled spirits to go, or both.

New Jersey distilleries also can sell cocktails and mixed-drink kits for alcohol they manufacture.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf was given a cocktails-to-go bill Monday afternoon. Under the Pennsylvania bill, drinks must be 4 to 64 ounces and are limited to takeout.

— Michael Klein

3:05 PM - May 18, 2020
3:05 PM - May 18, 2020

Photos: People test the waters, as coronavirus stay-at-home orders begin to lift

— Inquirer Staff Photographers

2:59 PM - May 18, 2020
2:59 PM - May 18, 2020

Normal PPA Center City garage rates start again next month

The glass pavilion over the Fifth Street entrance to the Philadelphia Parking Authority underground parking lot beneath the Independence Visitor Center photographed July 22, 2019.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The glass pavilion over the Fifth Street entrance to the Philadelphia Parking Authority underground parking lot beneath the Independence Visitor Center photographed July 22, 2019.

Regular parking rates at the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s Center City garages will pick back up next month, the PPA announced Monday.

Normal operations and rates resume at the authority’s Family Court Garage, Autopark at Jefferson, Gateway Parking Garage, Autopark at Independence Garage, Autopark at Fashion District/Gallery Garage, Old City Garage, and Parkade Garage on June 1.

Those parking overnight on Sunday, May 31, have until 6 p.m. the next day at most locations to leave.

The PPA announced that meters, kiosks, and residential time limits wouldn’t be enforced amid the coronavirus in March. At the time, it also detailed changes to its Center City garages, which either saw no charges entirely or offered no charges to medical and hospital personnel.

It’s not clear when the PPA will resume normal ticketing operations, said PPA spokesperson Marty O’Rourke.

"That’s going to be a discussion with the city," he said.

— Patricia Madej

2:37 PM - May 18, 2020
2:37 PM - May 18, 2020

J.C. Penney plans to close nearly 250 stores

In this May 8, 2020, file photo, a J.C. Penney store sits closed in Roseville, Mich.
Paul Sancya / AP
In this May 8, 2020, file photo, a J.C. Penney store sits closed in Roseville, Mich.

J.C. Penney, which filed for bankruptcy late last week in an attempt to turn its struggling business around, expects to close 192 stores this year and another 50 next year, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission on Monday.

The company said it will disclose specific store closures and timing “in the coming weeks.” The retail chain has 846 stores nationally, including locations in the Cherry Hill Mall, the Deptford Mall, the Oxford Valley Mall, and the Montgomery Mall. The chain employs about 90,000 workers, most of whom have been furloughed since April 2.

Department stores that were already struggling to compete with online outlets have been hit particularly hard by store closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nordstrom announced it will be closing 16 of its 116 full-line locations, including its store at the Freehold Raceway Mall. J.Crew Group, Nieman Marcus, and Stage Stores have all filed for bankruptcy protection.

— Rob Tornoe

2:35 PM - May 18, 2020
2:35 PM - May 18, 2020

Canceled Devon Horse Show to hold virtual events

Bokai rode by Catherine Tyree leaps over a fence during Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon jump off at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair in Devon, Pa on Thursday, May 30, 2019.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Bokai rode by Catherine Tyree leaps over a fence during Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon jump off at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair in Devon, Pa on Thursday, May 30, 2019.

The Devon Horse Show will go on — virtually.

Though the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the in-person Main Line tradition for the first time since World War II, organizers announced Monday that a version of the 124th Devon Horse Show and County Fair will be held online from May 18 through May 31.

Each day of the “show” will feature interviews with world-class equestrian athletes, competitors, and staff with behind-the-scenes stories and secrets, according to a news release.

Spectators can tune in via Instagram and Facebook to participate in “unique” Ladies Day events, watch a junior fashion show, and purchase limited edition souvenirs.

— Oona Goodin-Smith

2:17 PM - May 18, 2020
2:17 PM - May 18, 2020

Bucks County government offices open on appointment-only basis

Bucks County government offices reopened to the public Monday on an appointment-only basis, a county spokesperson said. Row officers and other leaders have the discretion to determine the best way to operate departments and divisions effectively while reducing in-person contact with the public, he said.

Bucks County courts remain under a judicial emergency through the end of the month, and will resume some operations with modifications starting on June 1, according to a recent order from the President Judge.

— Erin McCarthy

2:14 PM - May 18, 2020
2:14 PM - May 18, 2020

Video: Demonstrators gather as South Jersey gym reopens in violation of state order

— Raishad Hardnett

2:07 PM - May 18, 2020
2:07 PM - May 18, 2020

Wolf: Timeline on when businesses can reopen ‘set not by the state but by the virus’

As gym owners in Bucks County and Bellmawr, New Jersey, reopen against official orders, and others worry about whether their businesses will survive, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he could not provide them with a timeline for when they could resume operations under state orders.

“Again, we have a timeline that is being set not by the state but by the virus,” the governor said.

Wolf said he wasn’t sure what department regulates gyms, but the facilities risk losing their licenses if they open before the state deems them ready. He did not mention police enforcement.

Ultimately, he said, he hopes people will self-enforce the same way they did with other aspects of his stay-at-home orders.

“The real penalty is that people risk getting sick,” he said. “The primary responsibility lies with the business … and with the customer.”

— Erin McCarthy

1:57 PM - May 18, 2020
1:57 PM - May 18, 2020

Wolf: ‘I’m not sure why the governors of Maryland and New Jersey have opened their beaches’

People fill the boardwalk in Ocean City while enjoying the weather and the beach on Saturday May, 16, 2020. Ocean City is one of few beaches doing a “dry run” to test “capacity management” this weekend in preparation for Memorial Day.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
People fill the boardwalk in Ocean City while enjoying the weather and the beach on Saturday May, 16, 2020. Ocean City is one of few beaches doing a “dry run” to test “capacity management” this weekend in preparation for Memorial Day.

After many Jersey Shore beachgoers were seen not wearing masks in crowds over the weekend, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf questioned Monday why New Jersey and Maryland governors reopened their beaches in the first place, something he stopped short of doing last week.

“I’m not sure why the governors of Maryland and New Jersey have opened their beaches,” the governor said, “but they have.”

Wolf reiterated that he will not be seen on any beaches anytime soon, and said anyone who goes to a place where people aren’t wearing masks puts themselves at risk of contracting the virus.

— Erin McCarthy

1:43 PM - May 18, 2020
1:43 PM - May 18, 2020

Union start individual player workouts as wait to resume MLS season continues

The Union trained on the indoor field at the Sixers' fieldhouse in Wilmington during the preseason.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
The Union trained on the indoor field at the Sixers' fieldhouse in Wilmington during the preseason.

The Union on Monday joined the ranks of teams allowed by Major League Soccer to hold individual player workouts, with a twist that got them around Delaware County’s code red coronavirus status.

Instead of training at their fields in Chester, the team will use the outdoor soccer fields at the Sixers’ multisport facility in Wilmington, Del. It’s a familiar venue for the team, as it held the first week of preseason practices on the facility’s indoor turf field. (Also, the venue’s management company, BPG Sports, is run by some of the Union’s minority owners.)

But here, too, there is a catch: Delaware instructs all out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, save for employees of essential businesses or people caring for a family member.

Damian DeStefano, director of the Delaware state government’s Division of Small Business, said the Union asked for and received an exemption from the mandate.

“The team presented the state with a request for an accommodation with an accompanying detailed safety plan,” he said. “The state reviewed the request and approved the accommodation.

— Jonathan Tannenwald

1:40 PM - May 18, 2020
1:40 PM - May 18, 2020

New Jersey unveils three-stage plan to reopen state economy

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) looks on while wearing a face mask, during a Coronavirus press briefing at the War Memorial building in Trenton, N.J. Monday, May, 18, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) looks on while wearing a face mask, during a Coronavirus press briefing at the War Memorial building in Trenton, N.J. Monday, May, 18, 2020.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday unveiled a three-stage plan he will follow in reopening the state’s economy, as the effects of the coronavirus weaken in the Garden State.

“Today we find ourselves in a better place,” Murphy said. “We are opening up businesses in a way to still provide maximum protection for residents, while allowing more of our workers to get back on the job.”

The state is currently in stage one, Murphy said, where parks, retail businesses that have curbside pickup, non-essential construction, beaches and elective surgeries are allowed to restart activity.

In the coming weeks, when public health data indicates it is safe to do so, New Jersey will move into stage two, Murphy said.

This is when more retail businesses, outdoor dining, indoor dining at reduced capacity, personal care businesses, museums and libraries will be allowed to reopen.

Stage three will allow bars with limited capacity, more dining, “critical in-office work,” limited entertainment and more personal care shops to get the green light to restart, Murphy said.

The governor did not say when the state will move through the stages to recovery, but indicated it will only happen when critical data — such as health indicators, contact tracing and testing capacity and hospital system capacity — indicate the state can handle the resumption of normal life.

“This is not going to be quick,” Murphy said. “We’re going to move deliberately based on data.”

Murphy on Monday said another 1,735 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 148,039.

Another 83 New Jerseyans have died due to the disease, Murphy said, increasing the death toll to 10,435.

State officials reported 3,509 coronavirus patients are hospitalized across the state, including 1,053 people in critical care and 819 who are on ventilators.

There are 527 long term care facilities facing a coronavirus outbreak, Murphy said, accounting for 28,136 of the state’s positives and 5,408 of its deaths.

— Pranshu Verma

1:30 PM - May 18, 2020
1:30 PM - May 18, 2020

Philly health commissioner: ‘Don’t go to the beach’

Several groups visiting the Atlantic City, N.J. shore on May 16, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Several groups visiting the Atlantic City, N.J. shore on May 16, 2020.

With Memorial Day approaching and the city making progress against the coronavirus, Public Health Commissioner Thomas Farley pleaded with Philadelphians to skip any plans they had to go down the Shore for the holiday weekend.

“Don’t go to the beach,” Farley said. “It’s very tempting. You might have gone to the beach every Memorial Day Weekend for years. But this is not the time to do that.”

While going outdoors and keeping away from others doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of contracting coronavirus, he said, Jersey shore towns may be crowded over the unofficial kickoff to summer, potentially providing a venue for the virus to spread among people who will then travel back to other communities.

Reporting data from the previous two days, Farley said Monday that there were 347 new confirmed coronavirus cases among Philadelphians, for a total of 19,953 since the pandemic. Nine city residents died of the disease during that period, raising the city’s death toll to 1,040, he said.

Those numbers have all been significantly lower in recent weeks than during the peak of the pandemic in the city.

The number of coronavirus patients in area hospitals, Farley said, has also seen “clearly a big decline.”

— Sean Collins Walsh

1:20 PM - May 18, 2020
1:20 PM - May 18, 2020

Cuomo encourages sports leagues to restart in New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has been encouraging the state’s major sports teams to plan to reopen without fans in the stands with a focus on airing the games on television.

“New York state will help those major sports franchises,” Cuomo said during a press briefing Monday morning. “Whoever can reopen, we’re a ready, willing, and able partner.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who just last week questioned if sports leagues are ready to deal with all the ramifications of restarting competition, said Monday sporting events without fans could resume by the first week of June.

Illustrating the challenge of restarting play, it took 67 pages for Major League Baseball to outline all the protocols its medical advisors believe are needed to minimize the risk of infection for players, coaches and essential personnel.

National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly aiming for a two-to-four week timetable to decide whether to resume the season, while National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman said last week ending the season without awarding a champion is “not something I'm even contemplating."

On Sunday, NASCAR held its first race since mid-March, where drivers competed in front of empty stands at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said last week the state is “not ready” to make a decision on holding races scheduled to take place on Pocono Raceway on June 27 and 28.

— Rob Tornoe

1:07 PM - May 18, 2020
1:07 PM - May 18, 2020

New Jersey batting cages, golf ranges, community gardens will soon be allowed to resume operation

Gov. Phil Murphy will sign an executive order Monday allowing additional outdoor businesses to resume operations effective Friday.

Businesses allowed to reopen include batting cages, golf ranges, shooting ranges, horseback riding centers, private tennis clubs and community gardens.

“We took all of these steps because the data we have been seeing over the past weeks has signaled that it’s becoming safer to dip our toes back in the water,” Murphy said.

— Pranshu Verma

1:01 PM - May 18, 2020
1:01 PM - May 18, 2020

South Jersey gym cited for disorderly conduct after opening in defiance of shutdown order

Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ receive a violation from Bellmawr Police on Monday afternoon May 18, 2020. The gym owners Frank Trumbetti and Ian Smith (left) were in violation of NJ Governor Murphy's business closure during Covid-19 pandemic.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ receive a violation from Bellmawr Police on Monday afternoon May 18, 2020. The gym owners Frank Trumbetti and Ian Smith (left) were in violation of NJ Governor Murphy's business closure during Covid-19 pandemic.

Bellmawr police Monday issued the owners of Atilis Gym a citation for disorderly conduct. Co-owner Frank Trumbetti said he expected this to happen, and was surprised more action had not been taken. He said the gym will remain open and they will cooperate with the law enforcement regarding a court summons.

— Ellie Rushing

12:58 PM - May 18, 2020
12:58 PM - May 18, 2020

Bellmawr mayor: ‘We recognize the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble in adherence with existing state guidelines’

A police officer addresses supporters of Atilis Gym co-owners Frank Trumbetti, center, Ian Smith, left, outside their gym in Bellmawr, N.J., Monday, May 18, 2020. The gym in New Jersey reopened for business early Monday, defying a state order that shut down nonessential businesses to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke / AP
A police officer addresses supporters of Atilis Gym co-owners Frank Trumbetti, center, Ian Smith, left, outside their gym in Bellmawr, N.J., Monday, May 18, 2020. The gym in New Jersey reopened for business early Monday, defying a state order that shut down nonessential businesses to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

After dozens gathered in front of a Bellmawr gym Monday in support of defying Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus shutdown order, Mayor Charles J. Sauter, III said the city recognizes “the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble in adherence with existing state guidelines” and commended local law enforcement for its handling of the event.

“With respect to the opening of Atilis Gym, from the start, this matter has been handled exclusively and appropriately by law enforcement, including our local police department,” Sauter said. “I am proud of the manner in which the Bellmawr Police Department conducted themselves this morning as well as the respect shown toward our Police Officers by the general public.”

As supporters cheered the gym’s reopening Monday, the city’s police largely watched from a distance.

Later, an officer approached the crowd, saying, “Formally, you’re all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day.”

— Ellie Rushing, Oona Goodin-Smith

12:41 PM - May 18, 2020
12:41 PM - May 18, 2020

Lawsuit: E Street Band guitarist claims North Jersey nursing home’s neglect caused mother-in-law to contract coronavirus

The guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band is suing his mother-in-law’s Northern New Jersey nursing home after he says the staff’s neglect caused her to contract the coronavirus, according to news reports.

Nils Lofgren told the New York Times his 83-year-old mother-in law, Patricia J. Landers, who suffers from dementia, wandered from the Brookdale Senior Living Facility in Florham Park, 30 miles outside New York, four times since she moved there in January. Last month, he told the newspaper, she tested positive for the coronavirus, from which she is now recovering.

Lofgren said he was further “horrified,” according to The Times, to learn that care facilities were lobbying for protection from lawsuits related to the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Brookdale declined to comment to the newspaper on the ongoing legal matter. The Times reported that Landers has since been moved to another facility.

— Erin McCarthy

12:29 PM - May 18, 2020
12:29 PM - May 18, 2020

Azar: ‘Too early to tell’ if states reopening are seeing spike

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said it’s too early to know if there have been coronavirus spikes in states that have loosened restrictions meant to limit the spread of the disease.

“Data trends seem to be good, with the exception of certain concentrated outbreaks like meat packing facilities, but it’s still too early to tell,” Azar said during an interview on Fox News Monday morning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incubation period of COVID-19 can last up to 14 days. Delays in testing also delay when that data can be reported, which is why experts warn that data showing the number of cases are really a snapshot of what outbreaks looked like weeks earlier.

Crystal Watson, a professor and risk-assessment expert at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security, told the Associated Press the lag in reporting possible reopening spikes could be five to six weeks from when businesses reopen.

Last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced 12 more counties — including York County — can enter the state’s first or “yellow” phase of recovery on May 22, which allows most (but not all) businesses to reopen and puts limitations on social gatherings.

— Rob Tornoe

12:16 PM - May 18, 2020
12:16 PM - May 18, 2020

Coronavirus invaded these South Jersey senior communities, despite managers’ best efforts

Avi Satt, 31, of Long Island, N.Y., Owner of Allegria at the Fountain, poses for a portrait in front of tables filled with food and supplies for people and families on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
Avi Satt, 31, of Long Island, N.Y., Owner of Allegria at the Fountain, poses for a portrait in front of tables filled with food and supplies for people and families on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

The leaders of three Camden County retirement communities — places that offer independent living, assisted living, and memory and nursing-home care — say they were doing everything they could to keep the coronavirus away from their residents.

They followed federal and state guidelines and more, they said. They stopped allowing visitors, activities and communal dining. Residents were largely quarantined in their rooms. Facilities screened staff members for exposure. They took temperatures. Staff wore masks everywhere.

And yet the virus got in anyway, with markedly different results. Allegria at the Fountains in Atco has had five cases among residents and four among staff. One resident died, having tested positive five days after entering the hospital for something else. At United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, 33 residents and 13 staff members have tested positive. Thirteen residents have died. At Lions Gate in Voorhees, 54 residents and 19 employees have tested positive. Twelve have died.

There may be lessons among them about preparedness, especially in the value of efficient testing. But even Avi Satt, the owner of Allegria at the Fountains, which held off the respiratory virus longer than many, said he sees no way to keep it out. On April 24, his community had its first positive case, in an assisted-living staff member.

— Stacey Burling

11:00 AM - May 18, 2020
11:00 AM - May 18, 2020

Police tell South Jersey gym it reopened in violation of state order, then leave

Police informed a South Jersey gym that reopened in defiance of state orders that it was operating in violation of an executive order and left without further action as supporters of the business cheered.

Atilis Gym co-owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, who had opened their business despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order, stood outside their gym as a Bellmawr police officer addressed the crowd.

“Formally, you’re all in violation of the executive order,” said the officer. “On that note, have a good day."

The officer then walked away as the crowd erupted in cheers, interpreting the statement as a victory.

“We won!” and “We beat the state,” some yelled.

“They actually surprised the hell out of me,” said Trumbetti. “He did his job as an officer and noticed we were not doing anything wrong."

“Tomorrow, we will open up again, and we will encourage everyone else to go out there and do it, but make sure you are compliant,” said Trumbetti.

Dozens of supporters had packed the parking lot in front of the gym both before and after it opened.

— Ellie Rushing

9:55 AM - May 18, 2020
9:55 AM - May 18, 2020

Dow jumps to open week on positive vaccine news

Stocks soared upward to open the week Monday morning, as positive news about a coronavirus vaccine trial fueled optimism on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened up over 760 points, or 3.2%, rallying after ending last week with a 2.65% drop — the index’s worst week since the beginning of April.

The Nasdaq Composite opened up about 170 points (about 1.9%), while the S&P 500 opened up about 75 points (about 2.7%).

Moderna reported “positive “ results of its small Phase 1 coronavirus vaccine Monday morning, announcing the vaccine appears to be safe in people and has successfully generated antibodies. It said it will begin Phase 2 with 600 people soon, and hopes to begin Phase 3 testing with thousands of subjects in July.

The federal government said it hopes to have a vaccine ready to deploy by January 2021, but as of now there is no proven treatment or vaccine against COVID-19.

— Rob Tornoe

9:11 AM - May 18, 2020
9:11 AM - May 18, 2020

Nordstrom closing 16 stores, including one in New Jersey

In the latest retail fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Nordstrom announced last week it will permanently close 16 of it’s 116 full-line locations. One of the locations slated to close by August is the Nordstrom in the Freehold Raceway Mall, which has been one of the mall’s anchor tenants since 1992.

As of Monday morning, over 11,000 people have signed a change.org petition to keep the location open, including several claiming to be employees.

“To respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and ensure we’re able to continue serving customers well into the future, we will be closing 16 of our fleet of full-line stores, including Nordstrom Freehold Raceway,” the company said in a statement. “We selected these 16 stores based on a variety of factors, including the unique needs of the market, the current state of our business and real estate agreements.”

As recently as last year, the Freehold Raceway Mall had five anchor stores — Nordstrom, Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears, and Lord & Taylor.

Sears closed its doors in the mall back in February, and JCPenney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last week and will close some stores. Lord & Taylor is planning to liquidate its stores once it is able to reopen, according to Reuters.

Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack have 13 locations in New Jersey and nine in Pennsylvania, including the King of Prussia and Cherry Hill Malls and a Nordstrom Rack on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia and at Cherry Hill’s Towne Place at Garden State Park.

— Rob Tornoe

8:52 AM - May 18, 2020
8:52 AM - May 18, 2020

Supporters cheer as South Jersey gym reopens in defiance of the state

Ian Smith, co-owner of Atlilis Gym in Bellmawr, waves as the business reopens in defiance of state coronavirus pandemic orders.
Alejandro Alvarez
Ian Smith, co-owner of Atlilis Gym in Bellmawr, waves as the business reopens in defiance of state coronavirus pandemic orders.

Dozens of supporters cheered Monday morning as a South Jersey gym reopened Monday in defiance of the governor’s coronavirus shutdown orders.

Only a limited numbers of members were allowed in the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr after undergoing a temperature check.

Gym co-owner Ian Smith made appearances on various news channels last week, including the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, to make it known he would be reopening his gym, with social distancing and sanitary precautions, despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s orders.

Smith’s statements, which questioned why big corporations were being prioritized over small businesses, grew an immense following.

Before the doors reopened, dozens of people massed the gym’s parking lot to support the owners while Bellmawr police watched from a distance.

“Let us get back to work,” the people chanted in unison. Many waved American flags and held signs with phrases that included “My freedom does not end where your fear begins” and “Tyranny is spreading faster than COVID-19.”

— Ellie Rushing

6:00 AM - May 18, 2020
6:00 AM - May 18, 2020

The latest coronavirus side effect: Lots more curbside trash, but less recycling

Bags of garbage sit along the street before being picked up in Philadelphia's Ogontz section last week. Households are generating more trash as people stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Bags of garbage sit along the street before being picked up in Philadelphia's Ogontz section last week. Households are generating more trash as people stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The stay-at-home orders and business closures to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have prompted a big spike in curbside trash, leaving a major hauler to threaten to raise rates. At the same time, bottlers can’t get enough recycled glass for their operations.

In Philadelphia, residential trash has jumped by nearly one-quarter during March and April, compared with the same period last year. That meant the city had to collect 22,000 tons of extra trash in that period, with more undoubtedly to come.

“With more residents generating trash at home, and residents having more time to spring clean or work on in-home projects, we anticipated our tonnage would increase,” said Keisha McCarty-Skelton, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Streets Department.

Scott McGrath, the city’s environmental services director, said the department budget should be able to handle the extra load.

— Frank Kummer

5:45 AM - May 18, 2020
5:45 AM - May 18, 2020

Sign of the Shore’s gradual reopening: Fishing charters sail again

In this file photo. Miss Avalon's skipper Irv Hurd guides the 78-foot party boat to the deep-sea fishing grounds a few miles off Wildwood.
In this file photo. Miss Avalon's skipper Irv Hurd guides the 78-foot party boat to the deep-sea fishing grounds a few miles off Wildwood.

On Sunday, Capt. Irv Hurd took the Miss Avalon out on the water — with significantly fewer passengers and a lot more hand sanitizer than is usual for his family’s fourth-generation Jersey Shore charter fishing service.

It was the first day New Jersey fishing charters, for-hire vessels, and watercraft rentals were allowed to resume operations since the coronavirus pandemic shut down nonessential businesses, another step toward reopening the state’s normally booming seasonal Jersey Shore economy.

In an executive order Saturday, Gov. Phil Murphy cleared the services, including boats that take people on fishing trips, to operate under strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including limiting vessel capacity to 10 people and requiring crew and passengers to wear masks.

That meant Hurd’s small group of passengers on the Miss Avalon were staying six feet apart; he was spraying down the boat’s restroom after every use; and everyone’s hands were getting raw from repeated sanitizing. The sun was in and out as the wind blew out of the east. Everywhere the group dropped the lines, they started catching fish.

— Justine McDaniel

5:30 AM - May 18, 2020
5:30 AM - May 18, 2020

Coronavirus invaded these South Jersey senior communities, despite managers’ best efforts

The leaders of three Camden County retirement communities — places that offer independent living, assisted living, and memory and nursing-home care — say they were doing everything they could to keep the coronavirus away from their residents.

They followed federal and state guidelines and more, they said. They stopped allowing visitors, activities and communal dining. Residents were largely quarantined in their rooms. Facilities screened staff members for exposure. They took temperatures. Staff wore masks everywhere.

And yet the virus got in anyway, with markedly different results. Allegria at the Fountains in Atco has had five cases among residents and four among staff. One resident died, having tested positive five days after entering the hospital for something else. At United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, 33 residents and 13 staff members have tested positive. Thirteen residents have died. At Lions Gate in Voorhees, 54 residents and 19 employees have tested positive. Twelve have died.

There may be lessons among them about preparedness, especially in the value of efficient testing. But even Avi Satt, the owner of Allegria at the Fountains, which held off the respiratory virus longer than many, said he sees no way to keep it out. On April 24, his community had its first positive case, in an assisted-living staff member.

“The weakest link when you’re trying to shut down a building like this is the staff, because they’re going home” after each shift, Satt said.

5:15 AM - May 18, 2020
5:15 AM - May 18, 2020

Archdiocese to protesters: We’re not ready yet to resume public Masses

Roman Catholic faithful carry the statue of the Virgin Mary near the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul as part of a demonstration to call on on Archbishop Nelson Pérez to restore public Masses in the archdiocese.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Roman Catholic faithful carry the statue of the Virgin Mary near the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul as part of a demonstration to call on on Archbishop Nelson Pérez to restore public Masses in the archdiocese.

Responding to protesters seeking the resumption of open Masses, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia says that while it shares that desire the time is not right.

“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia shares the strong desire of the faithful for a return to the public celebration of Mass as soon as possible," Kenneth Gavin, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said in an email. "However, all of us share a responsibility for the preservation of public health.

“We must do our part to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The decision to suspend the public celebration of Mass was not made lightly,” the statement said.

Demonstrators staged a procession-like protests outside the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul Sunday to urge Archbishop Nelson Pérez to resume public Masses.

“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has for 60 days deprived faithful Catholics of crucial nourishment for our souls,” the protesters said in a statement issued by the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania said. “While other U.S. Dioceses have begun this restoration, Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson Pérez has de facto ceded his authority to do so to Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf.”

In-person Masses throughout the archdiocese have been suspended since March 18. The demonstrators argued the shutdown has deprived the faithful of the “necessary nourishment for the soul” provided by receiving the Eucharist.

Pennsylvania officials have said it will be sometime before the city and the counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania that make up the archdiocese will be able to take steps to ease pandemic-related restrictions.

— Pranshu Verma

3:52 PM - May 19, 2020
3:52 PM - May 19, 2020

Today’s Inquirer Front Page

Timestamp 05/18 04:30am

The Philadelphia Inquirer front page for Monday, May 18, 2020.
Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer front page for Monday, May 18, 2020.