6:00 AM - April 21, 2020
6:00 AM - April 21, 2020

Read the latest Philadelphia-area coronavirus coverage here

Each workday morning, Debbie Johns drives her 23-year-old Ford Probe a little more than two miles from her lifelong Mount Airy home to Chestnut Hill Hospital, where she clocks in for her 7 a.m.-to-3:30 p.m. shift. On the cobblestone sidewalk outside the hospital, scrawled in pastel-colored chalk, are the words: “Because of You, We Have Hope." At the entrance, there’s a big, hand-painted wooden sign in blue, dug deep into the grass: “Heroes Work Here.” Johns is a hospital housekeeper, and she’s one of many on cleaners on the frontlines of stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

Plus, the coronavirus has exposed all the holes in our nation’s supply chain, which explains why this dairy farmer had to throw out thousands of gallons of milk while supermarkets were struggling to stock it.

10:38 PM - April 20, 2020
10:38 PM - April 20, 2020

Trump vows in tweet to halt all immigration to fight coronavirus

President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday night that he plans to sign an order to suspend immigration into the United States to step up the nation’s fight against the coronavirus and aid the economy.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Trump tweeted, “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

It is unclear how the order would be carried out or when it would possibly go into effect.

Additional details were not yet made available.

The Trump administration has previously imposed travel restrictions on most of Europe, China, Canada, Mexico, Iran, and South Korea in response to the pandemic.

— Ellie Rushing

9:47 PM - April 20, 2020
9:47 PM - April 20, 2020

Wolf, other governors, push back on Trump’s testing claims

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday was among a chorus of governors from both parties who took exception to President Donald Trump’s accusation that Democrats are playing “a very dangerous political game” by insisting that the nation has a shortage of coronavirus tests.

The governors countered that the White House must do more to help states on the testing front before they can ease up on stay-at-home orders.

“We need the test kits, and I think that’s the sort of general cry from other states," said Wolf.

In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the states should take the lead on testing but that it was up to the federal government to help sort out supply chain issues facing testing manufacturers.

“What the states will run into is when you talk to those labs, ... they buy machines and equipment from national manufacturers,” said Cuomo, who is expected to meet with Trump at the White House Tuesday. “And those labs can only run as many tests as the national manufacturers provide them chemicals, reagents and lab kits.”

Taking to Twitter, Trump said that the “radical left” and “Do Nothing Democrats” were playing politics with their complaints about a lack of tests.

In his daily briefing, he said some governors have “more capacity than they understand.”

— Associated Press

9:24 PM - April 20, 2020
9:24 PM - April 20, 2020

How to get booze, wine, and beer in Pennsylvania, with less pain

Pennsylvania launched curbside pickup of wine and spirit sales at some locations Monday, a small step in revving up the Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores that have been closed for a month.

But you don’t have to work the phone in hopes of connecting with a state-store clerk over a four-hour window, or try to get through on the Liquor Control Board’s chronically overwhelmed online-ordering system.

Since summer 2016, additional retailers such as supermarkets and restaurants have been allowed to sell wine and spirits. Delivery services also can ship wine and spirits directly to consumers. Beer is sold in Pennsylvania through a variety of outlets, including supermarkets, distributors, and bars, and you can get drinks to-go from some restaurants. Plus, New Jersey’s liquor stores, which are privately owned and operated, continue to be open with curbside pickup.

Here are some options in Pennsylvania, starting with the state LCB’s new curbside-pickup system.

— Michael Klein

7:47 PM - April 20, 2020
7:47 PM - April 20, 2020

Hundreds of South Jersey nursing home residents have had coronavirus, new figures show

Victoria Manor Nursing Home in North Cape May, N.J., has a note at the entrance stating that they have Coronavirus cases within the center on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.The note reads that 15 patience/ residents have tested positive, 8 patience/ residents tests are pending, 12 positive staff and 11 pending staff tests
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
Victoria Manor Nursing Home in North Cape May, N.J., has a note at the entrance stating that they have Coronavirus cases within the center on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.The note reads that 15 patience/ residents have tested positive, 8 patience/ residents tests are pending, 12 positive staff and 11 pending staff tests

At a single Cherry Hill nursing home, a quarter of the residents have contracted the coronavirus and 11 people have died.

Nine miles away in Burlington County, another facility is battling the virus that has infected at least 54 people. Eight died.

And one company that operates long-term-care facilities across the country reported 263 cases across six locations in five New Jersey counties. The founder of the company died Monday as a result of complications due to the coronavirus.

The pandemic’s grip on nursing homes and other long-term-care centers in New Jersey came into clearer view Monday when state officials reneged on earlier resistance to name the facilities where residents have tested positive for the virus and published a list of 425 such facilities.

While a handful of homes in North Jersey were hit hardest — like the Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus where 155 residents tested positive and 39 died — facilities in South Jersey were not spared, as dozens of facilities in a three-county swath self-reported hundreds of cases and nearly 100 deaths.

The coronavirus rapidly spread in nursing homes across the country. The elderly and people with underlying conditions are particularly susceptible to contracting and dying from complications associated with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

— Anna Orso, Pranshu Verma, David Gambacorta

7:32 PM - April 20, 2020
7:32 PM - April 20, 2020

Philadelphia-area Muslims must adjust to Ramadan amid a pandemic

Amir Qasim Rashad of the United Muslim Masjid outside the mosque and Muslim center on Thursday, April 16, 2020. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Muslims will have limitations in placed as they anticipate observing Ramadan, a month-long holiday that starts April 23.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Amir Qasim Rashad of the United Muslim Masjid outside the mosque and Muslim center on Thursday, April 16, 2020. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Muslims will have limitations in placed as they anticipate observing Ramadan, a month-long holiday that starts April 23.

Like Passover and Easter, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will be fundamentally affected by the coronavirus, as the devout will be forced to accept shuttered mosques, virtual sermons from socially distanced imams, and canceled communal feasts during this pandemic spring.

But when the holiday begins Thursday, one rigorous aspect of the faith will remain intact: fasting for 30 straight days, from dawn till sundown.

“That makes it a monthlong marathon for Muslims,” said Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, education and outreach director for the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). “It’s a challenging time of year, but one of the most rewarding.”

Tekelioglu hastened to add that, this year, all of the faithful are wondering what the holiday will look like. “Community members are concerned," he said. “I know it will be drastically different.”

— Alfred Lubrano

7:08 PM - April 20, 2020
7:08 PM - April 20, 2020
Maj. General Nathanael Greene is practicing social distancing in Valley Forge Park on Monday, April 20, 2020. Someone unknown placed a surgical mask on the statue.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Maj. General Nathanael Greene is practicing social distancing in Valley Forge Park on Monday, April 20, 2020. Someone unknown placed a surgical mask on the statue.

— Steven M. Falk

7:05 PM - April 20, 2020
7:05 PM - April 20, 2020

Georgia to reopen some businesses as early as Friday

Georgia’s governor announced plans Monday to restart the state’s economy before the end of the week, saying many businesses that closed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus could reopen as early as Friday.

The governor in neighboring Tennessee planned to let businesses in most of his state begin reopening as soon as next week.

Georgia’s timetable, one of the most aggressive in the nation, would allow gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors to reopen as long as owners follow strict social-distancing and hygiene requirements. By Monday, movie theaters may resume selling tickets, and restaurants limited to takeout orders could return to limited dine-in service.

— Associated Press

7:00 PM - April 20, 2020
7:00 PM - April 20, 2020

Does my boss have to tell me if there’s a positive coronavirus case in my workplace?

(center) Lily Wolfson, former MOM's employee, holds a sign that reads "Our Lives > Profit" as (left) Kaylee McGuffin speaks outside of MOM's Organic Market on South 11th St in Philadelphia, Pa. on Monday, April 6, 2020. Workers at MOM's are frustrated by the store's lack of precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
(center) Lily Wolfson, former MOM's employee, holds a sign that reads "Our Lives > Profit" as (left) Kaylee McGuffin speaks outside of MOM's Organic Market on South 11th St in Philadelphia, Pa. on Monday, April 6, 2020. Workers at MOM's are frustrated by the store's lack of precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Essential workers reporting to work during the pandemic say they’re haunted by a question: Will my boss tell me if there’s a positive case at my workplace?

It’s another workplace safety issue these workers face, and it’s set to become an issue for even more workers as the economy gradually re-opens.

Employment attorneys we talked to said it’s hard to answer this question in absolutes because it’s such an unprecedented situation.

There’s no law that specifically requires employers to inform workers about a positive case in the workplace.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines recommend that employers alert workers if it’s possible they were exposed to someone who has tested positive.

But enforcement of these guidelines is murky, at best. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the federal agency in charge of protecting workers, is not enforcing CDC guidelines as law.

— Juliana Feliciano Reyes

6:28 PM - April 20, 2020
6:28 PM - April 20, 2020

Camden County reports five more coronavirus deaths

Camden County Police Officer Edward Melton distributes flyers to drivers of cars stopped at the traffic light as Federal Street in East Camden April 19, 2020 encouraging residents to stop the spread of the coronavirus by staying at home, washing hands and following social distancing guidelines.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Camden County Police Officer Edward Melton distributes flyers to drivers of cars stopped at the traffic light as Federal Street in East Camden April 19, 2020 encouraging residents to stop the spread of the coronavirus by staying at home, washing hands and following social distancing guidelines.

Camden County on Monday reported five more coronavirus-related deaths, raising the county’s total to 85.

County officials also reported 75 additional positive cases for a total so far of 2,090.

The deaths included three women and two men all in their 70s or older from Voorhees and Cherry Hill.

The new positive cases include a male between age 10 and 19, and six people in their 20s.

— Robert Moran

6:03 PM - April 20, 2020
6:03 PM - April 20, 2020

How this Malvern meat processor has stayed open through the pandemic: Daily health screens and a wedding tent

This could be a more common sight for employees when the economy reopens. Devault Foods in Malvern screens all employees and visitors before they enter the plant.
Courtesy Devault Foods
This could be a more common sight for employees when the economy reopens. Devault Foods in Malvern screens all employees and visitors before they enter the plant.

The last few weeks have been anything but easy for Devault Foods in Malvern, considered by Gov. Wolf as an “essential” business. The meat processor has aggressively layered new safety measures into plant operations even as managers are seeing higher levels of absenteeism and operating costs. But that’s the new reality: persistent vigilance as well as constant checks on the CDC web site for virus updates.

The new safety measures begin in the predawn hours when hourly workers and managers and eventually visitors throughout the day are run through 20- to 30-second health screens, entailing an infrared temperature check and a battery of six questions on how they feel.

Individuals with temperatures over 100.4 degrees are flagged and briefly quarantined. Health screeners recheck the individual’s temperature over the next 10 minutes. If it remains elevated, the workers are sent home.

Employees who pass the screen are handed a wristband to show they can enter the plant a different color for each day of the week.

Inside the food-packaging plant, safety manager Jessica Vogler added 40 hand sanitizers there were many there already because it was a food processor and strategically plastered floor stickers reminding people of safe social distancing. Vogler removed chairs in areas of the plant that did not conform to the six-foot social distancing guidelines. Oval tables dot the floor of the wedding tent: two chairs per table, which has a six-foot diameter.

— Bob Fernandez

5:22 PM - April 20, 2020
5:22 PM - April 20, 2020

Video: Hundreds protest against coronavirus shutdown order in Harrisburg

— Lauren Schneiderman

5:11 PM - April 20, 2020
5:11 PM - April 20, 2020

Coronavirus is largely spread by people without symptoms. That makes reopening the economy harder in many ways.

An empty North Broad Street in Philadelphia is photographed on Tuesday evening, March 24, 2020.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
An empty North Broad Street in Philadelphia is photographed on Tuesday evening, March 24, 2020.

Just two months ago, the discovery that two people infected with coronavirus had no symptoms was such big scientific news that it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Now, it is becoming clear that much, if not most, of the spread of the virus is by infected people who don’t get sick. New evidence comes from a Boston homeless shelter, an Italian town, a California county, and a Navy aircraft carrier.

“With regard to COVID-19, we’re learning that stealth in the form of asymptomatic transmission is this adversary’s secret power,” Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, surgeon general of the Navy, said at a briefing earlier this month.

That secret power has huge implications for curbing the pandemic, and further dampens the prospects for safely reopening the U.S. before therapies or a vaccine are available.

— Marie McCullough

5:05 PM - April 20, 2020
5:05 PM - April 20, 2020

Over half of Delaware’s coronavirus deaths at elder-care facilities

Delaware on Monday reported five additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the state total to 72 — 42 of those occurring at elder-care facilities.

The state’s confirmed-case total has risen to 2,745, with about half of those in New Castle County.Both the death and positive-test numbers were based on data received as of 6 p.m. Sunday, the state’s Division of Public Health said.

The five recent deaths included a 62-year-old woman who had no known underlying health issues. The other four — all 80 or older — did.

Overall, 167 confirmed cases have been reported at the state’s long-term-care facilities, the department said.

— Anthony R. Wood

4:49 PM - April 20, 2020
4:49 PM - April 20, 2020

Let community banks and nonprofit lenders give small businesses emergency coronavirus PPP loans, Pa. congressman says

When the Small Business Administration rolled out emergency coronavirus relief loans, most big banks were automatically eligible to participate as lenders. But other community banks and nonprofit, mission-based lenders were excluded — and U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) wants to change that.

The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, was a $350 billion loan program tapped by small businesses around the country. It quickly ran out of money, and small businesses are seeking more funding.

“We are asking Congressional Leadership to mandate that lenders prioritize PPP loans for small businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, and those in underserved and rural markets in the next stimulus package," Evans wrote in a letter released Friday. "We are also asking that Leadership set aside part of the PPP funding for smaller community lenders, such as credit unions and CDFIs,” or community development financial institutions.

PPP provides forgivable loans for small businesses to keep workers employed. SBA will forgive the loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Many women- and minority-owned businesses have struggled getting such loans.

— Erin Arvedlund

4:42 PM - April 20, 2020
4:42 PM - April 20, 2020

Popular South Jersey farm ordered to temporarily stop drive-through tulip tour

Cars drive through Dalton Farms tulip fields in Swedesboro, N.J., on April 10, 2020.
Sam Carchidi
Cars drive through Dalton Farms tulip fields in Swedesboro, N.J., on April 10, 2020.

A popular Swedesboro drive-through tulip tour has been halted because prosecutors say it violates the state’s executive orders related to the coronavirus.

Dalton Farms was ordered to stop its “Tour of Tulips” on Sunday evening, the family-run farm said on its Facebook page. The tours were originally supposed to go until at least Wednesday, according to its website.

“We have been clear — In order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, events of any size cannot take place," the state Attorney General’s Office said Monday in a statement. “Some businesses can continue to accept online and pick-up only orders in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Executive Order that allows nurseries, garden centers and farms that sell directly to customers to continue to operate.”

The farm’s owner declined to comment on the advice of his attorney.

Many Dalton customers expressed frustration about the tours being stopped.

“People can still meander around Target for non-essential items, spreading germs and putting people at risk,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “But I can’t visit a tulip field within the confines of my own car with my family, spreading absolutely zero germs beyond my immediate family. Makes ZERO sense.”

— Erin McCarthy

4:33 PM - April 20, 2020
4:33 PM - April 20, 2020

Coronavirus is separating dying patients from their families. Now, healthy people are making sure end-of-life wishes are known.

Roman Albright and Caitlin Albright pose for a photo with their 13 months-old son Roman Albright, a their home in Chester Springs, Pa. Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The Albright's are getting their advance directive/living will documents together because of the coronavirus pandemic
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Roman Albright and Caitlin Albright pose for a photo with their 13 months-old son Roman Albright, a their home in Chester Springs, Pa. Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The Albright's are getting their advance directive/living will documents together because of the coronavirus pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic escalated in the region, Philadelphia-area trusts and estates lawyers said, business picked up. These lawyers help with estate planning, meaning setting up a will, which outlines a person’s wishes upon death, and living wills, which specify end-of-life medical care. Clients who began the process months ago and dallied with their paperwork suddenly wanted it finished as soon as possible. New clients wondered how quickly they could get documents signed.

Knowing that visitors are not allowed in hospitals during the pandemic has put an extra emphasis around living wills, said trusts and estates lawyer Douglas L. Kaune, of Unruh Turner Burke & Frees in Phoenixville.

The spread of the coronavirus has made people think: What if it happens to me? And soon?

“It’s more of a recognition of mortality that’s different,” Kaune said.

— Ellie Silverman

4:15 PM - April 20, 2020
4:15 PM - April 20, 2020

Colleges will receive millions in stimulus money, but coronavirus expenses are greater

People walk past the shuttered Barnes and Noble on Temple University's campus in North Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The university has transitioned its classes online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
People walk past the shuttered Barnes and Noble on Temple University's campus in North Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The university has transitioned its classes online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The federal government has begun doling out $14 billion in stimulus money to the nation’s colleges, including hundreds of millions to schools with campuses in the Philadelphia region.

Nearly half must be given directly to students, though most local schools said they are still trying to figure out how they will do that.

One thing’s for sure: The other half won’t be enough to stem the losses colleges are anticipating from the coronavirus.

— Susan Snyder

3:36 PM - April 20, 2020
3:36 PM - April 20, 2020

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney: Protesters ‘not practicing social distancing’ are ‘really dangerous’

Protesters gather outside the Capital Complex in Harrisburg, PA on April 20, 2020. They are calling for Gov. Wolf to reopen up the state's economy during the coronavirus outbreak.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Protesters gather outside the Capital Complex in Harrisburg, PA on April 20, 2020. They are calling for Gov. Wolf to reopen up the state's economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday said recent demonstrations by conservative activists at state capitals protesting stay-at-home orders are “really dangerous and very reckless.”

“I think they’re shortsighted, and I’ve seen some of the video from … some of the other state capitals. People are not practicing social distancing. They’re kind of together breathing on each other,” Kenney said. “And even though I understand people's right to express their view and First Amendment protections, you don't have a right to get infected or be infected and then go to a place and infect others.”

On Monday, hundreds of demonstrators stood shoulder to shoulder outside the Pennsylvania Capitol to protest Gov. Tom Wolf’s order shutting down all but life-sustaining businesses in the state.

Kenney, speaking just before the Harrisburg protest, said he understands the desire to reopen the economy but believes the country needs more time.

“I understand the concern. It’s very stressful,” Kenney said. “We all want to get back to normal. There’s no doubt about that. But unless we get back to normal in a very thoughtful way, we’re going to make this worse.”

— Sean Collins Walsh

3:36 PM - April 20, 2020
3:36 PM - April 20, 2020

Murphy: New Jersey needs federal help, more testing capacity to reopen safely

Camden County Police Officers distribute flyers along Federal Street in East Camden April 19, 2020 - echoing a lighted traffic information sign - encouraging residents to stop the spread of the coronavirus by staying at home, washing hands and following social distancing guidelines.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Camden County Police Officers distribute flyers along Federal Street in East Camden April 19, 2020 - echoing a lighted traffic information sign - encouraging residents to stop the spread of the coronavirus by staying at home, washing hands and following social distancing guidelines.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to overwhelm New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy noted the state is still far short on its testing capacity to reopen safely, and will need help from federal officials to get to a place where it can safely return to normal life.

“The president has said it’s a local thing,” Murphy said. “But the reality is, it’s a joint venture.”

After acknowledging an encouraging drop in new hospitalizations, Murphy said he will lay out a blueprint for how the state will reopen in the coming days, but noted New Jersey must first have a much stronger testing and contact tracing infrastructure in place before he takes steps to return the state to normal life.

The governor also noted he is in contact with Camden County officials Monday, after news reports indicated the area has seen a surge of positive coronavirus cases over the past few days. Murphy said he is unsure whether it’s due to an uptick in testing or a development of “some trouble spots.”

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli also noted the state is releasing much-awaited data showing how severe the pandemic has been on the state’s long-term care facilities.

State data shows 40% of New Jersey’s coronavirus deaths are people who lived in long-term care facilities. Over 10,700 of the state’s positive patients are also individuals who lived in these places.

Persichilli also said that the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, where 18 bodies were piled into a morgue meant for four people, has been ordered to cease new admissions. Facility operators are also being ordered to appoint a temporary administrator, nursing director and infection disease manager.

State officials have also reviewed 22 of the state’s 421 long term care facilities as part of an effort to manage the spread of infections in facilities with highly vulnerable patients. Individuals are examining facility staffing plans, inventories of protective equipment and outbreak procedures. Sites that are not up to state standards will have to file correction plans this week.

The governor also noted another 3,528 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, increasing the state’s case count to 88,806. Another 177 people have also died from the virus, bringing the statewide toll to 4,377.

— Pranshu Verma

3:20 PM - April 20, 2020
3:20 PM - April 20, 2020

Gov. Tom Wolf vetoes bill that would have allowed more Pa. businesses to reopen over public health objections

A closed sign hangs outside of a business in Philadelphia on Friday, March 20, 2020. Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Thursday evening that all Pennsylvania businesses that are not "life-sustaining" must close due to the spread of the coronavirus.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
A closed sign hangs outside of a business in Philadelphia on Friday, March 20, 2020. Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Thursday evening that all Pennsylvania businesses that are not "life-sustaining" must close due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday vetoed legislation that would have allowed more Pennsylvania businesses to reopen over the objections of the state’s top health official.

The measure was approved in the General Assembly along party lines, with Democrats saying the bill was premature and unsafe, as the state lacks sufficient testing for COVID-19 and personal protective equipment for health care workers. Republicans, meanwhile, claimed more businesses could reopen safely if they adhered to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measures on social distancing.

GOP lawmakers do not have enough votes to override Wolf’s veto.

“This is not an easy decision, but it is the right course for Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in his veto message. “Reopening tens of thousands of businesses too early will only increase the spread of the virus, place more lives at risk, increase the death tolls, and extend the length of the economic hardships created by the pandemic.”

— Cynthia Fernandez

3:08 PM - April 20, 2020
3:08 PM - April 20, 2020

Coronavirus and massive demand have turned online supermarket deliveries into a headache

Non senior citizen shoppers wait outside the Whole Foods Market on South Street in Philadelphia, March 18, 2020. Whole Foods Market has instituted Senior citizen only shopping from 7:30-8 a.m. each morning. The store hours are now: Senior citizen shopping 7:30-8 a.m. the store is open to the general public 8 a.m.-8 p.m, the early close is for cleaning and restocking.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Non senior citizen shoppers wait outside the Whole Foods Market on South Street in Philadelphia, March 18, 2020. Whole Foods Market has instituted Senior citizen only shopping from 7:30-8 a.m. each morning. The store hours are now: Senior citizen shopping 7:30-8 a.m. the store is open to the general public 8 a.m.-8 p.m, the early close is for cleaning and restocking.

As home food delivery has gone from a convenience used by a relative few to a boom industry, buying food online has become, for many, a big migraine. Demand is so high that some services and markets are often more than a week behind. Others, such as Whole Foods, have stopped taking on new customers altogether.

While many see buying food online as a key way to ward off the coronavirus, it has become another of the unintended frustrations of the lengthy COVID-19 isolation.

— Ed Barkowitz

2:56 PM - April 20, 2020
2:56 PM - April 20, 2020

‘Unhealthy and unlawful:' Philly jails still aren’t doing enough to stop coronavirus spread, ACLU says in new suit

Exterior of The Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center on April 3, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Exterior of The Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center on April 3, 2020.

Efforts by the Philadelphia Department of Prisons to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in the city’s jails have not gone far enough and, in some cases, are violating constitutional rights, the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday in a lawsuit filed on behalf of 10 inmates.

The suit, filed in federal court in Philadelphia, alleged that some inmates have been denied access to soap for days at a time, others who show symptoms of the disease have lingered among the general population for long stretches before being quarantined, and inmates who have fallen ill are being returned without testing to see whether they are still contagious.

And while corrections officers have attempted to curb transmission by implementing a “shelter in place” policy that confines all inmates to their cells except for brief periods to shower and use the phone, prisoners have not consistently been granted those opportunities leaving some confined for days at a time in a state similar to solitary confinement, the ACLU said.

The suit urges the court to demand more stringent mitigation efforts in the Philadelphia jails, to appoint a medical officer to oversee their implementation and, if those efforts fail, to order the release of all inmates over 55 of those with pre-existing health conditions that make them more medically vulnerable to the coronavirus.

As of Monday, city officials reported 126 inmates have tested positive for the disease, 56 of whom are currently ill and remain incarcerated.

City officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit Monday.

— Jeremy Roebuck

2:33 PM - April 20, 2020
2:33 PM - April 20, 2020

Lawmakers fail to reach deal to replenish Paycheck Protection Program for small business coronavirus relief

On Monday, lawmakers failed to reach a deal to replenish the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, part of the government’s $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package intended to help small businesses impacted by coronavirus shutdowns.

The program ran out of money last week, but lawmakers remains at odds as Democrats insist on more funding for hospitals, state and local governments, and food stamp recipients. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is seeking an additional $250 billion in funding.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) called for the Senate to meet again on Tuesday at 4 p.m. to allow more time for lawmakers to negotiate.

“At this hour, our Democratic colleagues are still prolonging their discussions with the administration, so the Senate regretfully won’t be able to pass more funding for Americans’ paychecks today,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.

— Rob Tornoe

2:00 PM - April 20, 2020
2:00 PM - April 20, 2020

Photos: Local doctors team up to ensure that African Americans are getting tested for the coronavirus

— Monica Herndon, Heather Khalifa, Michael Bryant

1:42 PM - April 20, 2020
1:42 PM - April 20, 2020

Temple’s Liacouras Center accepts its first coronavirus patient

A Temple medical student in the almost completed coronavirus facility at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia, April 10, 2020. The facility opened on April 13.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
A Temple medical student in the almost completed coronavirus facility at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia, April 10, 2020. The facility opened on April 13.

Temple University’s Liacouras Center, which the city has turned into a field hospital, accepted its first coronavirus patient on Monday, city Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

The arena is being used for coronavirus patients transferred from hospitals that are at capacity or short on staff who are past the worst phase of the illness, Public Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.

There were 923 coronavirus patients in Philadelphia hospitals Monday morning, and 1,737 in hospitals across Southeastern Pennsylvania, Farley said.

The staff at the Liacouras Center includes contracted medical professionals and members of the city’s volunteer Medical Reserve Corps, and it may be supplemented by military staff in the future, Farley said.

The southbound portion of Broad Street is closed between Montgomery Avenue and Cecil B. Moore Avenue in front of the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa. on Monday, April 20, 2020. Temple University’s Liacouras Center, which the city has turned into a field hospital, accepted its first coronavirus patient on Monday, city Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
The southbound portion of Broad Street is closed between Montgomery Avenue and Cecil B. Moore Avenue in front of the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa. on Monday, April 20, 2020. Temple University’s Liacouras Center, which the city has turned into a field hospital, accepted its first coronavirus patient on Monday, city Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

Farley also announced that the city on Monday received reports of 339 new confirmed coronavirus cases, for a total of 9,553 in Philadelphia since the pandemic began.

He cautioned that laboratory test results come in batches and that Monday’s relatively low total may be a temporary undercount.

“It’s not clear if we have all the laboratory reports today,” Farley said. “If that were the case, that would be good news.”

Farley also said there were five new coronavirus deaths reported to the city on Monday, and 370 since the virus reached Philadelphia. Of those, 193 were nursing home residents.

— Sean Collins Walsh

1:25 PM - April 20, 2020
1:25 PM - April 20, 2020

Pennsylvania anti-shutdown protest ends

Protesters gather outside the Capital Complex in Harrisburg, PA on April 20, 2020. They are calling for Gov. Wolf to reopen up the state's economy during the coronavirus outbreak.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Protesters gather outside the Capital Complex in Harrisburg, PA on April 20, 2020. They are calling for Gov. Wolf to reopen up the state's economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

About an hour after the protesters rallied at in Harrisburg to “reopen” Pennsylvania, speakers wrapped for the day. Protesters in cars were gridlocked on North Second Street, parallel to the capitol, honking their horns.

Pennsylvania residents are currently under a stay-at-home order until May 8, which public health experts consider essential to slow the spread of the coronavirus and keep infections at a manageable level by hospitals.

— Cynthia Fernandez

12:56 PM - April 20, 2020
12:56 PM - April 20, 2020

These are the people behind the anti-quarantine protest events that Facebook is shutting down

Protesters gather outside the Capital Complex in Harrisburg, PA on April 20, 2020. They are calling for Gov. Wolf to reopen up the state's economy during the coronavirus outbreak.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Protesters gather outside the Capital Complex in Harrisburg, PA on April 20, 2020. They are calling for Gov. Wolf to reopen up the state's economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

A trio of far-right, pro-gun provocateurs is behind some of the largest Facebook groups calling for anti-quarantine protests across the country, offering the latest illustration that some seemingly organic demonstrations are being engineered by a network of conservative activists.

The Facebook groups target Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and they appear to be the work of Ben Dorr, the political director of a group called Minnesota Gun Rights, and his siblings Christopher and Aaron. By Sunday, the groups had more than 200,000 members combined, and they continued to expand quickly, days after President Donald Trump endorsed such protests by suggesting citizens should “liberate” their states.

The online activity implies that opposition to the restrictions is more widespread than polling suggests. Nearly 70% of Republicans said they supported a national stay-home order, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. Ninety-five percent of Democrats backed such a measure in the survey.

The Facebook groups have become digital hubs for the same sort of misinformation spouted in recent days at state capitols — from comparing the virus to the flu to questioning the intentions of scientists working on a vaccine.

— The Washington Post

12:43 PM - April 20, 2020
12:43 PM - April 20, 2020

Wolf extends Pennsylvania stay-at-home order until May 8, announces ‘small steps’ toward economic reopening

Graffiti that reads "COVID 19" is pictured behind a locked gate in Philadelphia's Fishtown section on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The city has directed residents to stay at home except for essential activities.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Graffiti that reads "COVID 19" is pictured behind a locked gate in Philadelphia's Fishtown section on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The city has directed residents to stay at home except for essential activities.

As protesters gathered outside the state capitol in Harrisburg, inside the building, Gov. Tom Wolf extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 8, which he set as a “target date” to begin opening parts of the state’s economy. But he reiterated the process would be slow and gradual, and may not initially include densely populated areas in the Philadelphia region.

“If we open in Cameron County, for instance, that doesn't mean we’re ending the restrictions and things people have to do in Philadelphia,” he said.

The original order was set to expire on April 30. Other states in the northeast have already extended their stay-at-home orders. In New York, residents must stay home through at least May 15, and New Jersey’s order is in place until May 7 and must be renewed every 30 days.

“Pennsylvanians have come together like never before … we have given up a lot," he said. “It has not been easy, but it has paid off. Our new case numbers have stabilized and we’ve prevented the patient surges we were all so concerned about and that we’ve seen in other places.”

In Pennsylvania, starting May 8, “limited” construction will be able to resume, Wolf said, and he will sign a bill Monday to allow for online car sales and online notary services.

“I want to caution this is not resuming operations as they were in February,” he said. “We still don’t have a vaccine. We still don’t have an antibody test. We still don’t have a way to cure COVID-19.”

On a Monday morning call, he and other governors stressed to Vice President Mike Pence that they remained concerned about testing supplies, including needed chemicals that are currently in short supply, and Pence said the federal government was working to address the issues as quickly as possible.

Wolf said he had not seen firsthand the protesters who were gathered in Harrisburg, but said he respected their right to free speech.

“Obviously this is a democracy,” he said. “Everyone has the right to express their opinions. I’m just hoping that they, like every other Pennsylvanian, recognize that we want to keep each other safe.” Wolf said there were no plans to enforce executive orders during Monday’s gathering.

On Monday, Pennsylvania saw 948 newly reported cases of the coronavirus, for a total of at least 33,232 positive cases statewide, and 92 more deaths, for a total of 1,204.

For the first time, the state is releasing coronavirus data by zip code on a state map that is publicly accessible.

— Erin McCarthy

12:23 PM - April 20, 2020
12:23 PM - April 20, 2020

Pa. State Rep.: ‘It’s time to move past this uncertainty in quarantine and get you back to work now’

State Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R., Beaver, Butler and Lawrence) told the protesters gathered in Harrisburg Monday that some state legislators want to roll out a plan to implement federal guidelines to allow people to get back to work, saying “it’s time to move past this uncertainty in quarantine and get you back to work now.”

Bernstine, speaking on the steps of the capitol building, led chants and asked protesters to tell Wolf to sign a bill aimed at reopening some businesses closed amid the government-ordered shutdowns.

“These leaders must not focus on just the lives at risk from the horrible virus. Many lives like yours are in danger from a shuttered business, the hunger and homelessness,” he said. “Our new normal does not mean that we will sacrifice our freedoms for our safety … we can have a normal where we aren’t locked in our homes like prisoners.”

Added State Rep. Russ Diamond (R., Lebanon): “I believe that every one of you is essential and that every one of your businesses and jobs is life-sustaining.”

Diamond also called on Wolf to publish a list of businesses granted waivers to operate amid the shutdowns, saying “secrecy breeds suspicion and contempt” and accusing Wolf of “arbitrarily and capriciously picking winners and losers.”

“It is arbitrary, capricious, and vague,” said Marc A. Scaringi, a Harrisburg-based lawyer who is suing on behalf of several businesses as well as a political campaign that had to shut its office down.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican who represents parts of south-central Pennsylvania, led the protesters in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and criticized Wolf’s “tyranny” and “overreach,” saying “it’s time to rise up and secure our rights.”

He criticized Wolf’s order banning elective surgeries in Pennsylvania and said abortion should be among the procedures stopped.

“Quarantine is normally for the sick. What the heck is going on here? I’m not sick,” Mastriano said. “And I will take note that when we get the proclamations from [Wolf’s] daily press conferences here, he’s not wearing a mask.”

Wolf has delivered addresses from his home. The state’s current guidance asks Pennsylvanians to wear a mask or facial covering when they leave the home for purposes deemed essential.

— Anna Orso

12:07 PM - April 20, 2020
12:07 PM - April 20, 2020

Hundreds gather at Capitol in Harrisburg for anti-shutdown rally calling to ‘reopen’ Pennsylvania

Hundreds of people, both in cars and on foot, have gathered outside the state Capitol in Harrisburg to rally to “reopen” Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania residents are currently under a stay-at-home order, which public health experts consider essential to slow the spread of the coronavirus and keep infections at a manageable level by hospitals.

There are more than 32,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Department of Health, as well as 1,112 confirmed deaths.

The Department of General Services closed the Capitol complex on March 13, just a few days before Gov. Tom Wolf ordered nonessential businesses to shut down physical operations. A spokesperson said it was aware that an “unauthorized” rally was planned.

— Cynthia Fernandez

11:55 AM - April 20, 2020
11:55 AM - April 20, 2020

Border restrictions with Mexico and Canada extended for another month

Restrictions on non-essential travel between U.S., Mexico, and Canada will be extended for 30 days, the Trump administration announced Monday.

"As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country,” acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement.

The border restrictions took effect on March 21, and allow trade and other essential travel to continue. Over the weekend, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the restrictions would remain in place. The Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs confirmed the agreement on Monday morning.

— Rob Tornoe

11:50 AM - April 20, 2020
11:50 AM - April 20, 2020

Photos: Protesters gather in Harrisburg to rally against stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic

10:40 AM - April 20, 2020
10:40 AM - April 20, 2020

Facebook removes posts promoting anti-shutdown rallies in N.J., other states, but not Pa.

Facebook has removed events promoting anti-shutdown rallies in New Jersey, California, and Nebraska following complaints they violate lockdown rules put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

But the social media site has yet to take down events promoting a planned protest in Harrisburg on Monday afternoon.

“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”

According to the spokesperson, Facebook has reached out to the commonwealth for guidance on whether today’s event and similar protests are permitted under Gov. Tom Wolf’s order.

Pennsylvania officials have advised against Monday’s gathering, which was organized in part by Ohio gun activist Chris Door, who created a Facebook group called “Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine.”

— Rob Tornoe

10:30 AM - April 20, 2020
10:30 AM - April 20, 2020

Protesters gather in Harrisburg for rally against the state’s stay-at-home orders

Hours before a planned demonstration protesting Pennsylvania’s government-ordered business closures, protesters began descending on Harrisburg Monday morning, according to local news reports.

Photos shot by the York Daily Record Monday morning show a handful of protesters — most not wearing masks — already in Harrisburg, donning flags, signs and markings on their cars that read: “ReOpen PA” and “Business Lives Matter.”

Also spotted was an RV decked out in signs supportive of President Donald Trump, who has seemed to encourage protesters in a handful of states who have defied stay-at-home orders and demonstrated at government buildings, including by tweeting phrases like “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!”

The anti-shutdown rally in Harrisburg was organized in part by Chris Dorr, an Ohio gun activist who created a Facebook group called “Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine.” Other organizations were involved, including new groups like “ReOpen PA” and “End The Lockdown PA.” A spokesperson said it’s up to individuals whether they want to protest from their vehicles or get out of them.

Hundreds of people are expected to show, and two elected officials plan to speak.

State officials have strongly urged against gatherings of any kind. “Protesters who gather on Monday will be placing themselves and others at significant risk of COVID-19 infection,” said Troy Thompson, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services.

— Anna Orso

9:40 AM - April 20, 2020
9:40 AM - April 20, 2020

Stocks open down in face of plunging oil prices

Stocks opened down to start the week after U.S. crude prices plunged to their lowest level in over 20 years as demand drops during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened down about 475 points, nearly 2%, a reversal of last week’s gains. The Dow remains over 30% above lows set on March 23.

The Nasdaq opened down about 75 points (about 0.85%), and the S&P 500 opened down about 45 points (about 1.5%)

— Rob Tornoe

8:55 AM - April 20, 2020
8:55 AM - April 20, 2020

'It’s going to backfire’: Fauci warns anti-shutdown protesters to stay home

Demonstrators disregard social distancing guidelines as they crowd together at a protest opposing Washington state's stay-home order to slow the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.
Elaine Thompson / AP
Demonstrators disregard social distancing guidelines as they crowd together at a protest opposing Washington state's stay-home order to slow the coronavirus outbreak Sunday, April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.

Anthony Fauci, a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force and the nation’s leading infections disease expert, is calling on demonstrators to heed social distancing guidelines and not gather in large groups to protest stay-at-home orders.

“Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen,” Fauci said during an interview on Good Morning America Monday.

Organizers have planned rallies across the country, including today in Harrisburg, to protest government shutdowns put in place slow the spread of COVID-19.

Trump himself has encouraged the protesters to “LIBERATE” states with Democratic governors and called the protesters “very responsible people,” despite his own guidelines encouraging citizens to “listen and follow all directions from your state and local authorities” and to “avoid social gatherings” with more than 10 people.

“If you jump the gun, and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back,” Fauci said. “So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening, it’s going to backfire.”

— Rob Tornoe

7:55 AM - April 20, 2020
7:55 AM - April 20, 2020

Shake Shack says it is returning $10 million coronavirus stimulus loan

The Shake Shack on Drexel's campus at 32d and Chestnut Streets in University City.
The Shake Shack on Drexel's campus at 32d and Chestnut Streets in University City.

Shake Shack is returning the $10 million loan it received from the U.S. government from a program intended to help small businesses impacted by coronavirus shutdowns, executives said in an open letter Monday.

The popular burger chain received the money as part of the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, a part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package. But the program ran out of money last week, and Shake Shake now says it should be able to raise up to $75 million from investors to help it through the crisis.

“We’re thankful for that and we’ve decided to immediately return the entire $10 million PPP loan we received last week to the SBA so that those restaurants who need it most can get it now,” CEO Randy Garutti and chairman Danny Meyer wrote.

Both are urging lawmakers to increase funding to the program and for the Small Business Association to assign a local bank to each restaurant that applies for the assistance.

“Too many restaurants have been left out of the program simply because they lacked a pre-existing banking or loan relationship,” the executives wrote.

— Rob Tornoe

5:30 AM - April 20, 2020
5:30 AM - April 20, 2020

Why some get really sick from the coronavirus, and others don’t

In mid-February, when the coronavirus was well on its way in the United States but almost no one was on the lookout, two employees at a northern California hospital struggled to help a woman who was feverish and gasping for breath.

They gave her a nebulizer. They put her on a type of breathing machine sometimes used for sleep apnea. After several days, one of the health-care providers stuck a tube down the woman’s throat and hooked her up to a ventilator.

Eleven days later, she tested positive for the virus. Sure enough, the two hospital workers did, too.

But how to explain 15 other nurses and therapists — each involved in procedures that would have filled the air with the patient’s infectious particles — who did not?

Four months into this worldwide affliction, these kinds of puzzles continue to defy easy answers.

— Tom Avril

5:00 AM - April 20, 2020
5:00 AM - April 20, 2020

Mask requirement goes into effect in Pa.

Pedro Reyes wears a mask stocking the shelves at his Wharton Grocery in South Philadelphia.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Pedro Reyes wears a mask stocking the shelves at his Wharton Grocery in South Philadelphia.

Today is the first day that Pennsylvanians will have to wear a mask when going into stores and other businesses.

The order, which requires both store employees and customers to don cloth masks, went into effect 8 p.m. Sunday. It was issued Wednesday to give the public and businesses time to prepare.

A similar order went into effect in New Jersey after the federal Centers for Disease Control recommended the wearing of masks in public on April 3.

The Pennsylvania order also requires businesses to provide space for employees to have breaks and meals while maintaining a social distance and install shields or other barriers at check-out areas, or take other measures to ensure social distancing of customers from check-out personnel.

Businesses can refuse service to any person not wearing a mask.

The order take hold as officials in Harrisburg are preparing for a protest by people opposed to government ordered social distancing measures, the latest in a series of anti-quarantine demonstrations in state capitals.

— Joseph A. Gambardello

4:45 AM - April 20, 2020
4:45 AM - April 20, 2020

Curbside pickup begins at Pennsylvania liquor stores

A Llquor Store employee prepares boxes for delivery at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits in Media, PA. Monday, April 20, 2020. Stores are taking limited number of orders by phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until the store reaches the.maximum number of orders it can fulfill that day, starting today through Saturday.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
A Llquor Store employee prepares boxes for delivery at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits in Media, PA. Monday, April 20, 2020. Stores are taking limited number of orders by phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until the store reaches the.maximum number of orders it can fulfill that day, starting today through Saturday.

You might have some trouble getting through on the phones, but starting Monday some of Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor stores will be offering curbside pickups on a limited basis.

Only one order will be accepted per caller per day and it cannot exceed six bottles, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said, adding that store staff would inform callers about what was available at each location.

Orders will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Curbside pickup will be available at 10 stores in Philadelphia and about 45 in the collar counties. A list of stores and phone numbers can be found here.

Liquor stores have remained open in New Jersey and Delaware and some Pennsylvanians have been turned away at the border when they attempted to shop in Delaware.

— Anthony R. Wood

4:30 AM - April 20, 2020
4:30 AM - April 20, 2020

Morning Roundup: Debate and differences over reopening plans, as Philly Mayor Kenney warns cities could face massive layoffs

Several Philadelphia businesses swore they would stay shuttered for as long as necessary, even as some Pennsylvania liquor stores prepared to reopen for curbside service on Monday.

Protective masks emerged as political statements. The mayor of Philadelphia pleaded for federal aid to help cities avoid mass layoffs.

Meanwhile, the numbers of infections and deaths continued to climb on Sunday. Across the United States, more than 759,000 have been sickened and nearly 41,000 died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In New Jersey, 3,915 more people tested positive, for 85,301 total, and an additional 132 succumbed, raising the state death count to 4,202. Pennsylvania officials announced Sunday that 1,215 more people had become infected, for a total of 32,284, and 276 more died, increasing the state death toll to 1,112.

— Jeff Gammage and Pranshu Verma

4:15 AM - April 20, 2020
4:15 AM - April 20, 2020

Today’s Inquirer Front Page

The Philadelphia Inquirer front page for Monday, April 20, 2020.
Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Inquirer front page for Monday, April 20, 2020.