7:20 PM - September 9, 2020
7:20 PM - September 9, 2020

Penn state pausing “several” sports programs

Penn State’s athletic department said Wednesday it has suspended team activities for several programs after it reported 48 positive results out of 920 COVID-19 tests performed on student-athletes between Aug. 31 and Sept. 4.

A department spokeswoman would not say whether football was one of the affected programs.

Penn State football tight end Pat Freiermuth (87) and quarterback Sean Clifford (14) during practice in December.
CRAIG HOUTZ / For the Inquirer
Penn State football tight end Pat Freiermuth (87) and quarterback Sean Clifford (14) during practice in December.

Citing positive tests and “an abundance of caution," Penn State "has paused team activities for several programs and initiated standard isolation and precautionary quarantine,” it said in a statement. “Contact tracing is being performed and there is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 was transmitted during practice or training activities.”

The university reported Tuesday that the number of cases had doubled on its campuses since last Friday, to 433.

— Joe Juliano

7:10 PM - September 9, 2020
7:10 PM - September 9, 2020

Philly puts off reassessment due to pandemic-related issues

Philadelphia will not reassess properties next year due to complications caused by the pandemic, city officials announced Wednesday.

That move means that most property owners will keep their current assessments — and property tax bills, if the city’s tax rate remains the same.

Citywide reassessments completed in 2018 and 2019 sparked complaints from residents and criticism from City Council after thousands of property owners received substantial tax hikes as a result.

Rowhomes along North 18th Street in North Philadelphia; the city won't be reassessing residential properties this year.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Rowhomes along North 18th Street in North Philadelphia; the city won't be reassessing residential properties this year.

The city did not complete a revaluation this year; officials said they were instead focused on implementing a long-awaited technology project known as Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA). Training on that system has been delayed due to the pandemic, city officials said Wednesday. As employees of the Office of Property Assessment worked remotely, other work necessary for a revaluation was also delayed.

“I’m certain that opting to leave property values at current levels is the prudent action in light of a whole host of factors,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Kenney said the next citywide reassessment will be completed in 2022 and will take effect for tax bills in 2023.

— Laura McCrystal

5:28 PM - September 9, 2020
5:28 PM - September 9, 2020

Amid school-year upheaval, Philly to shift dozens of teachers

Dozens of Philadelphia School District teachers will soon be displaced from their schools and sent to new ones to account for shifts in enrollment, with some students set to lose their teachers a month into the term.

That the system will remove teachers from established classrooms during a pandemic, in a school year already marked by upheaval and uncertainty, has school communities and advocates aghast.

“The worst thing that you could probably do right now is to snatch teachers away from kids,” one principal said. “Our kids need consistency now.”

While other, better resourced districts have the means to keep class sizes small if fewer than anticipated children show up, and to hire additional teachers if rooms are crowded, that’s not a reality in Philadelphia, officials say, calling leveling distasteful but necessary, not just financially, but as a way to relieve overcrowding at some district schools.

Leveling - the process of moving teachers from school to school a month into the year to adjust for enrollment shifts - will be completed in Philadelphia by Oct. 5.
Jose F. Moreno / File Photograph
Leveling - the process of moving teachers from school to school a month into the year to adjust for enrollment shifts - will be completed in Philadelphia by Oct. 5.

Uri Monson, the school system’s chief financial officer, said the district has worked to minimize the effects of leveling, last year shifting 55 teachers — about a half a percent of the total teaching force — down from 85 the year prior. It approved 75 exceptions, paying about $9 million to keep teachers that technically should have been leveled in situations ranging from teachers with special training to those whose shifting would have disrupted students with autism.

With the pandemic, “everyone involved with this recognizes that we’re seeing new things each day, and we’re going to have to identify them, figure out what’s going on and be prepared to work around and make accommodations,” Monson said. “We’re trying to get the best data to make the best decisions under the worst possible circumstances.”

Kristen A. Graham

4:25 PM - September 9, 2020
4:25 PM - September 9, 2020

While other companies falter, Amazon aims to hire 33,000

In the latest sign of how it’s prospering while others are faltering during the pandemic, Amazon said Wednesday it is seeking to bring aboard 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months.

It’s the largest number of job openings it’s had at one time, and the Seattle-based online behemoth said the hiring is not related to the jobs it typically offers ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

Amazon can afford to grow its workforce: It is one of the few companies that has thrived during the coronavirus outbreak. People have turned to it to order groceries, supplies, and other items online, helping the company bring in record revenue and profits between April and June. That came even though it had to spend $4 billion on cleaning supplies and to pay workers overtime and bonuses.

FILE - In thisvfile photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. While other companies are shrinking, Amazon is growing.
Mark Lennihan / AP
FILE - In thisvfile photo, people stand in the lobby for Amazon offices in New York. While other companies are shrinking, Amazon is growing.

Demand has been so high, Amazon has struggled to deliver items as fast as it normally does and had to hire 175,000 more people to help pack and ship orders in its warehouses. Walmart and Target have also seen sales soar during the pandemic.

But other retailers have had a rougher time. J.C. Penney, J.Crew and Brooks Brothers have all gone bankrupt. And Lord & Taylor, which has been in business for nearly 200 years, recently said it will be closing its stores for good. Companies across other industries have announced buyouts or layoffs, including Coca-Cola and American Airlines.

Associated Press

4:25 PM - September 9, 2020
4:25 PM - September 9, 2020

Philadelphia judge bans tenant evictions for the next two weeks

Philadelphia tenants can’t be kicked out of their homes for the next two weeks, under an order issued Wednesday by Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Patrick F. Dugan.

In addition to banning residential evictions until Sept. 23, the order limits until Sept. 21 the number of eviction notices the city’s landlord-tenant officer can serve.

While officers are serving those notices that an eviction is coming, they must also serve notices explaining the new nationwide moratorium on many evictions for nonpayment of rent and give tenants the blank form they must fill out in order to be protected under the federal ban.

Community organizer Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture, with the Black Alliance for Peace and the Philadelphia Tenants Union, speaks at a rally in July.
Tom Grali / Staff Photographer
Community organizer Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture, with the Black Alliance for Peace and the Philadelphia Tenants Union, speaks at a rally in July.

Housing advocates had been asking for more time to allow renters facing eviction to meet the requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide moratorium. That ban took effect Friday, four days after Pennsylvania’s statewide eviction and foreclosure moratorium ended.

The city’s landlord-tenant court reopened last week to hear rescheduled cases. The federal eviction moratorium is more restrictive than Pennsylvania’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium.

Tenants must meet income requirements, face income loss or high medical bills, have tried to get rental assistance from the government, have tried to pay as much rent as they can afford, swear they would end up homeless or in cramped living conditions if evicted, and complete a form to give to their landlord.

— Michaelle Bond

4:03 PM - September 9, 2020
4:03 PM - September 9, 2020

'Head of remote work’ a new job title in the pandemic

Darren Murph might play relocation expert, helping co-workers leaving a big city like San Francisco think through which cheaper locales have good access to broadband.

He can be an executive coach, assisting senior leaders in structuring new projects in remote-friendly ways. He may serve as tech adviser (evaluating new messaging tools like Yac or Loom), communications pro (distilling work-from-home policies into remote work handbooks) or event planner (scoping out virtual team-building activities such as a group online cooking site).

Bottle Rocket, a firm best known for creating mobile apps and websites for dozens of well-known brands, adopted a new policy that will allow their employees to work from wherever they want. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Dreamstime / MCT
Bottle Rocket, a firm best known for creating mobile apps and websites for dozens of well-known brands, adopted a new policy that will allow their employees to work from wherever they want. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Murph’s job title - “head of remote” at the open-source software firm GitLab, which has been all-remote since 2011 - is not a common one. But the 36-year-old former tech editor and communications adviser believes it will soon become much more so.

As the pandemic has rapidly accelerated a move to remote work — and widespread work-from-home arrangements are predicted to become permanent over the long-haul — some tech companies are carving out new jobs for executives to act as advocates for virtual workers and think more broadly about a lasting remote future.

Washington Post

3:03 PM - September 9, 2020
3:03 PM - September 9, 2020

Philly courts hold first homicide trial since March

Philadelphia’s criminal courthouse on Wednesday hosted its first homicide trial since the pandemic curtailed operations in mid-March — and the proceedings were livestreamed on YouTube, a rare technological leap in a state that has long prohibited recordings or broadcasts from courtrooms.

The arrangement was something of a hybrid, with lawyers, court staffers, and jurors all sitting socially distant and behind various clear barriers in the courtroom of Common Pleas Court Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi. In order to maintain attendance limits, however, members of the public had to watch video of the case online.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Foster, donning a mask, addressed jurors shortly before 1 p.m., telling panel members “Crazy days, right?”

Defense attorney Nino Tinari said during his opening statement that the set up was “quite different from what we normally are used to.”

The District Attorney’s Office had sought to stop the case from being streamed online. In a motion, prosecutors wrote that doing so could be dangerous for witnesses in a city that has long been plagued by witness intimidation. And although the stream is set to be viewable only while the proceedings are happening, prosecutors said viewers could easily record and distribute copies, possibly re-traumatizing those connected to the case, or creating a permanent record online of allegations even if a defendant is acquitted.

They suggested several alternatives, such as holding the case in larger courtrooms to allow for limited public access, or broadcasting the case but making it viewable only in an unused courtroom reserved for interested members of the public. DeFino-Nastasi rejected those requests.

The trial concerns the February 2019 murder of Markeise Chandler in Olney. Khyzee Brown is accused of shooting Chandler after hanging out with him and another man that day. Foster did not provide a motive during his opening statement, but said the events surrounding the killing were caught on video. Tinari said the evidence did not prove that Brown was the man who killed Chandler and did not have a reason to do so.

Chris Palmer

2:50 PM - September 9, 2020
2:50 PM - September 9, 2020

Vaccine trials have inherent risks, as AstraZeneca setback shows

In this Wednesday, June 24, 2020 file photo, a volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.
Siphiwe Sibeko / AP
In this Wednesday, June 24, 2020 file photo, a volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.

One of the most promising coronavirus vaccines has stumbled, delivering a reality check about the odds of clinical development and the safety risks involved.

The news that AstraZeneca paused tests of its experimental shot after one patient became ill is a routine event for the pharma industry. It could be a harbinger of something worrisome or entirely unrelated to the vaccine.

But in a world crippled by the pandemic, the setback comes as a reminder that vaccines can fail, or worse, that they can sometimes deliver more harm than good — a disclaimer for politicians and governments promising that a Covid-19 fix is around the corner. Drugmakers just this week pledged to make safety a priority and take the time necessary to let science prevail.

The halt “shows the perils of rushing to market,” said Sam Fazeli, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, adding that no vaccine candidate is immune to such misfortunes, especially now that the experimental products are being injected in tens of thousands of people in the last crucial phase of clinical tests.

Bloomberg

2:35 PM - September 9, 2020
2:35 PM - September 9, 2020

Marriott to lay off 17% of corporate staff

The Marriott hotel in Center City Philadelphia is photographed on on Friday, March 20, 2020.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
The Marriott hotel in Center City Philadelphia is photographed on on Friday, March 20, 2020.

Marriott International Inc. plans to lay off 17% of its corporate workforce next month as the coronavirus continues to take a heavy toll on the hotel industry.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company confirmed Wednesday that it will lay off 673 workers late next month. Marriott has around 4,000 employees at its corporate headquarters.

The Associated Press

2:28 PM - September 9, 2020
2:28 PM - September 9, 2020

Eagles, NFL to kick off this weekend despite virus fears

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) puts on his face mask as he walks past quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) during practice at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) puts on his face mask as he walks past quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) during practice at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

Training camp amid the pandemic went better than even some of the most optimistic NFL observers would have predicted, with the league’s COVID-19 reserve list dwindling steadily from 66 players at the end of July to fewer than half a dozen as the week of the season openers arrived.

Doomsday scenarios envisioned when camps opened — players, free overnight from the rigorous prevention protocols of their practice facilities, going out and then bringing infection back to their teammates and coaches — didn’t happen.

So, in the league, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, has about $6 billion in TV revenue at stake, optimism abounds that the NFL can complete a 16-game schedule, plus playoffs, on schedule, if teams and players remain vigilant. That was the tone of a letter NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter sent to his membership at the end of August.

“From August 12-20, there were a total of 58,397 COVID tests conducted on both players and staff members across the NFL. There were zero positive tests among players and just six among other personnel,” Tretter wrote. “That data is a testament to the protocols jointly developed and the effort made by every person who steps into each team’s facility to make good choices.”

But Tretter also cautioned: “It is not an exaggeration to say that one person’s actions can shut our whole league down. … We are so close to kicking off the season. The diligence and commitment we have shown in the past month must be matched from here on out if we are going to make it through a full season.”

Les Bowen

1:38 PM - September 9, 2020
1:38 PM - September 9, 2020

Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans, a new book reports

President Donald Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

— Washington Post

12:42 PM - September 9, 2020
12:42 PM - September 9, 2020

Philadelphia announces 68 additional cases

Philadelphia announced 68 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday.

The city also announced one additional death due to the coronavirus. A total of 1,764 Philadelphia residents have died of the virus to date, and the city has a total of 34,809 confirmed cases.

- Laura McCrystal

12:11 PM - September 9, 2020
12:11 PM - September 9, 2020

Pa. adds 931 cases, nearly 200 in county that’s home to Penn State

Beaver Stadium, home to the Penn State Nittany Lions football team, is photographed on the university's campus in State College on Sept. 3, 2020.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Beaver Stadium, home to the Penn State Nittany Lions football team, is photographed on the university's campus in State College on Sept. 3, 2020.

Pennsylvania on Wednesday reported an additional 931 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 180 in Centre County, which is home to Penn State’s main campus.

The university said Tuesday that its case count doubled over the Labor Day weekend to 433. It was unclear whether the 180 additional cases reported to the commonwealth on Wednesday were in addition to those 433.

Penn State has yet to decide whether it move to remote learning, either temporarily or for the rest of the semester, but administrators said they were considering it as cases rose.

As summer ends, children of all ages return to school in some form, and fall weather makes its entrance, Secretary of Health Rachel Levine reiterated the importance of following her department’s coronavirus rules to mitigate a potential second wave of infections.

“The mitigation efforts in place now are essential to saving lives and keeping our kids in school,” she said in as statement. “Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and following the requirements set forth in the orders for bars and restaurants, gatherings, and telework will help keep our case counts low.”

Pennsylvania on Wednesday also reported 14 additional deaths from virus-related complications. In all, the commonwealth has seen at least 141,290 sickened and 7,805 residents have died since the pandemic began in March.

Erin McCarthy

10:07 AM - September 9, 2020
10:07 AM - September 9, 2020

Nursing students say Penn’s virtual clinical training was inadequate and overpriced

The inside of Clair M. Fagin Hall at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Sept., 8, 2020.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Staff Photographer
The inside of Clair M. Fagin Hall at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Sept., 8, 2020.

A group of students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing have published an open letter to administrators outlining what they see as a failure to provide adequate financial and academic support as well as clinical training during COVID-19.

As of Tuesday morning, 125 students had signed the Aug. 24 letter, published on Wordpress. It calls for issuing each student an itemized bill outlining the costs of clinical training, a refund of all clinical-related fees for summer 2020 and a retroactive 10% reduction of the general fee, in line with what Penn has instituted for the fall semester. The letter also calls for regular meetings between a nursing student working group and administrators to discuss how the School of Nursing can offer more effective academic and financial support.

In the letter, students said that they had been without the resources and instruction comparable to what the School of Nursing, currently ranked by one leading authority as the top nursing school in the world, provides under normal circumstances. Despite the lack of in-person simulation lab training, which allows students to practice their skills in realistic situations, or clinical training since March 5, tuition and fees have not been reduced.

Bethany Ao

9:54 AM - September 9, 2020
9:54 AM - September 9, 2020

When are COVID-19 patients no longer contagious? It’s complicated.

Volunteers provide coronavirus testing for any Delaware County resident over the age 18 at the parking lot next to Providence Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center on the Mercy Fitzgerald Campus in Yeadon Pa. Thursday, July 9, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Volunteers provide coronavirus testing for any Delaware County resident over the age 18 at the parking lot next to Providence Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center on the Mercy Fitzgerald Campus in Yeadon Pa. Thursday, July 9, 2020.

With new information about the coronavirus coming out every week, it can be hard to keep track of the details you need to keep your family safe.

Among them: For how long is the virus contagious? Do I have to stay home as long as I have symptoms? Is it possible to get reinfected?

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

Doctors and researchers are finding that one of the most challenging aspects of treating the coronavirus is that it affects patients differently.

Adding to the confusion, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early August said that people can continue to test positive for up to three months after a COVID-19 diagnosis and not be infectious.

Sarah Gantz

9:30 AM - September 9, 2020
9:30 AM - September 9, 2020

Vaccinations could start ‘in earnest’ in early 2021, Fauci says

In this Monday, July 27, 2020 file photo, a nurse prepares a shot as a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway in Binghamton, N.Y.
Hans Pennink / AP
In this Monday, July 27, 2020 file photo, a nurse prepares a shot as a study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway in Binghamton, N.Y.

As some federal officials push for a coronavirus vaccine to be distributed by November, the country’s top infectious disease expert said he hopes vaccinations will start “in earnest” by early next year.

“The projection that I’ve made and I’ll stick by it is that we would likely get an answer whether this is safe and effective by the end of the year, likely November or December," Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “Is it conceivable that we could find out earlier? Let’s say October? Certainly that’s possible. I think it’s unlikely.”

“Hopefully we will be able to begin vaccinations in earnest as we begin 2021,” he added.

Fauci said he believed that politics would not get in the way of scientific decisions regarding the release of a vaccine, due to standards in place for emergency use authorizations and advisory boards that are consulted.

As for the temporary suspension of AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial, Fauci said “serious adverse events” like what happened with a volunteer in this case are “not uncommon at all" and often are related to something else aside from the vaccine.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll work it out and be able to proceed along the remainder of the trial. But you don’t know. They need to investigate it further."

Erin McCarthy

8:00 AM - September 9, 2020
8:00 AM - September 9, 2020

Illegal trash dumps are a big problem in rural Pa.

Officer A. Cruz, with Monroe County Municipal Authority,. at an illegal dump of used tires along 611 in Swiftwater, PA on Wednesday, August 2, 2020.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Officer A. Cruz, with Monroe County Municipal Authority,. at an illegal dump of used tires along 611 in Swiftwater, PA on Wednesday, August 2, 2020.

POCONO TWP., Pa. — Trash pickup is more complicated in rural parts of Pennsylvania. For urban and suburban areas, trash is something few residents have to think about, unless pickup is delayed. But in many areas of the state, homeowners have to find their own trash hauler. They pay a monthly fee that can rise depending on how much trash they put out. Some rural townships and housing developments even require homeowners to drive their trash to a dump, where they pay by the bag.

“The weekly pick up and removal of your waste is a miraculous thing, and it’s tremendously underappreciated,” said John Hambrose, a spokesman for Waste Management, the largest waste hauler in the country.

The added steps required for trash disposal and pickup in rural Pennsylvania mean some residents find ways to avoid it by dumping or burning, which is illegal in Monroe County. During the pandemic, as more people are home and some, perhaps out of work, are looking to save money, there’s been an uptick in reports of illegal dumping.

Jason Nark

7:53 AM - September 9, 2020
7:53 AM - September 9, 2020

COVID vaccine studies halted for now after potential side effect

This July 18, 2020, file photo, shows the AstraZeneca offices in Cambridge, England. AstraZeneca announced Aug. 31 that its vaccine candidate has entered the final testing stage in the U.S.
Alastair Grant / AP
This July 18, 2020, file photo, shows the AstraZeneca offices in Cambridge, England. AstraZeneca announced Aug. 31 that its vaccine candidate has entered the final testing stage in the U.S.

Late-stage studies of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate are on temporary hold while the company investigates whether a recipient’s “potentially unexplained” illness is a side effect of the shot.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the company said its “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.”

AstraZeneca didn’t reveal any information about the possible side effect except to call it “a potentially unexplained illness.” The health news site STAT first reported the pause in testing, saying the possible side effect occurred in the United Kingdom.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson confirmed the pause in vaccinations covers studies in the U.S. and other countries. Late last month, AstraZeneca began recruiting 30,000 people in the U.S. for its largest study of the vaccine. It also is testing the vaccine, developed by Oxford University, in thousands of people in Britain, and in smaller studies in Brazil and South Africa.

Associated Press

7:32 AM - September 9, 2020
7:32 AM - September 9, 2020

Air travel is down amid the pandemic, but cargo flights are up in Philly

An American Airlines plane lands at Philadelphia International Airport on July 18, 2019.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
An American Airlines plane lands at Philadelphia International Airport on July 18, 2019.

American Airlines is adding more flights from Philadelphia to Europe this month. But those planes won’t be taking passengers across the Atlantic — they will be ferrying cargo.

The air carrier flew three cargo-only flights a week from Philadelphia International Airport in August. That figure will be increased to 30 flights a week in September, to six European cities: Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Milan, Dublin, Rome, and Zurich.

As the pandemic continues to cut into passenger air travel, cargo activity is emerging as a bright spot. In July, PHL’s passenger traffic was down 72.8% compared with July 2019, while cargo tonnage at PHL went up 5.6%. Shipments of personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and e-commerce have contributed to the boost.

Catherine Dunn

7:17 AM - September 9, 2020
7:17 AM - September 9, 2020

Pa. restaurants may soon expand capacity, but Philly could still restrict

An unidentified man eats a the restaurant counter during the first day of reopened indoor dinning at the Melrose Diner in Philadelphia, Pa. Tuesday, September, 8, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
An unidentified man eats a the restaurant counter during the first day of reopened indoor dinning at the Melrose Diner in Philadelphia, Pa. Tuesday, September, 8, 2020.

Some Philadelphia eateries welcomed customers into their dining rooms — though others stuck with only takeout — as city restaurants on Tuesday were permitted to open for inside dining for the first time in nearly six months.

As the city resumed indoor dining, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that restaurants statewide can increase indoor occupancy from 25% capacity to 50% on Sept. 21 if they complete the state’s online coronavirus safety certification. But the state added a new restriction: starting in two weeks, restaurants and bars must stop alcohol sales at 10 p.m.

Philadelphia officials were quick to caution that the city may not follow along with the state’s plans for expanding indoor dining. Farley said he would review the new state guidelines.

“As the city that was hit hardest by this epidemic, we have been more restrictive” than elsewhere in the state, Farley said, “and we will continue to be more restrictive if we feel it is necessary.”

Justine McDaniel, Erin McCarthy, Oona Goodin-Smith