TL;DR: Philadelphia is expected to move into the “yellow” phase next week, meaning some of the restrictions on businesses that have been in place since March can lift. Mayor Jim Kenney released a plan for what to expect, and said residents should still avoid large gatherings.

— Allison Steele (@AESteele,

What you need to know:

🛑 34 Pennsylvania counties will be in the “green” phase of reopening by the end of next week, Gov. Tom Wolf said, as Philadelphia and its surrounding counties move to “yellow." Wolf vowed to open schools this fall, but said that could involve a mix of online and in-person classes. In the event of a second wave of the virus, Wolf said, “We cannot do a lockdown."

🔓 New Jersey child-care centers, camps and other businesses can re-open starting next month, Gov. Phil Murphy said. The state also reversed its stance on graduation ceremonies, and will allow drive-in and drive-through celebrations starting next month.

🚗 The Philadelphia Parking Authority will start enforcing meters again on June 8.

😷 Sen. Bob Casey tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which suggests he had a mild case of the virus earlier this year. He said he will donate his plasma to antibody studies.

☑️ Following President Trump’s lead, many Pennsylvania Republicans aren’t opting for mail-in voting.

Local coronavirus cases

📈The coronavirus has swept across the Philadelphia region and cases continue to mount. The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on tests conducted, cases confirmed, and deaths caused by the virus. Track the spread here.

Calling it a “mini-step forward,” Mayor Kenney offered guidance for businesses that can reopen next week, such as allowing no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet in stores, wiping down frequently touched surfaces, spacing cash registers six feet apart, and offering customers hand sanitizer upon entry.

Office-based businesses, manufacturing, and retail can reopen. Child care centers, outdoor day camps, and warehouse operations can also resume. Bars and restaurants will remain closed, and with the virus still spreading in the city, Kenney said residents should still remain home as much as possible.

“We’re ready to put our toe in the water and see how everybody behaves and how everybody reacts,” he said."

Before COVID-19 made in-person medical care risky, efforts were already underway to expand access to abortion pills through telemedicine and mail-order pharmacies. Now, a historically divisive political issue has become a matter of public health, and those efforts are accelerating.

Helpful resources

You got this: Get ready for life in the ‘yellow’ phase

Runners and others gather at the Race Street Pier in May.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Runners and others gather at the Race Street Pier in May.

As more Pennsylvania counties emerge from red, shelter-in-place status, restaurants will open for outdoor dining. Child care services will resume. You could shop or even see some of your friends again. But experts say we should remain vigilant and continue following safety guidelines.

🌿 One South Jersey chef has turned foraging for ingredients into a new father-son bonding routine.

🏀 A ninth-grader at St. Joseph’s prep is drawing a numbered professional athlete for every day of quarantine.

💰 Did you get a fake-looking stimulus debit card in the mail? Don’t toss it, it’s real.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

What we’re paying attention to

  • Here’s what we have to do to show a coronavirus vaccine works, according to the MIT Technology Review.
  • The CDC says choirs singing in houses of worship can spread the coronavirus. This week, the Trump administration removed that warning from reopening guidelines.
  • The landlord for an Old Navy in Center City Philadelphia is suing the company for rent that has gone unpaid during the pandemic.

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