TL;DR: New Jersey will allow gyms to reopen Sept. 1, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today, with rules like capacity limits, mandated mask wearing, and well-maintained logs so that contact tracers can track people efficiently in the event of an outbreak. Summer camps, gyms, skating rinks, and dance studios are converting their spaces into makeshift day-care centers where students can log on for virtual classes as many districts in the region opt to start the school year online.

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

📉 The positivity rate in Pennsylvania has dropped below 3% as new cases continue to decline in the commonwealth. Philly reported 116 new cases and 13 additional deaths Wednesday.

🎢 New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that indoor amusement parks can reopen, and he hopes to make announcement soon on indoor dining and movie theaters.

😷 Penn State reported today that one student-athlete tested positive for COVID-19, out of 261 tested from Aug. 17 to 21. Nine tests are pending.

🗑️ Philly is hiring workers to help with late trash pickup. But even that is delayed.

⚕️ “You’ve got to do something”: Pennsylvania rehab facilities are buckling and beginning to close under the strain of COVID-19.

🥡 Why aren’t there more local delivery guys? Restaurants discover the challenges of making it work in-house.

📰 What’s going on in your county? We organized recent coverage of the coronavirus pandemic by local counties mentioned in the stories to make it easier for you to find the info you care about.

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.

New Jersey will allow gyms to reopen Sept. 1, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today, with rules like capacity limits, mandated mask wearing, and, well-maintained logs so that contact tracers can track people efficiently in the event of an outbreak. Murphy thanked responsible gym owners, and criticized ‘knuckleheads,” in an apparent reference to the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, where the owners have repeatedly reopened in defiance of state guidelines. “Gyms are among the most challenging of indoor environments,” Murphy said. “But given where we are in this fight, we believe we are ready to take this step forward. I know this has been a long time coming.”

For many in the Philadelphia region, the school year is starting with online instruction, creating a major question for parents: what to do with their children learning virtually at home? Summer camps, gyms, skating rinks, and dance studios are converting their spaces into makeshift day-care centers where students can log on for virtual classes. One program from South Jersey, XL Sports camp, plans to enroll about 150 students in grades K through 7 at each location from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. this fall for $55 a day or $35 for a half day. “We’re trying to offer a solution to working families to give them an alternative,” XL Sports manager Lynne Prairie said. “There’s a huge need.”

Helpful resources

You got this: Can you quarantine with friends?

An Inquirer reader recently asked us through our Curious Philly portal if they could quarantine with friends if they all were exposed to COVID-19 by the same person. Dr. Michael LeVasseur, a visiting assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health, responded by saying: “No, no. No, no, no. No, no.” Read why here.

🍦 Ice cream sodas are a throwback treat invented in Philly. Here are four places to find them.

🍽️ Is everyone (really) ready for indoor dining?

📚 CHOP doctors share tips for how to go back to school safely.

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

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