TL;DR: On a beautiful Saturday, the Philadelphia region got a taste of normality as the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey allowed residents to play golf this weekend for the first time since they issued stay-at-home orders. Gov. Phil Murphy also reopened parks, and urged New Jerseyans to refrain from “knucklehead behavior” and to practice social distancing outside.

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— Andrew Seidman (@andrewseidman,

What you need to know:

🔒It is “impossible to judge” when stay-at-home orders in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties will be lifted, Health Secretary Rachel Levine said Saturday.

💰Mayor Jim Kenney is defending his proposal for tax hikes, layoffs, and service reductions to fill Philadelphia’s $649 million budget hole. “Frankly, I’m angry and disappointed, too,” he said Friday.

👮Philadelphia police say they will again make arrests for some low-level crimes, like burglary and theft, reversing a policy put in place earlier in the pandemic.

👐Americans are on the move again, indicating that adherence to stay-at-home orders may be wearing off as the pandemic drags on, according to an Inquirer analysis of cell phone location data.

🍎A retired Philadelphia social worker is delivering food to neighbors while she observes Ramadan.

Local coronavirus cases

📈As of Saturday evening, there are hundreds of reported cases in the Philadelphia area. Track the spread here.

  • PHILADELPHIA: 15,527 confirmed cases
  • SUBURBAN PA: 13,137 confirmed cases
  • SOUTH JERSEY: 7,986 confirmed cases

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy allowed parks and golf courses to reopen Saturday, a day after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf gave residents on his side of the Delaware River the green light to hit the links as long as they practiced social distancing.

After weeks of following stay-at-home orders, hundreds embraced the chance to whack some balls and smoke cigars. “I felt like I was a 10-year-old kid,” one golfer in South Jersey said.

Murphy warned he would not hesitate to close parks and courses again if he needed to.

In Philadelphia, African Americans account for a disproportionate share of coronavirus-linked deaths. That’s not surprising to researchers and doctors who have worked in communities of color for years and know these inequities are not new or unique to the virus.

Frustrated by what they described as government inaction, some people are trying to change things. One Philadelphia physician and her team of volunteer nurses and doctors have administered more than 2,000 tests at seven churches and mobile sites in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Helpful resources

You got this: In the time of corona, don’t wait for permission to do good

Colin Morgan, right, and his friends, Owen Mercurio, left, and Beth Boyle, center, prepare to install a portable hand-washing sink for homeless people to use on 49th Street near Grays Avenue on Tuesday.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Colin Morgan, right, and his friends, Owen Mercurio, left, and Beth Boyle, center, prepare to install a portable hand-washing sink for homeless people to use on 49th Street near Grays Avenue on Tuesday.

There are lots of lessons to be learned from the pandemic, my colleague Helen Ubiñas writes, but she hopes one that sticks is just how easy it is to do good. “Don’t wait,” she writes. Helen got some inspiration from Colin Morgan and his friends, who have raised money to purchase more than a dozen portable sinks to help homeless people wash their hands.

🦟 Need to get your mind off the pandemic for a moment? Shift it to another plague sweeping the state: spotted lanternflies.

🚚 Here’s a list of local Philly stores that deliver groceries, meat, dairy, coffee beans and more.

😷Wearing a face mask isn’t always enjoyable. Here’s how to do it in hot weather.

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

  • New York magazine asks: “Why is it that nearly all efforts to project the future shape of the pandemic seem unable to see more than a week or two into the future?”
  • An Oral History of the Day Everything Changed: Wired looks back on March 11, 2020, a day “unlike any other in American history”
  • The Pandemic Isn’t Bringing Out the Best in People. It’s Showing People as They Truly Are. Read the latest from Philly Mag.

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