Today, protests against business closures that have taken place across the country are coming to Philadelphia. Multiple groups plan to gather at City Hall and demand a plan to reopen the city. Officials are urging residents to “stay the course” as coronavirus statistics improve in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Lea DiRusso spent her 28-year teaching career at two South Philadelphia elementary schools. The schools had crumbling asbestos that was largely papered over for decades. Nine months ago, DiRusso was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos. It’s incurable. She wants her death to mean something, her diagnosis to be an impetus for Philadelphia to finally rid its schools of the carcinogen.
DiRusso said she imagined a silver lining when schools closed in March due to the coronavirus. The district would have the time to carefully remove asbestos. But since the shutdown, the district has still grappled with high levels of airborne asbestos. One of the schools with a contamination is also a city-designated site for families to pick up meals once a week during the pandemic.
Since the lockdown began, Pennsylvania has paid out more than $5.34 billion in unemployment benefits, officials said Monday. More than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians have now filed claims. And the need is rapidly depleting unemployment funds, which will force many states to borrow money to make up the difference.
With so many Pennsylvanians out of work, Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order extending a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through July 10. It was originally set to expire Monday. Wolf said the extension is a public-health necessity to make sure people stay in their homes to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday reversed the convictions of two onetime allies of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The two were involved in the political scandal known as “Bridgegate,” and had faced or even served prison time.
Their convictions stemmed from a 2013 scheme in which prosecutors alleged that they had caused massive traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge in order to exact retribution against a New Jersey mayor for his refusal to endorse Christie’s reelection campaign.
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“I’m a strict coronavirus rule follower, but choosing between following the rules and feeding your family is not a choice. And while claiming a God-given right to haircuts is an idiotic thing to protest about when thousands of people are dying every day, closing barbershops that are vital in communities for so many reasons beyond a close cut make this national isolation even harder.” — writes Inquirer columnist Helen Ubiñas on local barbers saying the mandatory corona shutdowns have created Prohibition 2.0.