In the six months since Gov. Tom Wolf announced statewide shutdowns of nonessential businesses, everyone has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in one way or another. My colleagues spoke to six individuals from different walks of life to find out, in their own words, how their lives have been interrupted. You can read those stories here and learn more about the project below.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

Life Interrupted: Oral histories from six months of pandemic lockdown

Six months ago, Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses to close as the coronavirus spread. My colleagues talked to six people to hear their stories of how the first half-year of the pandemic has interrupted their lives. From a bartender and a jazz singer to a high school ballet dancer and CEO, these are their stories in their own words.

Workers at Rivers Casino Philadelphia complain of coronavirus secrecy and lax safety

Employees at Rivers Casino Philadelphia had to make adjustments when the casino reopened its doors this summer. Salaried workers took 15% pay cuts. Everyone who thought they might have COVID-19 had to alert the HR department. But, they were explicitly told not to tell their immediate supervisors why they wouldn’t come in.

Those who returned to the Fishtown casino say that the mandated secrecy is symbolic of how management has run Rivers this summer. Current and recently resigned workers spoke to my colleague Vinny Vella about their fears of infection while relying on rumors for their safety and that of their families.

Chester County will notify thousands of ‘questionable’ COVID-19 test results

At first, Chester County officials denied problems with their $13 million coronavirus antibody testing program. But on Tuesday, they acknowledged that the tests produced “potentially inaccurate” results that the county kept secret from the public — and from those who took the tests.

The county said this week that it will reach out to those who received “questionable test results” and will put a consultant in charge of reviewing the purchase of the antibody tests from a local biotech startup.

The change follows my colleagues Marie McCullough and William Bender’s report that showed Chester County spent $13 million in federal pandemic aid on a no-bid contract with the Malvern-based firm at the suggestion of a local state senator.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

This shot is both eerie and beautiful. Thanks for sharing, @shambo.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting


“Some might call it procrastination, or denial. I call it a necessary respite from all the bad news and tweets and posts about how much we’ve lost, a moment to find a little joy in someone else’s win, big or small.” — writes columnist Helen Ubiñas about “joyscrolling.”

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | ‘Nothing but watermelons’

Carter Watermelon, a stand in Southwest Philly, has been a family business for over 70 years. My colleague Craig LaBan talked to the Carters about picking the best watermelons (hint: “It’s all about the vibrations”), their generations of great fruit, and their civil rights legacy.