Welcome to the “green” phase, Philadelphia. Starting today, the city and its surrounding counties will be in Pennsylvania’s last and least restrictive reopening phase, though somewhat modified in the city. Salons, swimming pools, and zoos can resume business, and small religious gatherings can be held. But Philly Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said safety precautions remain paramount and the city could “take steps back” if coronavirus case numbers surge again. Cases in Philadelphia have decreased over the last few weeks — but nationally, 34,000 new cases were reported Thursday, nearing an all-time high set in April.
We’re tracking the spread of the virus in the Philly area. See numbers by county, charts, graphs and more here.
After weeks of defending the decision to let Philadelphia police use tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets on protesters gathered on the Vine Street Expressway, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney abruptly apologized Thursday. They called the use of force on that day “unjustifiable” and admitted that they had offered incorrect and uncorroborated explanations for why officers resorted to the tactics.
Also on Thursday, City Council unanimously voted to hold hearings on the police response to the protests. Before their annual summer vacation, lawmakers also approved bills that aim to strengthen oversight of the Police Department, diversify its ranks and curtail the unlawful use of stop-and-frisk. Council will tackle two more police accountability bills when it returns in the fall.
The Borough of Gettysburg does not display the Confederate flag, but it’s a symbol that about a million tourists a year see when visiting. The town is home to Gettysburg National Military Park, which features about two dozen monuments dedicated to the Confederacy and its soldiers. Unaffiliated gift shops stock Confederate bath mats and bikinis, and burgers named after Confederate generals are on the menu at a local bar.
Now, with the nationwide push to take down symbols of the Confederacy, the town of Gettysburg is facing the question of why anyone flies a rebel flag at all.
Today is the first day of the green phase for the Philly area. However, Philadelphia itself is in a modified green phase, with a few additional restrictions. The loosened restrictions will allow many businesses in the area to open for the first time in three months, including nail and hair salons, tattoo studios, and some retail locations.
My colleague Katie Park asked some Philly business owners how they’re preparing for reopening and what they expect for their first day back.
Here’s a beautiful view of the Shore you can safely see from your home. Thanks for sharing, @elevated. angles!
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!
“Black transgender women are the mothers not just of movements (including the turning point at Stonewall) and ballroom houses, but mothers, too, of a story not often amplified by society. They hold the histories of our queer Black communities.” — West Philly organizer and writer Abdul-Aliy Muhammad writes about the death of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a Philadelphia Black trans woman.