Tomorrow is somehow already August, but let’s talk about June’s primary instead. Elections officials and voting-rights advocates warned Pennsylvania that its mail ballot deadlines were too tight for the election. They said it could prevent voters from being able to cast a ballot — and they were right.
It’s not just the polls that are closed. Citizens Bank Park shut its doors until further notice after two Phillies staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. But if the team does get the OK to play next week, it could be rained out as a tropical storm approaches the Philly area.
Requests for mail ballots skyrocketed for the Pennsylvania primary in June. That’s because of two big factors: a new law allowed requests without having to provide a reason, and the coronavirus pandemic made voting in person more risky. Elections officials were not ready.
County offices struggled to quickly process applications, and print and send ballots. Mail delivery was uneven and often delayed. Voters whose applications were processed within three weeks of the election had a lower chance of actually voting. That means about 92,000 voters were disenfranchised, according to an Inquirer analysis.
Thousands of restaurant workers were laid off due to the pandemic, including employees at Philly’s V Street. When these workers heard that their ownership was approved for substantial paycheck protection loans, they organized. They asked for changes to working conditions, pay disparities, and workplace culture as a reopening was planned.
This highlights a new obstacle for restaurant owners, who are struggling to address questions about their treatment of staff. Because returning to work now poses a serious health risk, many restaurant workers don’t want to accept the status quo anymore.
Two Phillies employees tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, prompting the team to close its stadium and postpone its series against the Blue Jays. The team conducts daily testing to monitor the fallout from last week’s series against the Miami Marlins.
All Phillies players have tested negative so far, but it could take up to two weeks for an infected person to test positive. These positive tests are calling into question whether the team can play a full 60-game season in 2020.
What you need to know today
Philly’s school year will officially begin with only virtual learning, after the school board approved the proposal.
Florida is under a tropical storm watch and the storm, named Isaias, could affect the Philly region early next week.
My colleague Jonathan Tamari explains how Sen. Pat Toomey is walking a political tightrope on President Donald Trump’s threat to send federal agents to Philadelphia. (Also, in case you were wondering, Trump literally can’t change the date of the presidential election.)
Only 5% of loans from Pennsylvania’s first coronavirus loan program went to nonwhite small business owners. This time, officials are looking to make it more equitable.
Dunkin’ plans to close 800 stores across the U.S. as the pandemic has hurt sales.
Neighbors of Pennsylvania’s Wissahickon Valley Park are planning a rally to get help with handling large crowds that are bringing unexpected trash and noise to the area.
Through your eyes | #OurPhilly
Dopamine, indeed. This photo brought me some calm, so I hope it does the same for you today. Thanks for sharing, @strangerphilly!
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!
🥡 How Philly’s new food-delivery law changes the rules for Doordash, Grubhub, and other delivery services.
🍺 Manny Brown’s has been a fixture on South Street for decades. Neighboring business owners say it looks like it might close. Have we seen the last of the bar?
💕 What will sex, dating, and marriage look like on the other side of the pandemic? My colleague Samantha Melamed explores.
🎽 Six of the 76ers will wear social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys when they play the Pacers this weekend.
🎻 One of the first orchestras in North America to reconvene since the lockdown is the Metropolitan Orchestra of Montreal, and you can watch its professionally produced virtual concert series starting today.
🏘️ About 45% of people have bought a home without seeing it in person in the past year. That number is likely to grow during the pandemic, according to a study.
“It would help in that mission if our policy leaders began to think deeper and realize that DHS wasn’t only one spectacularly bad idea, but symbolic of a militaristic society that can find the directions to send armed forces to Iraq and then to El Paso and finally Portland — yet utterly lacks a moral compass.” — writes Will Bunch about how, from 9/11 to Portland, it was inevitable that “Homeland Security” would be turned on the American people.
What’s best for Philly schools this year? Three educators weighed in on virtual and hybrid learning and what the district could do to make them feel safe. [Are you an educator? Tell the opinion team what you think here.]
Utility shutdowns are the COVID-19 consumer threat no one’s talking about, writes Emma Horst-Martz, a campaign associate for PennPRIG, the statewide consumer organization protecting Pennsylvanians’ health, safety, and well-being from special interests.
What we’re reading
Civil rights leader John Lewis died on July 17, but he wrote an essay shortly before his death that he asked to be published on the day of his funeral — yesterday. Read his last words, as published in the New York Times.
NASA launched a new rover headed for Mars yesterday morning. About 20 scientists, engineers, graduate and undergraduate students at Arizona State University contributed to the mission, as reported by the Arizona Republic.
A Fishtown couple filled their wedding with their own creative, handmade touches. The bride made her own vases using bits of Philly rocks. Check it out in Philadelphia Magazine.
Your Daily Dose of | Stabatha the cat
Kyle Cassidy was certain he would find the stray cat, later named Stabatha, that frequented his West Philly porch a home in three days or less. In June, he posted pictures of her on social media to his thousands of followers, but didn’t get any interest. So now, he is commissioning portraits of Stabatha from local artists in the hope that the cat will get adopted. Some of this artwork can be seen in the photo above and right here too.