WEATHER: Philadelphia: mostly sunny, high of 90; Harrisburg: mostly sunny, high of 90; Pittsburgh: mostly sunny, high of 87.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* City of Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley on Friday warned that as it stands, Philly is not ready to move into the modified “green” phase on July 3. In an effort to mitigate what looks like a potential rise in COVID spread, he announced mandatory mask-wearing order for the city, effective immediately. The caution stems from a few things, including the massive surge in other regions of the country, and an uptick in positivity rate within the city itself – which appears most prevalent among residents 20 years old or younger. In Philadelphia, after a month and a half of steady decline, the 7-day average positivity rate has plateaued around 5% or 6%, Billy Penn reports.
* Allegheny County officials Sunday ordered all bars and restaurants in Allegheny County to halt on-premises alcohol consumption in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the Tribune-Review reports.
* Allegheny County health officials today reported 96 new COVID-19 cases, the second straight day that it has posted a record number of infections. The Health Department report continues a string of nine days of elevated infections that began about two weeks after the county entered the green phase of reopening from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. Saturday's report of 90 new infections had previously been the highest daily total since * Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians are still waiting to receive the unemployment compensation they applied for months ago when the COVID-19 pandemic began, WHYY reports.
the county recorded its first case, March 14, WESA reports.
* Against the backdrop of a clash between Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-led state legislature that has reached the Commonwealth’s highest court, as well as statewide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a pair of constitutional amendments – one addressing emergency powers, the other addressing racial equality – has passed the Pennsylvania Senate and awaits consideration in the House of Representatives, the PA Post reports.
* State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on Friday defended her agency’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak inside the nursing homes and personal care facilities that account for almost 70% of the state’s nearly 6,600 fatalities.
Criticism from Republicans has been focused on the state’s policy that sent recovering patients back to nursing homes after being treated in hospitals. The policy was described as “deadly” in a letter sent Thursday to the state’s attorney general, signed by most of Pennsylvania’s Republican members of Congress, WITF reports.
* In a passionate but peaceful rally in West Philadelphia’s Malcolm X Park on Sunday, activists called for the release of Black prisoners who they said have been unjustly incarcerated since the days of Frank Rizzo, the former mayor and police commissioner known for his aggressive policing tactics in the city’s African American communities, the Inquirer reports.
* In the wake of Mayor Jim Kenney’s apology for the teargassing of a peaceful protest on I-676 earlier this month, residents and officials from the West Philadelphia neighborhood where police also deployed tear gas are demanding answers as well, the Inquirer reports.
* The National Park Service released a statement Friday saying the agency will not alter, relocate, obscure or remove any monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park, even “when they are deemed inaccurate or incompatible with prevailing present-day values.” The statement, released onto the park’s website, describes the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg as representing an “important, if controversial, chapter in our nation’s history,” PennLive reports.
* Republican state lawmakers are defending the natural gas industry following the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that found the Department of Environmental Protection failed to protect the public from the health effects of fracking, WITF reports.
* With people driving less, PennDOT is putting the brakes on some road and bridge projects, PennLive reports.
* The Inquirer calls for more contact tracing as fast as possible as one of the best and only ways to catch up to and overtake the coronavirus.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: … PA Supreme Court Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday to firstname.lastname@example.org
1 p.m. - the PA Senate reconvenes. Main Capitol, Harrisburg.
1:15 p.m. - Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine will visit the UPMC Pinnacle Community Osteopathic Hospital to thank all health care workers and hospital staff for their essential role in protecting Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be joined by administrators and staff from UPMC Pinnacle Community Osteopathic Hospital to discuss the importance of mask-wearing as the commonwealth continues its measured, phased reopening. 4300 Londonderry Road, Harrisburg. The event will take place outside, in the parking lot directly across John Bonitz Drive from the hospital main entrance.
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KICKER: “Through this pandemic, we have shown that there are gaps in our ability to govern during these times.” – PA Sen. Lisa Boscola. From the PA Post.