WEATHER: Philadelphia: partly cloudy, high of 59; Harrisburg: partly cloudy, high of 56; Pittsburgh: partly cloudy, high of 52.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday ordered residents of Pennsylvania's hardest-hit areas to stay home for at least two weeks to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus that has already sickened hundreds and caused six deaths statewide. Noting that Philadelphia has already ordered residents to remain home, Wolf issued his own stay-at-home order for the counties around the city; for Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh; and for Monroe County in the Pocono Mountains, the AP reports.
* Also on Monday, Gov. Wolf ordered schools to remain closed until at least April 6 to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Now, educators and administrators are working to figure out how to best deliver instruction to all students, regardless of income level or internet access, PennLive reports.
* The City of Philadelphia is planning to turn a Center City hotel into Philadelphia’s first coronavirus quarantine site, and use it to house homeless people who test positive for the virus, according to two people with knowledge of the plans, the Inquirer reports.
* The state legislature is pledging transparency as it prepares to vote remotely on coronavirus relief, Spotlight PA reports.
* U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey wants to spend more and his fellow senator from the Keystone State, Bob Casey, is swearing as COVID-19 turns Washington upside down, the Inquirer reports.
* Some employees who work in state government offices will begin working a staggered schedule on a temporary basis to allow employees to put more distance between themselves in tight work quarters as part of the response to the coronavirus outbreak, PennLive reports.
* After telling state employees to work from home to stop the spread of COVID-19 last Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration pivoted and sent thousands of human service workers back to their cramped offices the next day. The reversal, which came in a late-night email, came with few additional protections for workers’ health and safety, according to interviews with state employees across the commonwealth, the Capital-Star reports.
* The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a gun shop that challenged Gov. Tom Wolf’s authority to shutter businesses determined to be “non-life-sustaining,” paving the way for enforcement to begin Monday, the AP reports.
* Coronavirus hasn’t hit rural Pennsylvania hard yet, but it’s already causing problems, the Inquirer reports.
* U.S. Rep. Fred Keller is calling on the federal Bureau of Prisons to not transfer inmates from other states into Pennsylvania as the reach of COVID-19 continues to expand, WITF reports.
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* The Citizens’ Voice lays out the cold, hard numbers that point to the overarching need to rehab Pennsylvania’s state-owned university system before it collapses under its own weight.
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9 a.m. - the PA Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Infrastructure, Environment and Government Operation will meet. Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Harrisburg.
10 a.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.
11 a.m. - the Pittsburgh City Council Standing Committee will meet. Council Chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.
1 p.m. - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will join Health Commissioner Dr. Farley, Managing Director Brian Abernathy, and other officials to provide an update on the impact of the coronavirus in Philadelphia. Mayor's Reception Room, Room 202, City Hall, Philadelphia. Note: The daily 1:00 p.m. press briefings will be offered on the virtual platform Zoom. Virtual press conferences allow safe social distancing as advised by the CDC and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Members of the media will be able to ask questions through Zoom during the Q&A portion of the briefing. In-person attendance at the press conferences is discontinued until further notice.
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KICKER: “The thing we keep telling agencies … is, if you have to take action at a meeting where [the public] can’t participate, just be sure to sort of be extra transparent. Talk about what you did, give the public the opportunity to comment on it.” – Erik Arneson, executive director of the state Office of Open Records. From Spotlight PA.