Musikfest 2020 will happen, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it will only happen on your TV set and computer. "We're going to have 80 artists performing this year, 40 live on Service Electric Cable TV all ten days. We're going to have 40 that'll be streaming on the musikfest.org site as well as our social media pages," says ArtsQuest CEO Kassie Hilgert. She says they're already working to reschedule Wind Creek Steel Stage acts and have already rebooked Darius Rucker and Kelsea Ballerini for August 2021. Hilgert says there will be at least ten food vendors at the SteelStacks campus for the ten days of the festival from July 31st to August 9th.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is fighting back against a Republican push to end his disaster declaration. "Ending the disaster declaration wouldn't reopen anything. It just wouldn't and anyone who says differently is wrong," says Wolf. Earlier this week, Republicans in both the state House and Senate approved a resolution to end the declaration, saying the statewide shutdown is harming families and doing irreparable harm to Pennsylvania businesses. Republicans say the resolution doesn't require Wolf's approval to be enacted. It appears a legal fight is sure to come.
Pennsylvania health officials are confirming 410 new cases of COVID-19. That pushes the statewide total to 76,846. 48 new coronavirus-related deaths related to the virus were also reported Wednesday. Pennsylvania's death toll now sits at 6062.
Bethlehem's OraSure is working on developing a COVID-19 antibody test. OraSure CEO Stephen Tang says understanding who's contagious and who has antibodies will be crucial as the nation reopens the economy. If everything goes according to plan, OraSure hopes to secure federal approval sometime this summer.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy plans to add 1600 contact tracers who would help keep track of residents who have been exposed to people infected with COVID-19. Murphy says the goal is to have them in place by the end of this month and he'll add another 1500 by the end of next month if needed. But the plan depends on almost 100 local health departments whose officials say they're underfunded and understaffed to deal with the added training.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, Tammy, are urging residents to be tested for COVID-19 and yesterday, they set an example by being tested themselves. Their test results will be returned in two days. Murphy says more than 165,300 New Jersey residents have tested positive for the virus since early March. New Jersey has seen more than 12,370 coronavirus-related deaths.
Boardwalk games and miniature golf are among the outdoor activities that have been given the green light to reopen. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's order lifting limits on outdoor gatherings includes those popular activities. Amusement parks, water parks and arcade games, however, must remain closed.
An online petition is calling for the removal of a Lehigh County commissioner after she made comments on social media about looters during the recent civil unrest. Amy Zanelli said to stop blaming people for looting in a country whose greed was so boundless they captured, relocated and enslaved entire generations. She then posted an email of someone who opposed her statements and said, "If you ever wondered how bad racism is right here. The vitriol is telling and says a lot about those who send letters."
The work of the National Guard is finished in Philadelphia. Guardsmen were called into the city after George Floyd protests turned violent. The guard was protecting several buildings in the city so that Philadelphia police could focus on covering the neighborhoods. The National Guard will remain in the area for the next few days just in case violence ramps back up.
Pocono Raceway applauds NASCAR's decision to ban the use of the Confederate flag at any of its races and events. Pocono Raceway officials say they want all attendees, no matter their race, color, creed, sexual orientation or origin, to feel comfortable during their events and enjoy the sport. Neither NASCAR nor Pocono Raceway have released any plans on how they will enforce the new policy.
A 277-year-old elementary school in Berks County is slated to close. The Allentown Diocese says St. Francis Academy in Bally is shutting down. The diocese says the academy will become a preschool and full-day kindergarten beginning this fall. Officials say school enrollment dropped by 60-percent in the last five years.
An emotional Mike Turzai says Monday will be his final day at the state Capitol. "I'm only at this time telling you that I'm not running again. I don't have any present, despite reports to the contrary, offers for positions," Turzai says. Back in January Turzai announced he wasn't seeking re-election. Wednesday the Speaker of the House said he was leaving six months earlier than expected. He'll be replaced on an interim basis by House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler of Lancaster.
State officials are releasing guidelines for the return of high school sports. They say schools need to develop and implement health and safety plans that meet certain standards and they need to share that information. The PIAA is planning on all fall sports taking place on time.
The Phillies used their first draft pick on Oregon high school pitcher Mick Abel, who says he knows only a little about the city of Philadelphia. "I've always heard about the fans, about how Philadelphia always has the best fans no matter what sport. I think that's definitely one thing I think about when I think about Philadelphia sports, especially baseball, knowing that I'm going to be supported by an amazing fan base," Abel says. Rounds two-through-five are today.