Pennsylvania's health officials added 362 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the state total to 79,483. The Lehigh Valley accounts for more than 7200 of those cases. 22 new coronavirus-related deaths were reported Tuesday. That leaves Pennsylvania's death toll at 6276.
The Greater Valley YMCA will temporarily lay off 300 employees beginning on June 23 and continuing through June 30. Seven facilities will be affected, including branches in Lehigh and Northampton counties. The organization says it is not closing any of its locations. The layoffs are due to the COVID-19 situation and officials are hopeful that those laid off will come back as the economy improves.
Residents near the Pennsylvania side of the PA/New Jersey border can soon drive across the river to get a haircut. New Jersey's hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and other personal care businesses can reopen Monday. Masks will still be required and customers must be spaced out for social distancing and temperature checks will be made at the door. Barbershops, tanning salons and spas will also be allowed to reopen next week.
A state representative is introducing a bill with about 24 co-sponsors that calls for the impeachment of Gov. Tom Wolf. St. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe says the governor must be held accountable for his actions that Metcalfe says have harmed citizens and violates his and their rights. Metcalfe says the governor's stay-at-home order has hurt more Pennsylvanians than the virus. A Democrat spokesman says Wolf is doing the job he was elected to do and the last thing he needs at the moment is a circus sideshow.
COVID-19-related hospitalizations have dropped for a three-month low. While 51 new coronavirus-related deaths were reported Tuesday and 470 new cases were confirmed the number of hospitalized patients dropped below 1300 for the first time in three months. New Jersey has reported 167,426 cases and 12,727 deaths.
New Jersey is borrowing $1.7 billion from the federal government to pay for unemployment benefits. The state already has paid out more than $2.1 billion to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Officials expect the loan to carry the state through October.
Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are demanding answers after about 500 Pennsylvania Turnpike employees were dismissed earlier this month. They say turnpike commissioners never mentioned they were planning to fire those workers. They cited a letter from the PA Turnpike Commission in March, stating COVID-19 would have no impact on turnpike jobs. But CEO Mark Compton says they now believe there 'are' big issues for them when it comes to the coronavirus. "We are deeply concerned when you think about our employees that would be working near Philadelphia. People coming in and out of the airport and hitting the turnpike. Toll collectors can see, on average, on that section, a hundred different customers per hour," Compton says. All tolls are now collected via E-Z Pass or a license plate reader.
Visits to state parks and forests across Pennsylvania have soared an average of 36 percent during the pandemic. Parks officials say visiting parks and forests has been one of the few outdoor activities citizens could enjoy while maintaining social distancing.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has ordered the city's Christopher Columbus statue to be covered. His reason? "To preserve it and to keep it safe," Kenney says. The decision comes after several heated gatherings around the statue. Kenney says the city will not remove the statue without hearing from the public first.
Juneteenth is now an official holiday for Philadelphia. The move comes after Mayor Jim Kenney consulted with the city's Reconciliation Steering Committee. On Friday, all city offices and facilities will be closed to the public in observance of the end of slavery in the United States.
A day after leaving his job as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mike Turzai was hired as general counsel for the Pittsburgh-based natural gas division of Essential Utilities. Turzai was an ally of Pennsylvnaia's natural gas industry while in the House and fought off efforts to impose a tax on the state's Marcellus Shale production.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled the state's Children's and Youth Services agencies cannot force suspects to submit to drug or alcohol testing during child abuse investigations. The decision originated in a case from Greene County involving abuse allegations against a local attorney. The court says the state agencies do not have the authority to require drug or alcohol testing.
State officials are approving two funding announcements that collectively provide more than $150 million in grants for schools to use for COVID-19 health and safety needs this coming school year. Gov. Tom Wolf says schools have had to bear a significant operational and financial burden when responding to the pandemic and these funds are to ease some of that burden. The money comes from the federal CARES Act.
More parts of Gettysburg Military Park will reopen next week. Guests will be allowed back inside the museum and visitors center on Thursday, June 25th for the first time in three months. Capacity in those facilities is at 50-percent and all touch screen exhibits will remain closed.