The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is siding with Gov. Tom Wolf and ending an effort by Republican state lawmakers to stop the shutdown order. Wednesday, the divided court ruled the resolution passed with mostly Republican votes was legally void because it was never sent to Wolf for his signature or veto. Last month, both chambers voted to end the emergency declaration that closed non-life-sustaining businesses and banned large gatherings. The governor says he was pleased with the outcome to keep the declaration in place. House Republicans claimed the ruling sends a message to residents that the governor and State Supreme Court don't want to hear from them.
Wearing a mask in public is now essentially mandatory for all public spaces in Pennsylvania effective immediately. Gov. Tom Wolf says the recent hot spots for coronavirus across the state can be traced to people who were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing, which he says are important practices if citizens want businesses to stay open. Under the order, masks must be worn when outdoors and unable to maintain distance, in any indoor location with public access, public transportation, healthcare facilities and while at work. State officials say if a specific circumstance isn't covered by the order, then it's best to play it safe and wear a mask.
Pennsylvania residents are reacting to the mask mandate coming from Gov. Tom Wolf's office. "We're protecting other people. Wearing a mask isn't just for your safety," says one woman. "We should have some self-awareness among friends and family. I don't think it should be something a city is doing or a cop saying to you 'where's your mask?'" says another woman.
Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage is stepping down as chair of the Board of Commissioners after being accused of breaking county sexual harassment and discrimination policy. Other county officials believe the allegations are not being taken seriously enough as Halcovage said he will remain on the board, but officials want him to resign. Four victims filed complaints against Halcovage and say they're afraid to come into work as their alleged abuser is still allowed in the county courthouse.
The swimming beach at Blue Marsh Lake will open in time for the holiday weekend. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the beach, bathhouse and showers will open today, but will have a capacity in the Dry Brooks Day Use Area at 75 percent. Park rangers will close the beach as needed. Officials are asking visitors to wear a mask, follow social distancing practices and stay in small groups.
Pennsylvania is finishing the 2019-2020 fiscal year about $3 billion behind. State finance officials are blaming the nine-percent difference in projections on the coronavirus pandemic.
Jay-Z is putting a stop sign to his annual festival during the late summer. His Roc Nation company announced Wednesday that the Made in America festival is canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was originally set for Labor Day weekend on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Tickets from the event this year will be used for the show next year. People can also get a full refund if they wish.
Penn State University researchers say they've discovered 50 new species of bees in the commonwealth. They say the study was conducted to help understand diversity when it comes to the bee population. In total, there were 437 species of bees found in Pennsylvania, with some not native to North America.
As human's shelter in place, New Jersey environmental officials say the state's bear population is taking advantage of the more wide open spaces. Bear sightings across the Garden State have doubled in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year. Also, general complaints of bears being a nuisance have jumped by 40 percent over this time last year.
Baseball is back in Philadelphia. Citizens Bank Park is open for Phillies players who have tested negative for COVID-19. Beginning tomorrow, full team workouts will begin and will be split between FDR Park on Pattison Avenue and the stadium. Players will be tested for the virus every other day beginning their first day back at work.
A former Philadelphia 76ers dancer says she was a victim of racism and bullying. Yahne Coleman shared her story on Instagram, saying in part that her teammates would talk about her black features and threaten her safety with videos. She said she sent evidence to 76ers officials and nothing was done. Coleman is no longer with the dance team as she said she sadly let the criticism deter her from her dancing career.