Pennsylvania health officials confirmed 849 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday. That brings the state's overall total to more than 92,000. 25 more deaths related to the virus were also reported Wednesday. That number has now reached 6812.
This summer hasn't seen a whole lot of traditional fun. No Kutztown Folk Festival. No Musikfest. The IronPigs season never happened. And now...the oldest local summer tradition bites the dust. "Unfortunately, COVID got us. We had to cancel," says Beverly Gruber, president of the Lehigh County Agricultural Society. She says the 2020 Great Allentown Fair will not happen thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. She says the announcement continues what has been a miserable financial year so far. "Probably the other thing that enters into this is we haven't had a trade show or any event in Ag Hall, so that hit us pretty bad," Gruber says. It's the first time since 1918 without a Great Allentown Fair.
Two months after it was supposed to happen, Dorney Park opened its gates to season pass holders on Wednesday. The park's Tana Korpics says guests will realize before they even get into the park that it's not business as usual. "When you arrive at the park, you will have to go through a thermal temperature reading tent, and it's going to read the temperature of everyone in your party. If you have a temperature of 100.4 or higher, we are going to ask to reschedule your reservation for a later date," Korpics said. If you get the all clear at the gate, once you're inside the park you'll see new signs all over the place urging social distancing and wearing masks. Dorney Park opens to the general public this weekend. Reservations are required to get into the park however. Wildwater Kingdom will not open yet and there's no word yet on when it will.
Lehigh County commissioners are extending the state of emergency declaration in the county due to COVID-19. Officials say it does not change the county's color designation in the governor's reopening plan, but the move does allow leaders to continue the flexibility they currently have. The decision extends the declaration for another 60 days and will run through September 15th.
Gov. Tom Wolf is being urged to extend an executive order that prohibited evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic. The order is set to expire tomorrow, meaning families will have to pay their landlords thousands of dollars in back rent. The group Make the Road Pennsylvania wrote an open letter to the governor, asking him to extend the order.
Last week the state Supreme Court struck down a resolution passed by mainly Republicans in the state House and Senate to end Gov. Tom Wolf's disaster declaration in the state. Now, Republican St. Sen. Doug Mastriano says the ball is being put back in Wolf's court. "The plan is now to deliver the bill to the governor, have him veto that sooner rather than later, and then collect enough votes to override this veto and end this madness," Mastriano says. He says to do that, it'll take at least two more Senate Democrats to come over to the Republican side and more than a dozen House Democrats to do likewise.
Pennsylvania's two senators are on board with Gov. Wolf on the importance of wearing a mask in public. In a joint statement, senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey Jr. urged Pennsylvania residents to wear masks in public to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Toomey says, "Put simply, wearing a mask is an important step that we, as Pennsylvanians, can take to protect one another - as my mask protects you, and your mask protects me.” Casey, who says he had coronavirus this spring, says, “When you wear a mask, you are sending a clear message to others in your community that you care about them and their well-being as much as your own."
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order that mandates face masks outside if social distancing is not possible. Murphy also announced he's allowing an expanded reopening of indoor dining if restaurants can expose parts of the their building to the outside and if an overhang exists. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Garden State has risen to 174,039 and the number of deaths blamed on the coronavirus stands at 13,476.
The investigation into multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage is intensifying. Now, the state Attorney General's Office is handling it. Several people called for Halcovage's termination Wednesday during a commissioners' meeting, including women who say they don't feel comfortable walking around in the hall with someone like Halcovage and that the allegations are credible. An internal investigation found that he did violate the county's sexual harassment policy but Halcovage has only stepped down as chairman of the board. The investigation by the Attorney General's Office will determine if criminal charges should be filed.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says the city will waive all undo violation notices that were issued during recent protests. It includes things like curfew violations, failure to disperse and other related offenses between May 30th and June 30th. The mayor says it does not include any criminal matters and he said if you have not paid the fine, don't submit payment. If you have paid that fine, Kenney says you should contact the Office of Administrative Review and they will provide details on how to get a refund.