A federal judge is ruling that Gov. Tom Wolf's pandemic response is unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge William Stickman IV says Wolf's actions were with good intentions of addressing a public health emergency, but even in an emergency, the liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms. The western Pennsylvania judge cited the governor's limits on gatherings, saying it violates the first amendment right to assemble. Stickman also mentioned the governor's stay-at-home orders and business closures.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is not going to give up that easily and plans to appeal a federal judge's ruling that his pandemic response efforts are unconstitutional. A spokeswoman for the governor says they were disappointed by the judge's ruling and that Wolf's actions were mirrored by governors across the nation to save lives in the absence of federal action. The governor's spokeswoman adds the ruling does not impact other orders such as mandatory masks. She says the administration will seek a stay of the decision and file an appeal.
There are 1258 new COVID-19 cases reported in Pennsylvania. Monday's announcement, which included both Saturday and Sunday numbers, brings the state's total to 145,063 cases. There were seven deaths related to COVID-19 complications. That overall number is now at 7869.
Visitors are now allowed at Cedarbrook nursing home in South Whitehall Township for the first time since March 12th. Under new rules, residents are allowed one scheduled 30-minute visit per week with up to four people. Those visits must be on a weekday and held outdoors whenever weather allows. Lehigh County hopes to allow visits Friday under similar rules at Cedarbrook's Fountain Hill campus. Gracedale, in Northampton County, hopes to allow visits beginning September 21st.
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health continues to push a new app. "It is important that we get as many Pennsylvanians as possible to download the app so we can aid our existing COVID-19 mitigation efforts," says Dr. Rachel Levine. She says the app will be available later this month. It will notify you if you may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus and if you test positive it will likewise notify those you may have come in contact with.
It turns out a 2nd Amendment rally will happen after all. The Northampton County GOP Committee says a rally featuring Mark and Patricia McCloskey will happen Thursday evening at 6:30 at Town Hall Park in Lower Saucon Township. The rally was supposed to happen in Palmer Township, but the township nixed that because it believed the rally would draw more than 250 people, in violation of Gov. Tom Wolf's cap on outdoor gatherings. GOP officials now say about 100 people will sit in the pavilion and others will be socially distanced elsewhere in the park. The McCloskeys are the St. Louis couple who waved guns outside their home to protect themselves from protesters outside the home.
Authorities are investigating the cause of an 18-wheeler accident that left more than 100 Bethlehem homes without power Monday night. The accident happened at Renwick and Easton Avenue around 8 o'clock last night, knocking down poles and power lines. No injuries were reported.
Protests continue in Lancaster following the shooting death of a 27-year-old man who chased a Lancaster police officer with a knife. Lancaster mayor Danene Sorace believes some of the protesters are imported. "Many of us did not recognize some of the folks. Obviously there were folks who were there that were well known to us as community members and colleagues and so on. But there were folks there, as I understand it, that we just didn't know who they were," Sorace says. Police say that eight people have been arrested in connection to rioting outside the police station. Authorities say four of those eight people are not from Lancaster County and two of the suspects were armed with handguns during the protests.
Police are investigating a deadly shooting in Gilbertsville, Montgomery County. Police responded to a reported shooting in the 2900 block of Reifsnyder Road shortly after 8 o'clock Monday night. When they arrived, they found a man and woman shot to death and a third person wounded. Authorities did not comment on his condition. The identities of the three were being withheld pending family notification.
Three people are facing charges after they allegedly stole metal from the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum. The men are accused of trying to steal copper, aluminum and battery materials from near the museum in Hamburg early Saturday morning. It's believed a fourth person was involved as well.