Here's what's trending for May 5.


Pennsylvania is lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, except for mask wearing, on Memorial Day. Gov. Tom Wolf says the mask mandate will be lifted when 70-percent of Pennsylvanians over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated. Right now, about half of that segment of the state's population has received at least one dose of the vaccine so far. The announcement means that on May 31st, there will be no more caps on indoor and outdoor gatherings as well as capacity limits. Schools and individual municipalities and counties can continue with stricter mitigation efforts if they choose to.

As you might imagine, there's plenty of reaction to word Pennsylvania is lifting almost all coronavirus-related restrictions on May 31st. Some folks can't wait. "I think it's about time we do it," one man said. Others are still a bit uneasy about the thought. "I don't know what's good and what's good for now. I'm okay with restrictions," one woman said.

Pocono Raceway president Ben May couldn't be happier almost all of Pennsylvania's coronavirus restrictions will be lifted on May 31st, about four weeks before race weekend at the raceway. About the only restriction scheduled to remain is mask-wearing, some May says will be enforced at the raceway over the June 25th weekend. "We've worked closely with Gov. Wolf's office and we will continue to do it," May says. Pocono Raceway hosts five races over the June 25th weekend and the rollback on restrictions means the raceway will be allowed to sell as many tickets as they can.

Monroe County residents can now walk in the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono to get a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The hospital, located at 206 East Brown Street in East Stroudsburg, is now making walk-in vaccine appointments available throughout the week from 9am to 5pm. LVHN is also offering walk-ins at its four other locations across the Pocono region.

Health officials across the state are waiting for the FDA to authorize the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for younger groups. The FDA could determine if kids between the ages of 12 and 15 can receive the vaccine as early as next week.

Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 3133 new COVID-19 cases in the state, pushing the statewide figure since the pandemic's beginning to 1,161,619. 58 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported, leaving the state's overall total at 26,334. Currently there are 2151 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 484 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

A majority of New Jersey's senior citizens have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Gov. Phil Murphy says 86-percent of residents over the age of 65 have received at least one dose. Meantime, more than 7.1-million doses have been administered throughout the state.

New Jersey has 68 Walmart and Sam's Club stores in the state. All 68 are now offering COVID vaccines on a walk-up basis. The walk-up vaccines will be available while supplies last. Shots are also being offered with pre-scheduled appointments. If you'd prefer to make an appointment, visit www.walmart.com/COVIDvaccine or www.samsclub.com/covid. You don’t have to be a Sam’s Club member to get a vaccine there.

Pennsylvania is one step closer to making to-go cocktails permanent. The state House passed a bill Tuesday to keep the to-go drinks around and it now needs passage in the Senate. There are more than 30 states that began to allow to-go cocktails during the pandemic.

Lawmakers in Harrisburg have advanced a bill that would reinstate pre-pandemic requirements for unemployment benefits. Tuesday, a House committee passed a bill which would once again require those receiving unemployment benefits to show proof that they are searching for jobs in order to keep receiving benefits. Lawmakers say Pennsylvanians must get back to work as our economies, communities and families depend on it and our businesses need it. The bill is now heading to the full House for consideration.

At least one person has died in a crash in Monroe County. It happened just before 8 Tuesday morning at Routes 209 and 534 in Polk Township. Authorities haven't said much about what happened. State police from the Lehighton barracks are investigating the crash.

A Carbon County man is no longer charged with arson. Hiram Dale, a retired Bethlehem cardiologist, was accused of setting a building on fire at his golf course this past March. A judge waived charges of risking a catastrophe and recklessly endangering another person against the doctor at his preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Pennsylvania collected $4 billion in General Fund revenue last month, or $28.2 million more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $32.7 billion, which is $1.3 billion above estimates.

At a House subcommittee hearing, Pennsylvania Congressman and former Lehigh Valley Congressman Matt Cartwright applauded Attorney General Merrick Garland for his commitment to civil rights and fighting violent extremism. "This is a historic opportunity to address systemic barriers to full participation in society, ensure access to economic opportunity and protect the right to vote as we face unprecedented threats from domestic violent extremism," Cartwright said. The hearing focused on the Justice Department's 2022 fiscal year budget.

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protections is putting money towards protecting the Garden State's rivers. The agency says $7.3 million will go towards enhancing ecosystems and water quality, especially to restore natural resources damaged by oil spills and other hazardous materials.

New Jersey is launching an initiative to support employees throughout the state. Gov. Phil Murphy announced the inaugural New Jersey Future of Work Accelerator, which aims to identify ongoing and proposed efforts to improve job quality and economic security. Murphy says the program will advance New Jersey workers' health and safety, strengthen training opportunities and bolster their voices.


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