Beginning on the weekend of May 22nd, the Allentown Catholic Diocese will allow churches to return to full capacity. The diocese says worshipers will still have to wear masks, as will priests and others giving out Communion. The sign of peace will continue to remained shelved. The obligation to attend Mass is not being lifted yet and Bishop Alfred Schlert says he doesn't know when that might change.
We've learned more than 50 Allentown Catholic Diocese priests will be getting new assignments later this year. Official word will be announced at Masses in most diocese churches this weekend.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health Thursday announced 2476 new coronavirus cases in the state, leaving the state's overall total at 1,166,692. 57 new COVID-related deaths, pushing the state's total to 26,447. Right now, 2131 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 467 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg are proposing a bill to ban COVID-19 vaccine passports in the state. St. Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill says state or government at any level should not require every citizen to show proof of this vaccine and called it government overreach. Democratic lawmakers call the bill political show designed to get a group of Republican senators attention and rally their radical base. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he doesn't plan on ever requiring such a passport.
New Jersey is rolling back its latest round of coronavirus restrictions ahead of schedule. Starting today, outdoor gatherings throughout the state will go up from 250 to 500 people and outdoor entertainment venues with more than 1000 seats are now allowed to welcome up to 50-percent capacity. Indoor catered events, like weddings and proms, are now able to host up to 250 people. The original openings were supposed to go into effect Monday, but Gov. Phil Murphy made the decision to open up sooner.
In New Jersey a school nurse is suspended without pay after defying mask mandates because she believes it's abusive to the kids who are being told to wear them. Erin Pein says the mandate may do more harm than good. "I've seen children being harmed physically, emotionally and developmentally. It's really a terrible thing to see and to be a part of and I need to stand up and say this is not okay anymore," Pein says. She says kids come to school wearing dirty masks for days in a row and that one student even threw up because of it.
The pedestrian who was struck and killed by a vehicle in Whitehall Township has been identified. 60-year-old Edwin Rodriguez died at the hospital shortly after the crash around 6 o'clock Wednesday night. The Whitehall man was hit on Route 145 near the Sumner Avenue overpass, at the border between Allentown and Whitehall. Whitehall police are investigating.
One of the four proposals for the Pine Street garage in Easton included a 100-room hotel. Mayor Sal Panto says the city has been seeking for years proposals for new parking and development to replace the 50-year-old garage at Pine and Third streets.
Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg says this will not be an award-winning weekend. "None of the next three days are going to be all that great around here," Lundberg says. There's rain expected late this afternoon and tonight, more showers possible tomorrow and a pretty good chance for rain on Mother's Day. To top it off, temps aren't expected to crack the 60 degree mark tomorrow or Sunday.
People looking for work in the Poconos are going to have the opportunity to attend a job fair next week. The Poconos Mountains Visitors Bureau will host an in-person job fair next Thursday from 10am until 2pm. The Blue Mountain Resort in Carbon County, The Inn at Woodloch in Pike and Wayne counties and Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Monroe County will be participating at the event. You can find out more information on the job fair at www.poconomountains.com.
Pennsylvania is joining 16 other states in considering dumping the gas tax for a mileage fee. The Eastern Transportation Coalition is looking into a proposal that would have driver taxed on the number of miles they drive. The rise in electric vehicles could become costly for states that rely on gas tax revenue.
Lawmakers in Harrisburg are proposing a bill that would allow local police to use radar for speed enforcement. Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that doesn't allow this, as only state police can use radar here. The National Motorists Association is opposed to the idea and calls it a cash grab.
There's a shortage of chicken wings at the moment but Andrea Karns from Karns Foods in Mechanicsburg says that doesn't mean you won't find any. "We are seeing some price increases specifically for chicken wings, but there are still a lot of bargains to be had. With restaurants opening up to full capacity across the country, we're seeing a lot more demand for those products," Karns says. She also says production of most supermarket goods has made a full comeback compared with a year ago meaning the store shelves should be full.
New Jersey is closing out Air Quality Awareness Week by encouraging residents to take care of the environment. Gov. Phil Murphy is urging residents to learn about the importance of healthy air, make simple changes to reduce air pollution and improve their health. He suggests purchasing an electric vehicle, using alternative transit options and switching to renewable energy for homes and businesses.