The Pennsylvania Department of Health Tuesday confirmed 906 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,197,468. 42 new COVID-related deaths were also reported for a total of 27,085 since the pandemic began. Currently 1230 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 295 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
The Great Allentown Fair will return this summer from Wednesday, September 1 through Labor Day Monday, September 6. The Lehigh County Agricultural Society voted unanimously to resume the fair after a one-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.
When Mayfair returns this weekend, there will be a little something new. Cedar Crest College, which hosts Mayfair, will partner with St. Luke’s University Health Network to provide COVID vaccines. Vaccines will be provided to those with scheduled appointments on Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30 from 1 - 4 p.m. on the festival grounds at Cedar Crest College. St. Luke’s will be administering 500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Just after Pennsylvanians voted to limit the governor's powers, lawmakers are already moving to dismantle the governor's COVID-19 disaster declaration. Tuesday, a House committee passed a resolution that would end the governor's ability to mandate occupancy limits, business closures and stay-at-home orders. They're also looking to reinstate the work search requirement for unemployment benefits, which has already been set to return in July.
Gov. Tom Wolf is calling the House's recent move to limit his powers premature. Wolf says the election has yet to be certified, meaning that the constitution hasn't been officially amended. He added the Legislature is moving to terminate specific actions that's aren't set forth in the disaster declaration. The governor says voters gave legislators tremendous responsibility and his administration stands ready to work with them, but this new development is discouraging.
The state Senate's Health and Human Services Committee is pushing forward a bill that would effectively ban Pennsylvania from requiring vaccine passports. If approved, the bill would also prevent local governments and school districts from requiring proof of vaccination. Next, the full state Senate will consider the measure.
Cocktails-to-go could become permanent in Pennsylvania. A bill has passed the state House allowing restaurants to sell mixed drinks to-go and now moves on to the state Senate. Last May, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a measure that allowed businesses to offer the cocktails if they suffered a loss in sales due to the pandemic.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says there's a lot of work still needed to be done to get minorities vaccinated against the coronavirus. "Trenton, Camden, Passaic City, Jersey City and Bayonne are overwhelmingly communities of color and those are we have the most work to do," the governor says. Murphy says there's a huge door-knocking effort underway to get that vaccination rate up in those minorities communities.
Republicans in the state House and Senate are pushing to allow people to conceal carry a firearm without a license. The bill moved out of the House Judiciary Committee and is headed for consideration in the full House. Texas recently passed a similar law.
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats and Attorney General Josh Shapiro are planning to propose a set of bills that would impose more regulations on fracking. Shapiro says for far too long, fracking companies and regulators have turned a blind eye to the health and safety impact this industry has on hardworking Pennsylvanians, their communities and their families.
The Wolf administration is approving more than $11 million in funding that will go towards community projects in several counties in the Poconos. The money will be spent on installing water, sewer and gas lines in communities in Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Wayne counties. Other planned projects include buying police and fire service equipment, expanding and renovating community buildings and replacing playground equipment.
The Hershey Company is releasing new ice cream bars just in time for summer. The Ice Cream Shoppe bars come in three different flavors: strawberries and creme, cookies and mint and sprinkles and creme. For now, the bars are only available through Hershey's online store and at Chocolate World in Hershey.
New Jersey's state parks and recreation areas are gearing up to welcome visitors this Memorial Day weekend. The Department of Environmental Protection is planning to open swimming pools, campgrounds and announce educational programs ahead of the holiday weekend. Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette kicked off the "Vax and Visit" initiative as part of "Operation Open New Jersey." Beginning tomorrow, people who get vaccinated against COVID-19 will receive free passes to New Jersey's 51 state parks and facilities.