Penn Medicine opens West Philadelphia COVID-19 testing site to anyone with symptoms

April 5, 2020

Penn Medicine’s COVID-19 testing team in West Philadelphia (Photo from

Penn Medicine has opened its COVID-19 drive-through testing site in West Philadelphia to all people experiencing symptoms of the disease. The site is located in the parking lot at 4122 Market Street and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The site also has a walk-up lane.

The site is open to anyone who is experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms (check here). You do not need to be a Penn Medicine patient and you do not need a referral from a provider to be tested. Those without a referral are encouraged to call Penn Medicine’s toll-free coronavirus hotline at 833-983-1350.  Continue Reading

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COVID-19 closings, cancellations, restrictions (updated: April 4, 2020)

April 4, 2020

Many local events, activities and programs have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Many West Philly businesses, organizations and venues have also announced temporary closings, restrictions or new ways of operating to help slow down the spread of the virus and following Mayor Jim Kenney’s directives.

Here’s a list of canceled or postponed events and closings/changes in operation for local businesses and organizations (check back for updates):

Closings, Changes in Operation

• The University City Garden Club’s 2020 Plant Sale will be pre-order/pre-paid with curbside pickup only. The pre-order period will run until April 20th. Pickup of pre-orders will be Saturday, May 2 on Woodland Terrace near the 40th Street Trolley Portal. Order online here or download the flyer here.

• A list of local restaurants/eateries that currently offer takeout/delivery can be found here.

Crust Vegan Bakery (42nd and Chester) will be closed through at least April 30th. A no contact, pre-order/prepayment only, bake sale will be held on Saturday, April 11 in Manayunk. More info.

Four Worlds Bakery is open for pickup (from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.) or delivery. The store accepts online orders for their morning bakes on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Go here for more info.  Continue Reading

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The Woodlands to close gates to visitors on Mondays and Tuesdays

April 3, 2020

Spring at the Woodlands.

The Woodlands Cemetery will be closed to visitors on Mondays and Tuesdays starting April 6th to allow crews to work safely on the site as the landscaping season begins. The gates will remain open to the public on Wednesday – Sunday from dawn to dusk, as long as there are resources to do so, and social distancing rules are followed.

The Woodlands administration is also asking community members and new visitors to follow key rules:  Continue Reading

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COVID-19 updates: Trash collection delayed; SEPTA workers test positive (updated)

April 3, 2020

UPDATE (Friday, April 3, 2020): Starting Monday, April 6, recycling will be picked up in Philadelphia every other week (through May 15th or further), so there will be no recycling collection next week. Residents are asked to put out their recyclables the following week. Trash collection will continue every week.

(4/2/2020): The coronavirus pandemic has started disrupting some city services, according to reports. Some neighbors noticed that their trash was not picked up yesterday. Delays with trash collection in the city should now be expected, reports Plan Philly, as more sanitation workers are calling out of work.

“While delivering on-time collection services remains an essential core service, residents are asked for their patience and cooperation while we work to deliver service,” the City’s Streets Department representative told Plan Philly.

If your trash or recycling hasn’t been picked up, you can report your block to 311.

UPDATE: The Streets Department is currently one day behind and will be working into this weekend to make sure all trash and recycling are collected. Residents should continue to set out their trash on their normal collection day.

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West Philly hospital seeking medical supply donations

April 3, 2020

West Philly-based Mercy Catholic Medical Center – Mercy Philadelphia Campus (former Mercy Philadelphia Hospital), is accepting medical supply donations from the community to support its COVID-19 response.

The hospital is accepting donations for the following unopened items:  Continue Reading

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Shakespeare in Clark Park recruiting community artists, holding workshops online

April 2, 2020

Shakespeare in Clark Park (SCP) is working on their Summer 2020 production of Pericles, which is scheduled to run from July 29 – August 2, and is currently seeking community artists, ages nine years old and older. But this time, recruitment and training will be online.

Pericles will be an open-air circus adventure, and the show producers want to involve a Community Troupe who’s interested in learning juggling, tumbling, and a little bit of Shakespeare! No prior experience is necessary.

If you’d like to know more, fill out the Google form here. This doesn’t commit you to the troupe, and is just a way for SCP folks to contact you and send updates on how to apply to be a part of the show. Rehearsals are tentatively scheduled to begin in May.  Continue Reading

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New map tracks spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia (updated: April 2, 2020)

April 2, 2020

UPDATE (4/2/2020): The “Philadelphia Positive COVID-19 Cases by Zip” map is available again (see below). It is updated daily. As of Thursday, April 2, the West Philadelphia zip code 19143 has the largest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the city – 96. It’s worth noting though that it is one of the most populous areas in the city with about 65,000 residents based on the 2010 Census. Please check back for updates.

Two additional COVID-19 related fatalities were confirmed in Philadelphia on Thursday, which brings the number of city residents who have died because of the virus to 17. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said on Thursday that “the City is observing clusters of confirmed cases in certain types of group settings, including nursing homes, behavioral health facilities, and the Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP).”

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Restaurant news/updates: UCD launches Digital Dining Days website; Renata’s Kitchen launches dinner service

April 1, 2020

Visit UCD’s new Digital Dining Days website

To help support local restaurants in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, University City District has launched the Digital Dining Days website, an in-progress online guide to restaurants offering takeout, delivery, gift cards, and staff fundraisers in West Philadelphia. The website will be continually updated as conditions at restaurants change. If you don’t see a local favorite on the list, please email UCD at and let them know! As of April 1st, the website includes information on around 80 local restaurants, cafes and eateries.  Continue Reading

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Councilmember Jamie Gauthier to hold virtual town hall this Thursday (April 2)

April 1, 2020

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier is inviting residents to join her at a 3rd District Virtual Town Hall this Thursday, April 2, at 4:30 p.m.

Participants will receive the latest information on City services and resources available during the COVID-19 crisis. There will also be an opportunity for small-group discussions.

The Town Hall will be accessible both via video chat and by phone. For more information about how to join in, click here. The event is co-hosted by University City Science Center and Venture Cafe Philadelphia.  Continue Reading

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Public schools closure extended indefinitely due to coronavirus pandemic; Digital learning plan still in works

March 31, 2020

All Philadelphia public schools will remain closed indefinitely in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in compliance with Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest order.

The School District will still observe Spring Break, from April 6-9, and Good Friday on April 10 when offices will be closed. Meals and learning guides will continue to be available for students at the 49 School District meal distribution sites on Monday, April 6 and Thursday, April 9.  Continue Reading

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Man in critical condition after daytime shooting near 49th and Baltimore

March 30, 2020

A 31-year-old man was shot multiple times Sunday afternoon in the Cedar Park neighborhood, according to police. The shooting happened shortly before 3 p.m. at 49th and Pentridge Streets. He was transported to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center by police and is currently listed in critical but stable condition, according to police.

So far no arrests have been made and no weapon was recovered.


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Pennsylvania primary moved to June 2; Mail-in ballots available

March 30, 2020

Pennsylvania’s primary election has been postponed to June 2.

Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed legislation to move the primary from April 28 to June 2 due to the COVID-19 emergency. The legislation also expands provisions for mail-in voting in case restrictions are still in place and allows counties to consolidate polling places to make up for possible shortages of poll workers and locations.

Absentee and mail-in ballots are due May 26.  Continue Reading

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The City to distribute free food to residents on Mondays and Thursdays

March 29, 2020

The City of Philadelphia, in partnership with Share Food Program and Philabundance, will begin distributing boxes of non-perishable food to residents in need during the COVID-19 crisis, beginning Monday, March 30.

The boxes will include shelf stable household staples that will last approximately five days. They will be available for pick up at dozens of sites and pantries throughout the city. Beginning Monday, residents can pick up a box of food (one box per household) on Mondays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and noon at sites throughout the city.

Residents do not need to present an ID or proof of income for eligibility.  Continue Reading

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COVID-19 updates: More help available for small businesses

March 26, 2020

There are a few options available for small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The city has announced a $9 million Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, which offers grants and loans to businesses seeking financial assistance. Read more about this opportunity here.

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a $100 million relief fund for small businesses across the state. The COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA) will provide loans up to $100,000 for businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees. For more information about this program, go hereContinue Reading

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COVID-19 updates: Schools to remain closed until April 6 (at least); Small business relief fund announced

March 23, 2020

All schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed until at least April 6th, according to a new order issued by Gov. Tom Wolf. This includes all schools in the School District of Philadelphia. The previous order shut down schools through March 27, but in light of the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state (644 total cases were reported on Monday) it was expected to be extended.

In Philadelphia, a $9 million small business relief fund was announced on Monday. The City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) launched the fund, which will provide grants and loans to small businesses affected by the pandemic. The fund helps businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue.  Continue Reading

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Kenney issues “Stay at Home” order effective Monday at 8 a.m.

March 22, 2020

Mayor Jim Kenney has issued a stay-at-home order for Philadelphians, effective at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 23, to help curb the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the city. According to this new directive, any public or private outdoor gatherings occurring outside a single household are prohibited unless they are related to essential business or essential personal activities.

All residents must stay at home unless they’re buying food or other essential items or seeking medical attention. Outdoor exercise is also permitted, with social distancing.

This latest order will remain in effect until further notice.  Continue Reading

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Baltimore Avenue Banner Re-Design Competition – Open call for artists. Update: Submission deadline extended

March 20, 2020

Photo courtesy of UCD

UPDATE: The deadline for submissions to the Baltimore Avenue banner competition has been extended until Friday, March 27. Just a reminder that the winning designer will receive $500 in restaurant gift cards + see their artwork fly above Baltimore Avenue. 

It’s time to update Baltimore Avenue banners! Installed by University City District (UCD) in 2008, current banners (you can see them hung from lampposts along several blocks of Baltimore Avenue) have been in place since the 2012 design competition. UCD and the Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA) have announced a new competition for local artists and illustrators to submit designs for new banners.

The winning designs will be incorporated in new banners hung in advance of the June Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020.  Continue Reading

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COVID-19 drive-through testing sites open at Penn, other locations (updated)

March 20, 2020

UPDATE (3/20/2020): The City has opened a drive-through testing site in the parking lot of Citizens Bank Park in South Philly. The site is open daily from 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and individuals don’t need a doctor’s referral to receive a test. However, only healthcare workers and people over the age of 50 who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are eligible for testing at this site (at least for now). Please read more information here.

(3/18/2020): Penn has opened a COVID-19 drive-through testing site for people whose primary-care physician is within the University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine). The exact location of the site hasn’t been revealed. You need a referral from your doctor, who will provide the address of the site. The site offers free testing  – no co-pays or deductibles will be charged.

Here are other free drive-through testing sites around the city, also by referral through their systems:  Continue Reading

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SEPTA to operate on Saturday schedule every day starting next week (until further notice)

March 19, 2020

All SEPTA City Transit service – buses, trolleys, Market Frankford, Broad Street, and Norristown High Speed Lines – will be operating on a Saturday schedule, starting next week (Sunday, March 22). This timetable will be in effect seven days a week until further notice.

SEPTA is reducing its service in the city due to a decline in ridership since many people are staying home amid the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, SEPTA reduced Regional Rail service.

For more information and updates, visit:


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