Large public gatherings banned in Philadelphia through February 2021

July 14, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, large public gatherings – 50 people or more – will continue to be banned in Philadelphia until at least through the end of February 2021, according to an announcement today by Mayor Jim Kenney. This decision means that popular outdoor events, like the Broad Street Run, which had been rescheduled for October 4, and the Philadelphia Marathon, currently planned for November 22, as well as Thanksgiving Day and Mummers parades will likely be cancelled.

The School District of Philadelphia is expected to make an announcement about the upcoming school year and whether the buildings will reopen tomorrow.

Philadelphia is currently in a modified Green phase of reopening, which allows social gatherings of up to 50 people outdoors.

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Trolley Tunnel closed for maintenance until July 20

July 13, 2020

The annual SEPTA trolley tunnel repair and maintenance project, “Trolley Tunnel Blitz” has begun. The tunnel will be closed until Monday, July 20 and all trolleys will be on diversion to 40th and Market Streets where passengers can board the Market-Frankford Line to continue their travel to Center City. No additional fare is required when you switch to/from the Market-Frankford Line.

SEPTA crews will work around the clock during the Blitz to tackle track and power maintenance in the tunnel. This summer the focus will also be on intensive cleaning at all stations.

This is the eight consecutive year SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. It is usually scheduled during summer months when ridership is traditionally lower.

Regular trolley service through the tunnel is expected to resume at 5 a.m. on Monday, July 20.

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City’s Zoning Board to resume hearings next week: Five-story “entrepreneur hub” near 52nd and Market hearing scheduled for July 15

July 7, 2020

After a four-month break, the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) will resume hearings that will be held online until further notice. The first two hearings are scheduled for July 14 and July 15. Following these meetings, ZBA will hold meetings online twice a week through July to hear rescheduled cases.

The proposal to build a five-story “entrepreneur hub” on 53 N. 52nd Street, which was presented to the community last month, will be considered by the ZBA on Wednesday, July 15 at 10 a.m. Members of the public are invited to participate in the meeting via Zoom or by phone (see more info below).  Continue Reading

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Public libraries not reopening … yet

July 3, 2020

As of today, libraries and museums in Philadelphia are allowed to reopen, according to the modified Green phase re-opening plan. However, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s 54 branches are not ready to reopen yet, until they are “able to create a safe environment for everyone,” according to today’s announcement by Free Library president and director Siobhan A. Reardon. The library will continue offering virtual programming to the public. Library patrons also have access to digital resources – ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV, music, over 100 databases, and the New York Times online.

Library materials pickup and returns will soon be available at limited locations. All service updates will be posted on the Free Library’s COVID-19 resource page as they become available. Also, visit the Free Library’s blog for more information on available programs, services, and resources.


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School District to host virtual town hall sessions for upcoming school year

July 3, 2020

The School District of Philadelphia is working on a school reopening plan for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year and will be hosting several one-hour Virtual Town Hall sessions from Tuesday, July 7 to Thursday, July 9. Students, parents/caregivers and community members are encouraged to participate and provide feedback.

Sessions will be hosted by a District leader and focus on a key planning area such as health and safety, cleaning practices, school schedules, and curriculum and instruction. Here are the details:  Continue Reading

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More COVID-19 relief grants available for small businesses; Apply by July 14

July 2, 2020

Small businesses in the state of Pennsylvania that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a state relief grant. The amount of the grant is between $5,000 and $50,000 depending on the business’ revenue, and applications are accepted until Tuesday, July 14. The annual revenue should be $1,000,000 or less and the number of full-time employees should be less than or equal to 25 to be eligible to apply.

For more information, including other eligibility requirements, and to apply, please visit the Enterprise Center website.


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City postpones indoor dining/drinking until August; Libraries, museums may re-open this Friday

June 30, 2020

As was expected, the City of Philadelphia has postponed the Green coronavirus re-opening phase, which had been tentatively planned for July 3, after an uptick in new COVID-19 cases was reported in the city late last week. The new tentative date for the beginning of the Green phase, which includes indoor dining at restaurants and re-opening of gyms and fitness centers, is August 1st, according to City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

This Friday, the City will allow re-opening of libraries, museums, shopping malls and casinos, as part of a “modified restricted Green phase,” but no food or drinks will be allowed indoors.

Businesses that re-opened on June 26 – barber shops, salons and spas, as well as residential and private swimming pools – will remain open. Outdoor dining at restaurants will also continue to operate.  Continue Reading

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Second round of Emergency Rental Assistance Program to begin July 6

June 30, 2020

The City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) have announced a second phase of rental assistance for tenants affected by COVID-19. PHDC will begin accepting applications on Monday, July 6.

The first phase of rental assistance was able to assist more than 4,000 tenants. However, nearly 13,000 tenants applied to the program. Phase 2 will allow about 6,300 more renters to get help.

Funding for the program comes from the federal CARES Act. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is distributing funds to each county in the state. Philadelphia’s share is $28.45 million.  Continue Reading

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COVID-19 Updates: Masks now mandatory outside if you can’t keep safe distance; Green re-opening phase may be delayed

June 29, 2020

Masks or facial coverings should now be worn in all indoor public spaces and outdoors if you can’t keep safe distance (at least six feet) from others , according to a new order by Philadelphia officials. This new rule doesn’t have to be followed if you’re around people in your household and is not mandatory for children under 8 years old. Although it is a requirement, it will not be enforced by police, according to Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.

Philadelphia was expected to enter the Green coronavirus re-opening phase this Friday (July 3), however, this could now be delayed due to an increase in new COVID-19 cases in the city. Some 143 new cases were reported on Friday. Philadelphia officials said on Friday that there may be a second wave of the epidemic developing in the city and that they’re keeping an eye on it before announcing their plans on the Green re-opening phase this week.  Continue Reading

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Art on display on West Philly porches this Saturday. Check out the map

June 26, 2020

Map created by Dre Grigoropol

At the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when art galleries and museums are closed, West Philly artists will put their work on their porches for everyone to enjoy! The very first West Philly Porch Art Show will take place this Saturday, June 27, from 2 to 6 p.m. with over a dozen artists participating in the event. The organizers, West Philadelphia Community Art Alliance (Facebook page), are excited to bring this event to the West Philly community:

“This is the first time many of us have seen art [in real life] in many months!”

Here’s the list of participating artists:  Continue Reading

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Public spraygrounds to open starting July 6

June 25, 2020

As an alternative to public pools, the city’s spraygrounds will be allowed to open this summer. Beginning Monday, July 6, 91 public spraygrounds will start to open in Philadelphia on a rolling basis. All spraygrounds will be staffed at all times to make sure that everyone is safe on-site. COVID-19 safety measures at spraygrounds include the following rules:

• Limited capacity based on sprayground size
• Social distancing of at least six feet

To find a sprayground near you and its hours of operation, go here.

Public pools will remain closed this summer due to COVID-19.

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Free COVID-19 testing this Friday (June 26) in Mantua

June 25, 2020

A special one-day event will support West Philadelphia’s underserved community as COVID-19 restrictions have started to relax in the city. This Friday, June 26, from 8:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m., the Family Practice and Counseling Network (FPCN) will be offering free COVID-testing event at Church of Faith at 38th and Brown Streets. Testing will be available to all – no symptoms, no insurance, no PCP (primary care provider) and no referrals will be required.

Here are more details:

• From 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Residents age 65 and older (first come, first served).

• From 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Everyone.  Continue Reading

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University City Science Center recruiting West Philly residents for new job training program

June 23, 2020

The University City Science Center is launching a free STEM job training for their workforce development program with a particular interest in recruiting participants from West Philadelphia. This is part of the Science Center’s effort to create greater access to and new pathways into family-sustaining STEM jobs for under- and unemployed Philadelphians.

As part of this new program, the Science Center is now accepting applications for the first cohort of trainees for their free STEM job training program – “Building an Understanding of Lab Basics (BULB)”. The program is open to Philadelphians age 18 or older with a high school degree or GED interested in science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM) field. Applications close on Monday, June 29.  Continue Reading

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Philadelphia to enter Green coronavirus re-opening phase next Friday

June 22, 2020

As COVID-19 spread in Philadelphia continues to slow down, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf included the region in the list of 12 more counties allowed to move from Yellow to the Green re-opening phase beginning Friday, June 26. The Green phase allows re-opening of all businesses, including limited indoor operations for in-person businesses, such as hair salons, restaurants, and gyms/spas (at 50 percent occupancy and by appointment).

Masks are still required when entering a business and social distancing protocols must be followed.  Continue Reading

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West Philly artist’s Portraits of Black Fathers to be projected on Barnes Foundation facade this weekend

June 19, 2020

Photo by Ken McFarlane; digital rendering by Jeff Sugg.

To celebrate Black Lives and Black Fatherhood an outdoor public art installation by West Philly artist and activist Ken McFarlane will be projected on the façade of the Barnes Foundation this Saturday and Sunday (June 20 & 21) from 8 – 11 p.m.

The project, titled “From the Root to the Fruit: Portraits of Black Fathers and Their Children“, is presented by We Embrace Fatherhood, a coalition of West Philadelphia fathers, activists and artists, as a part of the Black Lives Matter movement for eradicating systemic racial injustice and in response to the COVID-19 health crisis which has dramatically decreased public access to the arts.

The installation will be projected onto the facade of the Barnes and can be viewed from their South East plaza as well as from the streets. Music will provided by DJs from PC Radio Live. This will be a COVID-19-safe environment, with six foot spacing. Attendees must wear masks at all times.  Continue Reading

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Virtual Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll continues until June 24

June 18, 2020

UPDATE: As of Wednesday, June 17, event organizers raised over $4,000, which will be split among participating businesses. To keep the momentum going, University City District will match the next $1,000 raised through the Virtual Dollar Stroll.

The annual Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, the celebration of local businesses and community, was supposed to return on June 4th. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the community couldn’t physically gather to enjoy the tastes and sounds of the Stroll. So here’s some great news: the event organizer, University City District (UCD), has just launched an inaugural Virtual Dollar Stroll where you can support over 30 local businesses.

Here’s how it works:  Continue Reading

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Mariposa Food Co-op seeking new recipients of Round-up For Change donation program

June 18, 2020

Local organizations, groups, and/or causes are invited to apply for the 2020-2021 cycle of Mariposa Food Co-op‘s Round-up For Change program.

Through the program, which is now in its third year, Mariposa’s member-owners and shoppers “round-up” their purchases to the nearest dollar, and the extra change is then donated to program recipients. The first recipient will be selected for September 2020 and the cycle will run until August 2021.

Organizations whose missions or objectives carry out one of the following will be considered:  Continue Reading

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School District seeking input on remote learning and school reopening

June 17, 2020

As the School District of Philadelphia plans for the upcoming academic year, they are asking parents/guardians, students, community members and school and District staff members to participate in an online School Reopening Survey, which should take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey is seeking feedback on remote learning experience and what’s most important for the safe return to school buildings.

A final decision about the 2020-2021 school year is expected to be announced in July. The decision will be based on the following set of principles: the health and safety of students and employees, the consistent delivery of high-quality educational experiences for all students and the engagement of the School District community.  Continue Reading

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Juneteenth is a City holiday in 2020. Celebration at Malcolm X Park this Friday + more events

June 17, 2020

Juneteenth will be celebrated as an official city holiday in 2020, following an executive order signed by Mayor Jim Kenney yesterday. City offices will be closed to the public on Friday, June 19 to observe the holiday and municipal services, like trash collection, will be postponed until Saturday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date considered as the end of slavery in the United States, and it’s an important, big step for Philadelphia officials to finally recognize it.  Continue Reading

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