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  • 16 Jul 2020 12:35 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    The City of Philadelphia announced today that it will postpone plans to close the protest camp on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Last week, after weeks of providing oral direction to remove the encampment, formal written notice was issued to residents of the camp that they must vacate the area no later than Friday, July 17 due to mounting public health and safety concerns that affect both the residents of the encampment and the surrounding community.

    “We’re postponing the closure because conversations with the group are ongoing and I plan to meet with several camp representatives next week,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “A mutual resolution has always been our preferred outcome. We appreciate their willingness to engage in productive dialogue, and I’m hopeful that we will reach a peaceful resolution soon.”

    The additional time also affords City outreach teams and service providers more opportunities to engage individuals experiencing homelessness in order to offer housing and other social services.

    For the last week, outreach teams representing Merakey, Northeast Treatment Centers, veterans’ services, the Department of Human Services, Office of Homeless Services, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services have been part of an outreach effort called “Homeless Connect,” which brings appropriate supports to those in need.

    “We’re pleased that over the past few days, seventeen placements, including two couples, to safe havens, recovery housing and shelter, have occurred, on top of the seventeen placements of older adults and people with disabilities into the COVID Prevention Space,” said Liz Hersh, Director of the City’s Office of Homeless Services. “The City and our partners will continue outreach so everyone in the camp has a housing plan and a place to go.”

    Outreach has been in the area for the past month engaging those who are willing and offering housing and services. This work has been done from outside the camp and the perimeter so as to honor the boundaries of the camp and requests of organizers. However, the City believes its outreach efforts, which connect individuals with the very services and help they need, would be even more effective if the outreach workers could enter the camp and directly speak with its homeless members. Even with this limited access, the City and outreach partners have been able to place over 30 individuals in either shelter space or COVID Prevention hotel space.

    City officials previously met with camp representatives and neutral observers on June 26 to hear the group’s asks.

    Mayor Kenney added, “This demonstration activity casts an important light on the racial inequities in our society that impact homelessness and frankly have informed inadequate solutions. Our Administration shares the belief that policy failures for generations have brought us to this point, and we are committed to enacting meaningful reforms that help keep people in their homes, expand affordable housing, and improve pathways to home ownership in the City of Philadelphia – especially for communities of color.”

    As the City continues to reimagine and reform public safety, Mayor Kenney acknowledges that using police officers to remove people from the camp is a last resort and something he hopes does not come to fruition.

  • 15 Jul 2020 3:52 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    6ABC News:  Gov. Tom Wolf has announced new statewide mitigation efforts as Pennsylvania reported about 1,000 new coronavirus infections.

    Wolf says three catalysts have been linked to case increases: some Pennsylvanians ignoring the mask wearing requirements and social distancing when they're visiting bars and restaurants, out of state travel and a lack of national coordination.

    To help bring down the cases, Wolf says bars and restaurants that allow indoor dining will only be able to seat up to 25% of their capacity. The previous restriction was set at 50% capacity.

    Wolf says outdoor dining will not be affected.

    On premises alcohol consumption will also be limited to service with meals, only cocktails to go and carry out beverages are allowed.

    Wolf says telework must be implemented, whenever possible and that outdoor indoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people, and outdoor gatherings remain at a maximum of 250 people.

  • 15 Jul 2020 11:28 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    The Philadelphia school district said it plans to resume limited in-person instruction in the fall, with most students in class just two days per week and learning remotely the other three.

    The School District of Philadelphia has announced that students will not be in the classroom full-time when the new school year begins.

    Instead, the district is planning a split schedule, which includes two days in the classroom and three days of virtual learning.

    The district will also be offering a fully virtual program for families that are not comfortable sending their children back to the classroom.

    Everyone will be required to wear face coverings or masks, adhere to frequent hand washing, and practice social distancing.

    The district is also seeking to change the date for the first day of school for students to Wednesday, September 2, 2020, to allow teachers an additional week to prepare.

    They hope for board approval in late July.

  • 14 Jul 2020 5:09 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

  • 14 Jul 2020 11:32 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy is resigning his post, effective Sept. 4.

    Mayor Jim Kenney announced on Tuesday morning Abernathy's departure from city government.

    "I’ve worked closely with many public servants throughout my career, and few match Brian’s level of integrity and commitment to making our city better," Kenney said in a prepared statement. 

    The mayor particularly thanked Abernathy for his recent work managing simultaneous crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest in June sparked by the death of George Floyd.

  • 14 Jul 2020 10:54 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    KYW Newsradio - Philadelphia officials are expected to announce the cancellation of all large events in the city for the next six months, at Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing.
    The city's COVID-19 numbers have fluctuated in the last few weeks — sometimes rising slightly, sometimes stabilizing. What they haven't been doing is going down, and with cases rising sharply in other places, large events that would attract out-of-towners are seen as too risky.

    A city official says the decision has been made to cancel them. That includes the Thanksgiving Day parade, the Mummers Parade and all the fall road races, including the Rock and Roll half marathon and the Broad Street Run, which had been postponed to October.

    UPDATE:  No events will be held until February 2021

  • 14 Jul 2020 10:47 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    KYW Newsradio — Philadelphia parents, students and teachers should find out soon what going back to school in a pandemic will look like. The School District of Philadelphia is expected to release its back-to-school plan this week.

  • 13 Jul 2020 3:53 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has updated the recently issued travel guidance for people traveling to or from high-incidence states.

    The Health Department still recommends that people should not travel to any of the states shown in red on the guidance map. For people coming to Philadelphia from any of those states, the Department’s primary guidance is that they should self-quarantine for 14 days.

    If that’s not practical, they should wear a mask at all times around non-household members, including around coworkers, and closely pay attention to their health and monitor for the development of any new onset cough, fever, or other COVID-19 symptoms. If any symptoms occur, they should stay home and seek out testing.

    Travel Guidance Map

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