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Wolf tells Pa. to stay home as pandemic worsens


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Jordan Wolman
November 24, 2020
Shutting down the bars, no more election audit, seeking Hershey School students, one awesome tote bag, and beer and doughnuts. It's Tuesday.

If you hit the bars on Thanksgiving eve, you better plan to go early this year.

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday announced bars and restaurants must stop alcohol sales at 5 p.m. Wednesday night to curb one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. His rationale: At the current pace, Pennsylvania is projected to report as many as 22,000 new coronavirus cases per day in December.

That's more than three times the daily number right now.

Citing that number and concerns about rising hospitalizations, Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine also announced stricter gathering limits, ramped up enforcement, and a stay-at-home advisory that asks residents to only leave their homes for the essentials. That's an advisory, not an order.

“As our hospitals and health care system are facing greater strain, we need to redouble our efforts to keep people safe,” Wolf said in a statement. “If our health care system is compromised, it isn’t only COVID-19 patients who will suffer."

THE CONTEXT: Pennsylvania is continuing to regularly report upwards of 7,000 new daily cases, and more people are hospitalized now with COVID-19 than during the worst of the spring peak.

To make matters worse, PennLive reports the state's contact tracing efforts are being hampered by delays in testing and chronic understaffing.

School districts will now need to sign a letter stating they are following protocols if they choose not to stop in-person learning despite "substantial" spread in their county. A new study found the virus is uncommon and mostly harmless among children, but risks are higher for communities of color.


"To expect that we would just take a department request and turn it into a 30-year burden on the commonwealth’s finances in a week is just inappropriate."

— Sen. Pat Browne (R., Lehigh) on a PennDOT budget shortage that will soon stop about $600 million of road and bridge projects

POST IT: Thank you, Judy B., for this amazing view of the Susquehanna River along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
REJECTED AUDIT: A bipartisan panel rejected an attempt by the Republican-controlled legislature to audit the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, Spotlight PA and Votebeat report. In rebuffing the effort, the panel’s two Democratic members said it would duplicate the efforts of an ongoing Department of State audit, which is mandated by law.

TALK TO US: Spotlight PA is working with The Philadelphia Inquirer and ProPublica on a story about the Milton Hershey School, and we need to reach former students to hear about their experiences. Is this you? Please help us by getting in touch and sharing with fellow alumni.

CLOSE COUNT: The state Supreme Court has ruled that more than 2,000 undated mail ballots can be counted in Allegheny County, TribLIVE reports. The challenge was brought by Republican Nicole Ziccarelli, who as of 7 p.m. Monday was trailing state Sen. Jim Brewster by one vote, according to Associated Press results.

FEELING GOOD: No, Democrats didn't take a majority in either chamber of the General Assembly, but they're feeling confident going into the 2021 redistricting process. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the political power structure now is very different compared to 2011, which was disastrous for Democrats.

PROLONGED ABSENCE: WHYY is reporting that the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission — the city board charged with police oversight when an officer uses force on a civilian — has not met in over a year. And there are no plans to meet for the rest of 2020, despite months of unrest in the city over police brutality and about two dozen use of force reviews still outstanding. 
» THE PERFECT GIFT THIS SEASON: Join Spotlight PA for $15/month or more, get this exclusive tote bag, hand-drawn and printed in PA! We only have 45 left, so don't wait — become a member now! A huge thank-you to Thomas D., Kate P., Robert M., Jodi H., and Jacqueline M. for contributing and claiming their totes yesterday.

YOUNG SCHOLARS: Two students studying at Pennsylvania colleges have been named Rhodes Scholars, meaning they will be able to study for free at England's Oxford University. Meet Victoria Puglia, an international affairs major at Easton's Lafayette College, and Mackenzie Fierceton, a former foster child who now studies at the University of Pennsylvania

OK, FINE: Apparently the dreaded spotted lanternfly is good for something after all: helping produce a "darker, smokier" honey by chomping on the ailanthus, or tree of heaven. That's cool, but I still want to destroy every single one of the bugs.

DREAM JOB: A website called Reviews.org wants to pay someone $2,500 to watch 25 holiday movies in 25 days. If selected, you'd get to pick the films to watch. And naturally, you'd put the greatest Pennsylvania-set Christmas movie of all time on the list: "Trading Places." (That's right, I called "Trading Places" a Christmas movie.)

'VISIBILITY TO THE INVISIBLE': NPR describes "The Book of Everything" as the "essence of Mary Ellen Mark's work" in the form of three coffee table books that weigh more than 16 pounds total. Mark was a Pennsylvania native and famed photographer who focused on the fringes of society.

MATCH MADE IN ... SOMEWHERE: If beer and glazed doughnuts sound like a good pairing to you (no judgment!), consider this new collaboration between Sheetz and Wicked Weed Brewing Company. You can find cans at the gas station starting Nov. 27. 

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. If you love the scrambler, make a donation and we'll keep it going.

Friday's answer: Yes, spelling can be hard, but nothing gets past our devoted daily fans. Diplomatic (if you add another "I") or diplomat (if you take away the extra "C".) The Scrambler apologizes for the error.

Congrats to our daily winners: David I., Susan D., George S., John C., Doug W., Mary Ellen T., David W., Anne R., Ron P., Theodore W., and Kim C.
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