First Night Cancelled
For the first time in 26 years, First Night State College will not go on. The annual Dec. 31 event was canceled due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. In place of First Night State College will be a virtual event, A December to Remember, from late November until shortly before Christmas. Details are available at www.artsfestival.com
CDC RELEASES THANKSGIVING GUIDELINES
The Centers for Disease Control has released its guidance on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving amid the coronavirus pandemic. The safest way, of course, is for relatives to stay home and everyone avoid unnecessary travel. But we all know that’s not going to happen (Dammit!). The agency then ranked a series of holiday activities from low-risk to higher-risk:
Low-risk Thanksgiving activities include:
– Having a small dinner with only the people who live in your household
– Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
– Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
– Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home
Moderate-risk activities include:
– Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
– Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples.
– Attending small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place
The higher-risk activities for the holiday include:
– Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
– Participating in or being a spectator at a crowded race
– Attending crowded parades
– Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
– Using alcohol or drugs, which the agency says can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors
CATA to Temporarily Discontinue Commuter Routes
SATs Cancelled at SCASD
The State College Area School District announced it was canceling two SAT testing days, September 26TH and October 3RD, due to concerns surrounding Covid-19. Those who were initially scheduled to take the test this Saturday or next Saturday will receive a message from the College Board with further details.
Free Covid-19 Testing
Centre County residents will be able to get a free COVID-19 test. The state Department of Health announced a pop-up coronavirus testing site at the Nittany Mall. From 7 until 7 on the following days:
- Friday, September 25;
- Saturday, September 26;
- Tuesday, September 29;
- Wednesday, September 30;
- Thursday, October 1;
- Friday, October 2; And
- Saturday, October 3.
Insurance is not necessary to receive a test and results are expected in 24-48 hours.
Grange Fair Cancelled
The Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair is canceled, the festival’s president announced Wednesday evening.
Grange Fair President Ben Haagen wrote, “It is with great sadness that the Centre County Grange Fair Committee announces the cancellation of the 2020 Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” . “The health and safety of our tenting and RV families, fairgoers, staff, concessionaires, sponsors and entertainers is of utmost importance.”
Memorial Day Cancellations
Bellefonte American Legion Post 33, Pleasant Gap American Legion Post 867 and Bellefonte VFW Post 1600 have canceled Memorial Day services. That includes services at the following locations: Centre County Courthouse, Meyers, Jewish/Hebrew, Zion, Snydertown, Hublersburg, Jacksonville, Pleasant Gap Lutheran, Quaker, Catholic and the Union cemeteries.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry Secretary says they are launching Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program to allow 13 additional weeks of benefits to anyone who exhausts their regular unemployment. P-E-U-C is funded by the CARES Act and will also be used for those who currently aren’t eligible for state or federal unemployment benefits. Anyone collecting any type of unemployment compensation will also receive an extra 600-dollars per week from the Federal Unemployment Compensation Program. Since mid-March, there have been over 15-point-seven million unemployment payments made to Pennsylvanians, totaling seven-point-nine billion dollars.
Grants for PSU Students
Nearly 1 in 3 Penn State students — about 25,000 in all — are set to receive cash grants of up to $1,000 apiece from the university’s share of a federal relief fund to cover expenses related to the global pandemic. A second round of funding, which has the potential to help an additional 2,000-plus students, will take place some time afterward.
School Officials Expect Students to Return to Classrooms This Fall
Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro Rivera says he expects students to go back to school in the fall. Rivera said the Department of Education will provide guidance to prepare teachers and staff on returning to buildings in the coming weeks. School officials do believe they would need more funding to maintain social distancing for students. Some of the changes could include smaller class sizes and additional buses.
PennDOT Using Current Photo for ID Renewals
PennDOT officials say they will recycle the current picture on file for customer ID and driver’s license renewals. Interim PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian says the process reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 and will keep customers and staff safe. Customers will receive their renewals by mail within two weeks and will be valid for four years. Residents can visit www.dmv.pa.gov to see what locations are open.
Penns Valley Graduation
Members of the Penns Valley class of 2020 will be honored in person. The district announced plans for a socially-distant commencement. The Penns Valley School District will host a combined in-person and virtual graduation on June 5 at 9 a.m. in front of the high school to honor graduating seniors and their families.
Nursing Home Testing
Every resident and employee of nursing homes and long-term care facilities will be tested for COVID-19. Governor Tom Wolf said he is hoping to test every employee once a week. Maryland has recently made similar requirements.
As Centre County reopens into ‘yellow’ phase, some local government services resume
As Centre County reopens and Gov. Tom Wolf eases COVID-19 mitigation efforts in the “yellow” phase, some local government and state services will resume.
Public access to county and municipal buildings is still restricted as remote work continues in the yellow phase of reopening, but some agencies will resume services while taking precaution to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Child care centers in Centre County were permitted to reopen Friday, but many families were not in a rush Monday to send their kids back for the first time in about seven weeks.
Attendance at Step by Step School for Early Learning was down about 87% Monday, while Dall’Inizio DaySchool’s attendance was down about 63%, respective owners Rachel Johnson and Carrie Pase said.
Gov. Tom Wolf blasted local elected officials who plan to reopen in defiance of his shutdown orders, threatening Monday to yank coronavirus aid and declaring they are “choosing to desert in the face of the enemy.”
The normally mild-mannered Democrat fired back after several counties declared themselves in open rebellion against his restrictions on businesses and movement, saying local officials who pronounce themselves open for business will pay a steep price.
“To those politicians who decide to cave in to this coronavirus, they need to understand the consequences of their cowardly act,” said Wolf, threatening to withhold state and federal funding to counties “that put us all at risk by operating illegally.”
Liquor Store to Re-Open
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced that 77 Fine Wine & Good Spirits locations, including 6 in Centre County, will resume limited in-person sales, Friday (5/8). Stores will limit the number of people, including employees, inside to 25 at a time; reserve the first hour of operation each day to those at a higher risk for COVID-19 and will not accept returns, among other coronavirus mitigation measures.
Parks & Rec
As Centre County prepares for a partial reopening Friday, the Centre Region Parks and Recreation Authority altered its COVID-19 response plan to ensure the health and safety of park visitors. CRPR programs and events remain canceled through June 30. But some park facilities — restrooms and athletic courts — will open next week.
Mount Nittany Health Salutes Health Care Heroes
Mount Nittany Health launched a website to thank its employees during the pandemic. The site allows community members to post notes, images and videos of encouragement and thanks to health care providers and staff on a virtual pin board. Users can also share posts on the board to popular social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. View the site and salute health care heroes at CourageousAtHeart.org.
Some Counties Moving from Red to Yellow
Governor Wolf announced reopening of 24 counties in the northwest and north-central regions of the state, including Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties, from red to yellow beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, May 8. More details here.
Sheetz employees will continue to receive bonuses in their paychecks. The Altoona-based gas station chain announced that the three-dollar-per-hour raise for its store employees will run until June.
Governor Wolf is confirming that hospitals across the state will receive a collective of more than three-hundred-million dollars in financial relief. Wolf says the effort will allow hospitals to function without worrying about access for resources needed to provide critical care.
Bells Across Pennsylvania
State College Mayor Ron Filippelli proclaimed this Sunday as Bells Across Pennsylvania Day in the borough. Residents and churches are encouraged to ring bells for three minutes at 7 p.m. to honor those on the frontlines for the COVID-19 pandemic and rally with other Pennsylvanians to show resolve for restoring local businesses and civic life to normalcy once restrictions are lifted.
PennDOT Deadlines Extended
PennDOT is once again extending deadlines for licenses and registrations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Expirations on licenses and registrations are now extended to the end of May. PennDOT also extended safety and emissions inspections as well as learner’s permits.
Testing Now Available in Philipsburg
Geisinger announced it has made nasal-swab testing for COVID-19 available at its location on Medical Center Drive in Philipsburg. Those interested in getting tested should call Geisinger’s nurse triage line at 570-284-3657 or make an appointment through a primary care physician.
Governor Tom Wolf is laying out his coronavirus reopening plan. As of now, residents in north-central and northwestern P-A will be the first to be released from the stay-at-home order. Those areas will also see retail stores reopen. Other regions and counties will need to average less than 50-new positive COVID-19 cases per 100-thousand residents for 14 days to move out from the restrictions. Last night, Wolf also pushed up his initial plan to allow construction work to resume May 1st instead of May 8th.
The Day in Town, race, fire company carnival and other Memorial Day activities in Boalsburg have all been canceled. Virtual activities are being planned for Memorial Day and the fire company will be selling chicken barbecue dinners starting at 11 a.m. May 23.
he Pleasant Gap Fire Company also canceled its 2020 carnival, parade and associated events, including the concerts, chicken barbecue and cake walk.
A new loan program is available for Centre County businesses. Here’s what to know
Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins announced the revolving loan fund program during Tuesday’s board meeting. To assist small businesses in Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder and Union counties, the program is available to for-profit companies.
“We encourage Centre County businesses to apply as soon as possible. If the revolving loan fund is over-subscribed, this demonstrates the need for more small business assistance programs at the regional, state and federal levels,” Higgins said. “If the first round of SEDA-COG revolving loan fund is successful, it is possible that additional funding could be developed.”
“The funds may be used for a broad array of working capital purposes and can be disbursed based on past working capital expenses — a lot of flexibility there,” he said.
There is a $500 application fee and $100 filing fee that will be charged when funds are dispersed. To apply, business owners are asked to contact SEDA-COG Loan Officer Douglas Wilburn at email@example.com.
The expected minimum loan, Higgins said, is $10,000. The SEDA-COG board of directors will determine which companies receive loans.
“I suspect in Centre County it’s hundreds of companies that would be interested,” Higgins said. “We are roughly 25% of the population of the SEDA-COG region.”
Since the program is local, Higgins expects businesses will see funds “fairly quickly.” If a business received assistance from previous state or federal loan programs, entrepreneurs are still eligible to apply for the SEDA-COG program.
“If you received money from any of the various other programs, that’s great. If you need more, this is available as well,” he said.
Penn State cancels all nonessential meetings, events through at least June 19
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Penn State has canceled all nonessential, in-person meetings and events through at least June 19.
In a release Friday, the university said the decision — which applies to all Penn State campuses — aims to protect the health of students, staff, faculty and campus visitors. All meetings have been canceled, rescheduled or moved to an online platform. The announcement aligns with last week’s move to cancel all in-person summer camp programs.
“The decision also takes into account Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, which at this point, extends until April 30, but may be prolonged,” Penn State wrote in a release.
Gov. Wolf extends Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order, sets date for reopening economy
Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday extended the statewide stay-at-home order and set a target date to begin reopening the economy.
The order, which was set to expire April 30, will now last through May 8. On that date, plans are for the state to reopen gradually. Social distancing guidelines and limits on large gatherings will be in place during the process, Wolf said.
“I want to caution that we will not be resuming operations as they were in February,” he said. “We’re going to continue to take precautions that limit our physical contact with others, and we will closely monitor this to see if it can be done safely.”
Curbside Pickup for Liquor Store Sales
Two Centre County, state liquor stores will offer curbside pick-up service beginning Monday (4/20). Fine Wine & Good Spirits at 1682 N. Atherton St. and Fine Wine & Good Spirits at 127 Southridge Plaza will take a limited number of orders by phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until the store reaches the maximum number of orders it can fulfill that day. Curbside pickup orders will be limited to one order of no more than six bottles. Only one order will be accepted per caller, per store, per day. Payment by credit card will be required by phone, and all curbside pickup sales are final.
Centre County Correctional Facility Confirms First Incarcerated Individual with COVID-19
A Centre County resident incarcerated in the Centre County Correctional Facility since January has tested positive for COVID-19 according to Warden Christopher A. Schell. The individual has been housed in the Facility’s negative airflow room since exhibiting symptoms and hospitalization is not necessary at this time. A small number of staff and incarcerated individuals who may have had contact with the individual are in quarantine while contact tracing and additional testing are conducted.
Summer Festivals Cancelled
Four of Centre County’s signature summer events: 4th Fest, The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, People’s Choice Festival and Philipsburg Heritage Days, have been all been canceled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the Department of Human Services will begin emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit insurance. Payments, in line with the federal government’s interpretation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, include a supplemental increase for March and April and will continue for current SNAP households through April 29.
Governor Tom Wolf is requiring anyone who enters a commercial building in the commonwealth to wear a mask. Wolf said that goes for warehouse workers and other places that are open but not accessible to the general public. Anyone not wearing a mask can be refused admission.
Since there won’t be a Blue-White Game this weekend, Penn State will host a virtual tailgate from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday (4/18). Fans are encouraged to host their own virtual tailgates and wear white. Fans can register their virtual tailgates here for the chance to have a member of the coaching staff, former student-athletes or the Nittany Lion mascot join in on their video conference.
The Department of Labor and Industry maintains a COVID-19 jobs portal for life-sustaining businesses. The information will be updated on a daily basis. Businesses in the portal must be defined as life-sustaining and have more than 10 job openings.
You can donate, you can volunteer. And the head of the organization says they are also willing to distribute books, fabric to make diapers, and other things to those who come ot them.
Find local banks at nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/
A new set of unemployment benefits are being implemented for Pennsylvania residents under the CARES Act. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will grant an extra 600-dollars a week and extend benefits for 13 weeks. Residents who are self-employed and independent contractors are now edible for this benefit.
BALLOT REQUEST APPLICATION
To limit in-person contact during the upcoming Primary Election scheduled for April 28, voters may be interested in voting by mail. Voters will have this option as part of a new law that was approved last year. If you plan to vote with an absentee or mail-in ballot in 4/28 primary, your application must be received in the county office by 5 pm on 04/21/2020. The deadline to return your voted absentee or mail-in ballot is 8 pm on 04/28/2020.
Register to vote online –> https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplicat…/…
Centre County Board of Commissioners Launches COVID-19 Information and Resources Website
Today, the Board of Commissioners launched a new website for information, resources, and updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The website’s URL is
www.centrecountypa.gov/covid-19. “Centre County Government and our community partners provide many services to our residents and the need for assistance will surely grow during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Administrator Margaret Gray. “The website will help residents to find resources and stay up to date throughout this crisis.” The website has important updates on Centre County Government operations and services. In addition, there are multiple resources for housing, food, mental health, transportation, and health care. Information for assistance for small businesses is available as well. Prominently displayed on the website are vital 24/7 hotlines for
information/referral and mental health crisis services. The website also lists links to the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health allowing
residents to access important updates from the federal and state governments.
Governor Wolf Extends School Closure for Remainder of Academic Year
Harrisburg, PA – Continuing his efforts to protect the health and safety of students and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that all schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. The governor made the decision in consultation with Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. Students and families can continue to pick up meals at designated sites.
Although schools are closed, teaching and learning may continue: schools are strongly encouraged to provide continuity of education for all students in the most appropriate and accessible ways possible. PDE has secured resources intended to help all schools that want to use them – including those not currently offering online platforms, those requiring additional technology support, and those that may rely on traditional methods, such as paper lessons, to continue educating students. There is no cost to schools or students for these resources.
“We must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus during this national crisis,” Governor Wolf said. “This was not an easy decision but closing schools until the end of the academic year is in the best interest of our students, school employees and families.”
Secretary Rivera said the administration’s primary consideration has always been to make the best decision in the context of student and community health and safety.
“While the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation efforts have created uncertainty in our schools and communities, today’s action to close schools for the remainder of the academic year provides school communities with predictability and understanding of the conditions under which they’ll be operating and serving students,” Rivera said. “As schools and communities adapt to the prolonged school closure, PDE will continue to work with our state, educational, and business and nonprofit partners to meet the needs of students.”
Today’s decision applies to all public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers and intermediate units. All Department of Education early learning program classrooms, including those for Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) and Preschool Early Intervention, will also remain closed.
Colleges and universities may not resume in-person instruction or reopen their physical locations until the governor permits them to open or lifts the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses.
Schools will remain closed though the end of the 2019-2020 academic year as it is defined by the local school calendar.
Under the state’s directive, schools could begin summer programming on the day after their academic year ends.
Secretary Rivera added that all re-openings will be contingent on public health guidance provided by the Secretary of Health and stay-at-home orders issued by the governor.
In addition to the school closure announcement, through his order Secretary Rivera also took action that will ensure crucial stability of education programs. Under Act 13 of 2020, the secretary has exercised his executive authority to adjust requirements for the evaluation of professional employees and waive student teaching requirements that may not be possible in the context of school closures.
“By taking these actions, the department is providing flexibility in the near term, while signaling that core functions of public education can and will continue,” he said.
The department has been providing ongoing guidance to school communities in the form of FAQs. The guidance information is available at education.pa.gov/COVID19.
Document Shows How Much Pennsylvania Will Receive From National Stockpile
FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services are sending Pennsylvania its share of PPE from the national stockpile to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The state will get more than 365-thousand N95 respirators, 869-thousand surgical masks, 173-thousand face shields, 141-thousand surgical gowns and 690-thousand gloves. The state will not receive any ventilators.
Pennsylvania to seize medical supplies for COVID-19 fight
Pennsylvania emergency management officials will be permitted to commandeer N95 face masks, ventilators and other crucial medical equipment for use in the fight against COVID-19 under an order signed Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf.
The order requires private and public health care facilities, manufacturers and other companies to tabulate their supplies of personal protective gear, drugs and other medical equipment, and provide an inventory to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency within five days.
PEMA will make the supplies available to areas of the state hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, Wolf’s order said.
Mount Nittany Health, Geisinger now requiring patients, visitors to wear masks inside facilities
Following the lead of Geisinger, Mount Nittany Health announced Wednesday that all patients and visitors to the medical center will now be required to wear masks inside the facility.
Patients and visitors to Mount Nittany Medical Center are asked to bring their own masks but, if needed, masks will be provided before entering the facility.
The announcement comes five days after Gov. Tom Wolf urged the public to wear masks when venturing outside the home. Geisinger announced shortly after that, also on Friday, that everyone inside their facilities — including patients and visitors — must wear masks at all times.
Even the coronavirus can’t stop Pennsylvania’s trout season.
The statewide trout season started without prior notice at 8 a.m. Tuesday — more than a week ahead of schedule — after the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission consulted with several other state organizations. The groups reached the conclusion that fishing in the commonwealth’s rivers and streams was safe, as long as anglers and boaters practice social-distancing guidelines and take other safety precautions.
The sudden move was made to avoid the usual packed gatherings on the traditional opening day — originally April 18 this year — and to minimize travel while reducing the threat of illegal poaching.
Virtual Graduation at Penn State
Penn State’s Class of 2020 graduates will be recognized in a virtual commencement ceremony. The ceremony will take place via livestream on May 9 — recognizing all undergraduate and graduate students. Graduates, friends and families are invited to gather online as university leadership recognizes and confers their degrees. University President Eric Barron said Penn State plans to invite 2020 graduates back for in-person celebrations when public health guidelines permit large gatherings and events.
Centre County Board of Commissioners Provides Call-In Number for Public Meetings
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre County Board of Commissioners will be offering public participation via teleconference at their weekly public meetings held at 10 A.M. on Tuesdays. “We want to continue to offer our residents a way to engage with us during our public meetings without them having to physically be in the room,” said Chair Michael Pipe. “Centre County Government is operating, but we want people to stay home, stay calm, and stay safe.”
During their public meetings, the Board of Commissioners accepts public comment for items not appearing on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. The Board also accepts public comment for items that do appear on the agenda while the item is under consideration.
To join the Board of Commissioners via teleconference dial (814) 699-8580 and enter 138-2535 and press the # key. All callers will be muted automatically. To participate in public comment, callers can press *5 on their phone’s keypad. Their call will be unmuted in the order it is received, allowing them to offer public comment. People wishing to offer public comment will be asked to identify themselves and the municipality in which they reside. They will be given 5 minutes for their comments. After they offer public comment they will be muted again.
Stay at Home Challenge
The State College Community Borough Office is encouraging residents to join the “Stay Home Challenge” while in quarantine, according to State College Borough’s Instagram. Winners will receive gift cards to use in downtown State College when the stay at home order is over. To enter, residents must decorate their doors, mailboxes, windows, driveways or any visible part of their house will supportive messages for those who are still working amid the coronavirus pandemic, using crafts supplies already available in their house. Then, residents must take and share their photos with the State College Borough and community by tagging them on social media.
Free Food for School Children
About 125 volunteers from the Centre County YMCA Anti-Hunger Task Force are handing out lunches and snacks for kids Monday thru Friday between noon and 1 at 24 drive up distribution locations across the county.
We are on Facebook as YMCA of Centre County Backpack Program@AntiHunger
Current locations for drive up food is:
Philipsburg-Osceola School District:
Moshannon Valley YMCA
Hope Fire Company Front St.
P.O. Middle School
Osceola Mills Elementary School
Moshannon Valley School District
Ramey Fire Company
Madera Fire Company
The Wreck Center in Houtzdale
West Branch Area School District
Morris Township Fire Company
West Branch School
Grassflat Fire Company
Winburne Fire Company
Bald Eagle School District
Pine Glen Fire Company in Karthaus
Snow Shoe EMS Building
Wingate Elementary School
Citizen’s Fire Company in Milesburg
Bellefonte Area School District
Logan Fire Company
Beaver Farms Complex
Pleasant Gap Fire Company
Penns Valley Area School District
Centre Hall Fire Company
Miles Township Fire Company
Millheim Fire Company
Grange Fair Grounds (not sure if this is open yet)
State College Area School District
Schlow Centre Region Library
State College YMCA
They also have drive up soup to go locations on Mondays (soup locations are also for Senior Citizens and Veterans)
Trinity United Methodist Church in Philipsburg
Bald Eagle Valley Community United Methodist Church behind Sheetz in Wingate
Centre Hall Fire Company in Centre Hall
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wants residents to know there are unemployment scammers on the internet. There have reports of multiple fake websites used to file unemployment claims across the Commonwealth. He says you should only file you unemployment through the Department of Labor and Industry and to report any other sites that appear to be similar. The state reported 378-thousand-900 unemployment claims filed last week.
State College hospital has its first inpatient COVID-19 case, Mount Nittany Health says
Mount Nittany Medical Center is treating its first inpatient that is positive for the new coronavirus, the health care system said late Wednesday night.
The test results were confirmed Wednesday evening, a spokesperson said in a statement.
“I want to emphasize that we have been preparing for months for this situation,” Mount Nittany Health Chief Medical Officer Nirmal Joshi said in a statement. “Guided by our rigorous adherence to (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) procedures and protocols and the expertise of our Mount Nittany Health staff, proper protocols are in place for the patient’s care, and our facilities continue to be safe for our employees, providers and patients. The health and safety of our community, patients and staff is our highest priority.”
Megabus, Fullington Trailways discontinue all services in Pa. amid statewide shutdown
After suspending all trips to and from New York City last week, Megabus has discontinued all services in Pennsylvania.
“With customer and employee safety as our top priority, we continue to regularly sanitize our buses and operate them in a manner that allows for appropriate social distancing,” the company said on its website.
Centre County coronavirus cases continue to rise as Pennsylvania reports 1,211 new cases
Centre County gained one new case of the coronavirus Thursday, raising the total number of cases in the county to 28, the state Department of Health reported.
There are 7,016 cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania as of noon Thursday, an increase of 1,211 since noon Wednesday. That is the state’s largest single-day increase yet; there were 962 new cases Wednesday.
Centre County’s first case of COVID-19 was reported March 20.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday placed all of Pennsylvania under an order to stay at home, dramatically expanding the geographic footprint of the quarantine as state officials combat the coronavirus pandemic.
In one stroke, Wolf added 34 counties to his stay-home edict, meaning that residents of all 67 of Pennsylvania’s counties must now stay home as much as possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
On-Line Liquor Sales
Pennsylvania is resuming online liquor sales. Liquor stores remain closed, but customers will be able to buy up to six bottles per order from a reduced catalog of about 1,000 top-selling wines and spirits from finewineandgoodspirits.com. All orders must be shipped to home or non-store addresses, and only one order per address will be fulfilled per day.”
State Police to Limit Contact
Pennsylvania State Police will no longer respond in person to some types of calls to limit troopers’ contact with the public. According to a news release, calls for lost and found, littering, identity theft and general requests to speak to a trooper are among the types of calls that will now be resolved with “limited or no-scene response”. State police said troopers will continue to respond to emergencies.
Due to the COVID-19 Crisis and stay at home order, the Centre County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court is now doing Virtual Probate and Marriage License Applications through video conference. To get more
information on the procedures, contact the Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court office at (814)355-6724
between the hours of 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM.
ALL CONFERENCES WILL BE SCHEDULED BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. PROBATES MUST BE
REPRESENTED BY LEGAL COUNSEL.
Pennsylvania schools will remain closed “indefinitely.” That’s the word from Governor Wolf, who also extended the stay-at-home orders in effect in 26 counties, including Centre County, through April 30th. Wolf also says all non-life sustaining businesses will remain closed during the Coronavirus crisis. As of March 30, more than three-thousand cases of CoVID-19 have been confirmed across Pennsylvania, including 24 in Centre County.
Unemployment claims in Pennsylvania continue to surge amid the outbreak. State labor officials say there have been more than 844,000 claims made since March 15th. That’s up from 650-thousand cases reported at the end of last week.
Centre County Playgrounds Closed
Centre Region Parks and Recreation has closed all of its playgrounds to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The playground closure comes on the heels of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s “stay at home” order. Centre County parks will remain open for general use, but people must use social distancing practices and should wash their hands before and after visiting. Restrooms and water fountains at the parks will remain closed until further notice.
COVID-19 Testing Available
Mount Nittany Health announced a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at their Blue Course Drive Location at 1700 Old Gatesburg Road in State College. Patients who want to receive the test must have an appointment, and must be referred by a primary care physician from Mount Nittany Health or Penn State Health. Patients who do not have a primary care physician can call Mount Nittany Health for more information at 844-278-4600.
A doctor’s group says Pink Eye could be an early warning sign of Coronavirus. The American Academy of Ophthalmology issued an alert Tuesday, stating the pathogen could cause red, itchy and teary eyes. People with allergies get the same symptoms, so ophthalmologists say you also have to watch for a fever and respiratory symptoms.
State College suspends parking regulations during COVID-19 pandemic
Payment will not be required at borough garages, lots and parking meters, and one- and two-hour time limits in residential neighborhoods will not be enforced, according to an update posted to the Borough’s website.
Until further notice, the no parking from 2-6 a.m. ordinance has been lifted.
Penn State commits to paying all employees through April — but future furloughs, layoffs not yet off table
Penn State has committed to paying all university employees both wages and benefits through the end of April, although future furloughs and layoffs aren’t out of the question and there will be belt-tightening in other areas, university officials said Tuesday morning during an online town hall.
President Eric Barron said in a news release that the university will wait until mid-April to determine whether furloughs or layoffs are necessary. Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost, also told the roughly 9,000 viewers that it’s “reasonable to assume” there will be no general salary increase for employees next year, and he said departments have also been asked “at this moment” not to fill positions unless they’re mission critical.
“While it’s too early to be specific, there is no question we’re going to be impacted (financially),” Jones said. “No enterprise across the nation, or across the world, is immune to the deep recession we’re now facing.”
CATA announced additional service reductions. Beginning Wednesday (3/25), buses will run only on weekdays, and only between 6 A.M. and 8 P.M. The only routes in operation will be the H-M, P, N-B, R-P and W Routes. Last week, CATA said they would not collect fares and asked riders to board buses using the rear doors, if possible.
The government is postponing the federal Real I-D program indefinitely. President Trump said Monday the program, which was passed after the September 11th terrorist attacks, would be delayed in the wake of the current pandemic. The program seeks to make all state-issued identification more secure with uniform national standards.
Wolf had initially announced last Monday a shutdown of “nonessential businesses,” but maintained businesses would not be forced to close. But as the number of cases has continued to climb in the commonwealth, Wolf tightened the list of businesses permitted to continue operating to “life-sustaining” on Thursday, and announced that those don’t comply could face citations, fines or license suspensions.
“To protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians, we need to take more aggressive mitigation actions,” Wolf said in his Thursday address. “This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat. And, we need to act now before the illness spreads more widely.”
Grocery chains alter hours to disinfect, restock shelves. What’s changed at Centre County stores?
While shoppers stock up on supplies as more coronavirus cases are confirmed, some grocery store chains in Centre County have taken additional precautions to ensure their facilities are clean and well stocked.
Local stores have seen their shelves cleared of groceries, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, paper towels and masks. As a result, some stores have limited the purchase of certain goods in response to consumers stockpiling supplies due to coronavirus fears. In addition to limiting how much customers can buy, some stores have altered their hours to allow more time for sanitizing.
Giant Food stores, Wegmans, Sam’s Club and Walmart have altered their hours, so employees can clean and stock shelves.
Giant’s 24-hour locations will close at midnight and reopen at 6 a.m. the following day. Starting Tuesday, Giant Direct Delivery service will only provide “contactless” deliveries for all customers until further notice.
Wegmans will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight at all Pennsylvania locations, except Erie. The store has also placed temporary limits on the number of hygiene and wellness supplies and grocery items customers are permitted to buy.
Starting Tuesday, Sam’s Club will shift its opening hours to 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday to ensure time to restock, clean and sanitize each location. Sunday hours will remain 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and prescheduled orders will be available for pickup, beginning at 7 a.m.
In a letter, Walmart informed customers that its stores will now be open from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. until further notice. Limits on purchases varies based on location.
“This will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing,” Walmart Executive Vice President Dacona Smith said in a statement. “Stores currently operating under more reduced hours — for example they regularly close at 10 p.m. or open at 7 a.m. — will keep their current hours of operation.”
Weis Market will be open from 7 a.m. -9 p.m., starting Tuesday. The store has temporarily shut down its Weis 2 Go online ordering with curbside pickup and home delivery; however, customers may still order groceries at weismarkets.com/shipt.
“As part of our COVID-19 prevention program, we have increased the time we devote each day to cleaning and disinfecting our stores, including high contact areas such as our cash registers, self-scan units, credit-debit terminals, fuel pumps, shopping carts and baskets,” Weis Chairman and CEO Jonathan Weis said in a statement.
Weis has also placed limits on water, hand sanitizer, milk, toilet paper, disinfectant and soap. More information can be found online.
Trader Joe’s has altered its hours. The store will be open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Target said employees are cleaning surfaces, checkout lanes and touch screens every 30 minutes. It has also placed sales limits on products like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, wipes and water.
Centre County meal programs for kids are up and running. Here’s where you can find them
After store shelves were left bare across the region, Moshannon Valley YMCA Executive Director Mel Curtis wasn’t sure the YMCA could get through a week of maintaining its weekly Backpack Program and also start its summer lunch program early.
But with help from community members and local businesses, both programs will continue, kicking off with lunch at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“One of the greatest things the Y can provide to a community is child care and feeding kids, and we will do whatever it takes,” Curtis said.
The YMCA will operate drop and go lunch sites at the Bellefonte YMCA — 110 W. High St. — the Moshannon Valley YMCA — 113 N. 14th St. — and the State College YMCA — 677 W. Whitehall Road — from noon to 1 p.m. each day school is out of session. The meals will include a lunch and evening snack.
“We are now geared up … we will be out every day of the week feeding kids while they’re out of school,” Curtis said. “We have a task force put together which has grown phenomenally. We have volunteers coming from all over the county to serve kids every day.”
Curtis said the YMCA is working with local fire and emergency response services to secure additional sites, but each location must be approved by the Department of Agriculture. Site locations will be updated on the Moshannon Valley YMCA Facebook page. Area school districts have donated excess milk and goods that would have been served during breakfast and lunch; however, Curtis said, those items will only last so long.
“It’s not a battle. It’s a war,” Curtis said. “And I don’t think it’s going to be over in two weeks.”
Emergency food items, including ramen noodles, canned foods, granola bars, bottled water, fruit and small loaves of bread, may be dropped off at any YMCA location during business hours.
The YMCA has also filed a waiver with the state Department of Human Services that would permit child care for the kids of essential workers, but it has not yet heard back.
In addition to the State College Area School District meal program, the Penns Valley Area School District will be providing breakfast and lunch to all students on weekdays during the closure. To register, parents and guardians are asked to visit pennsvalley.org. Meal deliveries will begin the following day if kids are registered by 7 p.m.
Meal distribution will occur between 9:30-9:45 a.m. at Centre Hall Potter Elementary, Penns Valley Area High School and Miles Township Elementary.
As students are added to the program, locations and times may vary, but if the district receives a significant number of responses, it will consider door-to-door delivery.
If a household does not have access to internet, Penns Valley asks parents to contact 422-2000, ext. 3097.
Meals are also available for State College Area School District families while schools are closed. A breakfast and lunch will be provided every day on a first come, first served basis. Children must be present in order for meals to be provided at the following drive-thru locations:
- State College Area High School bus loop from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Weis Markets parking lot on North Atherton Street from 11 a.m.-noon
- Ashworth Woods Apartments in Boalsburg from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Free Meals for Service Industry Members:
The Corner Room in State College starting this Monday, between 11am and 2pm, we will be distributing meals to those service industry members who are struggling to find proper nourishment. This will be at no cost and only while supplies last. We will have 150 meals prepared, 50 of each of the following:
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Pasta & Meat Sauce
Its our hope that this action can create a domino effect that encourages other capable businesses to do the same. We hope our brothers and sisters in hospitality can choose another day of next week to provide for those who have empty stomachs. We will follow up with distribution details to ensure we remain safe through this process
Department of Human Services Releases COVID-19 Operational Recommendations for Child Care Providers
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) today released operational recommendations for child care providers in Pennsylvania in response to COVID-19.
“The Wolf Administration is committed to serving vulnerable populations every day, and that commitment will not waiver in the face of an emergency,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “We intend to ensure support of child care providers to the greatest extent possible as they work to provide services for those Pennsylvanians who continue to work or experience disruptions in service in this time of crisis.”
OCDEL has developed the following operational guidance, which will be updated and re-released on a recurring basis as new information becomes available. Recommendations for child care providers include:
- Exercise and promote hygienic practices;
- Maintain a communication plan for staff and families;
- Review agency back-up plan and infection control procedures;
- Report all suspected cases of COVID-19 to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and facility closures to OCDEL at RA-PWOCDELFacilclose@pa.gov;
- Follow state and federally-issued guidance;
- Document any actions that were taken and maintain evidence for why actions were taken; and,
- Stay Informed via the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Child care facilities were closed statewide on March 16 to support COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Exceptions to this policy are family child care homes and group child care homes operating inside a residence. Closures and operational guidance are communicated directly to child care providers through the child care certification listserv and the Pennsylvania early education listserv. Providers should check for updates in their email daily.
This temporary closure of child care facilities may be a burden for Pennsylvania families who depend on this service. Because it is especially burdensome for essential personnel such as health care workers and first responders who must have safe and stable care options for their children in order to report to work, OCDEL has implemented a waiver process for child care centers and group child care homes that serve these families. Operators of these facilities who seek a waiver from the commonwealth’s temporary closure order should contact OCDEL at RA-PWDRACERT@pa.gov. Waiver requests will be processed as quickly as possible.
OCDEL is also advising communities that in order to meet the needs of school-age children, implementation of part-day school-age programs are a viable option for communities as they consider supporting working families. Currently part-day school-age programs meet the needs of many working families over the summer months. Community-based organizations do not need to apply for licensure to operate a part-day school-age program. Providers considering this option must continue to comply with Pennsylvania Child Protective Services, criminal background clearances.
OCDEL will also temporarily modify Pennsylvania’s child care subsidy program, Child Care Works (CCW), in support of challenges child care providers are experiencing. Effective March 13, 2020, CCW program requirements will be modified through April 30, 2020. The modifications will be reevaluated at that time. These emergency CCW program modifications include but are not limited to:
- CCW payment will continue for all children enrolled in CCW based on current service agreements;
- Elimination of CCW enrolled family co-pays for families whose program closes related to COVID-19 impacts; and,
- Absences for children enrolled in CCW will not count toward the child’s annual absence count.
Visit the PA Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.
DHS program offices are continuing to formulate recommendations for other provider communities and will publish guidance as it becomes available. Guidance to DHS providers related to COVID-19 is available here.
PennDOT Closes All Driver, Photo License Centers, Extends Expiration Dates and Suspends Construction in Response to COVID-19
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is implementing the following operational changes in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19.
All Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks effective close of business on Monday, March 16.
Additionally, expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections will be extended:
- Driver licenses, photo ID cards and learner’s permits scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
- Vehicle registrations, safety inspections and emissions inspections scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
- Persons with Disabilities Parking Placards scheduled to expire from March 16 through March 31, 2020, the expiration date is now extended until April 30, 2020.
All PennDOT District and County maintenance offices are closed. Additionally, construction projects have been suspended in all counties until further notice, however PennDOT crews are available to perform critical functions and emergency maintenance as needed.
All PennDOT rest areas and welcome centers statewide will be closed to the public effective 12:01 AM Tuesday, March 17, 2020. These rest area and welcome center closures are in addition to those previously announced in Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties.
Public transportation and rail services have also been adjusted. Please check local transit agencies and Amtrak’s website for up-do-date information.
As a reminder, customers may complete various transactions and access multiple resources via the Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.
– The Centre County Board of Commissioners and the President Judge of the Centre County Court of Common Pleas announced limited public access of County buildings and offices in a pre-emptive effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All persons are asked to refrain from visiting County offices. County offices are operational and functioning; however, contact with County offices should be conducted via phone, email, and any other virtual platforms to transact essential business. County personnel are available to answer questions and to assist the public with specific directions.
The County operates many distinct and diverse services each with different statutory and regulatory requirements for operation. Therefore, the public is encouraged to call any of the County offices listed below to receive guidance about how best to transact essential business needs.
|Adult Services||355-6768||MDJ – Bellefonte 49-3-02||355-6739|
|Aging||355-6716||MDJ – Centre Hall 49-3-04||364-1492|
|Central Booking||548-1186||MDJ – Centre Region 49-2-01||237-4981|
|Children & Youth Services||355-6755||MDJ – Philipsburg 49-3-03||342-4557|
|Commissioners||355-6700||MDJ – State College 49-1-01||231-1420|
|Conservation District||355-6817||MDJ – State College II 49-3-05||861-7406|
|Controller||355-6725||Mental Health – Intellectual Disability – Early Intervention||355-6782|
|Criminal Justice Planning||355-6921||Prothonotary – Clerk of Courts||355-6796|
|District Attorney||355-6735||Public Defender||355-6798|
|Domestic Relations||355-6931||Recorder of Deeds||355-6801|
|Drug & Alcohol||355-6782||Register of Wills – Clerk of Orphans Court||355-6724|
|Emergency Management Agency||355-6745||Tax Assessment||355-6721|
|Facilities Management||355-6815||Tax Claim – Tax Collection||355-6805|
|Information Technology||355-6700||Veterans Affairs||355-6812|
|Juvenile Probation||355-6771||Weights and Measures||355-8746|
The public is encouraged to consult the County’s website page for updates on the COVID-19 situation which includes links to the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
As the County strives to provide essential services balanced against the backdrop of a significant public health crisis, the cooperation and understanding of the public are appreciated.
For more information, please contact the Centre County Commissioners’ Office at (814)355-6700 or Court Administration at (814)355-6737.
Governor orders COVID-19 shutdown across Pennsylvania
Gov. Tom Wolf extended a shutdown order to the entire state of Pennsylvania in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus, he said Monday.
Wolf had already called for nonessential government offices to close and nonessential business activity to end in four heavily populated southeastern Pennsylvania counties.
On Monday, he extended that order to the rest of the state.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 14, 2020
Contact: Margaret N. Gray firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre County Commissioners’ Office (814) 355-6700
Centre County Board of Commissioners Issues Declaration of Disaster Emergency
On March 14, 2020, the Centre County Board of Commissioners signed a Countywide Declaration of Disaster Emergency for COVID-19. While there are no reported cases of the COVID-19 virus in the County, as reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health as of 2:45 P.M. on 3/14/2020, this action was taken out of an
abundance of caution. This Declaration allows the Board of Commissioners to access State and Federal resources as well as to streamline the procurement and decision-making processes in the event additional measures are necessary to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Citizens of the County are encouraged to access the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Department of Health for guidance regarding this public health emergency and updates on the status of the COVID-19 response.
A copy to the online version of this press release is available here:
COG issue declarations of disaster emergency for Coronavirus
On Friday, COG Chairman Elliot Abrams executed the declaration of disaster emergency to allow municipalities and COG to purchase supplies and materials.
COG will meet on Monday at 12:15 p.m. to ratify the declaration.
For the complete story check out the CDT:
- Happy Valley’s Got Talent, an annual fundraiser for the Tides Program that had been scheduled for April 25, is canceled.
- Webster’s Bookstore Cafe in State College has canceled all concerts and events.
- Public programs, events and trainings in state parks are canceled through April. Tent camping, cabins and camping cottages will remain open and fishing will still be allowed.
- Winter Jam 2020 canceled the rest of its tour, which included a stop March 28 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
- The State Theatre in downtown State College announced the following changes to its schedule: The Met Opera on Saturday is canceled; Lady Grey on Saturday is canceled; Dweezil Zappa on Sunday is rescheduled; Monday Movie: “The Life & Time of Molly Ivins” on Monday is rescheduled; The Next Stage’s “Celadine” on March 19-26 is canceled; State of State on March 21-22 is canceled; Alumni Association on March 26-27 is rescheduled; Land and Water Revisited on April 3 is rescheduled; Jon Meacham on April 22 is rescheduled. Visit thestatetheatre.org for more information.
- The Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County canceled several upcoming events, including a March 17 Solar Energy Luncheon, March 19 and April 1 Business After Hours events and an April 2 luncheon with state Sen. Jake Corman.
- For the complete story check out the CDT:https://www.centredaily.com/news/local/article241103536.html
What should you do if you have symptoms?
Mount Nittany is recommending anyone who was in a high-risk area and believes they may have COVID-19 symptoms call their doctor’s office ahead of time so that staff can prepare.
Depending on the severity of a person’s condition, Mount Nittany will recommend three courses of action: to stay home and self-isolate; to come into a doctor’s office; or to come into the emergency department.
For the complete story check out the CDT:
Local Cancellations (3/13/20)
In effort to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, local athletics and recreation organizations are taking action.
The YMCA of Centre County announced Friday that it’s canceling all programs effective Saturday through March 30. However, all child care programs, including Child Watch, will continue and its facilities will remain open until further notice.
Penn State has closed all its campus recreation facilities, programs and services effective at 2 p.m. Friday through April 6, when in-person classes are set to resume. Those closures include the Intramural Building, White Building, Hepper Fitness Center at Rec Hall, McCoy Natatorium and West Fields.
Access to the Stone Valley Outdoor Recreation Area in Petersburg, Huntingdon County, will remain open, the university said in a release.
“Best practices to avoid contracting the coronavirus, such as social distancing and maintaining hygiene would be challenging in campus fitness areas, pools, gymnasiums and other facilities,” the release said.
Church Cancellations (3/13/20)
To prevent the introduction and spread of coronavirus in Centre County, some area churches and Catholic schools are closing or encouraging congregants to attend services and classes online.
The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown announced that all church members are dispensed from participating at Sunday or Holy Day Masses. State College’s Our Lady of Victory Catholic School and St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Boalsburg will be closed next week as students attend classes virtually.
OLVCS and OLV Preschool will be closed next week. Teachers and staff will report on Tuesday, March 17, according to an announcement on the school’s website.
School Cancellations (3/13/20)
Following an order from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, all Centre County school districts will be closed for 10 business days, starting Monday.
On Friday, Wolf announced that all K-12 state schools will shut down as officials monitor coronavirus, or COVID-19. After 10 days, the state will reevaluate and decide whether continued closure is necessary.
On Tuesday, the State College Area School District announced that classes, sports and activities were canceled for next week. State College’s Our Lady of Victory Catholic School and St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Boalsburg had also planned to be closed next week as students attend classes virtually.
Touruist Attraction Cancellations (3/13/20)
Disneyland and Disney World are closing due to the coronavirus. It’s just the fourth time Disneyland has EVER closed. The last time was after the September 11th attacks in 2001. They’ll remain closed until at least next month. They released a statement that said “there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort” . . . but that they think it’s in the “best interest of [their] guests and employees” to shut down for now.
Universal Studios Hollywood will also be closed starting tomorrow. They’re hoping to reopen on March 28th.
Some other major tourist attractions around the country have also been closed to the public for now. Including the U.S. Capitol, which is closed to tourists until at least April.
(The “New York Times” has a running list of more venues that are shutting their doors for now.)
Movie Cancellations (3/13/20)
Universal announced that it’s pushing back the new “Fast & Furious” sequel “F9” until next YEAR. It was supposed to open in May. Now it’s set for April 2nd of 2021.
Disney just took three movies off its docket. The live-action “Mulan” remake was supposed to open March 27th. Now they’re looking at dates later in the year. Director Niki Caro Tweeted out a message of support to everyone affected by the virus.
Disney is also shelving its new Marvel movie “The New Mutants” for now . . . and the horror flick, “Antlers”, produced by their subsidiary, Searchlight Pictures.
And the release of “A Quiet Place Part 2” has been delayed indefinitely. It was supposed to open worldwide next week.
(Here’s a list of a few more movies that had already been postponed.)
Concert Cancellations (3/13/20)
Two of the biggest events companies in the world postponed ALL of their major concert tours yesterday because of the coronavirus. AEG and Live Nation are both shutting down their events until at least April. It’s not clear when they’ll be rescheduled, or what they’re doing about refunds yet. They released a joint statement with various talent agencies, saying they’ve formed a, quote, “global task force” for live entertainment. And that they’re looking out for the “best interest of artists, fans, staff, and the global community.”
A few of the tours that have now been affected by the virus include Billie Eilish . . . Cher . . . KISS . . . Post Malone . . . The Who . . . Lynyrd Skynyrd . . . Michael Bublé . . . Miley Cyrus . . . Pearl Jam . . . Green Day . . . Tool . . . Jason Aldean . . . Zac Brown Band . . . and Chris Stapleton.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony set for May 2nd in Cleveland has also been postponed.
On Wednesday, the NBA shocked everyone by suspending their SEASON after RUDY GOBERT of the Utah Jazz tested positive, and yesterday, basically every other active sports league followed suit.
1. The NHL: Yesterday morning, the NHL suspended its season immediately . . . saying that the “goal” is to resume play as soon as it’s “appropriate and prudent.” They also pointed out that their leagues share the same facilities and locker rooms as the NBA and other sports, and that it, quote, “seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point.” There have been two seasons in NHL history where the Stanley Cup was not awarded: In 1919 because of the Spanish flu and in 2005 because of a lockout.
2. Major League Baseball: Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 26th, but that isn’t happening. For now, MLB has pushed back the start of the season “at least two weeks,” but it could be extended further.
Spring training games have been suspended, and Minor League Baseball is following suit. On the bright side, a later spring start means there will probably be less baseball games played IN THE SNOW.
The Major Leagues haven’t had a disruption like this since 1995, when the season was shortened from 162 games to 144 following a seven-month strike.
3. The NCAA: This week, the NCAA announced that its annual March Madness tournament would continue without fans. But now, there won’t be players either. The NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments . . . saying, quote, “This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, and our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic.”
The NCAA has canceled championships in every spring sport, which includes hockey, baseball, and lacrosse . . . again, that’s CANCELED, not postponed. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament had been played every year since 1939.
4. The NBA: They were the first to suspend action on Wednesday. Yesterday, team owners pushed for the league to reevaluate the situation in 30 days . . . but it’s way too early to say WHEN or IF the season will resume.
5. The NFL: Obviously, football is a long way off, but the NFL is a year-round business, so there has been some disruption . . . and confusion. The league says they’re not delaying the start of the season . . . for now at least . . . but they have canceled some annual meetings that were scheduled to be held from March 29th through April 1st. It’s also unclear how it will affect next month’s draft . . . but combines have been canceled, and teams are restricting the travel of coaches and scouts. There’s also talk of training facilities being closed, and free agency being impacted.
6. MLS: For now, Major League Soccer has suspended its season for 30 days, effective immediately . . . and the U.S. Soccer Federation has canceled scheduled friendlies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
7. The XFL. They’re done. In a statement, they said, quote, “All players will be paid their base pay and benefits . . . all ticket holders will be issued refunds . . . [and] the XFL is committed to playing a full season in 2021 and future years.”
8. Golf: The PGA Tour was planning on staging events without spectators in the coming weeks, but late last night, they canceled the Players’ Championship, as well as their next three events.
There are still a FEW leagues that haven’t suspended all events . . .
1. NASCAR: They are moving ahead with scheduled races at Atlanta and Homestead, but no fans will b/e permitted to attend.
2. UFC: Supposedly, they’ll put on an event on Saturday in Brazil in an empty arena. UFC also has major events scheduled for the next three weekends.
3. The PBA: The coronavirus can’t stop people from BOWLING. Although, the PBA is restricting spectators to players, families, and officials.
Penn State (3/11/20)
Students were set to return to Penn State Monday after spring break, but concerns about spread of the novel coronavirus will suspend in-person classes through April 3. Online learning will be in place starting Monday and in-person classes will resume April 6, according to a Wednesday news release from the university.