Flyover planned for Tuesday to lift spirits

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Fighter jets are expected to fly over Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon as a salute to healthcare workers and other essential employees.

The flyover, performed by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, is scheduled to occur at 2 p.m. and last about 20 minutes, military officials said. Residents will be able to see 12 aircraft flying in tight formation.

“We hope to give Americans a touching display of American resolve that honors those serving on the frontline of our fight with COVID-19,” Air Force Lt. Col. John Caldwell said in a statement.

Before arriving in Philadelphia, the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds will sail over New York City, Newark and Trenton. It’s the first of several planned flyovers in the coming weeks, according to a news release.

Officials are telling residents not to gather in large groups or go to landmarks or hospitals to watch the flyover. A detailed flight route will be released Monday.

COVID-19 cases rose above 12,500 in Philadelphia on Sunday as the city reported 237 new cases. Lower numbers have been reported on the weekends throughout the epidemic because some labs do not send results to the city on the weekends.

Six additional coronavirus-related fatalities were reported, bringing the city’s death toll to 472, more than half of whom have been nursing home residents.

Statewide, 41,165 people have been infected with the virus, and 1,550 have died.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he was grateful for the latest $484 billion coronavirus relief bill, which was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday, but he lamented the lack of direct aid to cities and states.

“Cities and states are on the front line fighting COVID-19, and they shouldn’t have to sacrifice vital services their residents need because of ideological differences at the federal level,” Kenney said in a statement.

The mayor plans to deliver a revised budget plan to City Council by the end of week. No details have been revealed, but it’s likely it will include severe, across-the-board cuts.

Congress’ most recent legislation provides additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to businesses affected by the pandemic, and hospitals, according to Reuters.

The Small Business Administration will start accepting applications for the program on Monday, and the city is partnering with Goldman Sachs and Lendistry.com to provide $10 million in PPP loans to small businesses in the area.

It’s a collaboration that provides an opportunity for businesses and nonprofits that have not yet been able to secure a loan through another bank, according to a news release.

“It will take all hands on deck to get our community through this, and this is a good example of the type of working together that we need,” U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans said in a statement.

The loans can be used for payroll costs, mortgage payments, rent and utilities. Business owners who maintain or rehire their workforce can have the loans partially or entirely forgiven.

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