City leaders on Monday warned Philadelphia residents not to travel to the shore for Memorial Day, following a weekend in which some New Jersey beaches reopened and photographs circulated of crowded boardwalks.
Officials said it’s still too risky to gather in groups, even outdoors, as the city’s number of coronavirus cases nears 20,000.
“Don’t go to the beach,” Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. “This is not the time to do that. Let’s wait until the case counts are lower for it to be safer.”
Mayor Jim Kenney called the scenes from the shore “frightening.” He said he watched the miniseries “Band of Brothers” Sunday night and it made him reflect on the sacrifices Americans made during World War II.
“I really don’t see that same kind of perseverance and same kind of approach in the generations of today,” Kenney said. “It’s sad to see.”
Managing Director Brian Abernathy said the city is asking residents to wear masks, keep six feet apart and use common sense.
“The key to this crisis is don’t be a jerk and let’s figure out how to get through this together as a community,” he added.
Philadelphia reported 347 new coronavirus cases and nine additional deaths, reflecting results that came in Sunday and Monday. The city’s death toll stands at 1,040.
Farley said the number of virus patients in the region’s hospitals is down by about a third since the peak of the epidemic in mid-April, and testing continues to be ramped up.
“There clearly is availability of testing across the city now,” he said. “In the past, we limited access to testing because there were only so many people we could test, but now we’re in a different posture. We want to encourage people to be tested.”
Anyone with an onset of symptoms associated with the virus, including coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat and fever, can be tested.
Outlaw says she staying in Philly
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw appeared at the city’s daily press briefing to dispel rumors she is considering leaving Philadelphia to take a job on the West Coast.
There have been rumblings that Outlaw is interested in becoming Oakland’s police chief, but she said she won’t be moving anywhere and hasn’t been contacted about the position. Outlaw is an Oakland native and began her law enforcement career in that department.
She also responded to criticism that she hasn’t been as present as other commissioners to the public and officers.
“I’m looking forward to not only allowing people to see me more but figuring out the best way to do this using the technology we have,” Outlaw said. “I have made myself available, as far as I know, whenever the requests have come forward.”
Outlaw, who was appointed commissioner Feb. 10, said she was attending community meetings and in-person gatherings prior to the coronavirus outbreak. She said she has still been meeting people, though it hasn’t been publicized.
“I think she’s doing a good job, and I hired her,” Kenney said.
Concert to air Thursday
A Philly-centric concert benefiting a COVID-19 fund set up to provide aid to local nonprofits will air on several television and radio stations Thursday night.
Dubbed PHLove, the show will be headlined by Daryl Hall, best known as the singer for Hall & Oates, Patti Labelle and Questlove of The Roots. It will also feature appearances by a number of other area celebrities.
PHLove is being sponsored by the family of Phillies owner John Middleton and proceeds will go to the PHL COVID-19 Fund.
The concert will air on NBC10, CBS3, 6ABC, 96.5 TDY, 98.1 WOGL, B101.1, and KYW Newsradio and will be streamed online starting at 7 p.m.