Philly Coronavirus News: Big Changes at Wawa, Wolf Cracks Down, But, Hey, It’s Warm!

Our advice? Get cooking.

wawa during the philly coronavirus crisis no longer offers self-serve coffee

A Wawa employee hands over a cup of coffee on Friday morning. Wawa has suspended all self-serve coffee, in addition to other services, thanks to the Philadelphia coronavirus crisis. (Photo by Victor Fiorillo)

A roundup of Philly coronavirus news.

Say Goodbye to Wawa as You Know It

Wawa is, essentially, a basic human right in Philadelphia, Delco and the surrounding areas. Heck, there are probably people who believe that Wawa is somewhere in the Bill of Rights. So when the Philly coronavirus crisis comes to a Wawa near you, things might begin feeling just a bit more real than they did before.

I don’t know about you, but many of us here at Philly Mag have a morning routine that involves walking or driving to the local Wawa, grabbing a coffee cup, and choosing our favorite style of the caffeinated beverage from the pump-action self-service dispensers. Then maybe we go over to the pastry cabinet, open the doors, and grab a glazed donut (or two – they’re small) using a piece of tissue paper and stick it in a bag.

Well, no more, Wawa fans.

As of 5 a.m. on Friday morning, Wawa has suspended its self-service coffee feature. Instead, Wawa will roll over to the Starbucks model. You know, where you tell them what you want and they get it for you. Wawa employees will also add the milk and sugar (or whatever foul sugar substitute you use) on your behalf.

Wawa is also putting the kibosh on all self-service sodas and Icee drinks, and the cappuccino and iced coffee machines have all seen their last pours for a while. As for the glazed donuts and other pastries, these are all now pre-wrapped.

If your local Wawa is one of those 24-hour Wawas, first of all, lucky you. Secondly, they are no longer 24-hour Wawas. All Wawa locations will be closed between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for deep cleaning.

But can I still get a Meatball Shorti at 1 a.m.?! An Italian Classic for lunch?! These are the questions that we need answered during these trying times of the coronavirus.

Yes. Yes, you can. For now.

Montco Coronavirus Cases Hit 55

We all knew that the numbers would continue to climb, especially with more people being tested. Still, we wake up each morning hoping that a) this was all just a dream and the b) if option a is unavailable, that the numbers move the other way. But we’re definitely not there yet. Probably far from it.

The number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Montgomery County has hit 55. Montco has been at the top of the list in terms of the number of positive coronavirus tests since this all began. You may remember that the students in the Lower Merion School District in Montgomery County were among the first in the region sent home. There are currently nine patients in Lower Merion Township who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Those Montco numbers come directly from Montgomery County officials. State numbers have been lagging behind those released by individual counties.

As of Friday afternoon, state officials report 268 positive coronavirus cases throughout the state, with one death in Northampton County. (Think Bethlehem/Easton area.) Here in Philly, the latest numbers indicate 67 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Again, these numbers are expected to grow. Governor Wolf has made it clear that he expects more deaths. In reference to the Northampton death, Wolf referred to it as one of “what will become many.”

Governor Wolf’s Coronavirus Crackdown

Previously, Governor Wolf said that all “non-essential” business in the state needed to close. Some did. Some didn’t.

Now, Wolf has ordered all “non-life sustaining” businesses to close. Not sure what a life sustaining business is? Yeah, there’s a lot of confusion over that.

Wolf’s office released this spreadsheet detailing the types of businesses that make the “life sustaining” cut and those that do not. Check it out.

Pennsylvania’s List of Life Sustaining Businesses: March 19, 2020 by PhiladelphiaMagazine on Scribd

Runs pretty deep, eh? There is a fair amount of confusion over Wolf’s list. For instance, the order appears to tell hotels to close, but health advocates have argued that there are doctors staying in some of those hotels. And it’s good to hear that newspapers and magazines get a pass, but then the list bans all printing, so how do you print the newspapers and magazines?

Obviously, Wolf’s office is going to have to offer further clarification on his order. Plenty of people will be happy to know that beer distributors are considered “life sustaining” by Wolf. Hey, you’ve got to look for a glimmer of hope wherever you can find it.

Oh, and regarding those bars that have remained open in spite of Wolf’s shutdown order? Officials began enforcing these shut downs as of 8 p.m. on Wednesday. And we can confirm that at least some of the bars mentioned in the story are no longer open.

It’s Warm!!!

A cold front is scheduled to move its unwelcome ass into Philly over the weekend, but right now, it’s warm. On Friday, temperatures could hit 80 degrees in the Philadelphia area. Yes, it’s a bit rainy. But a nice warm rain sounds really good right about now. So try to get outside and enjoy it, while practicing proper hygiene and social distancing, of course.

Our Advice? Get Cooking

If you’re stuck inside and are scared that you’ll melt if you walk out into the warm rain (lame!), we have a great idea for you. Cook! Remember cooking? Remember before you could get pretty much anything you wanted delivered to your front door with a couple of clicks on your phone?

If you’re not sure what to cook this weekend, check out this awesome five-ingredient pasta recipe from Philly chef Angela Cicala. Or, if you have a bunch of random crap in your pantry, Philly Mag writer Sandy Hingston shows you the way in the first edition of her Cabin Fever Chronicles.