Philly Coronavirus News: Governor Wolf Bans Unmasked Shoppers From Grocery Stores

Plus, things not to do during the coronavirus crisis: spit on a federal judge.

A person in a mask at the ACME grocery store in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia during the coronavirus crisis, on April 14, 2020.

A person in a mask at the ACME grocery store in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia during the coronavirus crisis, on April 14, 2020. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A roundup of Philly coronavirus news.

No Mask? No Grocery Shopping for You!

A few days ago, I visited a newish Giant grocery store in Broomall. Yes, I needed eggs. But the real reason for my visit was I heard that this Giant was doing a particularly good job keeping things safe during the coronavirus crisis. And so I wanted to check it out.

The setup was perfect, ensuring lots of space between customers wherever possible. The place was spotless and smelled perfectly antiseptic — not the odor I normally look for in my grocery store, but these days, different story. And the staff members I encountered were helpful and also quick to enforce certain rules, like the one-way marks on aisles and the old six-feet-apart social distancing mantra.

There was only one problem. Well, yes, they were out of the eggs I wanted. But the real problem was that there were so many damn customers without masks or face coverings of any kind. I couldn’t believe it. Two weeks ago? OK. But now? C’mon.

Well, as of this Sunday, those unmasked grocery store shoppers are going to have to do the right thing and put on a mask.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has issued a new order that bans unmasked shoppers from grocery stores. The order also requires grocery store employees to wear masks while on the job.

This new order actually applies to all essential businesses (yes, Dunkin’ Donuts is still somehow an essential business — we don’t get it either) and states that those business must “require all customers to wear masks while on premises, and deny entry to individuals not wearing masks.”

There are lots of other new rules and regulations put forth in the order, and you can read the order itself here.

Atlantic City Wants to Turn Sleazy Motels Outside of Atlantic City Into Coronavirus Housing for the Homeless

Atlantic City has a big homeless problem. And Atlantic City has a big coronavirus problem.

So what do you do with the homeless people who have coronavirus? Well, there are plenty of hotels and motels in Atlantic City that are currently completely empty, so you might think to move them there.


Atlantic City officials are trying to force any homeless people with the coronavirus to leave the city. Officials want them to move into those sleazy motels in Egg Harbor Township. If you’ve ever taken the Black Horse Pike to Atlantic City, you know the ones.

Somebody floated the idea of moving the homeless people in question into a motel in Atlantic City, but the mayor of Atlantic City apparently nixed the idea.

“We didn’t want them in Atlantic City,” the mayor told the Inquirer on Wednesday. “That’s not to be derogatory. It’s more a big-picture plan. Some people are a paycheck or two from being in that situation. We get it. We definitely feel for people. But this virus has no boundaries… We thought it would be better to get them off shore.”

Philly Officials Want Local Workers to Take This Survey

As the mayor and other local officials try to figure out how to recover from this coronavirus disaster, the city is asking all local workers to take a Rapid Response Worker Survey.

The survey asks you about your job, your current employment status, what level of access you have to computers and the Internet for telecommuting purposes, etc.

It also asks workers to rank the types of support they need the most, from the following list:

  • Becoming eligible for unemployment compensation
  • Assistance filing for unemployment compensation
  • Help with rent / mortgage payments
  • Help with access to health insurance
  • Assistance with utilities
  • Help buying food / groceries
  • Help with childcare
  • Assistance with medical care

You can fill out the survey here.

Things Not to Do During Coronavirus: Spit on a Federal Judge

Spitting on a federal judge is probably a bad idea any time of the year. But with a pandemic afoot? It graduates to really bad idea. Really, really bad idea, even.

On Tuesday, federal marshals arrested a Philadelphia man who allegedly spit on an unnamed federal judge’s face outside the federal courthouse at 6th and Market streets. According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, the man screamed something at the judge before launching his saliva, and now the man has been charged with assault on the federal level.

Some people really need to stay at home.