Philly Coronavirus News: New Jersey Has Wall of Shame for Pandemic Shutdown Violators

Pennsylvania needs one!

a sign welcoming drivers to New Jersey, where the state has a wall of shame for coronavirus order violators

A sign welcoming drivers to New Jersey, where the state has a wall of shame for coronavirus order violators. (Photo by formulanone via Flickr/Creative Commons)

A roundup of Philly coronavirus news.

We’re Loving This Wall of Shame for New Jersey Coronavirus Order Violators

We asked the City of Philadelphia to give us the names of any places found to be violating the shutdown order for non-essential businesses. They wouldn’t. Then we asked the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro to provide us with a list of the businesses caught price gouging customers. The AG’s office declined.

If only we lived in New Jersey, where Governor Phil Murphy and other state officials are playing hardball.

New Jersey has what amounts to a wall of shame for those accused of violating the state’s orders surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, the state names the owners of non-essential businesses that have allegedly decided to open up anyway. And New Jersey is also naming folks cited for violating the stay-at-home order. The names are posted on the website of the attorney general’s office.

For example:

Felipe Familia-Lugo, 31, of Dover, was charged yesterday, April 20, by the Dover Police Department with violating the emergency orders for opening his barber shop to cut hair. Police also charged his brother Jesus Familia-Lugo, 27, of Dover, who was having his hair cut, and Manuel Pandolfo, 33, of Hackettstown, who was also present in the barber shop. Police investigated when they saw lights on inside the business shortly before 11 p.m. last night.


Tuvia Liberana, 53, of Passaic, was charged yesterday by the Passaic Police with violating the emergency orders for holding a large party at his home on Aycrigg Avenue. When police arrived, they found a large number of people on the front lawn, inside the house, and in the rear yard of the home. Police issued a summons to Liberana and directed his guests to disperse.

It’s a little bit like when police used to regularly release the photos and names of men caught in undercover prostitution stings. Or deadbeat dads. It’s a purported deterrent, and a guaranteed public shaming. But one that maybe makes sense right about now.

“Unfortunately, there are still those who violate the orders, risking the further spread of this deadly virus,” said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal in a statement. “Our message to violators is that we will hold you accountable […]”

If you’re caught violating the New Jersey orders, you can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, head of the New Jersey State Police.

No Penalties for Bad Grades During Coronavirus Schooling

The School District of Philadelphia still hasn’t been able to get up to speed with any kind of formal at-home learning during the coronavirus. But a plan is now in place.

According to a memo sent to Philly public school teachers earlier this week, teachers will be required to provide three hours of remote instruction each day to students. That begins on May 4th. But if students cannot participate or merely don’t want to, it won’t impact their final grades. A lack of participation won’t be held against them. Nor will bad scores on homework or tests.

There’s a lot more to it, and the full memo appears below:

Philadelphia School Distric… by PhiladelphiaMagazine on Scribd

The district’s efforts have been severely hampered by Philadelphia’s digital divide, the technological disparity between residents of different socioeconomic levels.

“I think it’s difficult and not ideal for anyone,” says one Philly public school teacher of the district’s plan. (The teacher asked to remain anonymous.) “But I don’t think it’s unreasonable… This is what’s best for the kids.”

She continued:

I feel like it’s the district’s way of covering their butts. Because what if there are kids who don’t participate or don’t do quality work? And what if it’s because those kids are not having their individual learning needs met, or maybe their home life is not at all conducive for them to have a successful online education?… So now for the kids who don’t log in ever, and don’t complete anything at all, is it fair to pass them? Well, probably not… But I wonder if it’s because there is a valid reason or if it’s because the kid just could not care less and knows he or she will be promoted anyway? These are all really difficult decisions to be made.

Neighborhood Bike Works Matching Essential Workers With Free Bikes

If you’re an essential worker and you’d like to ride a bike to and from work as opposed to taking SEPTA, West Philly’s Neighborhood Bike Works has a solution. The shop has launched Bikes for Neighbors, which is matching essential workers with free refurbished bikes.

“Neighborhood Bike Works is connecting people who need a safe, reliable form of transportation to a bike during the COVID-19 outbreak,” reads a statement on the Neighborhood Bike Works website. “If you are an essential worker […] please fill out the form to request a bike. This is an effort to reduce reliance on SEPTA while transit services are limited and social distancing is difficult for SEPTA riders […] This program is free.”

You can fill out the form here. And, by all means, if you’ve got an extra bike or two, consider making a donation.

The Coronavirus Lawsuits Keep Rolling In

One thing’s for sure: the coronavirus is keeping, and will continue to keep, the lawyers busy. Here, a few notable local lawsuits relating to the coronavirus: