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The Post  
SE PA Goes Green Next Friday, Philly After; ATM Explosion Arrest; Dueling Protests For Joe Gale
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 06/19/20 3:13 pm | updated: 06/19/20 3:13 pm
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that 12 more counties will move to the 'green' phase of reopening starting next Friday, June 26. Those include: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lancaster, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Susquehanna. Although, Philadelphia meets the state's requirements, local officials say they will not move to 'green' until at least Friday, July 3. The 'green phase' lifts most individual and business restrictions. You still must adhere to CDC and PA Health guidelines especially social distancing, masks or face coverings, and hygiene/sanitation. Gatherings of 250 are allowed. Businesses, gyms, salons, entertainment venues, theaters, casinos, malls, etc. can reopen at 50% capacity. Restaurants and bars can also reopen for indoor dining at 50%.


Philadelphia officials announced a plan on Thursday, June 18, for when the city decides to moves into the 'green' phase of reopening, regardless of the state. Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said that the city could turn 'green' as soon as Friday, July 3, but that some restrictions may be lifted next Friday, June 26. Any move to 'green' will still require masks and social distancing.

They presented the Reopening With Care plan. "Many people seem to think green means go, green therefore means everything is allowed, green does not mean every activity is allowed," Farley said, "and green in Philadelphia will be more restrictive than green the rest of Pennsylvania both in what activities are allowed and how they must take place." Health officials continue to monitor the decline of the virus. Next Friday, Residential swimming pools and private swim clubs, Zoos (outside only), Personal services such as salons, barbers, and spas, and Small indoor social and religious gatherings (up to 25 people) can resume while still in the 'yellow' phase.

Once the city goes into the 'green' phase, outdoor group recreational and sports activities for youth and adults, gyms and indoor exercise class, schools and colleges, libraries and museums, indoor shopping malls, outdoor performances and small outdoor events up to 50 people, and restaurants with indoor seating (with occupancy restrictions) will be allowed. Activities with larger gatherings will still be prohibited both indoor and outdoor.

A Philadelphia man has been arrested by the U.S. Attorney's office for blowing up an ATM earlier this month in North Philly. 24-year-old David Elmakayes of Philadelphia is charged with using an explosive device to damage property and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is accused of using an explosive device to blow up an ATM around 11:45 p.m. on June 3 on the 200 block of East Westmoreland Street. He was arrested on June 4 and had 3 more explosive devices and other firearms in his possession. At least 50 ATM machines were targeted with explosives during the week of unrest across the city protesting the death of George Floyd. "Blowing up an ATM and illegal firearms possession are not acts of protest against perceived injustice. They are federal felonies and will be treated as such," U.S. Attorney William McSwain said. "As alleged, Elmakayes tried to take advantage of the unrest in Philadelphia to get away with a violent crime. Now he will face the consequences."

Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale was the focus of two dueling rallies in Norristown on Thursday, 6/28. The two groups converged on One Montgomery Plaza outside of the county offices. The controversy is over a recent statement released by Gale on June 1 on the demonstrations in Philadelphia. Peaceful protests over the weekend of May 30-31 had turned violent and devolved into looting and vandalism. Gale wrote, "The perpetrators of this urban domestic terror are radical left-wing hate groups like Black Lives Matter. This organization, in particular, screams racism not to expose bigotry and injustice, but to justify the lawless destruction of our cities and surrounding communities. Their objective is to unleash chaos and mayhem without consequence by falsely claiming they, in fact, are the victims." A group of interfaith clergy gathered to call for Gale's resignation. A pro-life group also gathered to show support for Gale. Gale has already been censured by the other two Montco Commissioners. State Senator Daylin Leach announced a resolution to start an investigation into any legal or ethical violations for Gale's statement. Leach, himself, recently lost his bid for reelection in the Democratic primary. Gale has said he won't resign.

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