Philly officials plead: Don’t go to the shore for Memorial Day weekend

Pat Loeb
May 18, 2020 - 3:27 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia officials continue to report progress in the fight against COVID-19, but they are pleading with residents not to take that as a signal to ease social distancing rules. Specifically: “Don’t go to the beach.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley recognizes that Memorial Day weekend at the shore may be a lifelong tradition for some, but this year, he said that’s not a wise choice.

Farley and Mayor Jim Kenney are urging Philadelphians to avoid the shore this weekend.

“It is true that being outdoors is probably less risk than being close to people indoors, but if you go into crowds anywhere, there’s risk,” said Farley. “Let’s wait until the case counts are lower for it to be safer.”

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On Monday, Farley reported 357 new cases from the last two days — a good sign, he said. Some preliminary data show Philadelphians are by and large abiding to stay-at-home rules. As for those who don’t, Kenney suggests they watch “Band of Brothers” to be reminded of what it’s like to pull together for the greater good.

“I really don’t see that same kind of perseverance in generations today,” Kenney added, “and it’s sad to see.”

Crowds flocked to South Jersey beaches this past weekend, which Kenney called “frightening.”

“People are going to go to the beach,” he said, “they’re going to congregate with people in too close proximity, then they’re going to drive back home to Philadelphia and perhaps give the virus to someone in their family — so we’re being responsible. We see our case count going down, we see our deaths going down, and we’re going in the right direction. Why would we screw that up?”

As City Council began hearings on the mayor’s budget — revised to address a $500 million revenue shortfall — administration officials said more than 400 city workers will be laid off by June 1, along with all 800 crossing guards, who are being placed on a summer schedule.

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For city resources regarding COVID-19, visit phila.gov/covid-19 or call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112.