Local Stories

As more businesses shut down and stores limit their hours in the wake of the spread of COVID-19, we've compiled a list of stores that will remain open and their hours. We will update this list if anything changes. Think something might be wrong? Email us

Giant Eagle/Market District

7 a.m. - 10 p.m. 

*Customers who are age 60 and older can visit the stores at 6 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays.

Curbside pickup and delivery available.

State To Open Virus Testing Sites; Amtrak Cuts Some Service

Mar 17, 2020
Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania's Department of Health is working on a plan to open public testing sites for the coronavirus, as the state's health systems and hospitals increasingly operate their own sample-taking sites or testing laboratories.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

On today's program: A look at the latest stories from the WESA newsroom about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact locally; residential water wells in Pennsylvania are not monitored for potentially dangerous bacteria; a reporter lists the top power players in Harrisburg; and Pittsburgh’s paid sick-leave ordinance comes too late for people affected by the coronavirus.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County President Judge Kim Clark declared a judicial emergency Monday night for the Fifth Judicial District of Allegheny County. The order halts almost all criminal and civil proceedings through April 14, which means a county-wide moratorium on evictions.

90.5 WESA

Conditions at the Allegheny County Jail create “the perfect storm for a potential COVID-19 outbreak,” local activists said in an online statement that calls for the mass release of people held at the jail.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Gov. Tom Wolf says he’s not going to send in the State Police or National Guard to enforce orders he has issued in an attempt to slow or halt the spread of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

PA Distillery Using High-Proof Alcohol To Make Hand Sanitizer

Mar 17, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

A Pennsylvania distillery owner who grew increasingly angry as he saw the skyrocketing price of hand sanitizer has decided to do something about it: He’s temporarily converting his operation into a production line for the suddenly hard-to-find, gooey, alcohol-based disinfectant.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

After the swearing-in of a new member and the approval of leaves of absences (4 for Republicans, 15 for Democrats), the Pennsylvania House on Monday prepared to break for a recess.

provided / Pittsburgh Public Schools

Nearly 1.7 million kids in Pennsylvania are out of school for at least the next two weeks as a preventative measure to ease the spread of coronavirus.

Gov. Tom Wolf made that call Friday afternoon. He said schools that don’t meet the state’s 180 instructional day requirement won’t be penalized, but it’s unclear if days will have to be made up. The state did say schools are not mandated to instruct students during the closure. Most schools plan to resume normal operation March 30.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Governor Wolf’s order to suspend for two weeks all dine-in service at bars and restaurants in the state to slow the spread of the new coronavirus is already taking its toll on service workers. Local restaurateurs report decreased hours and layoffs because of the rule, which limits restaurants to take-out service.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry said people may be eligible for assistance if an employer cuts hours, shuts down or goes out of business, or if people have to isolate to prevent spread of the disease.  The news came a few hours before Governor Tom Wolf ordered all non-essential businesses to close

Governor Orders COVID-19 Shutdown Across Pennsylvania

Mar 16, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf extended a shutdown order Monday to the entire state of Pennsylvania in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus, although he also maintained that he will not send the National Guard or state police to force businesses to close or stop events.

Democrats Call For PA House Special Election To Be Postponed

Mar 16, 2020
Keith Srakocic / AP

Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are condemning the decision by Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) to let a special election proceed in a district that’s located in an area under state restrictions intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Philadelphia Police Department / via AP

Funeral services have been scheduled for a Philadelphia police officer who was shot and killed Friday as he served a homicide warrant at a home in the city's Frankford section.

The funeral for Cpl. James O'Connor IV will be held at noon Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The owners of Beaver Valley nuclear power station in Shippingport, Pa. said they are reversing a decision to shut it down next year, citing a climate policy pushed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

Akron, Ohio-based Energy Harbor Corp. said Friday it had notified PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, that it would rescind March 2018 deactivation notices for the two power generating units at the plant, which employs 1,000. 

Those units were scheduled to permanently shut down in May and October 2021, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

All bars and restaurants in Allegheny County have been ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf to close dine-in facilities for at least two weeks starting Monday morning, to encourage social distancing, which slows the spread of coronavirus. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

University of Pittsburgh professor Juan Taboas grew up in Cuba, where he said fixing things is part of the culture. When he was a kid, his grandma had a transistor radio that seemed like it was always breaking.

“I remember being in the … kitchen with my dad and we'd open it up, and were trying to figure out how this circuit board is working and what went wrong,” he said. “That really got me into the whole idea that by fixing you learn.”

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County announced its first two cases of COVID-19 on Saturday afternoon. The two are adults in their 60s and 70s who live in the same household. They are both city of Pittsburgh residents. They are believed to have contracted the virus while traveling out of state.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

UPMC doctors and scientists developed a test for COVID-19 that will return results in 24 hours. The test, which is conducted using a nasal swab, was created by a UPMC virology team.  

In Philly Suburbs, Learning To Co-exist With The Coronavirus

Mar 14, 2020
Michael Rubinkam / AP

Melissa Hall, who has a weakened immune system, ventured out for the first time in a week on Friday and donned a surgical mask to go grocery shopping. She skipped the shopping cart — too germy — and instead loaded her arms with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, bread and other items.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Lakeiya Johnson got to sleep in a little Friday morning, but she’s not happy about it.

Last month, she took a big step toward stabilizing her life — starting a new job, her first in five years. The single mom had been sidelined by medical problems stemming from a brain aneurysm, and her full-time, $13-an-hour call center position promised the ability to give her three school-age children a better life

But Friday morning, Johnson, 41, was at home in Norristown with her kids, and her future employment was suddenly not so clear.

Crowded Conditions, Close Contact Behind Bars Complicate Public Health Challenge

Mar 13, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Matthew Keller got word on Thursday that he was losing his job. He wasn’t performing poorly at the Cold Choice salad bar in Lebanon, where he works food prep. In fact, he was on track to a full-time schedule at $9.50 per hour.

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has declared a state of emergency in the city effective Monday, March 16 at 9 a.m. The declaration prohibits gatherings of more than 250 people.

Governor Orders Pennsylvania Schools Closed For 2 Weeks

Mar 13, 2020
Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday ordered the closure of all schools in Pennsylvania for two weeks, as the state takes sweeping measures aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus.

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority urged small business owners to seek help if their livelihoods are impacted by the response to the novel coronavirus.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

One of the first arts groups in Pittsburgh to cancel events because of the COVID-19 pandemic was Bricolage Production Company. About 2 p.m. Thursday, the theater troupe announced it had canceled this weekend’s installment of its long-running storytelling series WordPlay.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA

Child care facilities and after school programs in the Pittsburgh region are developing plans if there are large-scale school closures. Most centers remain open, with caretakers emphasizing good hygiene among children. 

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Environmental concerns about heavy industry and natural gas drilling have stirred intense debate around Pittsburgh. And Thursday, a coalition of local unions and manufacturing companies launched a new effort to advocate for “traditional and manufacturing industries.”

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Whether it takes place in a church or in a social hall, fish fry season is a sacred institution in Pittsburgh. While the region is bracing for the arrival of coronavirus, fish fries are still in action, with a few adjustments.

Altaf Qadri / AP

Cleaning companies have been in high-demand this week as employers across the region have moved non-essential workers off-site or adjusted hours and duties to ward off the spread of COVID-19.

So far, there are no cases of the coronavirus in Allegheny County, but businesses, elected officials and health care professionals are preparing for that eventuality.

SEIU 32BJ is a union representing about 23,000 service workers statewide, including janitors, food service workers and security guards.

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