BACKYARD BROADCASTING LOCAL NEWS MARCH 17, 2020

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE CLOSURES
FRDNWS1….That’s Gov. Tom Wolf yesterday as he ordered all non-essential stores, dine-in restaurants and bars, and programs for seniors in Pennsylvania to close for at least two weeks over coronavirus concerns. According to the governor’s address, essential services, like grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, will remain open. Trash collection will continue and medical facilities will remain open, Wolf said.  Restaurants will be takeout only and businesses are encouraged to promote telecommuting. Wolf said in his statement for residents of Pennsylvania to make contact with as few people as possible, employing social distancing and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

GEISINGER LIMITS VISITORS, SETS UP HOTLINE
Geisinger Medical center has set limits on visitors in the inpatient and outpatient settings patients as concerns come forth over the coronavirus.  According to Geisinger.org, at all hospitals and clinics, only immediate family or caregivers may visit hospitalized patients or accompany patients to outpatient appointments. Other family members, friends and general visitors will not be permitted at this time.  No one under 18 will be permitted.  Patients and others with respiratory illness symptoms are asked to wear masks found near the entrances of Geisinger’s hospitals and clinics.  If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19, call Geisinger’s COVID-19 hotline at 570-284-3657.
or online at geisinger.org/coronavirus.

TOWNHALL MEETING POSTPONED
The mayor of Williamsport has postponed the town hall meeting originally to be held at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Klump Academic Center auditorium  addressing the rally planned by the Naitonal Socialist movement April 18th at Brandon park.  According to a statement by the mayor, the postponement was due to the precautionary measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.  NO word on whether there will be a rescheduling of the meeting.

LIQUOR STORES BUSY AFTER SHUT DOWN ANNOUNCMENT
It’s St. Patrick’s Day and many ARE celebrating in much smaller numbers, after the beer distributors and liquor stores experienced a panic buying situation after Governor Tom Wolf announced the closure of non-essential businesses as the commonwealth struggles with flattening the curve of a potential  coronavirus outbreak.  Witnesses say liquor stores had empty shelves after the PA Liquor Control Board announced at 2pm yesterday that there will be a closure of all stores, effective at 9 p.m. today.  According to the SUN Gazette, the  Beer Here store at the corner of Sheridan Street and Warren Avenue, contacted the state authorities in Harrisburg asking to open tomorrow, but has yet to receive a reply from state officials.

LOCAL BUSINESS HOURS EFFECTED BY THE VIRUS THREAT
Banking may be a concern for some needing to get work done at a brick and mortar branch.  According to a press release by Woodlands Bank, through Saturday, March 28, 2020, all their branch lobbies will be closed to public access. Their drive up services will be available during normal business hours, with no Saturday hours in March.  The Lycoming Mall will be shutting their doors until March 31st.

GOVERNOR WOLF SHUTS DOWN NON-ESSESNTIAL BUSINESS IN PA
Gov. Tom Wolf addressed the public yesterday in a virtual press release, yesterday ….FRDNWS2
The order is in place for at least two weeks over coronavirus concerns. According to the governor’s address, essential services, like grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, will remain open. Trash collection will continue and medical facilities will remain open, Wolf said.  Businesses are encouraged to promote telecommuting. Wolf said in his statement for residents of Pennsylvania to make contact with as few people as possible, employing social distancing and to follow the Trump Administration Guidance to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

CONFIRMED CASES OF THE VIRUS IN PA
As of last night at 7:30pm there were 76 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pennsylvania according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health with one confirmed in Luzerne County.
UPMC ANNOUNCES THEIR READINESS FOR THE OUTBREAK
There was a press conference Monday with US Representativ Fred Keller of Kreamer and UPMC Susquehanna officials assuring the public that the health system has been preparing for the coronavirus for months and encouraging the public to not panic. At the hospital facilities, visitors will be screened at the entrances for the virus symptoms and no one under the age of 18 will be allowed to visit.  Visitors are restricted at all UPMC hospitals with one visitor per patient at a time with the exception of pediatrics and The Birth Place where two family members are allowed.

PENNDOT TO CLOSE ALL DMV LOCATIONS
PennDOT has announced that they are closing all Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers in Pennsylvania will be closed for two weeks a in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19. Additionally, expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations, and safety and emission inspections will be extended through April 30th.  All PennDOT rest areas statewide  and District and County maintenance offices are closed. Additionally, construction projects have been suspended in all counties until further notice, however PennDOT crews are available to perform critical functions and emergency maintenance as needed.

WORKERS AFFECTED BY VIRUS CAN CONSIDER UNEMPLOYMENT
According to the Secretary of Labor and Industry Workers statewide who are impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation benefits. Unemployment compensation claims should be submitted online for faster processing, according to a news release from the state.  The state Public Utility Commission will also block electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication and steam utility terminations, a news release from the commission said.The moratorium will remain in place for as long as the proclamation of disaster, issued by Gov. Tom Wolf on March 16 related to the Coronavirus, is in effect.

TURNPIKE GOING ELECTRONIC ONLY
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is alerting motorists that cash will not be accepted at any interchange statewide beginning tonight at 8 p.m. This is a temporary safety measure to keep travelers moving with no need to stop at tollbooths or interact with tolling personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.  During this time, cash and credit cards will not be accepted anywhere on the state Turnpike’s ticket system. All tolls will be assessed electronically via E-ZPass or the state Turnpike’s Toll by Plate program as vehicles travel at posted speed limits through tolling points.

SPORTS
NFL

The Buffalo Bills have acquired wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings for multiple draft choices, including a first-round pick.

The Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals made a blockbuster trade on Monday, with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins headed to Arizona and running back David Johnson bound for Houston.

NBA
The 2019-20 NBA season began an indefinite hiatus on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, and now Commissioner Adam Silver said a mid-to-late-June return is now looking like a best-case scenario.

NASCAR

NASCAR has suspended it’s season until May mas part of the CDC’s recommendation to postpone gathering for the next 9 weeks because of the coronavirus
The INDY 500 is scheduled to run the race May 9th according to IndyCar owner Roger Penske who wants to open the speedway back up to the public before that race.
A decision about the LeMans race in June will be made mid-April.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Facebook