Live Blog: Coronavirus In Pittsburgh

The latest: Peduto speaks with UN about how cities can recover. Proposed budget doesn't include education cuts, for now. Allegheny County libraries to offer curbside pick-up and returns.

Images provided by applicants

‘Not Camera Shy’: PA Businesses Trying To Survive Make Video Pitches For Emergency Aid

At first the videos seem like they could be auditions for a reality television show. A shaky camera comes to rest on a business owner sitting in their bar, or salon, or living room. They take a deep breath, and then begin to make their case.

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Politics & Government

A federal judge ruled late Wednesday that the Pennsylvania Department of State must provide a way for visually-impaired voters to fill out an absentee or mail-in ballot online, print it at home and return it to their county elections office. 

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Plow Ahead On Budget, Emergency Aid

13 hours ago
Matt Rourke / AP

A temporary, no-new-taxes $25.8 billion spending package headed to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk on Thursday, passed in speedy fashion barely 48 hours after its details first became public in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Flood Of Mail-In Ballots Spurs Fight To Change Deadlines

14 hours ago
Carrie Antlfinger / AP

Some county and state officials are warning that a flood of mailed-in ballots in Pennsylvania -- fueled by fears of in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic -- will create a number of problems in Tuesday’s primary election that must be fixed before they cause a disaster in this battleground state in November’s presidential election.

Science, Health & Tech

Matt Rourke / AP

More than 70,000 Pennsylvanians have been infected with the coronavirus, the state Health Department said Thursday, and 108 more state residents have died from it.


Despite new state guidelines that permit pools to operate under Pennsylvania’s yellow phase of COVID-19 reopening, many aquatic facilities in Allegheny County are likely to remain dry this summer.

Identity & Justice

90.5 WESA

Allegheny County has settled some key issues in a lawsuit over its handling of the coronavirus at the county jail, with prison-reform advocates winning several concessions.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Over the last six weeks, Pennsylvania state prisons have temporarily released 153 people under an emergency program designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 behind bars — a total even prison officials say is lower than expected.



On today's program: Applications for SNAP benefits are up; today is the deadline for mail-in ballot requests; a preview of one state House election; and a Pennsylvania company pivots from making football jerseys to face masks. 


Schools Relieved As PA Budget Poised To Avoid Education Cuts, For Now

14 hours ago
Keith Srakocic / AP

It appears Pennsylvania’s public schools will get at least a one-year reprieve from any large-scale, state budget cuts.

keith srakocic / AP

Wanda Franklin’s child care center has lost $30,000 in tuition payments since the Hill District location closed in March.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Like her students, 32-year-old Carla Anderson is home from college.

Good Question!

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Adventure Through Colorful And Historic Allentown

The southern hilltop neighborhood of Allentown is a walkable community with a number of historic buildings and beautiful murals.

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Development & Transportation

Courtesy of Gensler

The Pittsburgh Penguins will advance their plans for a 26-story office tower on the former site of the Civic Arena in the Lower Hill. The project won preliminary approval from the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday, a week after they moved to delay the vote, citing community concerns and documents received at the last minute.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

With the warming weather and the city of Pittsburgh squarely in the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan, more people are leaving their houses. A City of Pittsburgh task force has proposed a number of ways that streets and transit could be modified to balance the demands of physical distancing with an increase in economic activity.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

On today's program: A local author revisits the motivations behind one of history's most influential political wives; some big businesses in Pittsburgh could face grim prospects; and a new private grant program offers small businesses an alternative to federal loans. 

'A Step Toward Normalcy': NHL Shapes A Return To Play

May 27, 2020
Mark Humphrey / AP

Rosy as the news might sound, Gary Bettman made no promises in announcing the NHL has the framework of a plan in place to return to the ice.

“We hope,” the commissioner said, “that this is a step back toward normalcy.”

The league and its players overcame a significant hurdle Tuesday when Bettman formally unveiled a 24-team expanded playoff format in which games could start as early as late July in two yet-to-be-determined cities.

Art by Tony Buba / Miller ICA

Tony Buba is among Pittsburgh’s most acclaimed independent filmmakers. And like so many people these days, he’s admittedly obsessed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Environment & Energy

DEP Stood To Gain New Staffers, But Now Faces Flat Funding To Start Next Fiscal Year

14 hours ago
Susan Phillips / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection was hoping to welcome 25 new staff members in the next fiscal year. 

Has The Pandemic Cleaned Up Our Air? Answers Could Lie On Your Doorstep

May 18, 2020
Emma Lee / WHYY

Shari Hersh grew up in Philadelphia, hiking in Fairmount Park, biking along the Schuylkill River. She commutes to her job at Philadelphia Mural Arts by bike, and each day of the coronavirus shutdown she has either walked or biked the city’s streets.

Economy & Business

Images provided by applicants

At first the videos seem like they could be auditions for a reality television show.

A shaky camera comes to rest on a business owner sitting in their bar, or salon, or living room. They take a deep breath, and then begin to make their case.

Local Headlines

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The coronavirus shutdown began just as winter turned into spring. Since then, people have been learning new skills, taking on home projects and figuring out how to navigate life in these strange times.

Matt Rourke / AP

With 18 counties preparing to move to the least restrictive phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan, the number of new virus infections continues to fall throughout Pennsylvania and officials say they're making strides in their ability to manage flareups.

Food & Drink

Elena Shahen / Bloomfield Saturday Market

Farmers markets are beginning to return to the Pittsburgh region and like most entities, COVID-19 has changed the way they operate. Some markets have pushed back opening dates to make time to figure out what needs to change in order to maintain social distancing and keep vendors safe. 

National & International

Friends of George Floyd watched in disbelief as the now-viral video played. It shows a handcuffed black man facedown on the street, pleading for his life. He's struggling to breathe as he's pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer's knee pressing into his neck.

The black man in the video was identified as Floyd, 46. He died Monday after he was taken to a hospital.

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