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Wawa Welcome America 4th of July Goes Online; PennDOT Using Old ID Photo; PA, NJ, DE Testing/Contact
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 05/12/20 6:38 pm | updated: 05/12/20 6:38 pm
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced on Tuesday, 5/12, that this year's annual Wawa Welcome American Fourth of July celebrations will be held virtually due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The weeklong celebration here in the birthplace of our nation is scheduled for June 28-July 4. It usually culminates with a concert and fireworks on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the steps of the Art Museum. There will still be a concert to watch this year on the 4th, but it will be streamed online and broadcast on NBC10/Telemundo62 without an in-person audience. Kenney said that they are still determining if there will be any fireworks. In the days leading up to concert, the virtual festival will have arts, culture, entertainment, history, and education events online. The music lineup and details about the rest of the events will be announced on June 10.

"There's nothing worse than taking 200,000 people in July, in the middle of a pandemic, and putting them on the Parkway so they can breathe on each other," he added. "We want to have some ability for people to be energized to stay inside and watch proceedings, and it'll keep them safer and keep them indoors."

"Our team remains committed, now more than ever, to creating an experience that gives our City something to celebrate," said Welcome America CEO Michael DelBene in a statement. "It is a challenging time, and while we may not be able to gather in our City's great public spaces this year, we are eager to celebrate in a new way through interactive, virtual experiences. We are grateful to the City and to our incredible sponsors and partners for their support, which will allow us to continue this storied tradition in a new, exciting way."

Welcome America usually also features fireworks at Penn's Landing, a concert at Independence Hall with the Philly POPS!, an Independence Day Parade, Party on the Parkway, Wawa Hoagie Day and more. These in-person experiences will also be moved online in some fashion.

SEE: WWA Press Release Virtual Event Announcement

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation PennDOT announced that it will using existing photos on file for renewed driver's licenses and identification cards. "Using a customer's existing photo will help limit the number of people in our driver and photo license centers, and by extension, help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19," said Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. "This new process is not only a convenience, but it will help to keep our customers and staff safe." You can renew your license or ID by mail or online Commercial drivers must renew by mail. You'll receive your new license back in 15 days. If your expiration date falls between March 16, 2020 through May 31, 2020, it has been extended to June 30, 2020. If you renewed your license on or before May 10, you will still receive a camera card in the mail and will have to go to a Driver's License Center. Non-U.S. Citizens will also have to go to the center in person. You now have until October 1, 2021 to upgrade to a REAL ID to fly on planes or enter federal buildings.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware each announced advancements in testing and contact tracing in their states as they try to get a hold of the pandemic and inch towards reopening. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said they will begin testing every employee and resident of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the state once a week. "By testing every resident and every staff member in every nursing home, we will be able to pinpoint exactly who has COVID-19, who has been exposed but no symptoms, and cohort positive cases to prevent further spread," Health Secretary Dr. Levine said during Tuesday's briefing.

Delaware Governor John Carney said that 200 Delawareans will be hired and 100 Delaware National Guard members will be used as contact tracers. "Contact tracing is a basic public health practice for containing an epidemiological event by talking with the person who is infected and reaching out to their contacts in order to decrease transmission. It will help us track positive cases of COVID-19 and limit the spread of the virus both short-term and long-term," DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. Delaware expects to test 80,000 people per month.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the state will be able to conduct 20,000 tests per day by the end of May and expects to be able to do 25,000 by the end of June. They are going to hire at least 1,000 contract tracers as part of the Community Contact Tracing Corps. That number is in addition to 800-900 contract tracers currently working at the county level. New Jersey will also test all residents of the state's 500 long-term care facilities by May 26 and do a follow-up test a week later.

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