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The Post  
Seven SEPTA Officers Under Investigation; Appeals Court Rejects Injection Site; COVID Rules/Vaccines
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 01/13/21 1:33 am | updated: 01/13/21 1:33 am
Seven SEPTA Police Officers are under investigation after the agency learned they had attended the rally for Donald Trump last Wednesday, 1/6, in Washington, D.C. The agency received a tip that one officer had attended the rally. An investigation revealed that six others also participated. "They are being investigated to see if they were involved in riotous behavior or for violations of our social media policies," said SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel. The agency is trying to determine the extent of the officers' involvement, whether they simply attended the rally or if they engaged in criminal behavior or violated departmental policies. "It's their first amendment right. They can do that if they chose, but what we're concerned about is whether they were involved in the criminal activity," said Nestel. They have only been identified two supervisors and five officers.

Plans for a supervised injection site in Philadelphia were rejected by a divided appeals court on Tuesday, 1/12. Safehouse had hopes of opening sites in the city to help reduce overdose deaths and offer services to drug addicts. U.S. Attorney William McSwain sued to stop the plans saying they violated federal law. The law, commonly known as the 'crackhouse' law, makes it illegal to own/operate a place that allow drugs to be used. The appeals court ruled 2-1. U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote that Safehouse's altruistic goals don't change the law. "Its motives are admirable. But Congress has made it a crime to open a property to others to use drugs," Bibas wrote for the 3rd U.S. Circuit panel. Users would be allowed to bring their own drugs to a Safehouse clinic, get clean needles, and their own spot to use. If there are any complications, including overdose, there is medical staff on hand to give immediate aid. The clinics would also provide access to counseling, treatment, and other health services. The case goes back to District Judge Gerald A. McHugh for further action. Safehouse could appeal to the full 3rd Circuit Court. Safehouse tried to open a clinic in South Philadelphia, but faced neighborhood backlash and lost their lease.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley announced on Tuesday, 1/12, that some coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted starting Saturday, 1/16, with some requirements. Indoor dining can resume with a limit of 25% of capacity. Theaters and performance spaces can reopen, but only at 10-percent capacity or 10 persons per 1,000 sq ft. They cannot serve food or drink. However, almost no venue will actually reopen at only 10% because it doesn't make any economic sense. Putting on a show costs the same no matter how many people are in the theater and only 10% (especially with no bar sales) doesn't quite cover the costs. Colleges are allowed to resume in-person classes. These activities are still restricted: Senior day services, such as senior centers and adult day cares; Indoor catered events; and Indoor gatherings, including in the home.

The city also released detailed distribution guidance for the priority phases of the coronavirus COVID-19 vaccines. The city is currently in Phase 1A.
That includes
- Hospital staff
- Long-term care facility residents
- COVID testing site
- COVID vaccination & lab staff
- Long-term care facility staff
- Emergency medical services
- Home health care
- Prison health services
- Outpatient clinics, FQHCs
- Unaffiliated healthcare providers

Phase 1B includes
- First responders
- Persons working in congregate residential settings
- Service providers working with high-risk populations
- Persons residing in congregate settings
- Public transit
- Persons age 75+
- Food distribution, prep, or service
- Persons with high-risk medical conditions
- Childcare, Education providers
- High volume essential retail
- Manufacturing critical goods

Phase 1C includes
- Sanitation workers
- Persons age 65 – 74 years
- Maintenance/janitorial workers
- Utility workers
- Postal and package delivery workers
- Higher education
- Finance
- Transportation
- Construction
- IT & Telecommunications
- Public health
- Legal

SEE ALSO: City announces schedule of priority populations for COVID-19 vaccine

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