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Coronavirus update: SEPTA resumes some regular schedules; More unemployment help for Pennsylvanians

Broad Street Line

The Broad-Ridge Spur at 8th and Market streets. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Updated: 1:30 p.m.

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To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported 65,700 COVID-19 cases (including confirmed and probable cases). There are 146,334 cases in New Jersey and 7,670 cases in Delaware. Philadelphia has 19,606 cases.

Pennsylvania’s death toll stands at 4,427, New Jersey’s is at 10,356, and Delaware’s is at 290. Philadelphia’s death toll is 1,031.

Note: Pa. no longer includes probable COVID-19 deaths in its official count, only deaths that have been confirmed through testing.

SEPTA resumes regular schedules on some lines

SEPTA resumed some regular weekday and weekend services Sunday after more than a month of a limited “lifeline service schedule” that lengthened commutes for many essential workers.

Riders can expect most bus and trolley lines to return to their normal schedules, as well as the Market-Frankford, Broad Street and Norristown High Speed Lines.

Still, some restrictions remain in place as Philadelphia continues COVID-19 mitigation efforts, including passenger caps for busses (20 people), trolleys (25) and the Norristown High Speed Line (30).

Though passengers are once again allowed to board at the front of busses and trolleys, they’re asked to get off using the rear door so as to avoid bumping into boarding passengers. Bus and trolley drivers will also resume collecting fares.

“This service is not going to be perfect, but it is what we can do right now to serve essential workers and obviously prepare for the expected increase in service needs in the coming weeks,” SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards told WHYY’s PlanPhilly.

Social distancing while on transit lines is still encouraged, as is wearing a face mask.

More help coming to Pa. residents who exhaust unemployment

Additional relief is now available to Pennsylvanians who exhausted their state and federal unemployment benefits after July 6, 2019, state officials announced Sunday.

The state has launched its Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. It’s part of the federal CARES Act, which expanded unemployment benefits during the health emergency.

The PEUC is a temporary program that offers another round of unemployment benefits for 13 weeks. It’s available for anyone who may have exhausted unemployment benefits before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the region and for those who started receiving unemployment during the pandemic and max out claims later in the year.

According to Pennsylvania’s Office of Unemployment Compensation, residents are typically eligible for 26 weeks of benefits. With the new program, residents could access up to 39 weeks of benefits.

The temporary program is expected to offer payments until the end of the year. Those tapping into PEUC funds will also continue to receive the additional $600 a week currently offered by the federal government.

Delaware residents have been eligible for an additional 13 weeks of payments since mid-April. New Jersey residents become eligible for the extended benefits Monday, according to NJ.com.

To date, more than 1.8 million Pennsylvania residents have filed unemployment compensation claims. The state has made 15.7 million unemployment payments adding up to almost $7.9 billion. Residents can read more about the program here.

Nonessential construction and retail can resume in N.J. Monday

While there are still some restrictions, nonessential construction projects can get underway in the Garden State on Monday after more than a month of being shut down.

Construction sites will be limited to essential visitors and anyone on site is required to wear a face covering.

Employers are required to stagger work hours and keep up with thorough cleanings.

Nonessential retail shops can also open up Monday, but will be limited to curbside pickup.

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