Mar 11, 2022 - COVID

Flashback: How COVID-19 upended Philadelphia 2 years ago

The Theatre of The Living Arts is closed to the public due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 17, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

The Theatre of The Living Arts is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 17, 2020 in Philadelphia. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

It's officially been two years this week since a positive COVID-19 case was announced in Philadelphia.

Flashback: Officials scrambled to respond to the fast-spreading virus in March 2020. Here's a look at how those early days unfolded:

  • March 10: First reported COVID-19 case confirmed in Philly.
  • March 12: City issues ban on large gatherings.
  • March 13: Gov. Tom Wolf temporarily closes Pennsylvania K-12 schools.
  • March 16: Philadelphia orders nonessential businesses and indoor dining to close.
  • March 19: State shuts down all non-life-sustaining businesses.
  • March 23: First state-issued "stay at home" order for some counties, including Philadelphia.
  • March 25: The first COVID death in Philly confirmed.
  • March 26: Philly City Council approves $85 million in funding for emergency pandemic aid.
  • March 27: Temple University agrees to use its Liacouras Center for overflow hospital space.

The big picture: Recalling these dates is a reminder of the uncertainty and confusion the city faced, as well as how much has changed since the pandemic began.

💭 Mike's thought bubble: I was reporting on these ever-changing developments for the Philadelphia Tribune, seeing how the how the virus was affecting businesses, schools, parents and the city as a whole.

  • I was not immune from virus-induced layoffs. I cleaned out my desk in April 2020 but returned to the newsroom months later.
  • The upshot: The time off allowed me to spend more time with my infant son — time I now refer to as my unplanned parental leave.

💭 Taylor's thought bubble: I was reporting in Denver, watching and documenting the news at Colorado Public Radio as the world shut down.

  • I thought I would live out West for a few more years, but I quickly realized I needed to return home to be with family on the East Coast. The pandemic has a way of realigning priorities.
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