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Pittsburgh’s virus success fizzles in crowded bars, eateries

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Pittsburgh's virus success fizzles in crowded bars, eateries

In this photo made on Monday, July 20, 2020, Kiva A. Fisher-Green, right, talks with fellow social worker Tyree R. Ford outside the Alma Illery Medical Center in Pittsburgh. In March and April when Philadelphia and its surroundings became one of the nation’s hot-spots for COVID-19 cases, Pittsburgh seemed at the time, to be under more control: the city racked up a fraction of the coronavirus cases as the other side of Pennsylvania. But by the beginning of July, officials in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, began a cascading shutdown of bars, restaurants and gatherings due to an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By his estimation, Stephen Santa took Pennsylvania’s coronavirus lockdown seriously: He pretty much went only to grocery stores and picked up takeout once a week to help Pittsburgh’s restaurants.

Whatever Santa and everyone else in Pittsburgh did, it seemed to work: The city racked up a fraction of the coronavirus cases during the while the other side of Pennsylvania flared up into a hot spot.

With a state-mandated in place, Pittsburgh’s gyms, salons, bars and restaurants got in early June, ahead of many parts of Pennsylvania, as part of the so-called “green” phase in Gov. Tom Wolf’s three-step stoplight-colored reopening plan.

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Santa promptly went to a nearby Italian restaurant for a meal in its outdoor courtyard with a couple relatives.

When they got there, around 5 p.m. on a Tuesday, it was practically empty. When they left, it was packed inside: every table full, no masks and nobody keeping 3 feet (1 meter) apart, never mind 6 feet (2 meters) apart.

“I think partly a lot of people saw the […]

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