They already put themselves on the line. Then came a catastrophe.


Here’s to all the Philadelphia business owners who’ve faced closures amid the pandemic. Photograph by Thana Prasongsin

Admittedly, it’s a little silly to get so emotional over an email. But that’s how it goes during a pandemic — an indeterminate one that’s been punctuated by overdue societal upheaval and a recession. The email’s subject line, “The end of an era,” was announcing the permanent closure of Relentless Fitness, a gym I used to go to on Chestnut Street. “On March 16, we implemented the Governor’s stay-at-home order,” began the heavy missive by owners Marissa Pellegrino and Roger Dickerman. “That, combined with capacity and regulation restrictions even when…

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