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April 12, 2021

'Today' highlights Philly's reopening efforts amid COVID-19 pandemic

NBC's morning news show focused Monday on how the city is trying to recover from the public health crisis

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Philly native and former FOX 29 anchor Sheinelle Jones hosted NBC's 'Reopening America' series on 'Today' from the Philadelphia Museum of Art Monday.

It was all Philadelphia on "Today," as the city was the focus Monday of the NBC morning news program's "Reopening America" series that is highlighting how different areas of the country are trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The series was anchored from the Philadelphia Museum of Art by "Today" correspondent Sheinelle Jones, who is a familiar face for many in the Philly region. Born in Philly, Jones was a reporter and anchor for nine years at FOX 29, where she formerly hosted "Good Day Philadelphia."

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Jones made her first appearance Monday on "NBC10 News Today," where she previewed what viewers would expect during her package of segments on "Today."

"Today" kicked off its coverage in Philadelphia with an opening segment that highlighted some ways that the city is trying to return to normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those included the return of some students to classrooms for in-person learning and a limited number of fans being allowed back at sporting events.

The opening segment also addressed the recent uptick of COVID-19 infections in Philly and the city's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan through interviews with Mayor Jim Kenney and Dr. Ala Stanford, the founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium.

Victor Cafe, the popular South Philly Italian restaurant, was highlighted as an example of how small businesses in the city are trying to remain open amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The eatery is well-known for its opera-singing staffers and for serving as the location of Rocky Balboa's restaurant in the sixth installment of the title character's film series.

"Today" viewers also had the pleasure of receiving a weather forecast from NBC10 meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz, who talked about how he got his famous nickname and why he started wearing his iconic bowties.

The program later turned its attention to highlighting Philly's food scene with some help from musician Patti LaBelle and restaurateur Ben Bynum.

The Philly native LaBelle talked about her favorite restaurants in the city. Among her go-to eateries are Booker's, Relish and Little Delicious, LaBelle said.

"There's just great food in Philadelphia," LaBelle said. "People come to Philadelphia to go to the restaurants."

Bynum, who owns restaurants such as the aforementioned Relish, Warmdaddy's and South Jazz Kitchen in Philly, discussed how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been for eateries across the city.

"For all Philadelphia restaurants, it's been a severe struggle," Bynum said. "We've all had to pivot, all had to adjust and it's been a very trying year. But we're happy that things are turning the curve and things will be opening so we're very excited."

Before the segment ended, Jones recommended Han Dynasty, Sabrina's, Zobra's and El Vez for viewers to eat at when in Philly.

Jones also interviewed Flyers' president Valerie Camillo about becoming the first female to hold that executive title in NHL history, how she's trying to help other women rise up the ladder in the sports industry and the new additions she has brought to the Wells Fargo Center.

"There are no limits, I think, to what we can do and what our dreams should be," Camillo said. "As little girls, sometimes we have dreams, but we don't really expect that they'll come true. We should expect it. The world is changing. The future is awesome, and the future is now."

Jones' interview with Camillo was also bombarded by a guest appearance from none other than Gritty himself, who skated around the ice at the Wells Fargo Center and presented Jones with her own Flyers jersey.

One of the last highlights of NBC's "Reopening America" series in Philadelphia was an appearance from musician Daryl Hall. The Philly native and one half of the musical group "Hall & Oates" discussed what he loves most about the city.

"I think my favorite thing to do in Philly is play," Hall said. "I like playing there. There's nothing that beats a Philadelphia audience. Everybody's your cousin or thinks they are or act like they are, and it's fantastic."

The 42-year-old Jones has hosted "3rd Hour of Today" since 2019. Jones left FOX 29 in 2014 to join NBC, where she has primarily worked as a correspondent and co-anchor on "Today" and "Weekend Today."

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