The gist: “You can go to a ballgame without a mask,” Acting Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said Wednesday. Philadelphia is lifting its outdoor mask mandate on Friday, but masks will remain required indoors until at least June 11. Philadelphia also announced a home-visit program to bring COVID-19 vaccines to Philadelphians with health conditions and physical limitations who have long asked for this kind of help.

— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11, health@inquirer.com)

What you need to know:

💉 Any New Jersey resident who gets vaccinated before July 4 can receive a free pass for entry to all state parks for the rest of the year as part of a series of new initiatives encouraging more people to get inoculated.

😷 Masks can filter pollen, but they can be “double-edged swords.”

⚕️ Acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole is confident the city will continue making progress in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the wake of former Health Commissioner Thomas Farley’s resignation.

🏥 The University of Pennsylvania Health System is taking the lead in requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 1.

📚 Philadelphia schools are planning to reopen full-time, five days a week, when classes for the next academic year begin Aug. 31.

💰 When the pandemic hit, SEPTA said its executives would take a pay cut. Not everyone did.

📰What’s going on in your county or neighborhood? We organize recent coverage of the pandemic by local counties and Philly neighborhoods to make it easier for you to find info you care about. Sign up here to get those local headlines sent directly to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Local coronavirus numbers

📈The Inquirer and Spotlight PA are compiling geographic data on confirmed coronavirus cases, deaths caused by the virus, and vaccinations to curb the spread. Track the latest data here.

Outside, masks off in Philly. Inside, not quite yet.

Philadelphia is lifting its outdoor mask mandate on Friday, following last week’s guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. But as many residents are still unvaccinated, masks will remain required indoors until at least June 11, Acting Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole announced Wednesday. “Fully vaccinated people can go back to normal no masks,” she said. “No restrictions. If that’s not a reason to get vaccinated today I don’t know what is.” Read more here.

Philly rolls out plan for vaccinating seniors and disabled people at home as advocates ask what took so long

Philadelphia announced today a home-visit program, bringing COVID-19 vaccine doses to thousands of Philadelphians with health conditions and physical limitations who have long asked for this kind of help. Advocates for people with disabilities and seniors say the new city registry is long overdue. Sign up for yourself or someone else in need of a home vaccine visit by calling 215-685-5488 or following this link: https://bit.ly/3b7kKBb. Read more here.

Helpful resources

You got this: Pick your own berries

The Philly area has tons of local farms and orchards that have fields brimming with berries you can pick yourself throughout the season. There are options from New Jersey to Lancaster County, and we’ve got your guide for when berries ripen and where you can pick your own. Here are some options in the region.

🍺 Charisse McGill’s and Yards Brewing are bringing back French Toast Bites Ale.

🎶 Opera on the Mall and O Festival are being scratched this Opera Philadelphia season.

🍩 Federal Donuts is opening its first shop on the Main Line.

Have a social distancing tip or question to share? Let us know at health@inquirer.com and your input might be featured in a future edition of this newsletter.

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