The gist: The region is reopening, with Pennsylvania and New Jersey ditching many coronavirus restrictions and Philadelphia joining the effort Wednesday. Philadelphia-area residents can expect concerts, full stadiums, and a “normal” summer at the Shore. The moves come as new cases of the coronavirus have continued to drop and local officials work to increase vaccination rates with cash incentives or, for some businesses, vaccine requirements for all employees.
What you need to know:
🎓 The University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday it would require all faculty, staff, and postdoctoral trainees to be fully vaccinated by Aug. 1. Penn was a frontrunner in announcing last month that all of its health system employees would be required to be vaccinated.
💸 Can water ice, booze, and cash encourage the ambivalent to get COVID-19 shots? Vaccine incentives are targeting Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s unvaccinated.
🎤 From outdoor festivals to stadium tours, concerts are coming back in force in Philadelphia this year. On July 4, Bebe Rexha and Flo Rida will headline the in-person return of Wawa Welcome America. And on Labor Day weekend, Made in America is returning to the Parkway.
👐 As people edge back toward normal, pandemic scars and losses run deep, and the efforts to reconnect to others may be more challenging than just tossing aside a medical mask. Experts explain how to build back relationships.
👩 PCOS, which affects at least 1 in 10 women worldwide, raises the risk of getting COVID-19, yet it has gotten almost no scientific attention. Women who have the disorder are pushing for more research.
😷 To mask or not to mask? In Pennsylvania, it’s a little bit confusing. Here’s how some residents made the decision.
🚬 Experts have worked to understand how COVID-19 has changed e-cigarette use in teens and young adults. The shift has not been what they expected.
🏟️ Penn State announced that Beaver Stadium and other campus athletic venues will be back at full capacity for the 2021-22 academic year.
📰 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.
Philadelphia lifted most COVID-19 restrictions today, ending capacity limits and social distancing requirements for all businesses and events, ultimately allowing stadiums, restaurants, and other venues to host crowds at pre-pandemic levels. The indoor masking requirements and the 11 p.m. dining curfew will remain until at least June 11. The move brought the city closer in line with Pennsylvania, which lifted all capacity limits Monday, just days after the state reached a vaccination benchmark — 70% of its adults partially or fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, New Jersey’s indoor mask mandate was lifted Friday just in time for the Jersey Shore season. The Garden State’s remaining indoor-gathering restrictions will end Friday.
Boosted by vaccines and having more money in their pockets, consumers are “revenge spending” — splurging on items and experiences they were deprived of during the pandemic, experts said. Consumer spending is above pre-pandemic levels across the Philadelphia region and nation, according to payment card data analyzed by Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-backed research group. The pent-up demand bodes well for businesses in the region. Restaurant reservations have ramped up in Philadelphia. Shoppers are refreshing their wardrobes at Urban Outfitters, which reported record sales during the first-quarter. And the Sixers have sold out capacity-limited tickets. Read more here.
Here’s what experts feel safe doing — and what they don’t.
What are the CDC mask rules? Use our simple flowchart.
A Philly pediatrician addresses top fears on teens and the COVID-19 vaccine.
A Drexel professor explains why some businesses need vaccine passports and others don’t.
What you can expect to be ”normal” at Philly-area restaurants.
You got this: Take me out to the ballgame
Now that Philly dropped its COVID-19 restrictions, Citizens Bank Park will be able to have some 43,000 fans packing the stands Friday, when the Phillies begin a three-game series against the Washington Nationals. That’s not all of the changes — from masking, to seating and tailgating, here’s what can you expect at Citizens Bank Park this summer.
🍦 The weather is heating up again and you need this list of the best places to find ice cream in Philadelphia.
🌈 From drive-in movie nights to drag shows, check out these Pride events happening in the Philly region.
🎶 A walk in Fairmount Park now comes with a musical soundscape recorded by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
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What we’re paying attention to
With mask requirements lifted, some U.S. workers say they feel like “sitting ducks,” The New York Times reports.
The New Yorker details the fallout after a private-equity firm bought Philly’s Hahnemann Hospital, and the most vulnerable patients bore the cost.
Offering beer, babysitting and barbershop outreach, the White House is launching new initiatives to boost vaccinations, The Washington Post reports.
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