My colleagues analyzed data and found that thousands more people may have died from the coronavirus in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey than the reported death toll. Even so, the region is moving toward the loosening of some coronavirus-related restrictions. Outdoor dining might be one of the next things to return, but some restaurateurs say they’re hesitant to go all-in on an al fresco experience.

Outdoor summer dining might give some of us a sense of normalcy. And Gov. Tom Wolf is working with the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association on guidance to allow for the safe reopening of restaurants for outdoor dining, according to his office. But we won’t be getting the outdoor dining experience we’re used to.

Because of the turbulence of the last few months for the restaurant industry, some restaurant owners are unsure if they even want to tackle the logistics and costs of outdoor dining, especially if they just switched their business models to focus on takeout.

In other restaurant news, virtual restaurants are popping up in Philly while walk-up food ordering and food trucks are returning.

The coronavirus may have killed up to 9% more Pennsylvanians than the reported death toll for the month of April, an Inquirer data analysis suggests. And in New Jersey, the possible undercount is even larger. The undercounts might be explained by a spike in deaths attributed to both pneumonia and influenza.

Can you rent a house this summer? Many local municipalities in New Jersey are allowing rentals starting June 1. And Delaware Gov. John Carney lifted his state’s ban on short-term rentals and eliminated its quarantine for out-of-state residents. Both of those changes take effect June 1.

My colleague Marc Narducci also answered other questions about refunds, third-party rentals, and the safety of sharing a house with people you might not typically live with.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Here are some tips on how to wear your mask correctly. Thanks for sharing this shot, @_marcphilly_.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting


“We are better than this, as so many first responders and volunteers have proved nationwide by their dedication to fellow citizens. But that can be hard to remember with a president who is determined to divide.” — writes columnist Trudy Rubin about how Memorial Day should have inspired unity on COVID-19, but instead brought about Twitter rants and red-blue divisions.

  • Should Philly parks add social distancing circles like the ones in New York City? Katrina Johnson-Zimmerman, an adjunct professor at Drexel, lecturer, researcher, and advocate for humanist cities, writes that it might not be a bad idea.
  • Solomon Jones writes that Joe Biden wasn’t totally wrong about what he said last week about black voters, but he “might not have been the right one to say what he said."

Inside The Inquirer

Every day this week, we’re taking you behind the scenes of The Inquirer newsroom to learn more about what we do and how we do it. If you missed yesterday’s edition, you can find it here.

Today, we’re talking about our opinion section. Unlike our news coverage, which is fact-driven and written by reporters, our opinion section curates a diverse stable of writers to advocate, champion, argue, critique, and suggest ways to make the region better. This takes several forms, including editorials (the institutional voice of The Inquirer, a consensus opinion formed by the Editorial Board), columns, cartoons, op-eds, and commentaries. We also have essays, which can be written by anyone from high-ranking public officials to your next-door neighbor, and letters to the editor, which are direct responses to Inquirer stories. Learn more about the different types of opinion content — and how to submit your own here.

Here’s what Erica Palan, The Inquirer’s deputy opinion editor, has to say about our opinion section:

“Not a day goes by where we aren’t thinking about how we can add more voices to our pages. Sometimes that can mean working with someone who has never written anything before but has a unique experience or perspective that could change the way you feel about a divisive issue. I also wish people knew how much time the opinion department spends on fact-checking and original reporting. Just because our content has a point of view doesn’t mean that we get loose on journalism fundamentals. Much of what you see from our Editorial Board is based on as much reporting and editing as any other section of the paper.”

Check this out: The opinion team also hosts debates on various subjects of interest to the Philly area with Pro/Cons. The latest one is about whether Philly students should be graded during the pandemic. Feel free to give it a read and also weigh in with your opinion in the comment section.

Tomorrow, we’ll dive into our data reporting and how it works.

Your Daily Dose of | 'The Ministry of Silly Walks’

“But when the going gets tough, sometimes the tough have to get silly,” writes my colleague Stephanie Farr about suburban Philly towns that have put sidewalks under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Silly Walks. They’re inspired by the classic 1970 Monty Python sketch.