😷Let’s focus on one big thing to kick off today’s newsletter: masks. In short, wear them. Let’s not become Florida, writes columnist Jenice Armstrong. With new daily case counts rising again in places throughout the region, Philly and Pennsylvania have made masks mandatory. But not all masks help limit the spread of the virus equally. For example, pulling up your shirt over your nose or quickly tying on a bandanna isn’t the same as using an actual mask.

Some housekeeping notes: I’m taking a couple of days off from the newsletter. So, you’ll see me back in your inbox bright and early on Monday. Until then, be well and stay safe.

Every July Fourth, fireworks become the main event. And even this year, when official displays are canceled, they’re still managing to take center stage, a year after Mayor Jim Kenney amended the city’s fire code to allow people to purchase “consumer-grade” fireworks.

The rumble and pop of fireworks have helped mark Philly’s transition from spring to summer for years. But with an eye-popping number of complaints in the last month, something is different. Police data shared with my colleagues show that there have been 8,526 complaints about fireworks since late May.

But that figure means different things to different people. The booms can be scary and frightening. Some see fireworks as a way to have fun when so many other things have been shut down.

In a few years, store cashiers could be as rare as blacksmiths — with the coronavirus accelerating the process of automation. It’s a scenario playing out for not only cashiers but other professions as companies look for ways to reduce interactions between customers and employees and because technology can be cheaper. Simply put, “robots don’t get sick,” explained one supply-chain consultant who advises companies like Amazon and Walmart.

With the pandemic’s impact on the economy already costing 40 million Americans their jobs, automation could continue to make worse the country’s already severe inequality issues.

A recent surge in Philadelphia coronavirus cases in people between the ages of 16 and 19 is partly due to teens traveling to the Shore and socializing, city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. And that mirrors what’s going on in the South and West, as cases have surged in young people.

So, why is getting young people, particularly teens, to stop being with their friends because of the risk of spreading the coronavirus so challenging? It’s about “immediate rewards” vs. “long-term consequences and costs,” according to a Temple psych professor.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

The sky from earlier this week 👀. Thanks for sharing, @hsw_philly.

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


“The American public is catching on to how police officers can use small offenses to justify disproportionate or deadly responses against people of color, and what happens behind bars is no different. The racial disparities in our jails and prisons only worsen this problem. ... Brutal, racial injustice pervades our correctional institutions — but we have an opportunity to change that.” — write Amy Fettig and David C. Fathi of the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project about ending solitary confinement.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Ice and cream pops

Who’s ready for an easy, breezy summer snack? Food editor Jamila Robinson shares some recipes for making your own ice pops and cream pops. How does a blueberry-coconut Greek yogurt pop sound? What about lemon ice or strawberry cream?