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Thanksgiving travel has begun | Morning Newsletter

And what to expect on Black Friday 2020.

Good morning.

First:: U.S. cases and hospitalizations have surged to all-time highs since the pandemic first gripped us. But although the coronavirus picture is grim, people are still willing to do anything to gather for a typical Thanksgiving this year.

Then: With crowd avoidance top of mind, Black Friday is already courting consumers online. This year, holiday shoppers are being courted even earlier — with Pre-Black Friday deals.

And: What are your Thanksgiving prep plans? Of course, some services will be reduced Thursday. Here’s who is keeping the doors open on Thanksgiving for your last-minute needs, and the businesses you should rule out.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

Experts have strongly recommended putting the kibosh on the time-honored get-together unless you’re keeping the festivities within your household. But that hasn’t stopped some people from hopping on planes and trains or hitting the open road to get to their relatives. So how many people are expected to fly for Thanksgiving this year?

To be clear, the numbers we do have on Thanksgiving travel patterns are down this year. But plenty of people are still gathering as cases across the country spike. Some travelers tell us they’re confident they can make a trip to celebrate with loved ones safely. Here’s what Thanksgiving-related travel looks like so far this year.

The Friday after Thanksgiving has long been the biggest shopping day of the year, but already, merchants are competing for the attention of early holiday shoppers online with sweepstakes and deals aplenty. Online Black Friday shopping is far from new, but this year, as the pandemic rages, there’s no shortage of people looking for an instant retail therapy high. Here’s how consumer habits have evolved in some surprising ways this year.

Helpful COVID-19 resources

  1. Check the current coronavirus-related restrictions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  2. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences between COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  3. Can you see your friends and family for Thanksgiving? What about if you are planning to host?

  4. When should you replace your cloth face mask?

  5. Track the spread of COVID-19 infections in the region.

  6. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

  7. The coronavirus has put 3,900 new COVID-19 patients in Pennsylvania hospitals two days before Thanksgiving, and the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, says we may be able to toss our masks by late 2021. Here’s all the latest coronavirus news.

What you need to know today

  1. Republicans pushed the idea that if Biden won, he would ban fracking despite his insisting otherwise. And Trump swept Susquehanna County, where more than 1,000 active wells have been drilled over the last decade. Reporter Jason Nark’s interviews with residents revealed something surprising about what’s next in the area in his must-read article.

  2. Philly’s $276 million in funding from the federal stimulus package has to be spent by the end of the year, and there’s no more money on the way. In fact, reserve funds could get dangerously low by July 2021. Why are Philly’s finances such a cause for concern?

  3. Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a coronavirus shield law that would protect nursing homes, hospitals and other business from liability lawsuits. Here’s why advocates for the elderly are so concerned.

  4. As you plan your holiday errands, here’s what is open and closed on Thanksgiving Day in the Philly area, from grocery stores and pharmacies to SEPTA and megastores.

  5. We’re working on an article about the Milton Hershey School and need to reach former students to hear about their experiences during and after high school. Is this you? Please get in touch with us.

  6. About that totally bogus “indictment” floating around. No, George Soros was not arrested in Philadelphia for “election interference.” Here’s how Trump’s legal team amplified a baseless conspiracy theory involving a manipulated document.

  7. On the weather front, we could be in for a gloomy Thanksgiving Day.

  8. Pennsylvania certified its presidential election results, officially declaring Joe Biden the winner. And the formal transition has begun.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

We told you fall foliage would linger into November. This is exactly the kind of street Coldplay sings about. Thanks for sharing @ltaylorphotos.

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

  1. 📺 No parade? No problem at all: Here’s what to watch on TV this Thanksgiving.

  2. 🦅 We wondered whether the Eagles and the Steelers really have to mask up during games. There’s been some confusion, but the answer is clear now.

  3. 🏠 “Food stamps, but for housing.” Architecture critic Inga Saffron writes that Joe Biden has the opportunity to stabilize Philly’s affordable-housing crisis for millions of cost-burdened renters with this one program. The impact this could make would be instant.

  4. 😷 With everyone masking up and the Zoom boom, stress and sleep deprivation are showing around our eyes. It’s only made plastic surgery treatments more popular, particularly when our eyes are the only thing people can see.

  5. 🍔 🍟 🥤 How does $5 for a cheeseburger, fries, and drink sound? Two guys who have worked together since they were teens run these South Philly food carts worth checking out.

  6. 💦 Getting moving with at-home workouts can be a sanity saver. We asked personal trainers to share their most trusted equipment, all under $100.


“There is no way to fight a pandemic or combat climate change if America insists on going it alone.” — Columnist Trudy Rubin writes that the Biden team knows it has to tie foreign policy and policy at home together to put Americans first alongside democratic allies.

  1. What the hell happened to Carson Wentz? That question has defined this Eagles season. Columnist Mike Sielski looks back at Wentz’s injury history to offer a potentially troubling explanation.

  2. The Inquirer Editorial Board writes that Philly deserves the independence it needs in order to curb traffic violence with Vision Zero.

What we’re reading

  1. How are you sleeping these days? Sleep plays a pivotal role in your mindset, but the pandemic has made people lose sleep and have bizarre dreams. Philly Mag dives into how to get better shut-eye with local experts.

  2. Billy Penn talked to restaurateurs about how the alcohol sales suspension across Pa. effectively shuts down one of the year’s busiest party nights in the state.

  3. Now’s the time to try new things with your Thanksgiving dinner, such as a crispy pancetta-wrapped “turketta” that will transport you to Tuscany.

Your Daily Dose of | Compassion

A century-old “iron rug of Persia” symbolized the love a son had for his late father. His father had acquired it in Iran, where he rescued thousands of Assyrian civilians from certain massacre. So when a porch “pirate” stole this sacred relic from his Fishtown stoop, he was understandably crushed. But that wasn’t the end of it. His wife posted a plea on social media that spread on the wings of compassion.