Hello, faithful readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Officials are “strongly” recommending that everyone put their masks on inside public spaces again, as new COVID-19 cases and hospitalization of children increase.

Then: Employers are enticing the unemployed with new-hire perks, but not everyone is in favor of it.

And: Rising tensions persist during school board meetings across the region, as debates intensify over critical race theory and mask guidelines.

— Olayemi Falodun (morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Even fully vaccinated people should wear masks inside public spaces, Philly recommends

Whether you’re vaccinated or not, wearing face masks indoors is “strongly” recommended, Philadelphia officials said Thursday, as the delta variant is fueling new COVID-19 cases. Officials cited the need to “normalize” mask wearing, while protecting children too young for vaccines.

Masking inside public spaces “will help us head it off before it gets to a point where it really gets bad,” a public health spokesperson for Philly said. Weekly averages of new COVID-19 cases are trending up, but they remain well below the peak levels of the pandemic.

Reporters Stacey Burling and Sarah Gantz write about the new mask recommendations in Philadelphia.

Employers are wooing potential hires with signing bonuses and benefits

Employers are feeling the pressure to offer rarely seen incentives for new hires. Workers across the region are receiving signing bonuses that range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, as employers compete with other jobs and the enhanced benefits of unemployment.

But not all employers agree with the new strategy, with one business owner saying that signing bonuses for new hires are unfair to already established workers who were hired before these new signing-bonuses.

Ultimately, the pool of available applicants in the job market will likely determine how long employers will use signing bonuses and expanded benefits to attract new hires.

Reporter Christian Hetrick lays out the pros and cons of offering signing bonuses that employers are using to fill vacancies.

Reopening resources

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Some of the coolest scenes are tucked away around here. Thanks for sharing.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🤺 Follow the inspiring journey of a Delco native who will compete in fencing at the Olympics.

🏅 And, no need to search out where to enjoy the Tokyo Olympics, check out these bars, restaurants, and dives.

⚾️ Fresh off a sensational playoff run, Sixers rookie standout Tyrese Maxey will throw out the first pitch before Saturday’s Phillies-Braves game.

🎤 Get free tickets to a concert at the Mann, which DaBaby, Saweetie, and Wyclef Jean will headline.


“I learned a lot from him. Yes, he taught me not to kill spiders, since they kill other household pests. He also showed me by example how to enjoy simple pleasures like watching birds flying around outside a window,” columnist Jenice Armstrong wrote about losing her father-in-law but holding on to the lessons he passed down.

  • It’s time to get rid of bike lanes by expanding them into lanes for e-bikes that run on batteries, suggests journalist Bill Hangley Jr., as a way to improve the safety of bike lanes.

  • Columnist Trudy Rubin weighs in on Ben & Jerry’s refusal to sell ice cream to Israeli settlements.

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Your daily dose of | Yum

If you’re craving Mexican food, the Jersey Shore presents colorful and traditional cultural flavors representative of Mexico’s diverse regions at several spots from Manahawkin to Cape May. Restaurant critic and columnist Craig LaBan takes you on a tasty adventure, by serving up a dozen of his favorite Mexican restaurants along the Shore, where you can dig into the best molcajete bowls, tacos al pastor, birria platters, tamales, pozole and chamoyadas.