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 (email@example.com)
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.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of why officials are reverting back to recommending indoor masking.
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.
Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine booster to protect myself from delta and other variants?
Track the latest data on COVID-19 cases in the region.
Don’t ask for someone’s vaccination status, do this.
Here’s what experts feel safe doing — and what they don’t.
How to navigate fear about getting the coronavirus, even if you’re vaccinated.
What you need to know today
Parents and guardians are taking issue with school boards over education plans and COVID-19 requirements.
A man was fatally shot by police after he allegedly fired shots at two officers during a large neighborhood fight in the city’s Kensington section Thursday evening.
District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office is suing the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a day after Shapiro announced an opioid settlement deal that Shapiro said would provide the state with up to $1 billion over 18 years.
More Philly elected officials are criticizing Mayor Jim Kenney for not declaring a gun-violence state of emergency.
A more accurate look into how to address poverty in New Jersey might take changing how it is measured.
A state lawmaker from Delaware County was charged with theft and related crimes Thursday after a years-long investigation into allegations that she misused campaign and taxpayer funds when seeking reimbursement for expenses.’
A thunderstorm ‘microburst’ likely added to Montgomery County’s storm damage on Wednesday.
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.
🤺 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.
What we're reading
Lisa Phillips of Spring Garden is making a difference by finding loose change and donating the money to a charity paying off health-care expenses of those in need, Billy Penn reports.
Roots drummer Questlove talked about changing up his notable hairstyle, buying a farm in upstate New York, and how the pandemic changed his life in this interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.
Buzzfeed explored how the legacy of sundown towns connects to the current anxiety of being a Black traveler.
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.