Hello, dedicated readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter. Any fun summer plans this weekend?

First: “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day,” and mask restrictions are pretty much lifted — with some exceptions.

Then: We’re bringing you our analysis of the major election law changes that Pa. Republicans proposed yesterday.

And: Game night for the 76ers. Where do Joel Embiid’s superb playoff numbers rank among NBA G.O.A.T.s? There are four stats to consider.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Mask restrictions are mostly over for Philly

Philly’s COVID-19 restrictions changed at 12:01 this morning. The remaining mask requirements are pretty much over, with a few exceptions, and the mandatory indoor mask mandate has officially expired, per the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Fully vaccinated people can shed their masks both indoors and outdoors, the city says.

Unvaccinated people are still “strongly recommended” to keep wearing masks both indoors and outdoors, but the city said they are no longer required to do so.

And the rules of the game have changed for restaurants, too.

It’s worth noting that Philadelphia still faces the long task of vaccinating more of its residents, as rates of vaccination have nearly plateaued recently. Reporter Jason Laughlin’s story has all the details on the mask rules changes and vaccination numbers.

The proposed election changes Pa. Republicans are pushing for

Pa. Republicans unveiled their first proposal for overhauling the state’s election system with a bill introduced yesterday calling for stricter voter identification requirements, in-person early voting, and signature verification of mail ballots, among other major changes.

The scrutiny will be intense, and the obstacles for Republicans will be considerable. GOP leaders are trying to keep their party unified while also winning the approval of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Despite no evidence of widespread fraud, especially involving fake identities, Republicans have long pushed for stricter voter ID. But such rules can raise barriers for low-income voters, older voters, and voters with disabilities. Wolf has already said any new voter ID requirements are a nonstarter.

Election administration has become a highly charged political issue in Harrisburg and across the country, with Democrats accusing Republicans of seeking to weaponize election rules to disenfranchise voters. Several Republican-controlled state legislatures have sought to tighten voting laws in the wake of the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump’s lies about fraud and election rigging.

We analyzed the proposal before it was introduced to give you a look at the major election overhaul proposed by Republicans.

Reopening Resources

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

A taste of Normandy is totally accessible in our backyard, the place to be. Thanks for sharing these painterly water lilies.

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

📀 These are the best record stores in Philly, ahead of Record Store Day on Saturday.

🎞️ Inquirer reporter Jesenia De Moya Correa talked to Lin-Manuel Miranda and key cast members from the highly anticipated musical movie In the Heights, which is streaming today.

🌈 Here are the best things to do in Philly this weekend and next week.

🎭 You could also go to PAPA, the promising Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists’ first 10-day festival, for the reading of Vampires vs. Chinese Cowboys: A Lo Mein Western and stay for the Memory Rush! screening. What the festival celebrates: “multitudinousness.”

Opinions

“Dealing with Putin will not only take Biden’s smarts in Geneva, but requires a rethink by politicians who continue to undermine America’s democratic institutions. They are doing Putin’s business for him even though Trump is gone,” columnist Trudy Rubin writes about the tenets of democracy vs. autocracy.

  • The public library system reopening in full is the key to the city recovering from the devastating impact of COVID-19, writes the Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates separately from the newsroom.

  • “The vast majority of transgender youth do not desire to become elite-level athletes. They just want the chance to play,” Nadia Dowshen, Chris Renjilian, and Alfred Atanda Jr. write that transgender sports bans need to be rejected.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | More Mare

Over in Delco yesterday, Wawa celebrated the opening of a new store with “Mare of Easttown Day,” a nod to the locally flavored HBO sensation, and the people behind and in front of the camera had a strong showing. If you watched along or are still watching, spot your faves. Delco Delcoed. Hard.