Hello, dedicated readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Members of George Floyd’s family marked the first anniversary of his slaying, marching with hundreds of people.

Then: Vaccinated people can ditch their masks indoors in New Jersey starting Friday, the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.

And: Vaccine hesitation within the veterans community is a worrisome reality. These are the reasons keeping some veterans from getting vaccinated.

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

N.J. will lift mask mandate and social distancing just in time for Memorial Day weekend

Vaccinated people can ditch their masks indoors in New Jersey starting Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

Businesses will no longer be asked to mandate social distancing in their establishments, and dance floors at bars and restaurants got the green light to reopen, too.

Mask rules are different this year. But some standards are unwavering. Just like last year, Murphy’s “no knuckleheads allowed” warning remains. “Lifting the mask mandate is not a license to be a knucklehead,” Murphy said. “Lifting the mask mandate simply acknowledges how far we’ve come together and that, together, we’ll cross the finish line.”

The announcement affects indoor gatherings, too. Reporters Allison Steele and Laura McCrystal have all the details on the easing restrictions in Jersey.

Helping veterans overcome vaccine hesitancy

Despite all the veterans enthusiastic to get vaccinated — who say they got their doses out of patriotic duty to limit the spread of the coronavirus — a large population is hesitant. The wary veterans say they don’t trust of government and cite concerns about the vaccine push’s pace and effectiveness.

This worrying trend is not unlike what Philadelphia’s police and fire departments see within their own ranks. Read on for Marina Affo’s account of the outreach effort to address vaccine hesitancy in the veterans community.

Helpful Resources COVID-19

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Get a load of this peacock out here literally peacocking. Thanks for sharing.

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

🛑 A year of social distancing freed us from plenty of unwanted touch. That’s meant we’ve found agency we’ve never had, and many of us want to keep it. This is how to keep your life free from unwanted touch.

🕵️ You’ve had roughly 36 hours to recover from the one Mare, the only Mare, Delco’s most bewitching Wawa-card carrier, that Mare of Easttown. The internet is overrun with fan theories about the murder-mystery after the penultimate episode. So what’s your theory on whodunnit?

🎲 These are the best events for kids this week in Philly.

🏀 Philly native Dawn Staley grew up as the only girl on the playground competing with boys. Now, she’ll coach a girl who knows what that’s like, calling Raven Johnson “fearless” for being the first girl to play in a boys’ all-American game.

🧠 Think you know cheesesteaks like the back of your cheesesteak? 15 cheesesteak facts that may surprise you.


“By using the $40 million toward King of Prussia rail, SEPTA has shown their hand when it comes to their priorities. With that investment already made, SEPTA has a responsibility to its hundreds of thousands of city riders to commit to prioritizing the essential maintenance projects in Philadelphia when state funding comes through,” —The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, writes about more vital projects SEPTA should focus on.

  • “When an event that causes trauma impacts a community — and a community is defined as all individuals who identify as belonging to that group of people — the trauma is widespread,” psychologist Clara Whaley Perkins writes that the lasting trauma of the MOVE bombing demands compassion from society.

  • Business leaders need to get on the right side of history by standing up for voting rights, write Gregory E. Deavens, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross; Susan Jacobson, president and CEO of Jacobson Strategic Communications, and chair, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia; and David Thornburgh, president and CEO, Committee of Seventy.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Preservation

Nicknamed for prominent Newark jurist Richard Hartshorne, whose family owned this tiny structure nestled in the Jersey Shore’s dunes for nearly 80 years, “the Judge’s Shack” is believed to have been built in 1911. Preserving this sanctuary has taken a lot of work from volunteers.