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The case for better outdoor dining | Morning Newsletter

And, why experts think Philly’s mask mandate is working.

Happy Halloween! 🎃 (Just don’t think about how tomorrow is November already.)

And welcome to your Sunday Inquirer Morning Newsletter, with everything you need to know for the week ahead. Today, let’s focus on how we might be able to build better streeteries.

Philly City Council has been looking at whether to make the temporary outdoor eating structures in parking spaces a permanent part of the city. The problem is making them work for everybody — not just people dining in them. These temporary structures have affected businesses around the restaurants and some disability rights advocates say they’re a hazard and should be banned. But there are ways to keep them without creating eyesores or obstacles. Architecture critic Inga Saffron makes the case for designing better streeteries in Philly.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre,

Local Coronavirus Numbers: Cases are falling in Philly, given data from the past two weeks. Track the latest COVID-19 data here.

The week ahead

  1. Philly is less vaccinated than its suburbs, but COVID-19 cases are higher in those counties when compared to the city. Why? Experts are theorizing that Philly’s mask mandate is helping.

  2. Coal has made a quiet comeback this year in the energy industry. Demand for it has jumped as natural gas prices rise. But coal stockpiles at power plants are getting so low that Pennsylvania’s and New Jersey’s grid operator is worried.

  3. Delco mailed 670 ballots to the wrong people. Two Republican candidates are suing ahead of Tuesday’s election.

  4. Philly City Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez revealed that she has been quietly fighting breast cancer for months. Why tell her story now? “I hope it will convince other women to get mammograms,” she writes.

  5. The Eagles are playing the Detroit Lions today. Be sure to check out The Inquirer’s all-new Gameday Central. Head to to get context and have your voice heard before, during, and after every Eagles game.

  6. And do you still need a Halloween costume? We’ve got five Philly-themed ideas that you can pull together fast before any parties or celebrations you may be headed to today.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with Daniel Pearson

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with Opinion Writer Daniel Pearson on his work with the opinion desk.

What does an opinion writer do and how is it different from being a reporter?

I like being an opinion writer because I get to spend a lot of my time talking about solutions, like this piece about Philadelphia’s trash crisis. While a reporter is looking to describe events, issues, and policies, and seeks to do so without taking a side (although The Inquirer fortunately has a policy of not being neutral when it comes to racism, which I am thankful for) as an opinion writer I’m always taking a side on an issue and advocating for it.

What’s something you wish more people knew about opinion writing?

Opinion writers actually do a lot of reporting as a part of our process. We talk to experts, attend panels, and read research, just like our colleagues in the newsroom. This is true for both Op-Eds and Editorials. We just write about our reporting in a different way.

What are some things you’ve worked on that you’re proud of?

We ran a series of Editorials over the last few months on initiatives like the Basic Systems Repair Program and the ongoing effort to overcome tangled titles in Philadelphia. These programs have a proven impact on crime and livability, and I was really excited to have them spotlighted.

Is there anything that has surprised you in your job so far?

I am always surprised by and grateful for people’s willingness to talk to me. I enjoy reading coverage and reports on the issues that I cover, but there’s really no substitute for talking to an expert or someone playing a pivotal role in a public debate.

What’s something you do in your free time? Any good recommendations for shows, movies, or podcasts?

We have a toddler at home, so I spend a lot of time watching Frozen and Bluey. Besides that and the Sixers, I also enjoyed Pine Gap on Netflix, and I really liked The Green Knight from earlier this year. If you are going to have one podcast, it should be The Argument with Jane Coaston.

Email Daniel Pearson at

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Hope everyone is having a happy Philly fall so far. Thanks for sharing your photo, @jordanparenti! Send us your own pic using the hashtag #OurPhilly.

What we’re…

  1. Anticipating: Mighty Bread Co. is opening a new cafe in South Philly soon. Take a look inside.

  2. Eating: Kingston 11′s Jamaican flavors exceed the Instagram hype, writes food critic Craig LaBan.

  3. Drinking: Victory Brewing has a new taproom on the Parkway in Philly with great views from its outdoor bar.

Photo of the Day

The University of Pennsylvania opened a brand new hospital, The Pavilion, on Saturday. Almost 350 Penn Medicine hospital patients were wheeled in their beds over to the newly opened $1.6 billion tower.