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Coronavirus Cupid | Morning Newsletter

And, adjustments to Philly’s mask mandate.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Happy Sunday, readers of the Inquirer Morning Newsletter. Here’s what you should know.

Shot glasses, condoms, and dating-app ads! Public health officials across the Philly region are trying a lot of different ways to convince younger people to get their shots as their vaccination rate stagnates — and as the delta variant continues to spread and create new infections. Getting vaccinated is key to fighting the coronavirus.

“It’s a race against time with the vaccine, trying to vaccinate that population and protect them before this spreads through them,” said acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre,

The week ahead

  1. Philadelphia has adjusted its new mask mandate to help parents of children under 12, who can’t get vaccinated yet, have some good ol’ peace of mind.

  2. Residents react to adjusting to updated COVID-19 restrictions in Philly, as delta outbreaks continue to rise the state and beyond.

  3. Three former Philly homicide detectives were charged with perjury for their testimony during a retrial of an innocent man.

  4. Thousands of kindergartners didn’t show up for school last year. Here’s what that means for the school year to come.

  5. The pandemic pushed consumers to buy groceries online. How many will still get them delivered?

  6. A statue was stolen from the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia in South Philly. On Saturday, the statue was found abandoned on the street. Who took it — and why — remains a mystery.

  7. Former Afghan interpreters in Philly are watching and worrying during a scary, deadline effort to evacuate their colleagues.

  8. More and more restaurants in Philly are requiring proof of vaccination. Check our updated list.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with Rob Tornoe

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 reporter Rob Tornoe about his work during the pandemic, and his cartoons.

How would you describe your job, and how has it changed with the pandemic?

I work on the Inquirer’s Now desk, where I typically cover the media and pitch in on breaking news. I also draw cartoons for our opinion and sports sections. Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve shifted to running our live coverage of COVID-19 and its impact on the region. I was able to go back to covering the media for like a week before this latest surge.

What’s your favorite part about your work?

Getting to speak to really smart people that I admire and covering a lot of different subjects. On any given day, I could be writing stories about Philly sports talk radio, weird crime, politicians doing bad things, or something interesting that happened across the border in Delaware.

What are a few stories you’ve worked on recently that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m very proud of our live pandemic coverage. Philadelphia isn’t nearly in as bad a situation as states in the south, where vaccination rates are much lower, but the spread of the delta variant is a concern for everyone in the region. So it’s important to provide quick and accurate information that’s easily accessible to help people make decisions about their everyday life.

What’s something you’ve learned through your reporting work?

I never set out to be a reporter — I’m an accountant turned cartoonist turned journalist. So the most important lesson I’ve learned is that the story often doesn’t end where you thought it would at the beginning.

What is something you wish more people knew about your job?

That it requires a lot of juggling. At any one time I’m manning a live blog, covering breaking news, working on longer projects, and speaking to sources about possible future stories. I go through a lot of legal pads keeping track of everything.

What do you do for fun in your free time? What are you looking forward to this year?

I have two young kids, so I spend most of my spare time cleaning up after them. I’m looking forward to them being vaccinated so the mess they create can be elsewhere.

Email Rob Tornoe at and follow him on Twitter at @robtornoe.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Sometimes, you have to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature. 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!

How to deal with a changing pandemic

With changing restrictions and another wave due to the delta variant, the pandemic can feel neverending. You might be feeling overwhelmed. That’s normal, but we can all get through this. The first step is to start with what you can control, writes lifestyle columnist Elizabeth Wellington. Here are other tips for coping now.

What we’re…

  1. Eating: Irwin’s Sicilian flavors and grand city views make it a destination restaurant, according to food critic Craig LaBan.

  2. Anticipating: Philly’s Immersive Van Gogh exhibition has been delayed, but its “secret location” has been revealed.

  3. Listening to: Billie Eilish has followed her first triumphant album with another one, writes music critic Dan DeLuca.

Question of the week

What questions do you have about Philly’s new restrictions? With a new mask mandate in place in the city and some businesses requiring proof of vaccination, we asked our Instagram followers for their questions. Here are answers for you to make sense of the changing restrictions.

Is it legal for businesses to require proof of vaccination?

The short answer: yes.

The long answer: Private businesses can decide who they are willing to serve as long as they aren’t discriminatory based on things like race, gender, or religious affiliation. And requiring proof of vaccination is not likely to be seen as discriminatory.

Can I use a picture of my vaccination card instead of the real thing?

It’s likely! Several restaurants are allowing photos of your card for proof, but it ultimately depends on where you’re going. If you’re not sure, you can call ahead and ask what they might be looking for.

What if I lost my vaccine card?

Don’t stress. You can get a replacement, but who you ask depends on where you got your shots in Pennsylvania. Here’s your guide to getting your vaccine card replaced.

Give us a follow on Instagram at @PhillyInquirer so you can send your response in next time.

Your Daily Dose of | Four Seasons Total Landscaping

Punk-rock band leader Laura Jane Grace is playing Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Yep, that one.