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Restaurant workers respond to the labor shortage | Morning Newsletter

And, a family seeks answers.

    The Morning Newsletter

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

Hello, committed readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Restaurant employees are in no rush to go back to work despite the vacancies, as the industry’s future is up in the air.

Then: A Montco family is searching for answers after their father went to the hospital for hip surgery and died two weeks later of a COVID-19 infection.

And: Activists dropped a lawsuit on behalf of those experiencing homelessness in Kensington, and the city is holding off on clearing out.

— Olayemi Falodun (

The restaurant industry is facing a labor shortage making it difficult for some bars and dining spots to return to full service.

The lockdown and layoffs gave some restaurant workers time to reconsider longstanding issues in the industry, with many shifting to other careers with better pay and benefits.

While many people blame unemployment benefits for the lack of workers, our survey of 190 people in the restaurant industry found that lack of benefits, low wages, and inflexible schedules are the primary reasons why eateries are short staffed.

Eighty-one percent of survey respondents say health insurance, paid-time off, and child care are among the benefits that would make restaurant work more appealing. Furthermore, 73% of respondents say employers could offer wages and a positive culture as incentives to stay in the industry.

Reporter Jen Ladd’s article covers how unions, benefits, and new customer service philosophies could play a role in the future of restaurants.

About a week after his release following hospitalization from a debilitating fall at his home late last year, 81-year-old Edward Spiegel died from COVID-19-related complications. Now, his family has questions about what led to his infection.

According to the CDC, an estimated 1 in 25 patients gets a hospital-acquired infection. But the amount of people who contracted COVID-19 while in a health-care facility is unknown, with that information not readily available to the public due to a number of factors, including uncertainty when it comes to tracking the origins of a particular infection.

Health-care lawyers say not knowing COVID-19′s transmission and incubation makes assigning responsibility to a particular facility difficult.

Now, Spiegel’s family is seeking answers about what happened.

Reporter Jason Laughlin takes readers through the complexities and implications of this family’s story.

Reopening resources

  1. Track the latest data on cases in the region.

  2. Instead of asking someone’s vaccination status, do this.

  3. Here’s what experts feel safe doing — and what they don’t.

  4. How to navigate fear about getting the coronavirus even if you’re vaccinated.

  5. Even thriving is different at this stage in the pandemic. Here’s how people are doing it.

What you need to know today

  1. Will the Republican-controlled state legislature do enough in time to help provide resources for SEPTA and other transit agencies?

  2. Atlantic City is poised to shut down its syringe exchange and health advocates warn that this could imperil a lifesaving service.

  3. E-cigarette maker Juul is funding pro-vaping studies before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides whether the company should be stopped or restrained amid the teen vaping epidemic.

  4. Health agencies are making changes to HIV testing strategies in hopes of cutting HIV diagnoses by 75% in the next five years.

  5. The state’s largest pension fund is cutting the travel expenses of its investment staff following a report that revealed the heavy spending by dozens of members.

  6. The clearing out of Kensington is on hold for now, but community activists still plan on refiling a lawsuit against the city.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Light up the city at night to set the mood. 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.

That's interesting

👩🏻‍🌾 A local garden highlights the taste of homelands beyond the nation’s borders, while welcoming volunteers of all cultures.

🍧 Head to these spots if you’re looking to find the best water ice in the city.


“There are plenty of reasonable — even radical — arguments for reforming current welfare spending, but any plan to do so must reckon with reality,” writes Richard Morrison, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, about how universal basic income could help the wealth disparity in the United States.

  1. The suspension of track phenom Sha’Carri Richardson for the Tokyo Olympics ultimately falls at the feet of the budding superstar, but Team USA put a boot on her dreams, writes Inquirer staffer Rob Tornoe.

  2. The pandemic has afforded schools an opportunity to reset and be better institutions for students who suffered under the previous ways of doing things, writes Nancy Ironside, a Science Leadership Academy Middle School educator.

  3. The latest ruling in the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby is a reminder that the justice system fails victims, writes Rider associate professor Allison Weidhaas.

What we're reading

  1. Take a sweet look inside how a local franchise revolutionized the world of ice cream, Philly Mag reports.

  2. Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of unclaimed stimulus checks in the country, WHTM reports.

  3. A new app looks to help users resolve various conflicts, the Philadelphia Tribune reports.

  4. This is what officials are saying about a mysterious illness killing songbirds throughout the nation, reports.

  5. Find out the reason behind the growth of herbalism in the area, according to Pennsylvania News Today.

Your daily dose of | Bus laughs

A SEPTA driver has turned his far-fetched public transportation experiences into Instagram skits and popularity. Eric Lilley, nicknamed “Bus Driver Doo,” is earning likes and laughs with humorous posts based on his SEPTA journeys. The 34-year-old Southwest Philadelphia native has learned to find the lighter side of the front-row ride through the daily show of a city filled with characters.