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 (morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

’This is a real job’: Philly’s restaurant workers dissect the labor shortage, and contemplate a different future

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.

Their father went to the hospital for hip surgery. Two weeks after his release, he died of COVID-19.

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

What you need to know today

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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.