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The next step in COVID-19 vaccinations | Morning Newsletter

When are the checks coming in the mail?

Good morning.

First: Welcome to the next step of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Q: “Are you ready to make history?” A: “Oh, sure.” This is what it’s like inside PowerBack Rehabilitation where seniors got their doses yesterday.

Then: What happened to the business community’s juice in City Hall? We take an extensive look at why Philly’s business community’s influence has been eroding.

And: As for the new round of unemployment payments, there won’t be a lapse week for about a half a million people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey who were expecting one.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

When someone can get the COVID-19 vaccine could make the difference between a very vulnerable 2021 and a steady one. And yesterday, the first people who don’t work in health care took that historic step toward ending this once-in-a-century global pandemic. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are getting allocated on an aggressive timeline, and exactly 126 skilled nursing facilities got their first shots yesterday.

Seeking to bring you a story about what the complete vaccination process will be, reporters Jason Laughlin and Erin McCarthy were on the scene at PowerBack Rehabilitation in Phoenixville. The COVID-19-vaccine rollout has already proven an unprecedented logistical challenge, and the facility sugarcoated none of that. With precious little health official guidance, tracking those inoculated — and ensuring everyone gets both vital doses — could be true chaos.

This is how they’re planning for that in this essential new piece.

In 2002, members of the business community marched to cut Philly’s job-sucking wage tax. Later called the “briefcase brigade,” it worked.

But that was then, and this is now, when a “leftward lurch” over the years has diminished much of the business community’s influence.

“Today, a shift to the left by city government and the entrenched political might of labor has left a disorganized and siloed business community with little influence in City Hall,” reporter Sean Collins Walsh writes. How can the city build on humble job-creation progress? How do business interests play in today’s more progressive political coliseum?

As part of our Future of Work series, Walsh gets clarity on the multiple theories that could explain why the city’s business community isn’t so juiced in any longer.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

  1. We’re answering some of the most common vaccine questions in our updated FAQ.

  2. Here are the updated coronavirus case numbers as COVID-19 continues to spread across the region.

  3. Before New Year’s Eve, here’s your pandemic safety guide to the holidays that covers just about everything.

  4. What to know before visiting someone who’s recovered from COVID-19.

  5. Is it safe to travel this winter? If you are traveling, here’s a full breakdown on how to stay safer away from home wherever you stay and however you get there.

  6. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences between COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  7. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

What you need to know today

  1. Despite Trump’s eleventh-hour signature on the relief package and omnibus bill, money should be coming to people who claim unemployment “without a gap or a lag.”

  2. This is what cost U.S. employers the most this year, and it wasn’t the virus.

  3. Randy Alexander, a rock critic turned publicist, whose lifelong devotion to the Philadelphia music scene included elevating everyone from Gamble and Huff to the Hooters to the Disco Biscuits, died yesterday at home in Marlton, N.J. at 62.

  4. Bucks County investigators are seeking clues in the Christmas Eve killing of man in Bristol Township.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

It appears this phrase is sticking to our ribs. Thanks for sharing @justjo1002.

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

  1. 😷 Some businesses that rely on in-person interactions have instituted on-site COVID-19 testing services to stay open.

  2. 🥂 It’s almost time to raise a glass and ring in the new year. Here’s your complete guide to takeout, virtual parties and everything else you need to know for a New Year’s soiree at home.

  3. 🦅 Doug Pederson’s apology to Eagles fans comes with an explanation — and a promise.

  4. 🍺 Iron Hill Brewery is opening a production brewery large enough to turn out 20,000 barrels a year.


“Nurses cannot do this anymore. The more nurses look away, the more they accept. They must stand for what is right and just and take ownership of the value of their vital work.” — Connie M. Ulrich, PhD, RN writes that the pandemic only intensifies concerns about how nurses have accepted hazards and inequities for far too long.

  1. The Inquirer Editorial Board writes that Pennsylvania should emulate New Jersey’s sweeping police reforms that focus on de-escalating matters.

  2. University of Pennsylvania teacher Jonathan Zimmerman writes that students should “stand up and kick” for in-person teaching instead of settling for inferior instruction online.

What we’re reading

  1. The Week fast forwards to the incredible celebration people could have next year if we’re cautious about the pandemic now.

  2. Ready to get rid of your tree? Before you throw it away, goats would like to enjoy it for a post-holiday feast thanks to the Philly Goat Project. These are the drop off locations.

  3. If some cold air, a workout with hot chocolate breaks in the snowy mountains sounds like the ticket, Philly Mag rounded up a dozen winter resorts where you can go skiing just a car ride away from Philly.

Your Daily Dose of | Gifting

And they say teachers give out nothing but homework for the holidays.

The second grade teachers of T.M. Pierce Elementary School handed out plenty of toys like Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, mini basketballs and even Shoprite gift cards to their 45 students. They weren’t from a certain man in a red suit either. The women banded together on Instagram and Facebook to raise $4,000 for the drive. (They’re without a school building currently because of asbestos so gave out the presents outside.)

Suffice it to say it was quite a haul.