Murals, sunshine, and cherry blossoms

? Want this daily digest emailed to you? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter and it’ll land in your inbox every morning.

Philly becomes first U.S. city to reinstate a mask mandate

Health Commissioner Bettigole yesterday announced the return of Philadelphia’s mask mandate as a new COVID-19 variant threatens.

  • Masking will be required indoors at all businesses and institutions in the city as of April 18, giving biz owners a week to prepare. The move follows the city’s pre-established policy of COVID response levels.

The announcement immediately made national news. It also brought dissent from the local restaurant association, and from some Pa. politicians.

Get ready for squishing, it’s about to be lanternfly season

Philadelphians have internalized the directive to squish spotted lanternflies on sight. But there’s a school of thought that asks whether that’s really effective.

  • There were fewer lanternflies in the Philly region last year, but scientists stayed away from saying our stomping actually made a difference. They also reported less plant damage than originally expected.

So are they still a pest we should work to destroy? As the eggs prepare to hatch, Asha Prihar checks in with scientists — and the short answer is “Yes.”

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled 


Vice President Harris is in Philly today with Secretary of Labor Walsh, and Mayor Kenney joins them during a visit to the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 HQ in South Philly (2:30 p.m.).


? The Ritz Five is showing “A-ha: The Movie,” the story of the one-hit wonder band that shot to fame with “Take on Me” in 1985 and is enjoying new popularity on TikTok. Tix are $12. (7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13)

? “RuPaul’s Drag Race” getting a little played out? Head over to Franky Bradley’s for another installment of Snatcherella 3000, a local drag competition show where some of Philly’s finest queens compete for a crown. Tickets are $10. (9 p.m to 12 a.m. Wednesday, April 13)