Philadelphia’s mask mandate comes back into effect Monday: What you need to know

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – Starting Monday, masks are now mandatory in all public indoor spaces in Philadelphia as the city moves Level 2: Mask Precautions in accordance with its COVID-19 response guidelines.

The indoor mask mandate applies to indoor spaces such as restaurants, museums, businesses, offices, government buildings and arenas.

The Philadelphia school district was already requiring masks to be worn this week after spring break.

The district will now work with the Department of Public Health to determine when to make masks optional again.

Those heading to Game 2 of the 76ers’ first-round series against the Toronto Raptors will need to mask up inside the Wells Fargo Center.

Businesses and institutions can go mask-free if they require everyone onsite to be fully immunized and check vaccine status upon entry, city officials say.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia reinstates indoor mask mandate as COVID-19 cases rise

The city says the mandate is returning as COVID cases have increased 50% in the past two weeks.

After making the announcement last Monday, the city gave businesses a week to prepare and hand over signage.

SEE ALSO: Lawsuit seeks to overturn Philadelphia indoor mask mandate renewal

When will the mask mandate end?

The city says two of three data points must be met for the mask mandate to end: new cases must be less than 100 per day, cases have increased by less than 50% in the previous 10 days, and hospitalizations are less than 50.

As of April 11, Philadelphia had an average of 142 new cases of COVID-19 every day.

“This number is more than 50% higher than the average 84 new cases that were reported ten days ago, April 1. This means that not only are cases increasing, but they are increasing faster than the Ministry of Health is reporting. deems safe,” the Department of Public Health said.

“Hospitalizations have remained stable around 50 for the past two weeks.”

The city’s reaction

Over the weekend, Philadelphia businesses were gearing up for a major change.

As diners enjoyed their Easter Sunday brunch, restaurants reinstalled signage requiring masks.

“We absolutely don’t want any type of closure, which is why it’s so important for us to follow the mandates,” said Kelsey Nofer, manager of the White Dog Café in University City. “It’s just going to be a little safer for our guests, everything to keep our guests safe, we agree.”

“I support it. I don’t think it’s an inconvenience, I think it’s a small safety measure that hopefully will help,” added Julie Jacobs, who lives in Rittenhouse Square.

“I think it’s bad for business, especially the restaurants here, Rittenhouse Square, Old City, the Queen Village restaurants, I mean they’ve suffered enough,” Old City’s John Takacs said.

Dr. Darrn Mareiniss of the Einstein Medical Center says he thinks Philadelphia is doing the right thing.

“I think it’s a tough pill to swallow, but I think Philly is doing the right thing. There’s a reason everyone talks about Philadelphia. And you can tell it’s a negative company. and painful, but from a public health perspective, I think Philadelphia is acting very responsibly and maturely on this,” Mareiniss said.

Lawsuit filed

The mandate is fulfilled with some backlash. A group of about 10 businesses and individuals filed a lawsuit against the city on Saturday, arguing the health department is going too far.

“It’s not just about getting an injunction, but the bigger issue is asking for a declaratory judgment that Philadelphia can’t engage in this conduct. They don’t have the power,” said Thomas Breth, a lawyer representing the petitioners. .

The city says it will not comment on this matter, but has the legal authority to do what is necessary to control the spread of COVID-19.

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