Philadelphia to re-apply masks in public spaces

April 12, 2022

By mentioning an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron subvariant, the city of Philadelphia on Monday rescinded its mandate for indoor face mask.

The city had an average of 142 new COVID cases per day on Monday, compared to 84 new cases on April 1, the city council said in a news release. Hospital admissions have remained stable, with about 50 people per day hospitalized with COVID.

“If we do not act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections has been followed by a wave of hospitalizations, and then a wave of deaths, it will be too late for many of our residents,” said Cheryl Bettigole, MD, the City Health Commissioner , according to The Associated Press. “This is our chance to prevent the pandemic, to put on our masks until we have more information about the seriousness of this new variant.”

Philadelphia will be the first major city to restore a mask mandate, the Associated Press said. Philadelphia dropped its mask mandate March 2, as most major cities relaxed restrictions due to falling cases. Although the number of cases did not reach the numbers of several months ago, they are still increasing sharply.

The city will require masks in all public spaces inside, including schools, businesses, restaurants, offices and government buildings, according to the city’s news release. Companies and institutions can drop the mask requirements if everyone on site is fully vaccinated and the fax status is checked upon entry. Enforcement will begin April 18.

The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association that the re-established rule will hurt restaurant workers.

“This announcement is a huge blow to thousands of small businesses and other operators in the city who hope this spring will be the beginning of recovery,” said Ben Fileccia, senior director of operations at the association, on Twitter“While the rest of the Commonwealth has moved forward by navigating life with COVID, Philadelphia has stepped back by imposing another mandate and expecting it to be maintained by companies and their employees.” In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference Monday that he would listen to his team of medical doctors for advice on reducing COVID restrictions, the Associated Press said.

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