The City of Philadelphia announced on Monday that it will be reinstating its indoor mask mandate. As of April 18, masks will be required for entry to all “non-essential” Philadelphia buildings and venues.
A rise in COVID-19 cases prompted the new guidelines based on a model that would re-introduce mask mandates if case levels crossed a certain threshold. It is unclear whether the city’s vaccine passport system, which was also lifted earlier this year, will also be going back into effect.
There were an average of 142 new cases in Philadelphia in recent days, while 46 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to city officials.
“Philadelphia’s COVID-19 response levels allow us to be clear, transparent and predictable in our response to local conditions,” Mayor Jim Kenney wrote in a tweet. “Given the rise in cases, we’re moving to Level 2 on April 18 to prevent higher case rates.”
“Our city remains open; we can still go about our daily lives and visit the people and places we love while masking in indoor public spaces,” Kenney continued.
Our city remains open; we can still go about our daily lives and visit the people and places we love while masking in indoor public spaces.
— Jim #VaxUpPhilly Kenney (@PhillyMayor) April 11, 2022
“Starting April 18, masks will be required in all indoor public spaces, including schools and childcare settings, businesses, restaurants, and government buildings,” wrote the Philadelphia Public Health Department in a statement. Officials also urged residents to report businesses that are not in compliance to the city government.
The School District of Philadelphia had already planned on requiring masks as students return from spring break on April 18. The new mandate will now apply to all city schools and daycare facilities as well.
Philadelphia opting to reimpose its indoor mask mandate comes a little over a month after such measures were lifted in the first place. The city previously gave the “all clear” to lift the mandate on March 2, but will be reintroducing it on April 18.
More cities and organizations could soon join Philadelphia in imposing a mask mandate. A handful of colleges, including Yale, recently imposed mask mandates on their campuses. Philadelphia is the first major city to move forward with a new mandate, however.