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Cities say vaccine mandates aren't forever, but don't have plans on when they'll lift them

- FOX NEWS - Tyler Olson - DEC 17, 2021 -

A health care worker, left, checks in a man at a NYC mobile vaccine clinic in Midtown Manhattan, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole: 'It doesn't come with an end date'

Officials from big cities with vaccine mandates for public places say they don't expect the mandates to be permanent. But they also don't have a clear plan for when or how they will lift the mandates that require millions of Americans to show documents to enter restaurants, gyms and more.

"It doesn't come with an end date because we don't know what's coming," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said of her city's vaccine mandate for restaurants. "We have winter and omicron on the horizon. It's very hard to predict what could happen next. We do want to roll this back as soon as we can, but that's going to depend on our case rates and hospitalization rates."

Philadelphia is just one of several major metropolitan areas in the U.S. with vaccine mandates for people to enter public places like restaurants. New York City, the City of Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco all have similar mandates. And New Orleans requires people to present proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to get into places like bars and restaurants.

Vaccine mandates are often sold as ways to roll back mask mandates and get back to normal – at least inside the spaces where only vaccinated people are allowed. In fact, Los Angeles County released guidance earlier this year that explicitly tied the lifting of its mask mandate to businesses requiring vaccines.

These cities say they eventually do want to return to the pre-pandemic normal. When asked by Fox News what their plans are to eventually roll back the mandates, most of them said they want to do so eventually. But none appear to have a clear plan for doing so.

"There is no specific end date at this time because it’s impossible to know what the next few months could look like due to the current delta wave and what we’re learning about the omicron variant," Philadelphia Department of Health spokesman James Garrow said when asked about his city's new vaccine mandate. "The health department is currently developing metrics that will be focused on case rates and hospitalizations to inform that rollback and will announce them at a future date."


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