- CBS PHILLY - CBS3 Staff - APR 11, 2022 -
Philadelphia Reinstating Indoor Mask Mandate After Moving Into Level 2 Of 4-Tiered COVID-19 Response System
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia has become the first major U.S. city to reimpose an indoor mask mandate. The city said Monday it’s reached the Level 2: Mask Precautions stage of its four-tiered COVID-19 response system, and that it will reimpose the mask mandate on April 18.
Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said the city will provide businesses with a one-week educational period before the mandate goes back into effect.
“We hope by having folks whenever they’re in public, indoor spaces we can get ahead of the wave and keep it from reaching a peak like we saw in January with the omicron variant,” Bettigole said. “If we can do that, we can literally save the lives of vulnerable Philadelphians. At this level of transmission, we do not believe that there is any reason to panic or enjoy any activities that we enjoy and are important to use. Our city remains open.”
Bettigole said any business that requires proof of vaccination will be exempt from the mandate.
“So as before, if an establishment — any type of establishment — chooses to be vaccine only, they can be exempt from the mask requirement, and that’s something we did before when we had the mask requirement in place,” the health commissioner said.
Under the city’s four-tiered system, to qualify for the Level 2: Mask Precautions stage, the average new daily case levels must be under 225, hospitalizations under 100 and cases up more than 50% over the previous 10 days.
The city on Monday reported 142 new cases per day, which is more than 50% higher than 10 days ago, Bettigole said.
Bettigole said the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 remains low, at 46 people.
“Recently, we’ve been watching COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise in several European countries and in some places, in the U.S., and now we’re starting to see cases here in Philadelphia rise,” Bettigole said. “This looks like we may be at the start of a new COVID wave like Europe just saw. If we fail to 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.”