Philadelphia Mask Mandate 2022: The city emphasized that businesses and other institutions can impose stricter protocols, such as requiring proof of vaccination or requiring everyone to wear a mask.
Just moments after Philadelphia dropped its indoor mask requirement on Wednesday, NBC10’s Miguel Martinez-Valle reports what the “all clear” means and where masks are still required.
Philadelphia Mask Mandate 2022
Philadelphia has announced that its indoor mask mandate will be phased out beginning Wednesday.
Even though Philadelphia is now in the “all clear,” masks will still be required in health care facilities, congregate settings, and public transportation.
Furthermore, the city emphasized that businesses and other institutions can impose more stringent protocols, such as requiring proof of vaccination or requiring everyone to wear a mask.
According to the city, Mask requirements for schools may be lifted on March 9 if the situation continues to improve.
The announcement was made against the backdrop of other municipalities repealing their own mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its metrics to determine whether to recommend indoor face coverings on the same day last Friday.
According to the city, masks will be required in city buildings until Monday, March 7, but masks will be optional for visitors and fully vaccinated staff after that date. Unvaccinated employees must still wear two masks while indoors and around others.
The city’s COVID-19 response level of “all clear” is the least stringent of four levels announced on February 16. At least three of the following metrics must be confirmed during the “all clear” phase:
- Average new cases per day are less than 100
- Hospitalizations are under 50
- Percent positivity is under 2%
- Cases have not risen by more than 50% in the previous 10 days
As of Tuesday, the city was averaging 87 new cases per day, with 156 people being treated for COVID-19 in local hospitals, according to Bettigole.
The test positivity rate was 2.8 percent as of Monday, but the health department based that figure solely on PCR tests, not antigen tests or rapid-at-home tests, the latter of which more people have begun to use, according to Bettigole.
According to the health commissioner, she recently directed her staff to calculate the test positivity rate based on both PCR and antigen tests, which reduced the overall test positivity rate to 1.7 percent – well below the threshold required for Philadelphia to enter the “all clear” phase.
Bettigole previously stated that more stringent pandemic restrictions could be reinstated in the future if infections and hospitalizations rise dramatically again, as they did nationwide last year. The health department echoed that sentiment in a press release announcing the removal of masks on Wednesday.
“If a new COVID variant arrives in Philadelphia or cases begin to rise again, we may need to move to the Mask Precautions Level or higher and resume enforcing the public mandates,” the department said.
Bettigole previously stated that Philadelphia’s stricter mask requirements have contributed to fewer infections than surrounding counties, despite those counties being more affluent and diverse.
The C.D.C.’s new mask recommendation guidelines retain the authority of local jurisdiction to impose stricter rules. However, they indicate a shift in current COVID-19 trends and the federal government’s response to the pandemic.
Masks were not required during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
“We’ve reached a new phase in the fight against COVID-19, with severe cases at a level not seen since July of last year,” Biden said during his speech.
He stated that the country would “remain vigilant” against the virus by emphasizing measures such as rapidly developing vaccines for new viral variants, continuing to provide free at-home tests and antiviral treatments, and providing vaccines to other parts of the world.
Mask Mandate Philadelphia 2022
Mask Mandate Philadelphia: Philadelphia suspended its indoor mask mandate on Wednesday, at least for the time being, after federal health officials recommended that people in areas such as the region no longer need to wear masks.
“The metrics that we’re tracking have reached the point where the Health Department believes it is safe to discontinue enforcing the indoor mask mandate,” said James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, in a news release Wednesday.
The announcement comes just two weeks after the city established its own COVID-19 safety standards. Before masking could be lifted, three of the four conditions had to be met: an average daily case count of less than 100; fewer than 50 people hospitalized with COVID; a test positivity rate of less than 2%; and cases not increasing by more than 50% in the previous 10 days. The city was on the verge of meeting those standards, but health officials estimated that the mandate would only be in effect for a few weeks.
That changed when the city began including antigen test results in its positivity rate calculations, according to city health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole on Wednesday. Previously, the city’s estimate of the positivity rate only included PCR tests. With the antigen tests included, the city’s positivity rate dropped to 1.7 percent, meeting the criteria for the mask mandate’s end.
According to Bettigole, the city was averaging 87 new cases per day as of Tuesday, with 156 people testing positive for the virus in hospitals.
Health officials have stated that if a new variant emerges or Philadelphia experiences another surge, mandates such as the mask requirement and proof of vaccination to eat indoors may be reinstated.
Masks are still required in hospitals and on public transportation. The school mask mandate is set to expire on March 9, according to city health officials, and will be reinstated for a week following spring break. Bettigole also suggested but did not require that people wear masks in large crowds.
Businesses can still impose COVID precautions, such as requiring proof of vaccination or mask use, she said.
One of the city’s largest indoor event venues immediately praised the end of masking.
“This is a day we’ve been looking forward to for nearly two years, and now our fans can watch the Flyers, 76ers, concerts, and more just like they used to at Wells Fargo Center,” said Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations for Wells Fargo Center and the Philadelphia Flyers.
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