PHILADELPHIA, PA – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is issuing a new indoor mask mandate for businesses amid a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in the city, a move that it sure to cause grumbling as many were hoping that the pandemic was essentially behind them at this point.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole made the announcement April 11, putting local businesses in the unfortunate position of once again having to police their customers as COVID cases in the city are on the rise.
“I’d hoped we wouldn’t be meeting like this again, but here we are,” Bettigole said. “Starting today, I’m asking businesses and institutions in Philadelphia to dig up those old ‘Masks required’ signs, start hanging them in your windows, and start having conversations with your staff about reminding people to wear their mask while they’re indoors.”
This week, Philadelphia is experiencing an average infection rate of approximately 142 new cases of COVID-19 daily, with about 44 of each of those cases resulting in hospitalizations; this represents an increase of 50 percent over the city’s previous 10-day infection average.
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However, the new indoor mask mandate is butting heads with the latest guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which currently considers Philadelphia’s infection rate “low” and has stated that it should be up to the individual whether or not they decide to don a mask.
Currently, CDC guidance states that only individuals with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.
The new indoor mask mandate goes into effect on April 18, according to Bettigole. The city’s previous indoor mask mandate had only been rescinded on March 2, giving residents only a brief period of easy breathing before having to mask up once again.