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Philadelphia Reinstates its Indoor Mask Policy, Becoming the First US City to Do It

Although the numbers overall remain relatively low, the city states the rising cases as the reason for its decision.


Stating rising COVID-19 cases, the City of Philadelphia’s Public Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole announced the return of the indoor mask mandate, becoming the country’s first city to do so.

"By wearing masks consistently, we can continue to go about our daily lives and continue to take part in the life of our city without contributing to increasing transmission of COVID-19," Bettigole said in making the announcement.

The city’s officials are providing a 1 week education period for businesses, so masks will be required in all indoor public spaces beginning on Monday, April 18.

The city has reported the following:

  • 142 average new cases per day
  • 44 hospitalizations
  • 278,407 Philadelphians in total diagnosed with COVID-19
  • 5007 Philadelphians in total have died from COVID-19

Today's statistics reflect the cases and deaths since last Friday.

These numbers put the city at Level 2, which is labeled Mask Precautions, and it means 2 or more of the following are true:

  • Average new cases per day are less than 225.
  • Hospitalizations are less than 100.
  • Cases have increased by more than 50% in the previous 10 days.

“The mask mandate is tied to the COVID Response Levels, and as COVID cases rise in Philly, we want to protect our most vulnerable residents. Wearing a mask around others is an easy way to do that. The sooner that we can stop this wave, the sooner we can get back to Level 1,” The City’s Public health department, tweeted today.

There is no vaccine or testing requirement for places that serve food or drink.

“Philadelphia’s COVID-19 response levels allow us to be clear, transparent and predictable in our response to local COVID-19 conditions,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, said in a statement. “Given the recent rise in cases, we are moving to Level 2 in hopes of preventing higher case rates and stricter measures. 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. I’m optimistic that this step will help us control the case rate.”

To get back to Level 1 and the All Clear status, thus allowing people to not have to wear masks indoors, 2 of the following conditions need to be true:

  • Average new cases per day are less than 100.
  • Hospitalizations are less than 50.
  • Cases have increased by less than 50% in the previous 10 days.