Starting Friday, Philadelphia will lift the last two COVID-19 restrictions: the indoor mask mandate and the 11:00 p.m. last call for restaurants. After more than a year city residents are taking a significant step toward normalcy.
“For nearly fifteen months, the City of Philadelphia has had restrictions in place to protect each other, and I have no doubt that these restrictions saved countless lives,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “But Friday will be a day that we’ve all been looking forward to: getting back to doing the things that we love.”
According to nbcphiladelphia.com, Kenney highlighted the important role played by the vaccination process in achieving the lifting of the restrictions. “Thanks to the more than two-thirds of adults who’ve been vaccinated already, we can finally do the things that we’ve missed doing for the last year. I urge everyone who has not been vaccinated to join the more than 800,000 fellow Philadelphians so we can continue to move forward from the pandemic.”
Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole also expressed her enthusiasm for the good news. “Due to the lowest new case counts that we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic, we are now excited to lift the last of the Safer-at-Home restrictions.”
However, she noted the importance of being aware that the pandemic is not over. “Lifting the requirement for vaccinated people to wear masks indoors doesn’t mean that we are totally past COVID-19. Dozens of Philadelphians are still being diagnosed with COVID-19 every day, which means that more of us still need to get vaccinated.”
Philadelphia will still require masks to be worn indoors in select settings, including but not limited to healthcare institutions and events such as vaccine clinics and blood drives, prisons, shelters, adult day programs, trains, buses, taxis, rideshare vehicles, indoor schools, camps and early childhood education.
Last month, health officials in Pennsylvania announced that the rest of the state will completely lift mask restrictions June 28, or possibly sooner, if 70% of residents get their second dose of vaccine.