Philadelphia announced on April 11 that it will reinstate indoor mask mandates, becoming the first major city in the United States to do so, as COVID-19 cases in the city surge.
Philadelphia will require masks in all indoor public spaces, including schools, business, restaurants, and government buildings, as the city will move to the second level of its four-tiered COVID-19 response system on April 18.
The city will also ask its residents to report any business not complying with the mask mandate.
“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,” the city’s Public Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said in a press conference.
According to data from the city government, Philadelphia has been reporting an average of 142 new cases of COVID-19 each day, as of April 11, which is more than 50% higher than it was 10 days ago.
Hospitalizations have remained around 50 for the past two weeks, data also showed.
Mayor Jim Kenny said on Twitter that despite the mask mandate, the city will remain open.
“We can still go about our daily lives and visit the people and places we love while masking in indoor public spaces,” Kenney said.
However, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA) said in a statement that it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision.
“This announcement is a major blow to thousands of small business and other operators in the city who were hoping this spring would be the start of recovery,” PRLA said.
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