Apr 18, 2022 - News

Philly's mask mandate returns as group sues city

Illustration of a pattern of masks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Philly's reinstated mask mandate takes effect Monday as a group of businesses and residents seeks to overturn it through a state lawsuit.

Driving the news: The lawsuit, filed in Commonwealth Court on Saturday, claims the city lacks the authority to impose a mask mandate, the Associated Press reports.

  • The group accuses city health officials of usurping the "power and authority" of the state.

Catch up fast: Philly is the first major U.S. city to reinstate its indoor mask mandate, which it had dropped in early March.

  • The city moved to Level 2 of its four-tiered system last week, after COVID-19 cases began to rise again. City health officials say the Omicron subvariant B.A.2 is driving the increase.
  • As of last Sunday, the positivity rate is 7.7%, a drastic decrease compared to the height of Omicron over the winter.

Of note: The city's mask mandate is at odds with the CDC, which currently does not recommend mandated masking here.

How it works: Masks are required in all indoor public spaces, including schools, child care settings, businesses, restaurants and government buildings.

  • The city will rely on the public to report businesses not complying to the city's 311 hotline.

Flashback: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the governor's statewide mask mandate in schools in December.

  • The high court found that Gov. Tom Wolf's administration didn't have the authority to impose such a requirement, the AP reports.

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