Updated Apr 22, 2022 - COVID

Philadelphia will end reimposed mask mandate

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Philadelphia made the decision to end its mask mandate on Thursday night, just four days after reimposing it.

Why it matters: With the U-turn, Philly will no longer be the only major city in the country with such a mandate.

  • The mask mandate ends Friday following a vote from the Philadelphia Board of Health to rescind it on Thursday.

State of play: The city made the decision on April 11 to bring the mandate back into effect one week later on April 18 — the same day a federal judge struck down the Biden administration's transportation mask mandate.

Yes, but: The city still strongly recommends masks in indoor public places, city spokesperson Sarah Peterson told Axios.

What they're saying: The decision came "due to decreasing hospitalizations and a leveling of case counts," Peterson said.

Of note: The city will no longer use its tiered response levels that were introduced in February, health officials announced during a briefing Friday.

Flashback: Philadelphia had originally cited rising COVID cases in the city — as well as rising hospitalizations — to justify its decision to bring the mandate back.

  • "This looks like we may be at the start of a new COVID wave, like Europe just saw," Philadelphia health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said last week.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional details on the decision to end the mask mandate and use of the city's tiered COVID response system.


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