Mayor Jim Kenney said the decision to scrap the mask mandate after just a few days was influenced in part by SEPTA’s announcement on Monday that masks would no longer be required on public transit.

SEPTA lifted its mandate shortly after a federal judge in Florida struck down the CDC’s rule requiring masks on most forms of transit.

Kenney said his administration “didn’t expect SEPTA to do what they did” and said the authority “didn’t really converse with us.” SEPTA officials said earlier this week that they were in touch with members of the administration prior to making their announcement, but Kenney said “they didn’t ask us our opinion. It was an announcement.”

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The mayor, speaking briefly to a reporter after an unrelated event in LOVE Park Friday morning, said without the federal opinion, they might have kept the mask mandate in place for “a couple more weeks to get the numbers down even further.”

”Part of this is trying to get people to comply, and clearly this has become such a huge issue, such a political issue, it’s hard to get people to do it,” he said. “Our numbers are going down, our hospitalizations are going down. It seemed like the time to reverse it now. Hopefully people don’t get sick and die... I pray for the best.”

Shortly before Kenney’s comments, Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said SEPTA’s move didn’t motivate the city to drop its mandate, but said the call was made as a result of current case counts and other metrics.

”There’s lots of pressure in lots of different directions in this job. What I’m trying to do is really follow the data,” Bettigole said.

Asked if the decision was purely about science and data, Bettigole said, “It is.”

When asked about the disconnect between the health department and the mayor’s comments, a health department spokesperson said, “The Health Department has maintained that it would reevaluate its metrics to be as least restrictive as possible. The recent leveling off of case counts and drop in hospitalizations drove the decision to move to a strong mask recommendation. At the same time, the federal court ruling and SEPTA’s decision were disappointing and created dissonance in our ability to communicate effectively to help keep people safe.”