Philadelphia dropped its mask mandate — again. After three days of confusion about where to wear a mask or not, the city has joined the federal government in officially not requiring masks in indoor spaces. But, just because the mandate is ending doesn’t mean you should take fewer precautions. Here is what we know about the end of the mask mandate in Philly.
Why is the mask mandate being dropped in Philadelphia?
Simply put, the city dropped the mask mandate because there are fewer cases and hospitalizations. “Due to decreasing hospitalizations and a leveling of case counts, the City will move to strongly recommending masks in indoor public spaces as opposed to a mask mandate. Given the latest data, the Board of Health voted tonight to rescind the mandate,” said Kevin Lessard, spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney.
Currently, Philadelphia has 242 cases on a seven-day average, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still says the city has a low level of community transmission.
Why was the mask mandate dropped on the federal level?
On April 18, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention couldn’t maintain a mask mandate. In the 59-page verdict, she says that the CDC didn’t follow the right rule-making procedures.
The federal mask requirement covered mass transportation, including airplanes, taxis, rideshare services, buses, and trains across the country.
Should I wear a mask when it’s not required?
It’s a good idea. Even though it’s not mandated, the city still recommends that people wear masks in indoor places. The omicron variant BA.2 is driving a resurgence of cases in Europe. And even though the current uptick of cases here is relatively small right now, experts, along with the city, recommend you wear a surgical mask or an N95.
This article has been updated since it first published.