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Tipsheet

Another Liberal City Drops Its Vaccine Mandate

AP Photo/Angie Wang

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole announced in a news briefing Wednesday that the city will drop its vaccine mandate for indoor dining establishments. During their remarks, Kenney and Bettigole also unveiled a new system that will guide decisions on easing COVID-19 restrictions. 

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“As of today, we no longer need to ask our city’s dining establishments to check vaccines,” Bettigole said during the briefing. “Philadelphia’s vaccine mandate for dining establishments has been hard on our restaurants, and our places of entertainment.”

“Case rates are dropping everywhere, but they’re dropping farther and faster in Philadelphia than in many other parts of the state and the country,” she added.

Bettigole explained that the new system the city will utilize to roll back COVID-19 restrictions includes monitoring four key metrics; COVID-19 case count, hospitalizations, test positivity rates, and the rate of the change in cases. The labels the city will use are “Extreme Caution,” “Caution,” “Mask Precautions Only,” and “All Clear.” 

“Extreme Caution” requires proof of vaccination for establishments that serve food and requires masks to be worn in indoor public places. “Caution” requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours for places that serve food and requires masks to be worn in indoor public areas. “Mask Precautions Only” does not require proof-of-vaccination and mandates masks be worn in indoor public areas. “All Clear” means there will be no vaccine requirement and no mask requirement except in schools, healthcare facilities, and public transit.

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At this time, Bettigole said that Philadelphia is currently in the Mask Precautions Only tier. This marks an immediate end of the vaccine mandate.

“When the vaccine mandate was announced, we were in the midst of the Omicron wave and only 27.5 percent of Philadelphia's children aged 5 to 11 had had their first dose of a covid vaccine,” Bettigole said in the briefing. “Today, cases are dropping rapidly, and 53.1 percent of the city’s 5 to 11 year olds have had their first dose of vaccine.”

This month, a slew of Democratic states and cities have rolled back COVID-19 restrictions, including Delaware, Oregon, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. 

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