Philadelphia flip-flops on mask mandate – RT World News


City officials dropped an indoor masking requirement just days after reinstating it

The US city of Philadelphia has reversed course on a citywide mask mandate, with officials citing a drop in Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations despite the same rule being reimposed less than a year ago. week.

The city’s board of health announced the decision on Friday, pointing to a “the recent stabilization of the number of cases and a decrease in hospitalizations for Covid-19”, although he noted that residents and visitors are still “Strongly encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.”

“We have said throughout the pandemic that we will respond based on the data available. In implementing our mask mandate, we promised to continue to monitor hospitalizations and review the need for the mandate if hospitalizations did not increase following the increase in cases,” said Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole.


Commenting later on Friday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said a recent federal court ruling against a White House mask mandate on public transportation influenced the decision, as did a decision by the transportation provider in city ​​council, SEPTA, to make masking optional on its trains, buses, and trolleys.

“The infection rate is going down, hospitalizations are going down and, frankly, the decision in Florida has confused a lot of things,” Kenney said, referring to the federal appeals court ruling, adding that SEPTA also had “confused a lot of things.”

While Philadelphia scrapped the previous indoor mask mandate in early March, the rule was reinstated on Monday after the city raised its “Covid-19 response level.” On Friday, however, officials said the tiered pandemic response system had been abolished entirely. “based on an assessment of hospitalization data and Philadelphia’s overall risk level.”

Face coverings will still be required in some indoor spaces, including hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and others “gathering parameters”, says the city.

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