May 23, 2022

Philadelphia Democrats put new indoor mask mandate in place

Things are back to normal just about everywhere following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Philadelphia has just made itself a big-city exception.

Health officials in Philadelphia announced an indoor mask mandate Monday meant to combat increasing coronavirus cases due to the omicron BA.2 subvariant, Fox News reported. This return to masking flies in the face of guidelines set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Recently we’ve been watching COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise in several European countries and some places in the US, and now we’re starting to see cases here in Philadelphia rise,” Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, Philadelphia’s health Health Commissioner, said at a news conference. “We’re reintroducing the mask mandate in Philadelphia.”

According to Fox, Philadelphia is the first city to impose a mask mandate it previously dropped. Moreover, it’s doing so while the CDC still considers community transmission low risk in Philidelphia as it remains in a tier two designation.

The CDC guidelines allow for counties with relatively low transmission rates to mask according to “personal preference,” meaning Philadelphia is not following the government requirements. Adding to the curiousness of such a mandate is its April 18 timing which makes no sense considering the emergency-mindedness of previous indoor mask mandates.

The rationale for holding off on the mandate is there will be “a one-week education period for businesses” despite the previous practice with enforced masking. Notably, this timeframe also coincides with the Easter and Passover holidays.

The mask mandate may only be the beginning. If Philadelphia sees the number of cases fall between 225 and 500 per day, the city will reinstate its requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test or vaccine card before entering city establishments.

It seems ridiculous to reinstate mask mandates after living with the virus for more than two years. Still, government leaders are addicted to the power in these mandates — and many people are still fearful of the virus despite vaccines and treatments cutting the risk.

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