Philadelphia Abruptly Ends Citywide Mask Mandate
After just four days, Philadelphia's citywide mask mandate has been rescinded.
This means that masks will no longer be required in public places throughout the city. The Department of Health now just "strongly recommends" masks be worn indoors throughout the city. More details are expected to be announced tomorrow (Friday).
But what a wild week it has been in the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia's Mask Mandate Was Just Re-Instated
The masking mandate, of course, had JUST returned to all of the city's businesses this past Monday (April 18) as COVID-19 cases had been rising in the city.
"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," the city's health department said in a statement issued to the media late Thursday evening.
When the city put the mask mandate into place on Monday it marked that the city had moved from the "all clear" phase of their COVID-19 protocols to a Level 2 or "caution" phase, which required masks to be worn.
COVID-19 Cases Were Surging in Philadelphia
Philadelphia was really the first major US city to return its masking mandate in April (so far), which had only been lifted in early March.
At the time, officials noted that they had seen a 50% increase in COVID-19 cases from April 1 through April 11, when they made the decision.
It's not clear exactly how many cases were reported on Thursday in the city, but earlier in the week the city was averaging about 1,400 new cases of the virus per day.
There is a slight delay, however, in the data that is shared publicly. It is now updated twice a week by the city of Philadelphia. They update the public on the number of cases typically on Tuesdays and Fridays, via their website.
COVID-19 Mask Requirements Are Working Their Way Through the Courts
The news comes as mask cases continue to work their way through the courtrooms across the nation.
A group of businesses filed a lawsuit against the city over the past weekend, saying that the health department was overstepping its power. Earlier this week, a federal judge revoked the national mask mandate on public transportation (including airplanes and SEPTA).