Philadelphia Becomes Latest City To Implement Vaccine Mandate For Indoor Activities

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The city of Philadelphia announced Monday that all facilities that sell food or drinks will soon have to require proof of vaccination for customers to partake in their offerings.

Only fully vaccinated patrons will be allowed in affected establishments beginning Jan. 3, 2022, the city said in a release. For the first two weeks of the mandate, a negative COVID-19 test from within the prior 24 hours may be substituted, but beginning Jan. 17, only full vaccination will be sufficient.

“We’ve come an incredibly long way, but there is still work to be done to get Philadelphia through the pandemic,” Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said. “New cases and hospitalizations are rising, and we must do more to protect our residents. The City’s indoor mask mandate helped us control case rates this fall, so we are rolling out a complementary vaccine mandate for food establishments, where masking is not feasible.”

People who cannot be vaccinated are exempt from the regulation, including children under five years of age, people with a signed medical exemption from their doctor, or people with religious exemptions. (RELATED: Santa Cruz County Will Require Masks In Private Homes)

The mandate applies primarily to places that sell food and drinks for on-site consumption, and thus will not apply in places like supermarkets and childcare facilities. In addition to bars and restaurants, the mandate will apply to sporting venues, movie theaters, casinos and other entertainment venues with food.

The policy brings Philadelphia in line with other major cities that have imposed strict vaccination requirements for many indoor activities, such as New York and San Francisco.