Philadelphia officials announced Monday that residents would once again have to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
The city made it just over five weeks since the indoor mask mandate was initially lifted March 2. Now, it is the first major city in the United States to force residents to put masks back on after states and localities largely dropped mask mandates during the first two months of 2022.
NEW: Philadelphia will reinstate its citywide mask mandate beginning next Monday due to rising COVID cases https://t.co/m2gcW7Mpra
— Axios (@axios) April 11, 2022
“Starting today, we’re asking businesses to dig up those ‘masks required’ signs and start hanging them in your windows,” city health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said Monday. “Beginning Monday, April 18, our health inspectors will begin enforcing the mask mandate again.” (RELATED: ‘Control Your Soul’s Desire For Freedom’: The Videos Emerging From Shanghai’s Lockdown Have George Orwell Rolling In His Grave)
Philadelphia County is currently averaging 149 COVID-19 cases per day, but only two deaths, according to The New York Times. On March 2, those numbers were 107 and 6.1, respectively. Nationally, cases have remained roughly flat since mid-March, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Deaths are continuing to decline. (RELATED: The FDA’s Own Experts Have No Idea Why It Approved Another COVID Booster Dose)
Health experts have warned that another COVID-19 wave could be on the way due to the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron, although most public officials have not signaled whether or not they would bring back pandemic restrictions in their jurisdictions. Hawaii just recently became the final state to remove its indoor mask mandate.