PHILADELPHIA, PA – According to reports, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced plans to bring back mask mandates after there were reported rises in COVID-19 cases within the city.

Officials in Philadelphia announced that the mask mandate for indoor public spaces will be going into effect come April 18th, citing a recent 10-day span that saw COVID cases increase by approximately 50% within the city, reportedly averaging 142 new cases per day.

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Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole claimed this could be evidence of “the start of a new COVID wave like Europe just saw.” However, while there has been an uptick in COVID cases within Philadelphia, the rate of hospitalizations has been reportedly low.

Still, Dr. Bettigole claims that with the increase in reported cases is enough to reintroduce mask mandates, saying that the one-week lead up to the April 18th start date is to ensure that education on the mandate is properly conveyed.

Even though Dr. Bettigole is bringing back the compulsory face masks, she stated that the “city remains open,” but trotted out the pro-mask narrative about it stopping the spread.

“Our city remains open. By wearing masks consistently we can continue to go about our daily lives and continue to take part in the life of our city without contributing to increasing transmission of COVID-19.”

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The Health Commissioner added, “Starting today, I’m asking all businesses and institutions in Philadelphia to dig up those old mask required signs and start hanging them up in your windows.”

Be Fileccia, the Senior Director of Operations for Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, was not pleased to learn about the reinstatement of these mask mandates. In a released statement, Fileccia lamented how no one from the health department thought about reaching out to them prior to restarting the compelled masking.

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“Philadelphia restaurants have done all they can to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19—from hosting vaccine clinics to sponsoring coronavirus test giveaways—while working to keep business in the city. It’s deflating to hear that the city plans to bring back the mask mandate, especially without having conversations with anyone from the industry about timing and approach.”

Dr. Bettigole claims that she wishes she didn’t have to get the masks going again but peddled the lines about protecting “neighbors and loved ones” – a trope that was incessantly used at the onset of the pandemic to gain compliance.

“I sincerely wish we didn’t have to do this again. I wish this pandemic was over just as much as any of you, but I am very worried about our vulnerable neighbors and loved ones. It is my hope that our actions today will slow the spread of COVID and help us avoid seeing our ERs once again get so crowded that people can’t get timely care when they need it.”

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