Philadelphia drops vaccine mandate for indoor dining

The decision comes amid lower case counts, positivity rates and hospitalizations in the city.

The City of Philadelphia is dropping its indoor dining vaccine mandate, but keeping its mask mandate. | GRACIE HEIM / FILE

Philadelphians no longer have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to eat indoors at food establishments across the city, but are still required to wear masks, said Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole at the city’s COVID-19 briefing Wednesday morning. 

The city first implemented the vaccine mandate on Dec. 13, 2021 as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rose across the city. Restrictions are now being lifted due to declining case counts, positivity rates and hospitalizations citywide. 

As of Feb. 15, Philadelphia is averaging 189 new cases a day, compared to more than 500 cases a day last week. The city’s case count is down almost 95 percent from the peak in cases last month, Bettigole said. 

“Case rates are dropping everywhere, but they’re dropping farther and faster in Philadelphia than in many other parts of the state and the country, thanks to the work Philadelphians have done to keep each other safe,” Bettigole said.

The city’s positivity rate is at 2.9 percent, and there are only 300 people hospitalized with COVID-19 — an 80 percent decrease from last month’s peak, she added.

Based on data from the city’s cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health believes the city has entered the last phase of responding to the virus – mask precautions only – before it’s “all clear.” The previous two phases were extreme caution and caution.  

Philadelphia is also starting a six-week incentive program that will give people $100 for completing their primary COVID-19 vaccine series at one of the PDPH’s community clinics. The closest participating clinic to Main Campus is at the MLK Older Adult Center on 2100 Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

More than 1,216,000 Philadelphians have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of Feb. 16, according to the city’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard

“If you’ve been trying to get motivated to get your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, this is your moment,” Bettigole said.

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