Philadelphians are now required to wear masks outdoors if they are closer than six feet to people not in their household and in indoor public spaces, Mayor Jim Kenney announced this afternoon.
Law enforcement officials will not enforce the mandatory mask policy and will not ticket people caught violating it, according to the announcement. Exceptions to the policy include children under age eight.
“The purpose of this order is really to send a message to everyone and enable them to encourage others to wear masks,” said Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, in a press conference today. “In the end, it’s up to us as Philadelphia residents to self-enforce this order.”
The city issued the policy in response to a national spike in COVID-19 cases, which has begun to affect Pennsylvania. Philadelphia experienced an increase in daily confirmed cases during the last 10 days that cannot be fully attributed to the city’s increase in testing, Farley said.
“Nationally we are seeing a very big wave of this epidemic which will inevitably hit Philadelphia to some degree,” Farley added
Although new cases have occurred across all demographics, Philadelphia has seen a notable spike in cases among people ages 16 to 19. This may be from attending social events, Farley said.
As of now, Philadelphia may not be ready to enter the full green phase on July 3 as planned, Farley said.
Philadelphia’s recent increase in cases will not affect the city’s decision to lift restrictions today on residential pools and private swim clubs, outdoor zoos, personal services like salons and small indoor gatherings of up to 25 people, Kenney tweeted.