Philadelphia is going back to mask mandates indoors as the city has seen an increase in the COVID-19 case count. Masks will now be required on the premises of Rivers Casino, Live! Casino Philadelphia and Wells Fargo Center beginning on April 18.
Philadelphia Becomes First City in Pennsylvania to Bring Masks Back
The news was confirmed by city health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole who stressed the urgency of the situation and assured that this would be the best course of action to avoid any more serious lockdowns that paralyzed the economy throughout most of 2020. Bettigole expressed disappointment about the circumstances, but was confident that this was the best course of action:
“I hoped we wouldn’t be meeting like this, but here we are. We hope by having folks mask up in public indoor spaces we can get ahead of the wave and keep it from reaching a peak like we saw in January.”
Philadelphia city health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole
Pennsylvania has so far given individual counties the right to respond to the pandemic in any way they see fit. Philadelphia is becoming the first city to deem the popular measure necessary in order to keep COVID-19 infections at low rates.
The good news is that while face coverings will be a prerequisite for entry, proof of vaccination is still not going to be asked. There is no further information about what other prohibitions may be imposed. For example, Pennsylvania previously barred smoking from its casinos during the first waves of the pandemic, but no mention has been made.
In the meantime, there has been a lot of momentum on the matter of banning smoking from gaming floors, which has been faced with some opposition in the Keystone State and even in New Jersey. The news about the reinstatement of the mask mandate comes only a month after Philadelphia decides to forego masks.
A Tiered Approach to Managing the Crisis
The mask mandate was lifted on March 3 but it seems like it will be returning before long now as infections have been climbing steadily. Pennsylvania has experience managing the crisis and implementing the necessary COVID-19 measures. Meanwhile, New Jersey maintains a no-mask mandate and does not intend to return to that.
Pennsylvania uses a four-tier system that assesses the danger of transmission in the population and acts accordingly to safeguard people against the further spreading of the disease as much as possible without impinging on economic growth.