Philadelphia to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining
Philadelphia will soon require proof of coronavirus vaccination to enter restaurants, bars and a number of other venues, the city announced Monday.
The mandate will go into effect Jan. 3 and require customers and employees to show proof they’ve received two shots of Pfizer of Moderna’s vaccine or one shot of Johnson and Johnson. The city will give people an option to use a negative COVID-19 test from the past 24 hours for the first two weeks of the mandate, but that exemption will end Jan. 17.
Children under the age of 5, who are currently ineligible for vaccines, as well as people with medical and religious exemptions will be permitted to dine indoors if they are carrying a negative test when entering a venue that is hosting over 1,000 people, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
City officials also said children ages 5 to 11, who more recently became eligible for vaccines, will only need to show proof of one shot by Jan. 3, but would need to complete the vaccination series by Feb. 3.
In addition to bars and restaurants, the mandate applies to other places where food or drink are being served including sports venues, movie theaters, bowling alleys, catering halls, casinos and food courts.
The mandate will not apply to essential places such as schools, daycares, hospitals, grocery stores, soup kitchens, convenience stores or other places that serve vulnerable populations.
“With winter just around the corner we must do more to protect our residents,” Mayor Jim Kenney (D) said, while also putting out the announcement on his twitter account.
Today, @PHLPublicHealth announced that beginning January 3, any establishment in Philadelphia that sells food or drink for consumption onsite may admit only those patrons who have completed their vaccinations against COVID-19.
— Jim #VaxUpPhilly Kenney (@PhillyMayor) December 13, 2021
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole at a press conference Monday blamed the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the city to a post-Thanksgiving surge and chillier weather driving people indoors. The city’s COVID-19 rate has doubled in the last two weeks and hospitalizations have also surged over 50 percent, notes the Inquirer.
This vaccine mandate puts Philadelphia in line with other cities across the country, such as New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, all of which requite people to be vaccinated to enter indoor, recreational spaces.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data via The New York Times, 72 percent of Philadelphians over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated.
In August, Philadelphia mandated that all hospital workers be vaccinated, and now virtually all hospital workers in the city are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.