Philadelphia lifts vaccine mandate for indoor dining
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health said Wednesday that it would be ending the coronavirus vaccine requirement for indoor food and drink venues, moving to a four-tiered system of determining when stricter mitigation measures would be necessary, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The city will keep indoor mask mandates in place for the time being, reported The Associated Press.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole cited a sharp decline in average daily COVID-19 cases, from 500 last week to 189 this week.
According to Bettigole, Philadelphia’s daily case decline has been steeper than anywhere else in the state, and much elsewhere throughout the nation.
“Our goal has always been to the least restrictive as possible while ensuring safety,” Bettigole said, according to the AP.
The city’s tiered system uses four categories that vary based on case rates, test positivity rates, hospitalization numbers and the increase of COVID-19 cases within the past 10 days, reports the Inquirer.
Philadelphia health officials noted that future variants or surges could lead to the return of restrictions, despite the tiered system, which is in place to give the public an understanding of the benchmarks and why they happen when they do, noted the Inquirer.
Bettigole also announced that the mandates had a positive impact on increasing vaccination rates, and the city will offer $100 over the next six weeks to any resident getting vaccinated for the first time.
Washington, D.C., also announced Monday that it would be ending its indoor dining vaccine requirement, despite its popularity with residents. According to a poll released Tuesday, about 75 percent of D.C. residents supported the indoor dining vaccine requirement.