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Philadelphia re-impositions mask wearing rules in indoor public spaces

A sign asking to wear a mask to prevent COVID-19 is posted on the window of a store in Philadelphia on February 16. (Photo: AP)

Regulatory re-imposition Masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces in Philadelphia came after the city reported the number of cases COVID-19 just increased sharply. The city’s health officials say they want to prevent a potential new wave of outbreaks caused by a subtype of Omicron variant cause.

Health inspectors in Philadelphia require that masks begin to be enforced at city businesses starting April 18.

Health Commissioner Dr Cheryl Bettigole said the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased by more than 50% in the past 10 days, the threshold at which city guidelines call for people to wear masks in public places. Indoor public areas. Philadelphia health officials believe that the recent spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases is driven by the highly contagious BA.2 subvariable of Omicron, which has spread rapidly across Europe. Europe and Asia and became the dominant variant in the US in recent weeks.

Mrs. Bettigole said: “If we don’t act now, knowing that every previous wave of infections will lead to a wave of hospitalizations and then a wave of deaths, it will be too late for our residents. This is our chance to get through the pandemic, wear a mask until more information is available on the severity of this new variant.“.

Philadelphia re-imposes the requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces - Photo 1.

Most states and cities in the US lifted the requirement to wear a mask in February and early March under new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country shifted focus from number of cases to hospital capacity. The US CDC said at the time that most Americans can safely remove their masks.

Philadelphia lifted the mandatory mask requirement on March 2, and Ms. Bettigole admitted: “It’s great to feel normal again. I really wish we didn’t have to do this again. But I am very worried about my vulnerable neighbors and loved ones“.

The city of Philadelphia reported more than 140 new cases per day, a fraction of the peak of the outbreak due to the Omicron variant. Meanwhile, the number of hospital admissions remains low with only 46 patients. About 750 Philadelphia residents died during the Omicron surge this past winter, Bettigole said.

The restaurant industry has protested the re-imposition of mask-wearing: “The announcement is a blow to the thousands of small businesses and other operators in the city, who hope this spring will be the beginning of a recovery.“, said Ben Fileccia, Senior Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association.

According to Ms. Bettigole, wearing masks will help restaurants and businesses stay open, otherwise the new wave of COVID-19 will keep customers indoors.

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