PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia is updating mask guidelines, no longer requiring them outside starting this Friday, but you’ll still need to wear them indoors — at least for a few more weeks.
Federal and state health officials say masks aren’t necessary for vaccinated Americans, but Philadelphia officials say there aren’t enough in the city yet so masks will be required inside for a few more weeks.READ MORE: Police: 2 Teens In Car Shot At Red Light In Philadelphia's Olney Neighborhood
Philadelphia will drop its outside mask mandate on Friday. That includes at restaurants and sporting events, except if you’re not vaccinated.
“We’re not out of the woods,” Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said, “but we’ve seen clear improvement over the last few months as more and more Philadelphians receive their vaccines. For outdoor, starting on Friday, masks will no longer be required. We’ll continue to very strongly recommend that anybody who has not been vaccinated, meaning they’re not two weeks post their last vaccine, continue to mask to protect themselves, but we will no longer require outdoor masking.”
In her first press briefing as acting health commissioner, Bettigole said the city’s indoor mask mandate would stay in place until at least June 11.
“We will review case counts, COVID test positivity rates, hospitalizations, and vaccine coverage rates to see if it is safe to further loosen our mask guidance,” Bettigole said.
On June 11, the city is scheduled to eliminate all capacity limits as long as numbers continue to go in the right direction. The inside mask requirement will also be dropped.READ MORE: 14 Arrested On More Than 120 Charges Related To NorthPak Gang Violence In Wilmington
“We can now be comfortable that people fully vaccinated are not only protected from getting sick with COVID, they’re also protected from passing it to others,” Bettigole said.
Bettigole says she’s concerned about low vaccination rates among younger minority residents, which is why the health department will wait a few more weeks to decide on indoor masks.
“It’s an enforcement nightmare to know who’s vaccinated and who isn’t,” Bettigole said.
Bettigole also addressed the sudden resignation of Dr. Thomas Farley, who’s embroiled with the mishandling of MOVE bombing victims’ remains.
“Dr. Farley, undoubtedly, saved thousands of lives here in Philadelphia,” Bettigole said. “Fortunately, we have tremendous people in the health department who are working on this response.”MORE NEWS: Wawa, 2SP Brewing Company Team Up For Sunfest Strawberry Lemonade Shandy Beer
Pennsylvania will lift its remaining COVID restrictions for Memorial Day Weekend, but the city will wait an extra two weeks. The only thing moved up is masks can come off outside on Friday.