Update – August 13, 2021: The Philadelphia Board of Health approved a Regulation stating that certain essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and urgent cares will not be allowed to utilize the vaccinated only exception to the mask mandate, and must require masks for all staff and patrons. This change is intended to support parents of children too young to be vaccinated.

Additionally, Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole clarified that the Health Department would not consider quick masked bathroom trips to be a violation of the mask mandate for those establishments taking advantage of the exception for vaccinated-only establishments.


Cities and states throughout the United States have been seeing more and more people be infected with COVID this summer. The dangerous Delta variant has been spreading, leading to the highest numbers of cases and hospitalizations of the entire pandemic in some places. This may be the most dangerous time in some parts of the United States.

While the situation isn’t quite as bad in Philadelphia, case counts are rising and that’s worrisome. The last time we saw the number of new cases going up, the Health Department took action to help slow the spread. Starting August 12, we’re doing that again.

Philadelphia’s mask mandate

While being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect against serious complications from COVID, masks have been proven to reduce the risk that unvaccinated and vaccinated people will be infected with COVID.

Philadelphia’s new mask mandate goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, August 12.

Indoors – businesses and institutions 

In Philadelphia businesses and institutions that require vaccination for all employees and patrons are exempted from having a mask requirement. Masks will be required indoors at all Philadelphia businesses and institutions that do not require vaccination for employees and patrons. That means that for businesses and institutions that do not require everyone who enters to be vaccinated, everyone on site will be required to wear a mask.  

Indoor dining 

Indoor dining will be allowed to continue in restaurants.  In restaurants that require proof of vaccination for everyone (staff and patrons), masks will not need to be worn. If vaccine is not required for everyone that enters a restaurantmasks are to be worn by all patrons and staff the entire time while not seated and eating or drinking 

Non-seated outdoor events

Masks will be required at all non-seated outdoor events in Philadelphia with more than 1,000 attendees.

We know that you’re probably tired of wearing a mask, but more and more people are getting infected with COVID and that’s dangerous – and even deadly.


We’ve said it before: wear your mask to help flatten the curve. It worked before, and it’ll work again.

And to keep us from getting into that situation again: get vaccinated as soon as possible.