Starting Monday January 3, Philadelphia establishments that sell food or drink for consumption onsite will require that everyone who enters has completed their COVID vaccinations. Completing vaccinations means that they have completed the series of any vaccine that has been approved or authorized by either he Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization to prevent COVID-19. At this time it does not mean that you need to have received a booster dose.

Employees and children aged 5 years and 3 months through 11 will be required to have one dose of COVID vaccine by January 3rd and to complete their vaccine series by February 3. 

For the first two weeks of this mandate, these establishments may choose to accept proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entry for people who are not fully vaccinated. This exception will end, and everyone will need to be fully vaccinated, on January 17, 2022. After January 17, negative tests will no longer be allowed to be used to get into food establishments. 

COVID vaccines are one of the best ways to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Paired with the City’s indoor mask mandate, the high rates of vaccination in Philadelphia have kept Philadelphia’s case rate among the lowest in Pennsylvania. 

This mandate applies to the following settings that serve food: 

  • Indoor restaurant spaces 
  • Cafes within larger spaces (like museums) 
  • Bars 
  • Sports venues that serve food or drink for onsite consumption 
  • Movie theaters 
  • Bowling alleys 
  • Other entertainment venues that serve food or drink for onsite consumption 
  • Conventions (if food is being served) 
  • Catering halls 
  • Casinos where food and drink is allowed on the floor 
  • Food court seating areas should be cordoned off and have someone checking vaccine status on entry to the seating area 

This mandate will not be applied in K-12 and early childcare settings, hospitals, congregate care facilities, special population providers that serve food, residential or healthcare facilities, grocery stores, convenience stores, or other establishments that primarily sell food and drink for offsite use, or in Philadelphia International Airport, except in traditional seated restaurant or seated bar style locations. 

People with proof of valid religious or medical exemptions and children under five years and three months are exempt from the mandate. 

At the time this blog is published, people have five weeks to get fully vaccinated and help us all get past this winter wave and closer to a COVID-free Philadelphia.