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Philadelphia’s COVID metrics have dropped enough that the Health Department is moving the city into the All Clear COVID Response Level as of Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
Recently, the Health Department published new COVID Response Levels that use pandemic metrics, like the number of people testing positive every day and how many people are in the hospital with COVID, for example, to help know when the City’s public mandates would be enforced.
What the All Clear COVID-19 Response Level means for Philadelphia
The metrics that we’re following have reached the level where the Health Department feels it is safe to stop enforcing the indoor mask mandate.
However, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is not over. If a new COVID variant were to come to Philadelphia or cases started to rise again, we may need to move to the Mask Precautions Level or higher and start enforcing the public mandates again.
A few things to remember about the All Clear COVID Response Level: even when we’re in All Clear, certain higher-risk settings like schools (including public, private, Archdiocesan, charter, and early childhood education), healthcare settings, and public transit still require people to wear masks.
For schools, we will continue to watch and evaluate the data. If it continues to move in the right direction, we plan to end mandatory masking in schools on March 9. Then, we will have a 1-week mask requirement after spring break to avoid a post-break surge in cases.
City buildings will require masks until Monday, March 7, 2022. Beginning on that date, masks will be optional for visitors and fully vaccinated staff. Unvaccinated staff are still required to wear two masks while indoors and around others.
Businesses and institutions
Businesses and other institutions are allowed to be more strict than the City’s COVID Response Levels, so some businesses may require proof of vaccination or that everyone wears a mask.
Choosing to continue to wear a mask
Finally, some people might still want extra protection against COVID and will wear masks while they’re around others. There’s nothing wrong with this and these people do not deserve harassment. Some may have a family member that is at high-risk, some may be sick and are actually protecting you, and some may just want to be safe. All of those, and more, are valid reasons to keep wearing masks.
The Health Department reminds you that wearing a mask is one of the best ways to keep yourself and others protected. People who are at a higher risk of being exposed, like if they’re in a large crowd indoors, or if they are at a higher risk of severe COVID, like if they have chronic health conditions, should consider still masking.