Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has relied on local data to guide its efforts to mitigate the crisis. This has included the department’s changing recommendations and mandates about wearing masks to reduce the spread of transmission.

In early April 2022, a worrying rise in case counts and hospitalizations prompted the City to announce a new mask mandate. Philadelphia residents masked up and redoubled their efforts to protect themselves and others. Thanks to them, the Health Department was happy to announce the end of the mask mandate on Friday, April 22, 2022. This decision was based on an assessment of hospitalization data and Philadelphia’s overall risk level.

Masks are still strongly recommended in indoor public settings to help reduce transmission and keep Philadelphia at a low risk level. Masks have been shown to be one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from being infected with COVID-19.

When and where is it “strongly recommended” to mask?

  • Any time you or a family member are going into an environment where the people present are more likely to have health risks, like a nursing home.
  • In a small space with multiple people, like a car pool.
  • In a location with multiple people entering and exiting, like a train, bus, or grocery store.
  • Any time you or your family member are around individuals who are not or cannot be vaccinated, like daycare or preschools.
  • When you or a family member are in an indoor space with many other people that involves physical exertion, like the gym.

Other settings

Even without a City mandate, all residents and visitors are permitted and encouraged to wear a mask in any setting they choose. Businesses and other institutions are allowed to be stricter than the City’s COVID-19 policies, so some businesses may require proof of vaccination or require that everyone wears a mask.

Schools may set their own mask policies, and it is strongly encouraged that students and teachers continue to keep each other safe by wearing a mask. Masks will continue to be required in healthcare settings and congregate settings such as nursing homes and shelters.

“As we’ve learned more about COVID-19 and how it affects us in Philadelphia, the Health Department has adjusted the City’s mandates to be the least restrictive while keeping residents safe,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “That will remain a priority for us. Thank you, Philly, for stepping up once again and responding to this pandemic with solidarity and care for each other.”

For additional guidance about specific public settings, such as schools and congregate locations, see Guidance documents.

For updates on Philadelphia’s current risk level, case counts, and hospitalizations, see Latest news.

If you have questions, please call (215) 685-5488.