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Businesses, organizations, and restaurants

The following is intended as a plain language summary of rules regarding the COVID-19 emergency and does not replace the need to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Current recommendations

  • The Health Department strongly recommends masking in indoor public settings to help keep risk levels lower in Philadelphia.
  • There are no current COVID-specific restrictions for businesses, organizations, and restaurants (including catering, food courts, entertainment, cultural, recreation, and hospitality venues). However, these establishments may choose to require proof of vaccination or masking for all employees and patrons.

Guidance for COVID-19 mitigation and prevention options

If you choose to require masks in your establishment:

  • Create a plan for how you will ensure masking.
    • Consider having masks on hand to distribute to customers/patrons.
    • Consider utilizing staff to remind customers/patrons to properly mask while on site. Train staff to remind patrons in a respectful manner.

If you choose to be a vaccination-only establishment:

  • Create a plan for how you will check for vaccination.
    • Determine whether you will check vaccination status upon entry to your establishment or in advance of entry (i.e., online prior to visit upon reservation), or, if applicable, after invitation responses are received or when a ticket is sold.
    • Ensure that staff and customers are asked about vaccination in a respectful manner and consistent with applicable privacy laws and standards. Businesses and institutions must obey all applicable local, state, tribal, and territorial laws, regulations, and rules as they consider whether to confirm COVID-19 vaccination status.
    • Asking about vaccination status is not a violation of HIPAA, which ensures a patient’s health information is properly protected. Read more guidance from the CDC about HIPAA. If you have questions about privacy laws that could potentially be applicable to vaccination verification activities, consult with legal counsel prior to taking such actions.
    • You can choose to allow unvaccinated customers/patrons including children to briefly (under 15 minutes) enter an establishment to use the restroom or pick up take-out orders. They should remain masked at all times while indoors.

If staff or customers/patrons were exposed to someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19:

  • To prevent possible spread to co-workers, loved ones, and those in their community who are vulnerable, staff and attendees should get tested for COVID-19 after exposure.
    • While waiting for results, they should stay away from those who are at high risk of getting severe disease and the elderly.
    • If they test positive, they must isolate. Read more about testing and isolation.
    • If symptoms develop, they should seek testing immediately and isolate until they receive their test results.
    • They are required to wear a high-quality mask if they must be around others at home and in public.


  • Communicate to patrons and staff in advance if your establishment will be vaccination-only or masked at all times. This will give them time to prepare to enter/frequent/work at your establishment/venue.
  • You can find signs and posters on the Health Department website to help patrons/guests stay informed.
  • If an employee develops a COVID-19 infection or has a positive test, businesses and other organizations must take additional precautions to stop the virus from spreading further. See What to do if someone tests positive for COVID-19 at work.
  • Businesses are required to allow employees to isolate, mask for 10 days if exposed, or care for family members who need to isolate and cannot take an adverse employment action against that employee for doing so. Learn more about the City’s employee protection resources.
  • Promote vaccination. Getting vaccinated protects against severe illness and is the best way to protect yourself, your family, your loved ones, and your community. Find out more about getting vaccinated in Philadelphia.

If you have questions or concerns, contact the Health Department by calling (215) 685-5488 or emailing

Related content

  • Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone.
  • If you have questions, call the Department of Public Health at (215) 685-5488.