The following is intended as a plain-language summary of rules during the COVID-19 emergency and does not replace the need to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Philadelphia mask mandate
Philadelphia’s mask mandate went into effect on August 12, 2021 to combat the COVID-19 emergency in Philadelphia.
- Masks will be required indoors at all Philadelphia businesses and institutions.
- Businesses and institutions that require vaccination for all employees and patrons are exempted from having a mask requirement.
- Businesses and institutions that do not require everyone who enters to be vaccinated, must require everyone on site to wear a mask, including staff, except:
- When actively eating and drinking while seated or at a standing table of no more than four people.
- Anyone who is not seated or at a table may not eat and/or drink.
- If any individual is unvaccinated, everyone in the establishment must be masked when the masked, unvaccinated person is present, no matter the reason the person is unvaccinated (i.e. medical or religious exemption).
- Once you’ve decided how you will comply with the mask mandate, create a plan to communicate to patrons and staff in advance to give them time to prepare to enter/frequent your establishment.
- Communication such as signage and announcements will also help patrons understand how to keep themselves safe while visiting your establishment. See Health Department posters on masking and vaccination requirements.
- Display signs about special events/hours (see below: Designating “special” events/hours).
Proof of vaccination
If you require that patrons and staff provide proof of vaccination:
- Determine procedures for checking vaccination status.
- Read more about ways to check for proof of vaccination (PDF).
- 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.
If your establishment will not be vaccination-only:
- Customers and staff must be masked at all times while indoors:
- Except when actively eating and drinking while seated or at a standing table of no more than four people.
- Anyone who is not seated or at a table may not eat or drink.
- Create a plan for how you will ensure masking in your establishment.
- Consider having masks on hand to distribute to customers/patrons who do not have a mask upon entry or whose mask has gotten lost or damaged.
- Create prominent signage to remind customers and staff to remain masked unless actively eating or drinking while seated or at a standing table of no more than four people, if this is applicable to your establishment. See Health Department posters on masking and vaccination requirements.
- Consider utilizing staff to remind customers to properly mask while on site. Train staff to remind patrons in a respectful manner. Read Health Department tips for asking patrons to mask (PDF).
- Businesses and institutions should keep a dated contact list of all unmasked patrons for 14 days to help with contact tracing, if needed.
- 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. To learn more, see What to do if someone tests positive for COVID-19 at work. To report illness, contact the Health Department by calling: 215-685-5488 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Businesses are required to allow employees to isolate or quarantine or to care for family members who need to isolate or quarantine and cannot take an adverse employment action against that employee for doing so. See the City’s anti-retaliation law (PDF).
Designating “special” events/hours
- Read more about general prevention strategies.
- Follow Office guidance and Restaurant and mobile food cart guidance if there are offices or a restaurant(s) within your establishment.
- If you have questions or concerns, contact the Health Department by calling: 215-685-5488 or emailing: email@example.com.
- Mask mandate regulation and other COVID-19 emergency orders
- Calculating isolation and quarantine period (PDF)
- Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone.
- Call (800) 722-7112 to speak to a health care professional on the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline.