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Office guidance

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 anyone in the office is unvaccinated, everyone in the office 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 staff provide proof of vaccination:

  • Determine whether you will check vaccination status upon entry to your office space or in advance of entry, i.e., online prior to entry.
  • If checking upon entry, 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.
  • A single person in an office with floor to ceiling barriers and a door may unmask when alone in the office, not sharing office space, and not taking in-person meetings.


If your establishment will not be vaccination-only:

  • Employees and visitors 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 office space.
  • Consider having masks on hand to distribute to employees who do not have a mask upon entry or whose mask has gotten lost or damaged.
  • Create prominent signage to remind employees 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 organization. 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:
  • 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

See also

  • 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.