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, institutions, and event venues.
- Businesses, institutions, and event venues that require vaccination for all employees and patrons are exempted from having a mask requirement.
- Businesses, institutions, and event venues that do not require everyone who enters to be vaccinated, must require everyone on site to wear a mask except only:
- 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 institution 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 congregants/attendees and staff in advance to give them time to prepare to enter/frequent your establishment.
- Communication such as signage and announcements will also help congregants/attendees 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 congregants/attendees and staff provide proof of vaccination:
- Determine whether you will check vaccination status upon entry to your institution. Read more about ways to check for proof of vaccination (PDF).
- Ensure that congregants/attendees and staff 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:
- Congregants/attendees 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 institution.
- Consider having masks on hand to distribute to congregants/attendees who do not have a mask upon entry or whose mask has gotten lost or damaged.
- Create prominent signage to remind congregants/attendees 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 institution. See Health Department posters on masking and vaccination requirements.
- Display signs about special events/hours (see “Designating “Special” Events/Hours” below.)
- Consider utilizing staff to remind congregants/attendees to properly mask while on site. Train staff to remind congregants/attendees 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
- If your business/institution/event space does not require congregants/attendees/staff to be vaccinated, you may choose to host a vaccinated-only event, or determine specific hours when your institution is open to vaccinated congregants/attendees only. The designated hours of operation should be distinct so there is never a question as to whether someone who is unmasked is vaccinated or not. Staff for these designated events/hours must also be vaccinated.
- Alternatively, if your your business/institution/event space is open to vaccinated congregants/attendees only, you may choose to host an all-masked event, or all-masked-only hours where congregants/attendees who are unvaccinated can enter the establishment. Everyone, including staff, must be masked regardless of vaccination status.
- 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.
- 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.