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Philly Brings Back Masks as Most Americans Say COVID Crisis Has Passed

phila.gov
• April 12, 2022 12:25 pm

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Philadelphia became the first major city in the country to reinstate its indoor mask mandate even as fewer than 1 in 10 Americans describe COVID-19 as "a serious crisis."

Philadelphia health commissioner Cheryl Bettigole announced Monday that, as of April 18, anyone who enters a building must be masked. The city made the decision based on "daily case counts and hospitalizations ticking above its own self-imposed benchmarks," NBC 10 reported.

The city's benchmarks differ from those given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that COVID-19 spread is low in Philadelphia and does not recommend wearing masks in the city.

Philadelphia's decision comes as an Axios-Ipsos poll published Tuesday found only 9 percent of Americans say COVID-19 is still "a serious crisis" in the United States.

Almost twice as many Americans said that the coronavirus is "no problem at all" than said it is "a serious crisis," Axios noted. A large majority—73 percent of Americans, including 66 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats—say it is "a problem, but manageable."

Philadelphia businesses blasted the health department's order.

"This announcement is a major blow to thousands of small businesses and other operators in the city who were hoping this spring would be the start of recovery," said Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association senior director Ben Fileccia.

Business leaders aren't the only people to disagree with the mandate.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Policy Lab said Friday that hospitalizations have stayed low and that "our team advises against required masking given that hospital capacity is good."