Philadelphia health officials just announced that all college students and healthcare workers need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 15. This is on top of their recent announcement to require businesses masks or proof of vaccination from employees and customers in businesses. They also implemented mask mandates for large outdoor events with no seating. The new guidelines were driven largely by the Delta variant and the “struggle” to get people vaccinated.
“All City employees will be required to provide proof that they’ve completed their schedule of COVID-19 vaccinations. New employees hired must be fully vaccinated as a condition of their employment, and Employees who are not fully vaccinated by September 1 will be required to wear two masks (a cloth mask over a disposable or surgical mask) at all times while working on-site,” the announcement reads.
Acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole made the announcement about vaccine mandates for those who do not currently have a medical or religious exemption from getting one. She warned that those who do not get vaccinated must be required to have a PCR or antigen test twice a week. They must also choose between double masking and maintaining social distance or a virtual learning option. It’s really difficult to follow the mandates when vaccinations aren’t even protecting people from getting it or spreading it.
“These regulations are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable through the vaccination of healthcare workers, and they’re aimed at preventing the further spread of COVID-19 through the vaccination of college and university students,” Bettigole said.
Businesses will have to check vaccine cards at the door and could be subject to fines if they do not check a customers’ status. Bettigole said that the city will put out “guidance” on showing workers how to check for someone’s vaccination card, especially since there has been a surge in people paying for fake cards. The mask mandate was announced for “essential businesses,” such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and healthcare facilities.
Included in the new guidelines, children under 12 cannot enter an establishment that requires proof of immunization since the vaccines are not yet authorized for them yet. This means that children cannot go into family restaurants and that they must dine outside. Bettigole said that the mandates will “add additional layers of protection” for Philadelphia residents and that they need that protection as COVID cases “continue to sweep across the country.”
It’s clear that Philadelphia doesn’t care about its small businesses or residents – and they never have. It’s been about a year since Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney apologized for driving to Maryland to eat indoors because his city’s indoor dining ban still remained? He’d been pushing the narrative of ‘unsafe indoor dining’ in his press briefings for weeks.
“I know some are upset that I dined indoors at a restaurant in Maryland yesterday. I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia,” Kenney tweeted Aug 31, 2020.
Conservatives argued that restaurant owners were the “hardest hit” during the pandemic. Even Liberals lashed out and said the mayor was condoning travel from “high threat” to “low threat” areas just to dine out. Not everyone can drive to a city with COVID-19 restrictions of their liking – all while keeping their own city’s restrictions in place. Talk about political privilege.
Kenney apologized for hurting any restaurant owners who’ve been working hard to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances and said he is “looking forward” to reopening indoor dining and visiting his favorite spots soon.
Philadelphia has turned into a space of getting double-masked or fired. They are trying to dictate the lives of Pennsylvanians with more mask mandates and vaccination requirements, even after a year of suppressing and locking down communities. It is not up to the government how people can live and where they should go.
People have already been through enough with Gov. Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Mayor Kenney’s lockdowns and draconian mandates. We already know that those who scream the loudest about masks are always caught maskless (or dining where they can).