What's the mask policy in the Philadelphia region? Depends on where you are

Masking policies have shifted as waves of COVID-19 come and go.
ARDMORE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It's been 19 months since the pandemic hit, with 19 months of lockdowns, social distancing and, of course, masks.

The policy for those masks, however, depends on where you are in the Philadelphia region.

"I think it's appropriate just to keep everybody safe," said Aaliyah Michelle of West Philadelphia. "We just don't know what the state of anything is during these times."

"Some bars don't really care if you have masks so it's really business to business, but I definitely feel like people are following the instructions," said Matt Lingerman of Francisville.

In Pennsylvania, masks are required on public transportation and in school settings. However, there is no longer a statewide requirement to mask up, with officials leaving it to businesses to decide.

"I like that it's up to each business," said Alain Constantino, assistant manager of Mapes Hardware. "It makes it less intrusive. I feel that everyone can make their own decision on how to best run things and a lot of people have different feelings about it in the first place."

And in Philadelphia, masks are required at all outdoor unseated gatherings of more than 1,000 people. Masks are also required at all indoor businesses that don't require vaccination for employees and patrons.

"The biggest issue is that we have one option: we have to either require masks or require vaccination," said Bob Polizzano, owner of Retro Fitness in Spring Garden. "There's no hybrid, and the biggest issue for us is you go to the suburbs and life is normal, relatively speaking."

The gym now requires all members to be fully vaccinated, allowing everyone to ditch the mask.

"People were quitting the gym because they were required to wear a mask here and then now, people are leaving because we're requiring the vaccination cards," said Polizzano. "So we're having issues and losing revenue simply because we have to cut out a segment of the population no matter what."

In both New Jersey and Delaware, masks are only required in high-risk areas like schools, public transportation and healthcare settings. Each business can make its own requirements, just like Pennsylvania.

"I feel like I kind of have to trust everyone that they're vaccinated if they're not wearing a mask and that's not always the case," said Penny Cohen of Bala Cynwyd. "I think if it's crowded and no one is wearing a mask, it's a little uncomfortable."
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