Philadelphia officials discussing citywide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for indoor dining: Sources

About 30% of restaurant operators have already implemented their own vaccine mandates, and are for the blanketed approach.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A vaccine mandate might go into effect for indoor dining establishments in Philadelphia by the end of the month, sources inside City Hall confirmed to Action News.

A city spokesperson did not confirm or deny the discussions are taking place and released the following statement:

"The City continues to consider strategies to address rising cases and hospitalizations. We ask the public to continue following the Department of Public Health's COVID-19 guidance: getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a mask (and double-masking in crowded and indoor settings), getting tested, and staying home if you're sick."

Ben Fileccia, with The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, said he began getting calls this week from restaurant owners who are for and against it.

"A lot of restaurant operators said if they lose any revenue right now, hotels in the city are struggling because of lack of conventions and tourism, so any blip could hurt," said Fileccia.

He added that 30% of operators have already implemented their own vaccine mandates and are for the blanketed approach.

"It's tough to be the only guy on the block who is requiring proof of vaccine when other places aren't," he said.

Currently in the city, if a business requires everyone who enters to be vaccinated, masks are not required. But if owners are not checking everyone, then masks are required unless a customer is actively eating or drinking.

As of right now, Philadelphia has a vaccination rate of 75.8%. Only Delaware County has a higher rate compared to the rest of the nearby Pennsylvania counties.

Some other major cities have implemented similar measures, or are currently mulling them over.

Peter Hunter, who visited Philadelphia on Friday from Morristown, New Jersey, said he just visited New York City which has stricter vaccine mandate measures in place.

"We went to a play and the required vaccinations and masks for everyone in the show and outside. Everyone took it very well," said Hunter.

So far, restaurants are the only establishments being discussed to require the city-wide mandate. Sources say they are hearing it could happen as soon as December 20.
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