Many prepare for holiday gatherings, celebrations this weekend

Philadelphia's mask mandate will be reinstated Monday but is not required this weekend.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- This year Easter, Passover, and Ramadan all coincide with each other this weekend. This is also the first year that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and services, masses, and Seder are for the most part, held in person.

Many churches still have virtual options, and masks are also optional.

Philadelphia's indoor mask mandate will be reinstated Monday but is not required this weekend.

Worshippers at The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul attended mass in person, without restrictions and masks on Good Friday.

Joanne Acker of Delran arrived with her daughters.

"I do think it makes a difference. We do like going to mass in person. We're happy to be back," said Acker.

For Muslims observing Ramadan, the past two years have also been difficult to observe the holy month. That includes fasting and group prayer.

State Senator Sharif Street, a practicing Muslim, said many were concerned about fasting and becoming immunocompromised.

"When you're not eating all day, that could compromise your immune system. A lot of people were not comfortable abstaining from eating," said Street. "A lot of Muslims that say if you believe that you can't eat then you're supposed to feed someone for the day."

That belief sparked Street to begin a Ramadan food drive for the holy month.

Inside Schleisenger's Deli on Locust Street, people of the Jewish faith were picking up their meals for the Passover holiday's first seder, which begins Friday at sundown.

Melanie Highbloom of Center City said this is the first time in years her entire family can be together.

"I'm so excited to be able to have Seder with my family in person. We all get together with my cousins. Last year was so small we kept it limited just to immediate family."

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