Philadelphia-area residents adjust to life without mask mandates; vaccine incentives continue

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For many, mornings can be a bit of a grind. But for staff at Ocean City Coffee Company in Media, it's not so much as an expression as it is a way of life.

Immediately you notice they aren't just serving up the java but smiles, too.

Something the fully vaccinated have been able to enjoy and share since Pennsylvania adopted CDC guidelines that allow the inoculated to ditch the masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.

The statewide mask mandate is set to expire on June 28, and it comes as a relief for some.

"I like not wearing it because it fogs up my glasses," said Mike Castellano of Media. "It's just more enjoyable now, like I feel like things are more normal now."

But not all are ready to go mask-free.

"You know it sort of became second nature. It's just sort of like one of those things, I got my wallet, my keys and my mask," said Gabe Schendler.

In Philadelphia, which saw its first weekend of mask-free fun in more than a year, businesses were bustling on Monday.

"Night and day, being on the street here just watching the resilience of this city just to battle through this," said Jeff Bergman, owner of Big A** Slices and Big Red Pedal Tours in Old City.

The companies survived through mandates and shutdowns where others didn't.

"It's like you shifted a 10-speed bike into first gear, we're just peddling easier to get going now," Bergman said.

Health officials are trying to get that momentum moving forward through vaccine incentives, like the "Philly Vax Sweepstakes," where 36 Philadelphians will win cash prizes of up to $50,000.

This week, this city will also look to give away 1,000 Phillies tickets to encourage more vaccinations at clinics, including those getting their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Pa. Convention Center on Tuesday.

The first 500 people to be vaccinated with either a first or second dose of any vaccine at the following clinics will receive two tickets:

- Tuesday, June 15, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, - Second dose of Pfizer only.
- Wednesday, June 16, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Lonnie Young Recreation Center, 1100 E. Chelten Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19138.
- Friday, June 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., University of the Sciences, Athletic/Recreation Center ARC, 730 S 43rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
- Saturday, June 19, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Esperanza, 4261 N. 5th St., Philadelphia, PA 19140.

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