After a two-month reprieve, visitors to Philadelphia’s two casinos are required to wear masks once more.
The city imposed a new mask mandate on indoor businesses that took effect Thursday morning, a day after officials announced it was again necessary due to another sharp rise in COVID-19 cases — largely attributable to the delta variant of the illness. A prior mask mandate was lifted June 11.
The order applies to Rivers Casino Philadelphia and Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, among other businesses. Guests will be required to wear masks except when eating or drinking.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Philadelphia has often imposed tougher and longer restrictions to address the scourge than what the state has required. No mask mandates are currently in effect at the state’s 13 other casinos, which have generally removed the plexiglass dividers, social distancing signs, and other special protective features that were part of their reopenings after COVID-connected shutdowns last year.
“We know we need to take stronger steps to protect our residents,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said Wednesday, as the number of new cases being reported there daily in August has swelled compared to June and July.
Businesses do not have to require masks if customers are checked for proof that they have been vaccinated, but that would be a tall task for casinos, in addition to costing them business. About 63% of Philadelphia’s adults have been fully vaccinated.