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The City of Philadelphia's COVID-19 vaccination mandate will be updated on January 3, 2022. Photo: Lindsey Nicholson/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
The City of Philadelphia's COVID-19 vaccination mandate will be updated on January 3, 2022. Photo: Lindsey Nicholson/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Philly to soon require vaccination for eating and drinking inside bars and restaurants

The new requirement will apply to anyone working or eating within establishments where food and drink are sold.

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May 17th, 2022

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From Jan. 3, 2022 onward, any establishment serving food and/or drink in Philadelphia may require proof of a complete COVID-19 vaccine series before entry.

Between Jan. 3 and Jan. 17, establishments have the option to accept a negative COVID-19 test — dated 24 hours or less prior to entry — in the absence of a vaccination record.

Post-Jan. 17, negative tests will not be accepted. Staff and children three months to 11 years of age, are required to have received at least one dose of the vaccine by Feb. 3.

The new requirement applies to establishments such as: 

  • Indoor restaurant spaces
  • Bars
  • Movie theaters
  • Bowling alleys
  • Catering halls
  • Food courts
  • Cafes with larger spaces
  • Sports venues and other entertainment venues serving food and drink for onsite consumption
  • Conventions and casinos where food or drink are being served

 

Locations not affected by the mandate include: 

  • Outdoor restaurant spaces
  • Hospitals
  • K-12 and early childcare settings
  • Sites serving vulnerable populations such as Soup Kitchens
  • Grocery stores, convenience stores, and other venues primarily serving food for offsite consumption
  • Philadelphia International Airport, except for seated restaurant or bar locations
  • Congregate care facilities and other residential healthcare facilities

The new mandate does not apply to individuals entering indoor establishments for a short duration — of about 15 minutes or less — for transitory purposes. This may include picking up food or using a restroom.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney mentioned that if a resident is not currently vaccinated, then that individual can be covered by the time the new policy goes into effect if they start their vaccine series this week.

“The most dangerous situation in the pandemic at this point is when someone is unmasked and around people from other households, eating or drinking indoors,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. 

Some exemptions to the new policy include children under five years and three months and people with signed medical exemptions from a licensed practitioner.

For those seeking exemption through religious beliefs, an individual must attest in writing that they have held sincere religious beliefs preventing them from vaccination.

For these exempt parties, proof of a negative COVID-19 test — from 24 hours or less prior — is required if entering an establishment seating 1,000 or more people.

Children under age two are exempt entirely from these requirements as infants are more difficult to test for COVID-19. 

If you wish to report an establishment not adhering to these new mandates and policies, you may call 311.

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