Philadelphia casinos are once again requiring employees and guests to wear face masks while indoors. It’s a decision Rivers Casino and Live! Casino and Hotel didn’t make on its own.
The City of Philadelphia is experiencing rising COVID-19 case counts from the delta variant. In response, city officials said yesterday that the indoor face mandate is being reimplemented at most places.
Effective today, face masks are required indoors at businesses and institutions where proof of vaccination for employees and guests is not mandatory. Businesses that mandate workers and patrons show they’ve been vaccinated are exempt from the latest order.
While being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect against serious complications from COVID, masks have been proven to reduce the risk that unvaccinated and vaccinated people will be infected with COVID,” a city statement read. “We’ve said it before: wear your mask to help flatten the curve. It worked before, and it’ll work again.”
Philadelphia is urging all city employees to become vaccinated as soon as possible. If they don’t — effective September 1 — they will be required to wear not one but two face masks while on the job. Nonvaccinated employees will be ordered to wear a cloth mask covering over a disposable or surgical mask.
New weekly COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia have increased substantially since early summer. The city confirmed around 150 new cases each week in June and July. But numbers have skyrocketed to more than 1,000 each week in late July and early August.
Nearby Casinos Immune
Five casinos are considered to be in the Philly metro, the farthest from downtown being the Valley Forge Casino Resort some 20 miles west. Along with Rivers and Live!, the other casinos in the area are Harrah’s Philadelphia and Parx.
Only Live! and Rivers are located within the city limits, and therefore subject to city orders. And during the pandemic, that put Rivers at a competitive disadvantage with its Philly peers.
Last year, Rivers — then the only casino in Philly’s city limits, as Live! Philadelphia opened in January of 2021 — was ordered to close, while its neighboring competitors were not.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) ordered the state’s commercial casinos to suspend operations in mid-March of 2020. They began reopening on a regional approach in June. But Rivers remained closed on city orders until July 17.
Last November, Philadelphia ordered Rivers to close from November 20 through January 15 because of a COVID-19 spike. The state’s other commercial casinos were only closed on Wolf’s commands from December 12 through January 4.
Some city residents are none too glad to hear face masks are once again required in most indoor places throughout downtown.
A few attitudes on the City of Philadelphia’s Twitter post announcing the mask reimplementation include, “Lol funny. Not wearing a mask,” “Completely ridiculous,” and “118 hospitalized out of 1.8 million residents.”
It gets me that I live 3 miles from Bucks County and it’s a different reality there. They have not had restrictions since July 2020. So, one reality in Philly and another reality in Bucks THREE MILES AWAY. That is madness.
— TheAdlerian (@TheAdlerian) August 12, 2021
Others, however, cheered the directive.
“This is a fair and reasonable request to make of common-sense Philadelphians. Nobody likes this but it’s what we must do to beat the COVID crisis which is still causing a lot of harm,” opined resident Edith Horwitz.
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