Masks not required everywhere as Philadelphia and Delaware ease -- or eliminate in the case of the First State -- COVID-19 restrictions Friday.
With daily coronavirus cases dropping and more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Delaware is eliminating its mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in most scenarios. Businesses, as of Friday, can open at full capacity.
Philadelphia is tossing masks outdoors (unvaccinated people are urged to keep wearing masks in crowded situations) but keeping masking mandates indoors as the city eases restrictions on stores, museums, libraries, offices, theaters, casinos, gyms, outdoor weddings and more.
Here are the new rules for individuals and businesses as of Friday, May 21.
More People Allowed Indoors in Philadelphia, Masks Go Away Outdoors
- No density limits will be in place for retail stores, offices, museums, bowling alleys and libraries. Masks must still be worn unless someone is alone in an office.
- Theaters and other gatherings with fixed seating both indoors and outdoors (this includes stadiums) will be capped at 50% capacity with a minimum of 3 feet of space, rather than 6 feet. Masks must still be worn. This is timed perfectly for the Sixers' start to the playoffs.
- Outdoor venues with no seating can have 33 people per 1,000 square feet and 3 feet of distance must be followed.
- No maximum number of people for outdoor catered events, but the events are capped at 50%.
- Gyms and indoor pools can operate at 75% capacity or 15 people per 1,000 square feet. Exercise classes are capped at 25 people.
- Outdoor pools have no limits.
- Indoor dining capacity in Philadelphia restaurants remains at the current level of 50% for all eateries and 75% for those businesses that meet "enhanced ventilation standards." Seat backs can, however, be within 3 feet to allow for more customers.
- Alcohol can be purchased and consumed without food.
- Casinos face the same 50%, 75% limits that restaurants do. Groups must be 3 feet apart and alcohol can be served at gaming machines.
- Indoor catered events — which the city has dubbed the "riskiest" — won't budge from the 25% occupancy with a cap of 150 persons, including staff, if there is dancing and alcohol being served. Up to 250 people will be allowed as long as there is no music, dancing or alcohol.
- Outdoor masking is gone as of Friday, but the mandate will remain indoors until June 11.
- The Philadelphia Phillies won't require fans to be masked while outdoors in the ballpark, but fans must still wear masks when in the restrooms, elevators, the Diamond Club and other indoor areas of the ballpark.
Philadelphia will lift all "Safer at Home" COVID capacity restrictions on June 11 if coronavirus cases and other metrics continue to dip.
Delaware Ditches Capacity Restrictions, Mask Wearing for Vaccinated People
- As of 8 a.m. Friday, all social distancing requirements in Delaware are eliminated, the state said.
Delaware Gov. John Carney said that the Delaware is falling in line with new national guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on mask wearing for fully vaccinated people.
- Anyone who is fully vaccinated can drop the mask indoors and outside, with exceptions.
- Masks must still be worn in these circumstances: Congregate settings, health care facilities, planes, public transit, schools and state buildings.
- People not two weeks out from a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and children over the age of 2 who aren't eligible for vaccines still need to wear masks in public settings.
"For our neighbors who aren’t vaccinated, the message is clear. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection we have against the virus. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you and those you love," Carney said in a news release.
Businesses can still impose their own masking rules.