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28 Dec

December 2021: City of Philadelphia Announces Food Establishment Vaccine Mandate

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Update Applicable to:
All employers of food establishments in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What happened?
On December 13, 2021, the Philadelphia Department of Health announced a vaccine mandate for patrons and staff of all establishments that sell food or drink for on-site consumption within Philadelphia city limits.

What are the details?
Starting on January 3, 2022, any establishment in Philadelphia that sells food and/or drink for consumption on-site may admit only those patrons who have completed their vaccine series against COVID-19.

For the first two weeks of this mandate, January 3 through 17, establishments may choose to accept proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entry in lieu of proof of vaccination. After January 17, negative COVID-19 tests can no longer be accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination.

Staff and children aged five years and three months through 11 will be required to have had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by January 3 and to complete their vaccine series by February 3.

Anyone exempt persons will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entry into an establishment that seats 1,000 or more people. This requirement does not apply to children under age two who cannot be tested easily for COVID-19.

This vaccine mandate applies to places like:

  • Indoor restaurant spaces
  • Cafes within larger areas (e.g., museum cafes)
  • Bars
  • Sports venues that serve food or drink for on-site consumption
  • Movie theaters
  • Bowling alleys
  • Other entertainment venues that serve food or drink for on-site consumption
  • Conventions (if food is being served)
  • Catering halls
  • Casinos where food and drink are allowed on the floor
  • Food court seating areas should be cordoned off and have someone checking vaccine status on entry to the seating area

This vaccine mandate does not apply in places like:

  • K-12 and early childcare settings
  • Hospitals
  • Congregate care facilities or other residential or healthcare facilities
  • Outdoor restaurant spaces
  • Grocery stores, except in seated dining areas within those stores, convenience stores, or other establishments that primarily sell food and other articles for offsite use
  • Philadelphia International Airport, except in traditional seated restaurant or seated bar-style locations
  • Soup kitchens or other sites serving vulnerable populations (e.g., Hub of Hope)
  • This mandate excludes masked individuals who are entering an indoor establishment for a short duration or transitory purpose (e.g., less than 15 minutes, picking up food, using the bathroom)

For more information, please see the links below:

City of Philadelphia Vaccine Mandate Announcement

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and prepare to update vaccination policies for employees and patrons of their establishment once the mandate goes into effect on January 3, 2022.