The city of Philadelphia announced this week that it will require all unvaccinated city employees to double-mask at all times on the job as a method of “protecting the city” from the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The city will require its employees to receive a COVID vaccination by September 1, and those who are not vaccinated at that time will have to wear a cloth mask over a disposable or surgical mask while working on-site, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, all incoming city employees must show proof of vaccination as a condition of their employment.
A press release from the city health department said residents have a “25-fold reduction” of their “risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID” if they are inoculated.
Earlier this year, the CDC released results of a lab experiment using simulated breaths that found that wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask decreased exposure to aerosols by roughly 95 percent.
The city announced the double-mask mandate on the same day that Mayor Jim Kenney implemented a mask mandate for patrons at indoor businesses and restaurants that do not require proof of vaccination.
“The science is clear: these measures will protect Philadelphians and save lives,” Kenney wrote in a tweet. “We also strongly urge everyone who has not yet received the vaccine to get it immediately.”
On Friday, the city, where 60 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, recorded 336 new cases of COVID-19.