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Legal Update Article

Philadelphia Announces January 2022 Vaccination Mandate for Indoor Venues

The City of Philadelphia announced that starting January 3, 2022, it will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for admission to indoor restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues serving food or drinks. The mandate does not apply to masked individuals entering an establishment for less than 15 minutes to pick up food or use the restroom.

For the first two weeks of the mandate (January 3-17), establishments may accept proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entry, but after January 17, negative tests can no longer be accepted. Employees of these establishments and children age five years and three months through 11 have slightly more time to become fully vaccinated – they must get one dose of the vaccine by January 3 and complete their vaccine series by February 3.

The mandate will not apply to children under five years and three months, people with signed medical exemptions from a licensed practitioner, or people with religious exemptions who have attested in writing that they have a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated. Those with exemptions, except children under age two, will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entry into any establishment that seats 1,000 or more people.

The vaccine mandate applies to the following Philadelphia establishments:

  • Indoor restaurants
  • Bars
  • Cafes within larger venues, such as museums
  • Movie theaters
  • Bowling alleys
  • Sports venues serving food and drink for onsite consumption
  • Casinos serving food and drink for onsite consumption
  • Conventions serving food and drink for onsite consumption
  • Other entertainment venues serving food or drinks for onsite consumption

The vaccine mandate does not apply to the following Philadelphia establishments:

  • Outdoor restaurant spaces
  • Grocery and convenience stores (except in seated dining areas within stores)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (except in seated restaurants or bars)
  • Soup kitchens or sites serving vulnerable populations
  • K-12 and early childcare settings
  • Hospitals
  • Congregate care facilities or other residential or healthcare facilities

Establishments that fail to comply with this vaccine mandate or the indoor mask mandate can be reported to Philly311’s non-emergency contact center.

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