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Philadelphia businesses sue to stop new mask mandate

April 17, 2022

According to the Associated Press, several Pennsylvania companies have filed a lawsuit in state court to overturn the mask mandate renewal set to take place in Philadelphia on Monday.

The lawsuit says the city does not have the power to impose a new mandate. Philadelphia became the first major city this week to reinstate its mandate after seeing a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.

The attorney, Thomas W. King III, was involved in a successful challenge to the state’s mask mandate in schools last year. He said Philadelphia’s emergency order went against CDC recommendations and “imposed a renegade standard not found anywhere else in the world,” the AP reported.

The lawsuit also says city officials “usurped power and authority” from state legislators and state health officials.

The mayor’s office declined to comment on the case, but noted that a court on Thursday dismissed another lawsuit that sought a preliminary injunction against the mask mandate.

“The courts have once again confirmed that the city has both the legal authority and the flexibility to enact the precautionary measures necessary to control the spread of COVID-19,” Kevin Lessard, told the AP. director of communications for the mayor’s office.

Most cities and states dropped their mask requirements in February and early March as coronavirus cases declined and the CDC shifted the focus from case counts to hospital capacity counts to determine the mitigation protocols.

Philadelphia ended its indoor mask tenure on March 2. On Monday, however, city health officials cited a more than 50% increase in COVID-19 cases in 10 days, which exceeded the city’s threshold for reinstating a mask requirement.

The restaurant industry has pushed back against the city’s new mandate, the AP reported, saying workers will face anger from customers over the new rules.

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