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Penn's vaccination clinic at Gimbel Gymnasium on April 21, 2021. Credit: Chase Sutton

Philadelphia lifted its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for indoor dining and other establishments that serve food and drinks on Feb. 16.

The mandate went into effect in January and made it mandatory for customers to be vaccinated in order to enter.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said that the mandate has been lifted due to the recent drop in COVID-19 cases, which have fallen by 51% in Philadelphia over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations continue to decline.

“The work those establishments have done has helped to decrease transmission and to increase vaccination rates in the city,” Bettigole said.

The city also unveiled a new tiered response to the pandemic, the Inquirer reported. Each response level has benchmarks for average new cases per day, hospitalizations, percent positivity, and rate of change in cases. 

Currently, the city is at Level 2, the "Mask Precautions Only" level. Level 4 requires proof of vaccination for places that serve food or drinks, as well as masks in indoor public spaces, and Level 3 requires proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 24 hours for places that serve food or drinks, as well as masks indoors.

The Wells Fargo Center also recently removed its requirement for guests to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter.

Philadelphia will keep its indoor mask mandate in place. While Pennsylvania does not have a statewide indoor mask mandate, city officials have said that Philadelphia’s current mandate will likely continue for several months.