Multiple businesses and residents filed a lawsuit in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court which seeks to overturn Philadelphia’s reinstated indoor mask mandate.
The mandate, which was announced last week and went into effect on April 18, made Philadelphia the first major city to reinstate its indoor mask mandate following an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
The suit claims that the city lacks the authority to impose a mask mandate.
Attorney Thomas King told WHYY that the city’s mandate “imposed a renegade standard unfound anywhere else in the world.”
King was also involved in last year’s challenge to the school mask mandate set by the state. The Commonwealth Court eventually overturned the mandate, claiming that the Health Secretary did not have the authority to issue the mandate in the first place.
Philadelphia initially lifted its mandate in early March, citing decreasing COVID-19 cases.
At the time, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted that just because the city has dropped its mandate, it doesn’t mean that health officials will not reintroduce a mask mandate in the future if needed. Penn soon after dropped its mandate as well on March 15 but maintained its classroom masking requirement.
"Once masks come off, they might have to come back on again," Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé told the DP on March 3.
Philadelphia’s reinstated mask mandate comes as Penn reinstates its indoor mask mandate. With a total of 385 community members testing positive for COVID-19 from April 3 to April 9 — an increase of over 100 from the week before — Penn similarly cited an increase in cases as a reason to reintroduce its mask mandate.