April 17, 2022
Several businesses in Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit in state court to overturn the renewed mask mandate scheduled to take place in Philadelphia on Monday, according to The Associated Press.
The suit says the city lacks the authority to impose a new mandate. Philadelphia became the first major city this week to reinstate its mandate after noting a sharp increase 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 goes against CDC recommendations and “imposed a renegade standard unfound anywhere else in the world,” the AP reported.
The lawsuit also says city officials “usurped the power and authority” of state lawmakers and state health officials.
The mayor’s office declined to comment on the case but noted that a court denied a different lawsuit on Thursday that sought a preliminary injunction against the mask mandate.
“The courts once again confirmed the city has both the legal authority and requisite flexibility to enact the precautionary measures necessary to control the spread of COVID-19,” Kevin Lessard, the communications director for the mayor’s office, told the AP.
Most cities and states dropped their mask requirements in February and early March as coronavirus cases declined and the CDC shifted focus from case counts to hospital capacity numbers to determine mitigation protocols.
Philadelphia ended its indoor mask mandate on March 2. On Monday, however, city health officials cited a more than 50% increase in COVID-19 cases in 10 days, which surpassed 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 that workers will have to face customer anger about new rules.