With COVID-19 cases increasing in the Delaware Valley area, mask guidance seems to change almost daily and varies by location.
Philadelphia has the most cases, up by 147 from Aug. 7 to Aug. 13, and the most stringent policies, with masks required at all indoor businesses and other organizations that don’t mandate vaccines for employees and clients. Also, patrons of all outdoor events without seating will need to wear masks if more than 1,000 people attend.
Some Philadelphia business owners say they believe the city’s mandates to police their premises are unfair and unduly burdensome. Vincent Termini with Termini Brothers, an Italian bakery that is celebrating 100 years in business this year, said having to check customers’ vaccination IDs is “a laugh in itself.”
Instead, the company is mandating masks for customers and employees.
“We can barely find people to work,” he said. “We barely have people to turn the lights on, let alone standing at the door and checking (customers) for vaccine cards.”
“I feel federal, state, and city government has put the burden on businesses to police this vaccination thing and I don’t feel that’s right. I think businesses have enough on their shoulders…They turned us from bakers into bouncers.”
Asking someone if they are vaccinated is “not our business. We don’t want to exclude anybody.”
But Termini adds he is not worried that his customers won’t come into the city to partake in some of the finest cannoli in the area.
The collar counties have their own rules, with Delaware County recommending masks indoors regardless of vaccination status in all county buildings, according to spokeswoman Adrienne Marofsky. However, Chester County is not issuing any mandates for masking within county government buildings, said Rebecca Brain, spokeswoman for Chester County.
Montgomery County now requires masks to be worn in county buildings and recommends masks indoors in other public places. Similarly, Bucks County Commissioners ordered all employees and the public to wear masks when entering county buildings and in common areas such as hallways and elevators. Those who are not fully vaccinated must wear two masks.
Some people said via Facebook that Philadelphia’s stricter rules make it less likely they’ll go into the city while others are undaunted.
“(I) can’t find a legitimate reason to sacrifice my freedoms and/or possibly my life and limb going into the fire…staying far away as possible!!” said Joseph W. Danig, of Warminster.
“Increased violence and forced compliance? No thank you,” said Michelle Lewis Buono, of Quakertown.
And others weighed in on the burden of wearing masks again in the wake of the Delta variant.
“I’m absolutely in favor of masking until we get this pandemic under control. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, don’t want to be the asymptomatic carrier of infection to a vulnerable adult or a child. This isn’t a question of rights. No one has a right to endanger someone else. It’s called responsibility,” said Nancy Campbell Albritton, a Quakertown resident.
“If it keeps me and people around me safe, then I’m for it!” said Alan Fels, of Cheltenham. “But we can thank the people who refuse to get vaccinated for the spike and the reason we have to mask up. Those are the facts and reality of the issue!”
“I don’t want to wear a mask again, but if I have to I will,” said Carla Zambelli Mudry, of Malvern.
Radnor resident Julia Pelagatti Bohnenberger said, “So sad to see so many smart people uneducated about who is ‘responsible’ for [the] spread, what the vaccine can actually achieve, and the impotence of the cloth mask, etc., etc., etc. So many fallacies baked into their brains.”
“My feeling is if you are vaccinated, you have the right to decide if you want to wear it or not,” said Catherine Mozino, of Wayne. “If you are not vaccinated for whatever reason, then you should be required to wear it. At some point, people need to realize science needs time to figure this out just like every other disease in the past, and by doing the right thing and stopping the spread is really all we can do for now.”
Mozino, a teacher, later clarified that she will wear a mask at work.
Scott Rodgers, a Hamilton, N.J. resident said, “(Expletive) [There is a] 99.7 percent survival rate!!! You do you, I’ll do me!!!”
“More of our youth will die on Kensington Avenue in ONE DAY from opiate disorder than will die of COVID,” said John Ricciutti, a Radnor resident and filmmaker with Main Line TV. “Is anyone doing anything about that?”