The City of Philadelphia on Wednesday announced a new mask mandate and upcoming new policies designed to combat COVID-19 as the Delta variant and vaccination reluctance drives continues to drive positivity rates up across the city and surrounding states.
How will the new restrictions potentially impact the area's sports teams?
Mayor Jim Kenney specified in a tweet Wednesday morning that the mask mandate impacts outdoor events, but only non-seated events:
That's good news for Eagles and Phillies fans, as is this exchange between Philly Sports Network's David Malandra Jr., Kenney, and Bettigole during Wednesday's press conference:
"MALANDRA: At the moment, there are no plans to have this for outdoor events, say like the Eagles or Phillies games?
"KENNEY: At the moment - unless, Doc, you want to correct me - at the moment, no.
"BETTIGOLE: At the moment, no."
The Eagles announced after the press conference that, in accordance with the city's new policies and mandates, fans and staff will be required to wear masks when visiting indoor spaces at the Linc, but not when they're sitting or standing in outdoor spaces.
So it sounds like, at least for now, the teams playing outdoor games shouldn't change much in the way of limiting attendance.
The Phillies opened up Citizens Bank Park to full capacity back in mid-May.
The Phillies play 14 home games in September, and are first in the NL East as of Aug. 11 which means they could be playing more home games during a potential playoff run. The Eagles open the preseason Thursday vs. the Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field, and between the preseason and regular season will play nine home games at the Linc between Wednesday and the end of 2021.
Right now, it's unclear how exactly these new restrictions would impact Sixers or Flyers games. The Flyers open their preseason Sept. 28. The Sixers haven't announced their preseason schedule but they're scheduled to play the Nets in a home preseason game on Oct. 11.
Public health officials for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Philadelphia say positive tests now make up more than 5% of all COVID-19 test results.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said the city is enacting a new mask mandate, which goes into effect Wednesday night at midnight.
"That means everyone in Philadelphia must wear a mask when going into any business or institution, with an exception for those that require vaccinations," Bettigole said. "Restaurants will need to require masks for customers and staff, except when people are seated and actively eating and drinking. If a business or institution is requiring that everyone, including staff, be fully vaccinated before entering, then no one in that place needs to wear a mask."
For more information on the new restrictions, head here to read NBC Philadelphia's coverage.