Philadelphia’s latest indoor dining vaccination requirements are a hypocritical, bureaucratic mess.

The city announced it would implement a policy requiring all guests at indoor dining establishments to provide proof of vaccination. This will also apply to movie theaters, bars, and sporting venues of the city's professional teams. The mandate addresses a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the city, and it goes into effect starting Jan. 3. Yet, the fact that the city is waiting until Jan. 3 — after the holiday season, in which restaurants see an increase in business, is hypocritical nonsense. If the situation is so dire and the risk is so great, why wait until after the holidays?

“The city continues to consider strategies to address rising cases and hospitalizations," a city spokesperson said Friday. “We ask the public to continue following the Department of Public Health's COVID-19 guidance: getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a mask (and double-masking in crowded and indoor settings), getting tested and staying home if you're sick.”

COVID-19 cases have significantly increased in the Philadelphia metropolitan area since Thanksgiving, according to Philly Voice. As of Dec. 10, Philadelphia had averaged 463 new cases per day over the prior two weeks, an increase of 218 cases per day during the first two weeks of November, Philly Voice reported. Additionally, hospitalizations more than doubled during that same time frame. There were 366 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Dec. 10, an increase from 171 on Nov. 15.

Despite these increases, which are expected to rise even more in the coming weeks, why is the city waiting until after the holidays to require proof of vaccination? If the logic behind proof of vaccination is to stop the increase in cases, then the mandate should go into effect immediately. The fact that it does not speaks volumes.

The reason for this delay is obvious: The city does not want restaurants and bars to suffer during what is typically considered one of the busiest times of the year. This shows the not-so-honest motivation behind these measures. If the priority was safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19, then the policy would go into effect immediately, or at least a lot sooner than Jan. 3. Acts such as these contribute to the countrywide divisiveness surrounding the pandemic.