Philly City Council member calls for ski mask ban in public

The proposal seeks to ban wearing ski masks — or other full face coverings — in schools, city facilities, or on any mode of public transportation.

Beige knitted balaclava on black wooden table

(New Africa/BigStock)

A Philadelphia City Council member has proposed legislation to impose a ban on ski masks in the city.

The bill from Councilmember Anthony Phillips would ban wearing ski masks, or other full face coverings, in schools, recreation centers, daycares, city parks, city-owned buildings, or on any mode of public transportation.

“The goal is to recognize that our city has been under siege when it comes to public safety,” Phillips said. “We have to find a way to help our young people, as well as our adult citizens feel safe again. We also have to support our police officers with identifying people who commit crime.”

Phillips said the ban is similar to those in Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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“It’s going to be a $250 fine for an offense awareness scheme in front of a public facility, a $2,000 fine. If you commit a crime wearing a ski mask in a public facility,” he said. “There’s simply no reasonable justification — so parents stop letting your children wear them, stop buying them for your children, and young people stop wearing them.”

The council member said it’s not only a public safety issue but a quality-of-life issue, as the face coverings leave some residents feeling intimidated in their neighborhoods. He added that the proposal is just the beginning of addressing community concerns.

A majority of the City Council co-sponsored Phillips’ bill, including Councilmembers Jim Harrity, Curtis Jones, Kenyatta Johnson, Katherine Gilmore-Richardson, Cindy Bass, Quetcy Lozada, Mark Squilla, Brian O’Neill, Mike Driscoll, and Sharon Vaughn.

The bill is expected to receive a hearing in the fall.

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