Philly partially in the Green

TIMES FILE PHOTO

Philadelphia finally entered the state’s Green tier last Friday, though some restrictions will remain in place through July 3 as the area continues to battle the coronavirus.

Mask wearing remains required in all businesses.

Mayor Jim Kenney last week signed a Mandatory Mask Order, which requires masks to be worn in any indoor public spaces and outdoors if there is less than 6 feet between people from different households. There are only a limited number of exceptions, including for children under 8. This order will not be enforced by the police.

“As we’ve said throughout this pandemic, taking simple steps like wearing a mask, washing your hands and maintaining 6 feet of distance between yourself and others can save lives,” Kenney said. “This new Mandatory Mask Order is a signal to the public that we are serious about the need to follow critical public health guidance.”

The city, at press time, reported 25,693 confirmed coronavirus cases.

An interactive map of cases broken down by ZIP code can be found at phila.gov.

There have been a total of 1,579 deaths in the city. Eight-hundred and eight of those deaths have been in nursing homes.

“We are all eager to restart activities closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the situation nationally and locally is worrisome,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “Nationally, cases rose by more than 50 percent in the last 14 days, and in Philadelphia, both the number of daily cases and the percentage of positive results are rising slightly. It is possible that the targets we laid out for the Green Phase may not be met by next Friday. We will reconsider those Green Phase activities and discuss with businesses involved, while redoubling our efforts to encourage everyone to wear masks.”

Anyone who wants to find a testing site can go to https://www.phila.gov/covid-testing-sites/#/.

Statewide, there are 85,496 cases in all 67 counties, with 6,606 confirmed deaths, including 4,528 in nursing homes or personal care facilities.

“As nearly the entire state is now in the Green phase, we must remain committed to protecting against COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvania has been a model for the country on how to reopen effectively using a careful, measured approach. However, the virus has not gone away. Each of us has a responsibility to continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands frequently. Together, we can protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”

Among the activities that are permitted, as of last Friday, residential swimming pools and private swim clubs; zoos (outside only); personal services such as salons, barbers and spas; and small indoor social and religious gatherings (up to 25 people).

The following activities are newly allowed beginning July 3, if targets are met:

• Outdoor group recreational and sports activities for youth and adults

• Gyms and indoor exercise classes

• Schools and colleges

• Libraries and museums

• Indoor shopping malls

• Outdoor performances and small outdoor events (up to 50 people)

• Restaurants with indoor seating (with occupancy restrictions)

The city Department of Streets announced a return to regular weekly trash and recycling collections, effective Monday, July 6. Lids for city-issued recycling bins can be picked up from the Sanitation Convenience Center, State Road and Ashburner Street. Trash can also be disposed of at the center, open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Philadelphia Water Department agreed to postpone all water shutoffs for residential and commercial customers who are unable to pay their bills through July 10. Customers who cannot pay their bill should apply for help at 215-685-6300 or www.phila.gov/waterbillhelp.

Philadelphians looking for the latest local information on the coronavirus can visit phila.gov/COVID-19.

Residents with questions can call a 24-hour helpline at 800-722-7112.

Or, text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone. ••