Indoor restaurant dining resuming Sept. 8

Dr. Tom Farley, commissioner of the city Department of Public Health

City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced today that indoor dining in restaurants can resume on Sept. 8.

Restrictions include:

• Restaurants cannot be filled to more than 25 percent capacity.

• No more than four diners per table.

• Tables must be arranged so that diners at separate tables are at least 6 feet apart.

• Servers must wear both masks and face shields for additional protection.

• No bar service. Alcohol can be served only for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal.

• Last call for all indoor dining orders will be at 11 p.m., and establishments will be required to be closed for service by midnight.

• Restaurants must install physical barriers such as sneeze guards or partitions in restaurant kitchens and at cash registers, host stands and food pickup areas where maintaining physical distance of at least 6 feet is difficult.

• Restaurants must screen every employee for symptoms before every shift and prevent them from remaining on site if they have cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain or new loss of taste or smell.

Restaurant owners are also being urged to increase ventilation in their establishments to further decrease the risk of transmission.

“We are announcing this change now in order to give restaurant operators sufficient time to prepare,” Farley said. “However, we move forward with an abundance of caution. Between now and Sept. 8, should we witness an increase in the rate of COVID-19 case counts in Philadelphia, we will reconsider whether this change is still viable.”

Outdoor dining can continue under current restrictions, including having no more than 50 people outside.

The Department of Public Health also announced that bowling alleys, arcades and other indoor games will be allowed to resume effective immediately. Indoor theaters and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen on Sept. 8. Venues are not to exceed 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 25 people allowed. All of these venues will need to prohibit food and drink on site in order to open.

Meanwhile, mask wearing remains required in all businesses, and the state has issued an order requiring masks while out in public.

The city, at press time, reported 32,674 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 1,735 deaths in the city. Eight-hundred and sixty-six of those deaths have been in nursing homes.

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

Statewide, there are 126,149 cases in all 67 counties, with 7,538 confirmed deaths, including 5,107 in nursing homes or personal care facilities.

The Philadelphia Water Department agreed to postpone all water shutoffs for residential and commercial customers who are unable to pay their bills through Aug. 31. 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. ••