City increasing restaurant dining to 50% capacity

The city, at press time, reported 36,887 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 1,801 deaths in the city. Eight-hundred and eighty-nine 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/#/.

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

Statewide, there are 157,814 cases in all 67 counties, with 8,123 confirmed deaths, including 5,436 in nursing homes or personal care facilities.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced that, effective Oct. 2, Philadelphia will allow restaurants to offer indoor dining at up to 50 percent of capacity, double the current restriction of 25 percent. The new capacity limits are in line with current Pennsylvania restrictions. Per the Governor’s rules, restaurants choosing to expand capacity must self-certify following state and CDC guidelines in addition to city rules, including: tables spaced so diners are at least 6 feet apart; tables have four or fewer seats for household members only; no bar seating; no alcohol service except during meals; servers must wear masks and face shields; and improved ventilation.

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

Farley said, “The falling case counts we’re seeing show the success of our strategy. I said that we would scale back our restrictions slowly and carefully if case counts continued to fall, and we’re doing that now. If folks continue to follow our guidance, I believe that we will be able to relax more restrictions.”

Beginning on Oct. 1, a new food site will open at Tacony Library (6742 Torresdale Ave.). Free, healthy food will be given to families from 10 a.m. to noon every Thursday.

Philadelphia Gas Works has reduced the monthly bill amounts for low-income customers enrolled in PGW’s Customer Responsibility Program, further decreasing their energy burden. Now, based on household income, customers enrolled in CRP may pay as low as 4 percent of their monthly income on their PGW bill. Customers can enroll in CRP online by visiting pgworks.com/crp or can request an application via mail by calling 215-235-1000.

“PGW recognizes that these are very difficult times economically for many of PGW’s low-income customers. PGW’s modified CRP program will provide low-income customers with affordable monthly bills for their heating this winter and we hope that will provide them with some financial relief,” said Craig White, president and CEO of PGW. “We encourage eligible low-income customers to apply for CRP now in order to benefit from the same protections all winter long.”

To be eligible for CRP, customers must have a gross household income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. CRP monthly bill amounts are based on the size of the customer’s household income. The minimum CRP charge is $25 per month.

The Philadelphia Water Department and Water Revenue Bureau will not shut off customers unable to pay water bills through April 1, 2021. This extends a pause on shutoffs that began in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and overlaps with a long-established Dec. 1 to March 31 moratorium to protect customers during cold-weather months. Customers who cannot pay their water bill should apply for help at 215-685-6300 or www.phila.gov/waterbillhelp.

“We’re ensuring people continue to have access to clean water because it is essential to public health. It is critical that customers who can’t pay their bill use this extended period of shut-off protection to get in touch with us,” said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman. “We have staff and programs that can help you avoid a big debt once we get through this crisis and shut-offs resume. No one should wait until the last minute.”

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. ••