The city on Monday afternoon announced “safer at home” COVID-19 restrictions.
In light of the continued rise in cases in Philadelphia, officials announced changes to restrictions on businesses, events and gatherings and other activities. The new restrictions will begin on Friday, Nov. 20, and will remain in place through Jan. 1, 2021. An extension of these restrictions and/or the implementation of additional restrictions is possible depending on trends in the spread of coronavirus in the city.
Changes to events and gatherings include:
• All indoor gatherings and events involving people from more than one household are prohibited, in public or private spaces. This includes private events such as weddings, showers and funerals.
• Religious institutions are permitted to have people indoors, but density must be capped at 5 percent of maximum occupancy.
• Outdoor gatherings and events are limited to 10 percent of maximum capacity of the space. In addition, all individuals at outdoor gatherings must wear masks at all times, and neither food nor beverages may be served.
The following businesses and activities will not be allowed:
• High schools and colleges must move to online instruction only, with the exception of clinical instruction for students in health sciences.
• Indoor dining at restaurants and other food service businesses. (Takeout, delivery and outdoor dining may continue.)
• Theaters, including movie theaters, and other performance spaces.
• Bowling alleys, arcades and game spaces.
• Libraries (Those serving as Access Centers may continue to operate. Curbside dropoff and pickup services for patrons are allowed.)
• Recreational activities and sports for youth, community groups and schools.
• Gyms and indoor exercise classes. (Exercise groups and classes may continue outdoors.)
• Senior day services (senior centers and adult day care centers) remain closed.
Additional changes to capacity limits and other precautions will be instituted for businesses and activities that are able to continue:
• Restaurants offering outdoor dining must reduce table sizes to four people. Groups dining outdoors should be household members only.
• Retail stores and indoor malls may continue to operate, but with a maximum density of 5 people per 1,000 square feet.
• Offices are permitted to have only employees who cannot work remotely.
• Barbershops, beauty salons and similar personal services may continue to operate, but all staff and customers must wear masks at all times. These businesses cannot work on the face or otherwise perform services that require that masks be removed.
• College sports may continue if their plan is specifically approved by the Department of Public Health and no spectators are present.
• Zoos may operate only their outdoor areas.
• Parks, trails, playgrounds and athletic fields will remain open for individual use only. (No group sports.)
The following businesses and activities can continue to function under current guidance from the Department of Public Health:
• Grocery stores and farmers markets
• Home-based construction, renovation, repair and maintenance
• Manufacturing and warehousing
• Real estate operations and transactions
• Health care services
• Home-based support services, such as home health services
• Taxis and ride share services
• Outdoor mobile food carts and trucks
• Drive-in events in which people remain in their vehicles
• Child day care and early learning centers
• Elementary and middle schools
• Access Centers for children in elementary and middle school
The city, at press time, reported 54,607 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 1,917 deaths in the city. Of those deaths, 920 have been in nursing homes.
To find testing sites, 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 269,613 cases in all 67 counties, with 9,325 confirmed deaths, including 6,070 in nursing homes or personal care facilities.
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.
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. ••