Philly’s coronavirus response

Philly’s winter coronavirus restrictions will last through the New Year

No indoor dining, no gyms, no theaters — and ideally, no gathering with people outside your household at all.

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Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

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Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Tom Farley announced new restrictions for Philly residents and businesses on Monday, intended to hold back the city’s current COVID surge as much as possible until a vaccine is widely available.

Set to go into effect Friday, Nov. 20, and last through Jan. 1, the measures are potentially devastating to small businesses and their staffs. Many restaurant and gym owners said they might not survive.

The mayor acknowledged this, but countered that allowing the virus to spread unchecked could have an even worse effect. He mentioned $30 million in new city funding for rental and small business assistance, and implored state and federal governments to provide more help. “We will be looking for new sources of relief,” he said. “We will leave no stone unturned.”

New restrictions at the state level have not yet been publicly discussed in Pennsylvania.

What are the rules of this second semi-lockdown? They include an indoor dining ban, the end of indoor activity at gyms, libraries, museums and theaters, reduced capacity at retail stores, and a not-enforceable ban on social gatherings with anyone outside your family.

Scroll down for details.

No indoor gatherings at all, lower capacity outdoors (no fans at Eagles games)

  • All indoor gatherings with people outside your own household are prohibited, in public or private spaces. That means no hanging out to watch Eagles games or having playdates for your kids. (The city acknowledged this was not enforceable.)
  • The ban on indoor events includes things like small weddings, baby showers or funerals.
  • Religious institutions are urged to take services online, but if holding them indoors can only have 5 people per 1k square feet, or 5% of maximum occupancy.
  • Outdoor gatherings and events are limited to 10% capacity, or 10 people per 1k square feet.
  • Drive-in events where people remain in their vehicles are still allowed.
  • No outdoor event can have more than 2,000 people — which will bring an end to fans attending Eagles games at the Linc.
  • There can be no food and beverage served at outdoor gatherings, and masks must be worn at all times.
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    Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

No indoor dining, 4-person limit at outdoor tables

  • Indoor dining is completely banned.
  • Instead of allowing 6 people per table, outdoor dining is now restricted to tables of 4 or fewer.
  • In another hard-to-enforce guideline, the city says people dining at one table should all be from one household — i.e. you can go out to eat with your fam, but not have brunch with a group of friends.
  • Takeout and delivery can continue as it has been going.
  • Outdoor mobile food carts and trucks can continue to operate.

High schools and colleges must go remote and end sports, elementary learning can continue

  • High schools and colleges must move to online instruction only (clinical instruction for students in health sciences is an exception).
  • Sports and rec for youth, community groups, and schools must cease — and the city urges teams not to just head out to the suburbs to practice, as that could lead to more spread.
  • College sports may continue if their plan is specifically approved by the Department of Public Health and no spectators are present.
  • Elementary and middle schools and daycare and early learning centers can continue to operate in person.
  • The city’s access centers for public school district students to do remote learning will continue to be open.
The new Charles Library on Temple University's main campus in North Philadelphia

The new Charles Library on Temple University's main campus in North Philadelphia

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

Non-essential businesses and institutions must end indoor activity

  • Theaters, including movie theaters and performance spaces must close.
  • Bowling alleys, arcades and game spaces must shut down.
  • Museums will be closed to visitors.
  • Casinos have to stop activity.
  • Libraries have to stop welcoming people indoors, but curbside dropoff and pickup is allowed
  • Gyms and fitness centers must stop indoor activity, though they can still hold exercise classes outdoors.
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Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

New capacity limits for retail stores, offices must go remote

  • Retail stores and indoor malls may continue to operate, but with a maximum density of 5 people per 1k square feet.
  • Store owners are now “required” to enforce mask use and distancing of customers and staff, although it’s not clear how they should do that.
  • Anyone who can work from home must do so, and offices that are allowed to continue operating can only have necessary staff on site.

Businesses and activities allowed to continue

  • Grocery stores and farmers markets
  • Barbershops and beauty salons, but all staff and customers must wear masks at all times
  • Pharmacies
  • Banks
  • Construction
  • Landscaping
  • Manufacturing and warehousing
  • Real estate operations and transactions
  • Health care services
  • Taxis and ride share services
  • Public transit
  • Hotels
  • Parks, trails, playgrounds and athletic fields (individual use only — no group sports)
  • Zoos (outdoor areas only)

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s coronavirus response stories.

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