Philadelphia loosens restrictions on indoor and outdoor dining

Maximum table sizes for indoor dining have increased to six seats and capacities at indoor catered events have increased to 25 percent.

Philadelphia announced that restaurants can expand their indoor dining capacities starting May 7. | ALLIE IPPOLITO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Philadelphia restaurants may now expand their indoor dining capacity to 50 percent, or 75 percent if the restaurant meets the city’s ventilation requirements, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said at a press conference on April 27. 

Restaurants may also increase their maximum table sizes for indoor dining from four seats to six and will no longer require people at tables to be from the same household, he said.

Philadelphia also increased the maximum table size for outdoor dining to 10 people, which is the state limit, Farley said.

Philadelphia now allows up to 25 percent occupancy for indoor catered events, with a maximum of 75 people permitted to attend, Farley said. If COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia continue to decrease, the city may increase the maximum number of people to 150 on May 21. 

Philadelphia had 122 positive cases of COVID-19 on May 6, a decrease from 330 cases the previous day on May 5, according to the state’s COVID-19 case dashboard. Daily COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia have fluctuated between 122 cases and 446 cases between April 30 and May 6. 

Other indoor events can now accommodate gatherings of up to 25 percent of the venue’s normal capacity, while outdoor events and gatherings are to increase their capacity to 50 percent, Farley said. 

Pennsylvania will lift all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, gatherings and restaurants on May 31, but the statewide mask mandate will stay in place until 70 percent of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated, The Temple News reported.  Philadelphia will not follow the state’s announcement. 

“Our vaccination rates are not high enough yet, but we’re clearly making progress, the vaccination opportunities are better than ever, so with that in mind we will be backing off at some restrictions,” Farley said. 

As of May 6, more than 545,000 people in Philadelphia have been fully vaccinated, The Temple News reported

Philadelphia residents can sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by completing the city’s vaccine interest form, or calling 311 and putting their name in the database, The Temple News reported. Residents will be contacted by phone or email to schedule an appointment, while pharmacies, hospitals and clinics have their own online signups.

Individuals who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, which both require two doses at least 21 or 28 days apart respectively, are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving their second dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after their shot. 

“I want to recommend everyone to get vaccinated, it’s never been easier,” Farley said. “As long as you’re getting vaccinated, bring anyone over the age of 65, who you know, who’s still unvaccinated, with you, help them get vaccinated as well, and continue to wear masks, continue to keep their distance and continue to avoid being around others when you can.”

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