Philadelphia to allow indoor dining Sept. 8

While the indoor dining ban will be lifted, new regulations will include strict guidelines on seating, operating times, and health screenings for employees.

Philadelphia announced indoor dining can resume Sept 8. Temple dining, including the Student Center food court, will offer grab-and-go meals this fall. JEREMY ELVAS / FILE

Mayor Jim Kenney announced today indoor dining can resume in Philadelphia on Sept. 8, according to a press release from the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said indoor dining will only be allowed if COVID-19 case rates continue to decline in the city and if restaurants obey new rules, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Restaurants will only be able to sit patrons at tables, which will be limited to four people and each table must be six feet apart, according to the press release. Indoor bar seating is not allowed.

All restaurants will have to stop dining orders by 11 p.m. and close for service by midnight.

Other regulations include servers wearing masks and face shields, health screenings for restaurant employees and installing physical barriers in areas where social distancing is difficult, according to the city’s new reopening guide for restaurants.

Kenney hopes Sept. 8 will mark “a turning point in our recovery,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Restaurant owners, employees and patrons should still take caution, he added. 

“Let’s not push the envelope,” Kenney said. “Let’s follow the rules as we have been for quite some time now.”

Temple University dining halls will be offering take-out-only options this semester, according to an Aug. 14 release from the university. The dining halls will have signage for designated entrances, exits, and traffic flow, according to the release. Plexiglass barriers will be installed and there will be “weather-protected waiting zones.

Food service employees will be subject to temperature monitoring, and will be sent home if they have a fever above 100.4°F (38°C), according to the release. Employees will also have to wash their hands every 20 minutes and wear personal protective equipment while working.

Main Campus dining locations opening this semester include Morgan Dining Hall, Esposito Dining Center, the Howard Gittis Student Center food court and Stella’s at Charles Library, according to the release. All locations will close briefly during the day for cleaning.

Temple’s Business Services department could not be immediately reached for comment. 

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