Philadelphia to allow walk-up vaccinations, ease outdoor event restrictions

Walk-up vaccines will be available to residents in ZIP codes that have had a lower share of residents vaccinated so far. The city will begin accepting permit applications for outdoor events today.

Philadelphia announced loosened COVID-19 restrictions on March 16. | CAMILLE COLEMAN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Philadelphia announced the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions on outdoor events and a plan to vaccinate residents in ZIP codes that do not have a large vaccinated population at its weekly COVID-19 briefing today.

Here is what the city announced:

Walk-up vaccines

Beginning Wednesday, Philadelphia will allow eligible residents from “under-vaccinated” ZIP codes, including 19122, which encompasses Main Campus, to receive walk-up COVID-19 vaccines at its FEMA vaccination center at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the city announced today.

Vaccinations will be available to those who qualify under Philadelphia’s 1A and 1B vaccination groups, which include health care workers, first responders and residents 65 and older, and can prove they live in the designated ZIP codes with an ID card, piece of mail with an address or a PHL City ID, according to the release.

Philadelphia has partially vaccinated 16.2 percent of its residents and fully vaccinated 5.5 percent of its residents, according to city data. But wealthier ZIP codes have received a disproportionate share of vaccines compared to poorer ones, though the disparity is decreasing, Billy Penn reported.

Roughly 1,700 per 10,000 residents in 19121 and 1,549 per 10,000 in 19122 have been partially vaccinated as of Mar. 15, The Temple News reported.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley expects the city will be moving to Phase 1C, which includes essential workers like sanitation, transportation and maintenance staff, in April and Phase 2, which includes anyone 16 and older who has not been vaccinated, on May 1, he said at the city’s briefing today.

Event restrictions eased

Philadelphia will begin to accept special event permit applications today, ending its temporary ban on them put in place in July 2020, according to a city press release. The Department of Parks and Recreation and the Office of Special Events will require applicants to go through a process that ensures COVID-19 guidelines are followed at these events.

The city’s Department of Streets will begin accepting permit applications for events, like block parties and festivals, on April 15, according to the press release.

All approved events must follow the city’s Department of Public Health guidelines, like crowd size limitations, and event organizers may be required to certify that their event is COVID-19 safe or, for larger events, submit a COVID-19 safety plan, according to the press release.

“We’ll be ensuring that there’s, there’s restrictions and processes in place to have folks put on safe events,” said Tumar Alexander, the city’s managing director, at the briefing.

Applications will be approved based on a number of factors, including venue and space availability, the amount of other special events that are planned for the same day and compliance with COVID-19 guidance, according to the release.

Philadelphia is averaging 262 COVID-19 cases per day, and the city expects that number to rise, Farley said at the briefing. 

Gov. Tom Wolf announced yesterday Pennsylvania would lift several COVID-19 restrictions on April 4, including increasing indoor event capacity from 15 to 25 percent and outdoor event capacity from 20 to 50 percent, provided that attendees remain at least six feet apart, The Temple News reported.

Philadelphia is going to review the state’s lifting of restrictions and determine which are appropriate to implement in the city, Farley said.

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