Mayor Kenney tells Philly restaurants not to launch outside dining just yet

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he will announce Friday more details on what the city will look like for businesses and residents during next week's move into yellow phase of the reopening plan, but told restaurants to wait on making outdoor dining plans.

Kenney said the city is working to develop protocols for expanding outdoor seating.

"In the meantime, no restaurant should be announcing plans to launch outdoor dining on June 5th. We need you to wait to ensure that our protocols can be followed," Kenney said.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that beginning June 5, restaurants and retail food service businesses located in counties designated as being in the yellow phase are permitted add dine-in service in outdoor seating. Philadelphia and its collar counties are expected to move to the yellow phase by June 5.

"Outdoor dining, done properly in the midst of a pandemic, is extremely complicated," said Kenney. "It obviously needs to adhere to social distancing guidelines. But we also need to ensure that the public right of way is respected, and that those with disabilities are not hindered. And we need to ensure that outdoor dining protocols are equitable-that they work as well in Juniata and East Oak Lane as they do in Center City."

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Mayor Kenny discusses the return of outdoor dining in Philly.



Mayor Kenney said the city hopes to announce outdoor dining protocols next week.

"We are still determining how this will work in Philadelphia. I don't want our business owners getting ahead of the regulations and preparing for outdoor dining next week. We are not giving the green light to move forward until the guidance is complete, so no restaurant should be announcing plans to launch outdoor dining on June 5. We need you to wait, to ensure that our protocols can be followed."

As southeastern Pennsylvania gets set to move to the "yellow phase" June 5, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Farley warns, "I want to reserve the possibility that if the numbers get bad we may not go there."

Farley says he doesn't see anything to indicate coronavirus cases will significantly increase before the set "yellow phase" reopening date of June 5.

The coronavirus infection numbers required by Pennsylvania to move a county from the red to yellow phase are 50 new cases per every 100,000 residents per day. That number must maintain at that level for two weeks time.

But there are other factors at play.

"It's not just about the numbers, it's about capacity for testing which is increasing every week and overall hospital beds available in the region," says Dr. Valerie Arkoosh chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. "Contact tracing is running and up to 50 tracings a day with increase for next week."

Getting a hold of each these factors can increase a county's chance of opening more businesses and loosening restrictions.

But with every step forward towards reopening the economy, precaution must be taken. If COVID-19 infection numbers spike, restrictions can roll back in.

"We need to be realistic with people and upfront with people about what's in the best interest of the safety of our citizens. I am hoping and praying and encouraged that will get there on June 5," said Mayor Kenney.

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PHL LOVE

The "PHL Love" event, a concert to support the PHL COVID-19 Fund, raised more than $1.5 million for nonprofits throughout the region, Kenney said.
More than $17 million total has been raised for the PHL COVID-19 Fund.

"I want to thank all of the performers, media outlets and the Middleton Family that made the show possible and all of you for tuning in," Kenney said. "These grants are allowing the nonprofits to continue providing community safety nets such as food pantries and health services, as well as preparedness and protection services, such as hygiene supplies and access to accurate information."

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Philabundance Drive-Thru

Beginning May 29, Philabundance will operate a drive-through emergency food distribution site at Citizens Bank Park on Fridays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Drivers of each vehicle will receive one share of food provisions (approximately 35 pound pounds of food) while supplies last.

Attendees are not required to show identification or documentation.
To support social distancing, food will only be distributed to individuals in cars. This weekly distribution will run through June 26.

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Cases

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced 175 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Philadelphia. That brings the number of confirmed cases to 22,150.

The Department of Public Health confirmed 10 additional fatalities in Philadelphia. This brings the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus in Philadelphia to 1,258. Of the 1,258 total deaths, 666 (53%) were long-term care facility residents.

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