Indoor dining set to resume in Philadelphia, but restrictions remain

Friday, August 21, 2020
Indoor dining set to resume in Philadelphia, but restrictions remain
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Indoor dining in Philadelphia will be allowed to resume soon with some restrictions.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Indoor dining in Philadelphia will be allowed to resume with restrictions on Sept. 8, Mayor Kenney announced Thursday.

"We need to follow what we are being asked to do by the health department," Kenney said. "I beg you to follow the rules."

Indoor dining will be capped at 25% capacity, with tables allowing a maximum number of four seats, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

Farley said all servers must wear face masks and face shields. Bar seating will not be allowed and alcohol must be served with food.

"We are asking restaurant managers to take these restrictions very seriously, and follow them," he said.

Barry Gutin owns Cuba Libre on Second Street and says obviously this is great news.

"We have lots of excess capacity. We're hopeful to fill it further in the future," said Gutin.

But getting here hasn't been easy.

"Even with the outdoor seating, we're still struggling to survive," Gutin said.

He hopes everyone in the industry complies with the guidelines.

However, the indoor dining announcement was not well received by all restaurant owners.

"I'm not holding my breath. That's number one. It could change after this interview," said Bodega Bar and Kitchen Co-Owner Steve Vasiliadis.

Vasiliadis, who has spoken with Action News on various fronts about the plight of some restaurant owners during the pandemic, says the announcement may come too little to late.

"On a personal level, a lot of people that are in the business have suffered tremendously and they are on their way out as far as closing their doors," he said.

Farley said they decided on the Sept. 8 date specifically to avoid Labor Day holiday crowds.

As of August 20, the Department of Public Health is allowing these venues to reopen with restrictions:

- Bowling alleys

- Arcades

- Game spaces (ax throwing, mini-golf, pool, ping pong, escape rooms, and other indoor game facilities)

North Bowl in Northern Liberties is back open.

Owner Oron Daskal said, "I'm proud of Philadelphia. I'm proud we've done our best. We're doing every other lane with half hour increments in between so we can disinfect."

On September 8, additional restrictions will be lifted, including the reopening of movie theatres with restrictions.

Outside the city, AMC movie theaters, like in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania have reopened.

They're showing mostly re-runs right now. There's reduced capacity, social distancing and masks are mandatory.