Philadelphia announces sweeping new restrictions amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Philadelphia COVID-19 live updates, news and information

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Monday, November 16, 2020
Philly announces sweeping new restrictions amid COVID-19 surge
Philadelphia leaders have announced sweeping new restrictions as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the city.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia leaders have announced sweeping new restrictions as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the city.

Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced the measures during a news conference on Monday afternoon.

"I know these restrictions are tough. People are going to be put out of work, and some businesses may go under. We also know that the consequences to health of not doing it are really bad," Farley said. "If we do this right, our businesses will recover faster because the epidemic wave will subside sooner."

Philadelphia leaders have announced sweeping new restrictions as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the city.

Philadelphia is seeing the most per capita cases in southeastern Pennsylvania, with an average of 721 new cases per day.

"Strains in our great hospitals are already showing. COVID-19 hospitalizations have jumped 600 percent in the last seven weeks," Mayor Kenney said.

The following restrictions will take effect for Philadelphia on Friday, November 20 and will last through January 1, 2021:


*Indoor dining prohibited

*Outdoor dining allowed, but require that parties be household members only

*Maximum table size of four seats

*Takeout and delivery service may continue


*Prohibited indoors at any size, at any location

*Includes both public and private events

*For example: Indoor parties, group meals, football watching groups, visiting between households, weddings, funerals, baby showers


*Gatherings limited at 10% occupancy or 10 persons per 1,000 square feet

*Cap for large spaces of no more than 2,000 people

*No fans at football games

*Masks must be worn at all times

*No food or beverages served at outdoor gatherings to ensure people can wear masks


*Allow with reduced density limit of five people per 1,000 square feet

*Enforcement of mask use by customers and employees


*Employees must work from home unless not possible

SPORTS (Youth, school and community)



*Theaters, including movie theaters, and other performance spaces

*Bowling alleys, arcades, and game spaces


*Libraries. (Those serving as Access Centers may continue to operate. Curbside dropoff and pickup services for patrons are allowed)


*Recreational activities and sports for youth, community groups, and schools

*Gyms and indoor exercise classes. (Exercise groups and classes may continue outdoors)

*Senior day services (senior centers and adult day care centers) remain closed


*Barbershops, beauty salons, and similar personal services may continue to operate, but all staff and customers must wear masks at all times. These businesses cannot work on the face or otherwise perform services that require that masks be removed

*Zoos may operate only their outdoor areas

*Parks, trails, playgrounds, and athletic fields will remain open for individual use only. (No group sports)


*Colleges & universities: online classes only (College sports may continue if their plan is specifically approved by the Department of Public Health and no spectators are present)

*High schools: online classes only

*Elementary and middle schools: in-person permitted, following Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health safety guidance

*Child care, early childhood education and access centers: in-person permitted, following Philadelphia Dept. of Public Health safety guidance


*No more than five percent occupancy or five per thousand square feet

*Encouraged to hold services online


*Grocery stores and farmers markets





*Home-based construction, renovation, repair, and maintenance

*Manufacturing and warehousing

*Real estate operations and transactions

*Health care services

*Home-based support services, such as home health services

*Taxis and ride share services


*Outdoor mobile food carts and trucks


*Drive-in events in which people remain in their vehicles

*Child day care and early learning centers

*Elementary and middle schools

*Access Centers for children in elementary and middle school

The blanket prohibition on indoor gatherings of any kind - everything from holiday parties and football gatherings to baby showers and brunches - will not be enforced, city officials acknowledged. Farley said the city is seeking voluntary compliance, saying the virus is rampant and "spreading a little bit everywhere," including at small social gatherings.

The rate of new confirmed infections is growing about 4% each day, Farley said.

He said the outbreak is "approaching its worst," and the weeks ahead are "a little grim if we don't take strong action."

"If we don't do something to change the trajectory of this epidemic, the hospitals will become full, they'll have difficulty treating people, and we'll have between several hundred and more than 1,000 deaths just by the end of this year," he said.

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