Philadelphia extends COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining, gatherings to January 15

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PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia leaders have announced an extension of the citywide COVID-19 restrictions as officials prepare for a spike in cases following the upcoming holidays.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said, based on the data and spikes in positive cases following past holidays, the city will continue its current restrictions for the riskiest settings through at least January 15.

This includes restrictions on:

- Indoor dining
- Indoor gatherings and events
- Theaters
- Casinos
- Colleges
- Indoor organized sports

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Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announces the city's ban on indoor dining will extend to January 15.



Farley said these activities continue to be considered higher risk because they take place indoors and involve a large number of people, people spending long periods of time together, people not wearing masks, and/or they've had previous large outbreaks due to not following social distance guidelines.

"We have made progress and saved lives with our Safer at Home restrictions," said Farley. "Now we need to be very careful with how we allow activities to restart-- especially around the holiday season-- so that we don't ignite another surge in the virus."

The staff at McNally's Tavern in Chestnut Hill has done all they can to survive. They've built the coziest outdoor patio they could, but the news of restrictions being extended was tough to swallow.

Owner Anne McNally says it adds insult to injury, the holidays are huge for them.

"This outdoor dining is killing us with the weather. Honestly, my employees have made probably a quarter of what they normally make in tips at this time of year," said McNally.

She says they've survived this long thanks to the community.

RELATED: New COVID-19 restrictions issued as hospitalizations rise in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia officials also announced planned changes to restrictions that would take effect when Governor Wolf's order expires on January 4. If case rates do not rise more than expected, the city will allow some lower risk businesses and activities to resume.

This includes:

- Museums
- Outdoor sports
- Gyms
- In-person learning for high schools

- Outdoor catered events

On Tuesday, health officials announced 928 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 86,723. Officials also confirmed 89 additional deaths in Philadelphia.

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