Philadelphia businesses making tough decisions amid rise in COVID cases

Philadelphia is averaging 1,462 cases of COVID per day over the last two weeks.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Across the area, restaurant owners are making hard decisions as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Some are closing or limiting hours because of staffing issues. Others are shutting down for a few weeks to be proactive.

Either way, it's a rough patch for an already ailing industry.

"What's tough is that this week, in particular, especially New Year's, this is a very festive time. And it's typically one of our best weeks of the year in the industry. We make a lot of our change. So having this hit right now is, you know, certainly not fortuitous," said Iron Chef Jose Garces, who owns a number of eateries across the area.

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Some local businesses are closing or limiting hours because of staffing issues. Others are shutting down for a few weeks to be proactive.



At Distrito in West Philadelphia and Hook and Master -- his new pizza spot in Fishtown -- Garces is moving to takeout and delivery through January 12.

The idea is to keep everyone safe, keep any potential spread down and keep customer confidence high until we get to the other side of this.

Jerry's Bar in Northern Liberties is another business making changes. They are now closed until January 4 due to rising COVID cases.

One restaurant that's remaining open for now is Cuba Libre in Old City.

SEE ALSO: CDC cuts isolation restrictions for those who catch COVID, recommends shorter quarantine for all
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The decision also was driven by a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, propelled by the omicron variant.



Assistant General Manager Aaron Bowners says they're doing what they feel is best for their employees and community.

"We're trying to be as proactive as possible to stay open as long as possible. Unless we have some major catastrophe happen, we plan to stay open," said Bowers.

He says they've also made several adjustments to keep their environment as safe as they know how.

"Our procedures for sanitizing and disinfecting is one of our highest priorities. Also, our air filtration system, we completely changed that," said Bowers.

Starting January 3, 2022, any establishment in Philadelphia that sells food and/or drink for consumption onsite may admit only patrons who have completed their vaccine series.

After January 17, negative COVID-19 tests can no longer be accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination.

The requirement does not apply to people who are exempted from vaccination, including children under 5 or people with proven medical or religious exemptions.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia doctor says omicron variant is 'spreading like wildfire'
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According to the latest data from the CDC, New Jersey is being hit the hardest, averaging over 14,000 COVID-19 cases a day.



According to the latest data from the CDC collected by the Action News Data Journalism Team, New Jersey is being hit the hardest, averaging over 14,000 cases a day. That's a whopping 220% increase from two weeks prior.

Delaware is seeing over a thousand new cases a day, up 67% from two weeks prior.

And Pennsylvania has 9,175 new daily cases. That's up 10% from the previous two weeks.

In the last two weeks, 15.9% of COVID-19 tests in Philadelphia have come back positive. The city is averaging 1,462 cases of COVID per day over the last two weeks.

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