PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia has joined the rest of Pennsylvania on Saturday and will allow indoor dining to return with restrictions on capacity and party size.
Starting this weekend, restaurants in the city can re-open dining rooms at 25 percent capacity. Parties no larger than four people are permitted and people eating together should be from the same household.
Masks must be worn by patrons any time they are not seated and eating. All restaurant staff must wear face masks and face shields, per the city's guidelines.
"We're trying to strike a balance between protecting people from COVID and limiting the downsides of these restrictions," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
"That's not an easy balance to do, but I think our sense is that things are probably going to get better with the epidemic from here, so we're trying to let some of that economic activity take place."
Restaurants are also being asked to retool inadequate ventilation to reduce indoor spread of the virus, according to Farley. Still, indoor catered events and indoor social gatherings of any size remain forbidden.
Pennsylvania health officials rolled back restrictions on indoor dining over a week ago, but Philadelphia continued to act independently from the state and halted its reopening of indoor dining rooms amid a spike in new cases.
Philadelphia on Saturday announced 528 new infections and 19 additional deaths. To combat the virus, which has claimed nearly 18,000 Pennsylvanians and infected nearly 750k residents, the state continues to build up its vaccine rollout.
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