New restrictions on indoor dining, gyms and entertainment venues in Philadelphia go into effect

As Pennsylvania tightens statewide mitigation guidelines amid a surge in new coronavirus cases, Philadelphia has implemented new restrictions on Friday designed to quell the pandemic. 

The new restrictions, which include a highly controversial move to prohibit indoor dining, are tentatively scheduled to last through December and expire on New Year's Day.

Beginning at 5 p.m., indoor dining will be prohibited in Philadelphia. Restaurants and eateries can still offer outdoor seating, but tables are capped at 4 people from the same household. Take out and delivery options can continue without change.

The city's move to shutter indoor dining has been met with pushback from Philadelphia restaurant owners, who sued the city on Thursday. They argue the city failed to give restaurants advanced warning about the new restrictions.

MORE: Pennsylvania's new requirements on testing, mask wearing go into effect on Friday

Philadelphia's 'Safer at Home' prohibits all indoor gatherings, with the exception of churches and religious institutions which can stay open at 5 percent capacity. Meanwhile, outdoor gatherings are capped at 10 percent capacity or 10 people for every 1,000 square feet. 

Entertainment venues like theaters, bowling alleys and arcades are prohibited under the city's new order. Retail stores and malls can remain open at 5 people for every 1,000 square feet. 

Gyms and indoor exercise classes have been forced to close through the new year. And parks and playgrounds are also prohibited.

These restrictions come as Philadelphia has reported a surge in new coronavirus cases. On Friday the city announced over 1,000 new cases of the virus that is being blamed for 250,000 death nationally. Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine on Tuesday announced new requirements for testing and mask-wearing. 


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