PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia is taking significant steps towards fully reopening the city on Friday by rolling back several of its coronavirus restrictions including raising capacity limits on businesses and lifting outdoor mask-wearing for fully vaccinated people.
Health officials in early May announced that the city would drop social distancing requirements from six feet to three feet, and allow most businesses to fill to 50% capacity on May 21.
Restaurants and bars will remain at 50% indoor capacity, or 75% capacity with enhanced ventilation, but will now be allowed to sell alcohol without the purchase of food. Indoor tables can include up to 6 people and outdoor tables are capped at 10.
Theatres and other venues or gathering places, both indoor and outdoor, can operate at 50% of maximum occupancy with a minimum of three feet of distance between people from different groups. Those venues include the Wells Fargo Center and Citizens Bank Park.
Meanwhile, outdoor catered events will no longer have a capacity restriction starting Friday. Similar indoor events, where health officials believe the spread of COVID-19 is significantly increased, will remain limited to 150 people.
Philadelphia has yet to fully ease its mask mandate for vaccinated people like many states across the county, including Pennsylvania, but on Friday outdoor mask-wearing will no longer be required for people 2 weeks removed from their last shot.
In her first briefing since taking over for ousted Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said those who are fully vaccinated are protected from catching and spreading the virus. She urged people who have not been vaccinated or people who are within the vaccine process to continue to wear a mask.
Bettigole said the city will review the COVID-19 metrics and could pull back indoor mask-wearing on Jun. 11 if the numbers continue to trend in the right direction. Philadelphia previously announced that on Jun. 11 it will fully reopen by repealing all ‘Safer at Home’ measures that have been in place for more than a year.
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