Philadelphia unveils new ventilation standards allowing restaurants to increase indoor capacities

The City of Philadelphia announced Tuesday that restaurants that certify they meet new ventilation standards can operate their indoor dining at up to 50 percent capacity.

Currently, restaurants are only allowed to operate up to 25 percent capacity for all indoor dining. 

To enhance their ventilation systems, restaurants must ensure they have a fully operation HVAC system that can ventilate the entire indoor dining area. 

As such, the HVAC must be able to circulate 20 percent of the air inside with a filtration MERV of 11 or higher. 

Also, the HVAC system must allow for at least 15 air exchanges per hour, so approximately one every four minutes. 

If a restaurant does not have an HVAC system, the city will allow for the use of window fans instead; however, the window fans still need to be able to provide for at least 15 air exchangers per hour.

The city will allow businesses to fill out an application beginning Tuesday to attest that they comply with the new standards.

Businesses must submit documentation certifying their establishments meet the ventilation standards from their HVAC maintenance company or the establishment proprietor. 

Once the city receives the application, they will later verify in person. 

To access the application, which is available online, you can click here


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