PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia officials have announced new major restrictions on business and gatherings amid a new increase in coronavirus cases.
Mayor Jim Kenny hinted at the new restrictions on a tweet Friday and was joined by Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley when he announced them on Monday.
As of Friday, restaurants in Philadelphia are no longer allowed to offer indoor dining, and outdoor dinner will be limited to groups of just four people from the same household.
Dr Farley says the city cannot force people who come from different households to dine outdoors, but the city is asking residents and restaurants to help enforce those rules to prevent further spread.
The new restrictions do not allow any indoor gatherings, public or private. The business is urged to allow employees to work from home whenever possible.
These newly banned internal gatherings include weddings, funerals and home visits.
Outdoor gatherings are limited to 1
Youth, community and school sports will also be banned, and teams traveling to suburban districts to compete are invited to end the practice.
Colleges and high schools are prohibited from organizing personal training. Kindergartens and primary and secondary schools will be able to continue, and access centers will remain open according to the safety protocols outlined by the city.
Other companies that will close their doors in the second round of restrictions include gyms, museums, casinos, libraries, bowling alleys, arcades, theaters and other venues.
READ: Philadelphia Announces New Safer Home Restrictions to Combat Rising COVID-19 Cases
The city is also tightening restrictions on retail stores, asking them to limit employment to no more than five people per thousand square meters, including staff. Wearing a mask will continue to be required of both employees and customers.
Religious institutions are encouraged to conduct their services online, but are allowed to perform personal services with no more than five people per thousand square meters.
The new restrictions will be in effect until at least January 1st, Mayor Kenny said on Monday. Although these new rules take effect by Friday, Dr. Farley asked residents to start following them immediately.
“There is no doubt that these changes are necessary. We need to act now to reduce the growth rate and level the curve once again,” Kenny told a news conference on Monday. “This will help alleviate the potential burden on our hospitals. It will help slow the spread of the virus and, most importantly, save lives.”
As for the figures, Kenny says the average number of new cases registered per day has jumped 700% in less than two months, and the number of average cases per day last week was higher than the highest the worst week in April.
“This winter wave will result in approximately as many deaths as we had during the spring wave, which is 1,700,” Dr. Farely predicted on Monday.
“If we don’t do something to change the trajectory of this epidemic, hospitals will fill up, people will have difficulty treating people, and we will have between a few hundred and more than a thousand deaths by the end of this year,” Dr. Farley added. .
Dr. Farley added that the health department monitors the spread of the virus in a number of conditions, including in households, between households and during social gatherings, both large and small. He also mentioned events such as weddings and funerals, along with businesses such as restaurants that contribute to the spread.
The city reported 2,564 new coronavirus cases and eight new deaths on Monday.
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