Indoor dining will resume in Philly next month


Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced last week that the city of Philadelphia will be able to resume indoor dining early next month. The new ordinance goes into effect after Labor Day on September 8th and will allow establishments to allow indoor dining with specific restrictions that mirror those given for outdoor dining. 

According to a release the few of the new restrictions will include keeping a cap at 25% capacity indoors with no more than four diners per table, having tables arranged so that diners at separate tables are at least six feet apart or have an impermeable barrier between them, having servers wear both masks and face shields for additional protection and no bar service. If patrons do wish to purchase alcohol, they can do so at their table while eating their meal. Last call for all indoor dining orders will also be cut off at 11 pm and all establishments will also be required to be closed for service by midnight.

The experience will look a bit different as well. The new list of restrictions also states that restaurants must install physical barriers such as sneeze guards or partitions in restaurant kitchens and at cash registers, host stands, and food pick-up areas where maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet is difficult. Restaurants must also screen every employee for symptoms before every shift and prevent them from remaining on-site if they have a cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, or new loss of taste or smell under the new ordinance.

Another recommendation was made for eateries stating that they should look into increasing ventilation in their establishments to further decrease the risk of transmission.

 “We are announcing this change now in order to give restaurant operators sufficient time to prepare,” said Dr. Farley in a statement. “However, we move forward with an abundance of caution. Between now and September 8, should we witness an increase in the rate of COVID-19 case counts in Philadelphia, we will reconsider whether this change is still viable.” 

Outdoor dining will also still be able to continue as long as the capacity stays at 50 people or under. 

The Department of Public Health also made an announcement saying that bowling alleys, arcades, and other indoor games will be allowed to resume effective immediately, and indoor theaters and movie theaters will be allowed to reopen on September 8. Venues, much like restaurants, are not to exceed 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 25 people allowed. All of these venues will need to prohibit food and drink on-site in order to open as well. 

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