City restaurants to begin 50% indoor dining capacity

by Kate Dolan
Posted 10/2/20

Beginning Friday October 2, restaurants in Philadelphia can increase indoor dining capacity to 50% from 25%.

The decision is the most recent example of scaled back COVID-19 safety restrictions and …

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City restaurants to begin 50% indoor dining capacity

Posted

Beginning Friday October 2, restaurants in Philadelphia can increase indoor dining capacity to 50% from 25%.

The decision is the most recent example of scaled back COVID-19 safety restrictions and comes as a result of decreasing case counts in the city. It also puts Philadelphia in line with the rest of the state which went to 50% indoor capacity on September 21.

“It’s important though to know that there are other restrictions here,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, detailing the requirements restaurants in the city must satisfy in addition to those set by the state.

Under the governor’s rules, restaurants have to self-certify that they are following state and Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on the Department of Health’s website. The city restrictions include tables spaced so that diners at different tables are six feet apart and tables cannot have more than four diners.

“The idea is that we want only household members to be dining together,” said Farley. “We don’t want people from different households to be dining together because that will increase the opportunity of spread between households which is a big part of our problem right now.”

Alcohol is only served with a meal and seating at bars is prohibited. Servers must wear masks and face shields. The city encourages improved ventilation while Farley emphasized the importance of maintaining outdoor seating availability as it’s a safer environment for diners.

Farley reminded residents that restrictions would be implemented again if cases rise as he’s done a few times throughout the gradual reopening. Overall, he pointed towards the city’s continued progress.

“Our falling case counts in Philadelphia over the past few weeks show the success of our strategy,” said Farley. “Our strategy involves containment, and that’s testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine, and also the social distancing restrictions, limits on people gathering together, trying to keep people separate and the use of masks.”

The percent of people wearing masks in the city’s observations of people at SEPTA stations and leaving retail stores has fallen. It reached 90% a few weeks ago but has since dropped to 76%. Farley stressed continued mask use even as case counts decrease.

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