Mark Makela/Getty Images
Philadelphia is prohibiting most indoor gatherings through Jan. 1., joining cities across the U.S. that have begun to button up again as the coronavirus spreads relentlessly.
High schools and colleges in Philadelphia are moving to remote learning. Restaurants must revert back to takeout, delivery and outdoor dining only. Businesses like bowling alleys, movie theaters and arcades will once again have to shut their doors.
Religious institutions have some leeway, but must limit their indoor gatherings to five people per 1,000 square feet.
The new series of “safer at home” restrictions go into effect this Friday and will run into the beginning of the new year, with extensions and additional restrictions possible, according to the new order. This time around, public and private gatherings are the main target.
Indoor gatherings involving more than one household are prohibited, both in public and in private spaces. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said this means no indoor parties, watching football games or visits between households.
“While we won’t prohibit people from leaving home and interacting, we want to strongly discourage that, because it’s increasingly unsafe to interact with anyone,” he said. “We know that’s a very strong policy, but this gets at the most important sites of spread.”
Additionally, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people per 1,000 square feet, with a cap of no more than 2,000 individuals for the largest of gatherings. And to make sure people keep their masks on, no food or beverages can be served at these outdoor events.
On the bright side, outdoor areas including the city’s parks, trails and playgrounds will remain open for individual use.