There’s a chance indoor dining at Philly restaurants could be allowed starting Friday, July 3, depending on what happens over the next two weeks.
The city released its Reopening with Care plan on Thursday, June 18, outlining a strategy for moving to the third phase (a.k.a. the green phase) of Pennsylvania’s three-phase reopening plan. Philly is currently in yellow, with restaurants allowed to offer takeout, delivery, walk-up ordering, and outdoor dining. That last one, outdoor dining, just started on Friday, June 12, and includes a long list of restrictions, including limits on occupancy.
In the green phase, Philly restaurants can add indoor dining, also with limited occupancy.
Philly is now expected to move into a modified version of the green phase on June 26 and a fuller version of the green phase, with more things permitted, including indoor dining, in early July. The Department of Public Health is looking at several factors to determine whether or not that will happen. July 3 is the earliest date on the table.
“I’m excited to see the progress Philadelphia has made against this epidemic. But we will be cautious on how we reopen. Philadelphia is uniquely at risk, as the most densely populated county in the state, with the highest number of cases and deaths from COVID. We don’t want to see a second wave of this epidemic. We will be more careful and will be more restrictive than the Commonwealth in what activities are allowed and how they can operate,” Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Thursday. In other words, just because Gov. Tom Wolf says something is allowed in Pennsylvania, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s allowed in Philly.
Factors the city is evaluating include the number of new cases, the trend in case counts, the number of test sites, the number of tests performed, contact tracing capabilities, and hospital capacity. The target is fewer than 80 confirmed case counts per day (as of June 15, the city is at around 100).
There’s also an “adherence to guidance” category which translates to how many people are wearing masks inside public spaces. That’s listed as around 60 percent currently; there isn’t yet a target number that will have to be reached before moving into the green phase.
The health department says it will release more guidelines for restaurants and other businesses next week.