Amid ongoing Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism, Philly will be under curfew again Thursday night, starting at 8 p.m. and lasting until 6 a.m. Friday morning. During that time, people can only leave their homes to go to work at essential businesses — restaurants and grocery stores are not considered essential in this case — or to seek medical attention or police assistance. This is the sixth straight night of curfews, though this one begins later than Wednesday’s, which started at 6 p.m.
The protests kicked off in Philly on Saturday, May 30, as part of a nationwide response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by Minneapolis police officers. Alongside peaceful marches, the city has seen vandalism, looting, vigilante stupidity, and police aggression.
Restaurants in Philly are still closed for any type of on-premises dining, indoor or outdoor, so the curfew doesn’t directly deter diners looking to eat out, since they can’t go to restaurants anyway. But it does mean restaurants have to stop takeout service earlier than they may have planned tonight, and adds to the confusion over when restaurants will be allowed to open beyond takeout.
Philly is still in the red, or first, phase of Pennsylvania’s three-phase plan for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s expected to move into the yellow phase, which includes some easing of coronavirus-related restrictions, on Friday, though Mayor Jim Kenney has yet to confirm that.
Even if Philly does move into yellow tomorrow, it’s unclear what that will mean for restaurants. Originally, there was no change from the red to yellow phase, with restaurants limited to takeout in both. Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that restaurants in the yellow phase can offer outdoor dining, with significant restrictions, starting June 5.
But shortly after that announcement, Mayor Jim Kenney said the city hadn’t yet decided when outdoor dining could start. With a week of protests meaning people gathering en masse throughout the city during a pandemic, it seems unlikely outdoor dining will be allowed tomorrow.