A week after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the Commonwealth — but not Philly — would fully reopen on May 31, Philly health officials confirmed on Tuesday, May 11 that the city would fully reopen on Friday, June 11. The announcement from city officials means that restaurants and bars will soon be able to operate without social distancing or capacity limits. Wearing masks while not eating or drinking will still be required.
Coronavirus case counts have been on a steady decline in Philly as more of the city’s residents have gotten vaccinated. As of Wednesday, 46.9 percent of eligible Philly residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Deaths in the city are also slowing. With this information, Mayor Jim Kenney says the reopening is “a moment worth celebrating.”
Some changes in Philly will come before the June 11. Beginning on Friday, May 21, diners will no longer have to order food with alcohol, and distance between chair backs will be reduced from six feet to three feet. The indoor dining capacity will stay at 50 percent (or 75 percent with added ventilation requirements) until all restrictions on capacity and distancing are removed on June 11. Unlike Pennsylvania, however, Philly has not set a date for when masking mandates will be lifted. In Pennsylvania, masks will no longer be required when 70 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. Currently, 45.6 percent of state residents are fully vaccinated.
While Kenney says this is an exciting update, he’s asking city residents to stay mindful. “The pandemic is not over,” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Hospitalizations can rise again at any point if we’re not careful.”