In a news conference on Tuesday, April 27, Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced that Philly restaurants can expand indoor dining capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent. Restaurants that had previously passed city-mandated ventilation requirements may increase capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent. The new capacity rules take effect on Friday, May 7.
The new regulations will also impact group seating limits: Restaurants can increase from 4 people to 6 people per seated group inside. Tables at restaurants outdoors can expand from 6 people to 10 people. Diners no longer have to be from the same household to eat together.
Beginning in January, Philly restaurants began opening for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity, and in February that number increased to 50 percent capacity if restaurants passed city-regulated air quality inspections and had up-to-date HVAC systems.
The updates were made in response to declining COVID-19 case numbers in April as a result of a greater number of people being vaccinated. This change catches Philly up to Pennsylvania on a whole, where indoor capacity was relaxed to 75 percent in March.
The Centers For Disease Control also released adjusted guidelines for outdoor activities for fully vaccinated individuals on Tuesday. People who are fully vaccinated are now considered safe to gather in small groups outdoors and on restaurant patios. Dining outdoors is still considered somewhat risky for non-vaccinated individuals and those who haven’t received all their doses of multi-shot vaccines.
For updated information on coronavirus cases locally, visit the City of Philadelphia website.