Philadelphia further eases COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants and catered events

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Philadelphia is relaxing COVID-19 restrictions after the city’s rate of new COVID-19 cases declined last week.

Credit: Max Mester

Philadelphia is further easing COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants and indoor gatherings starting May 7.

City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley told a news conference that the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia declined last week, allowing restrictions to be eased. Indoor catering events can now resume and the city is increasing limits on indoor restaurant capacity and table sizes, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Restaurants can increase indoor catering capacity by 25% to 50% or 50% to 75% for restaurants that meet the city’s improved ventilation standards. Table size limits will be increased from four to six people indoors and from six to 10 people outdoors.

Indoor catering events can also resume, with a 25% capacity limit for event spaces and a maximum of 75 people. If cases continue to drop, Farley said the limit could double on May 21.

Still, Farley encouraged the Philadelphian to host outdoor events whenever possible. None of the new rules depend on vaccination status because the city cannot enforce the vaccination, Farley said.

Masks will be required at catered events and can only be removed when people are seated at a table and eating, according to the Inquirer.

The city recently reduced restrictions on restaurants on Friday, increasing outdoor dining capacity and allowing bar seating to reopen.

Farley said more specific guidelines would be released later this week.

Pennsylvania also announced on Tuesday that the state was relaxing its mask guidelines to align with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pennsylvanians who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks for small outdoor gatherings or alfresco dining with friends and family from different households.

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