Philadelphia is halting plans to allow indoor dining, bars, gyms and fitness centers to reopen. Officials said the city is seeing rising case counts and could be affected by a growing epidemic elsewhere in the country. Those businesses had been scheduled to reopen this Friday.
Gyms and fitness centers will remain closed, and the city’s bars and restaurants will not be permitted to offer dining indoors. Museums, libraries, indoor shopping malls, and casinos will be allowed to reopen with mandatory mask usage and maintained social distance between patrons; no food, drink, or smoking indoors will be allowed. Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed as well.
“We will pause these activities until August 1, but we will re-evaluate weekly,” said Health Commissioner Tom Farley.
He added that if cases continue to rise in Philadelphia, “it is possible that we will have to backtrack, and close activities that we are currently allowing.”
“It was a difficult decision,” said Farley, citing the importance of weighing both economic and health effects of potential reopening. “The virus kills, but poverty kills too.”
“Nothing has changed about the virus, nothing has changed about the human body since March. The only thing that’s going to change is how we behave.”