PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Lawmakers are doing what they can to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which includes a multi-million dollar request from the mayor’s office and a prohibition on large events. Philadelphia city officials are prohibiting public gatherings involving more than 1,000 people for the next 30 days over coronavirus fears.
“Effective today, we are prohibiting public gatherings involving more than 1,000 people in the city of Philadelphia for the next 30 days,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said during a press conference on Thursday.READ MORE: Free Health Initiative Begins At Sanctuary Farms In North Philadelphia Tuesday
At this point, there are no plans curtail mass transit.
The School District of Philadelphia announced Thursday that 63 city schools will be closed on Friday due to a staff shortage caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
While there is only one confirmed case in the city, Farley said the testing availability and the turnaround time for those under investigation for COVID-19 have been limited. No results were reported to city officials today or yesterday.
“We expect and must prepare for additional cases of COVID-19 infection here in the city of Philadelphia. More people will get sick and we have to expect there will be deaths as a result of this,” Farley said.
Philadelphia lawmakers are hoping to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus with a new bill that would allot $85 million for relief efforts.
Councilmember Maria Quinones Sanchez introduced the ordinance on Thursday. If approved, the money would come from the General Fund Balance and would give the managing director a quicker opportunity to support services as needed.
“As you can see we are operating under different circumstances,” City Council President Darrell Clarke said.
The bill introduction was made as people in council chambers sat one seat apart as part of lawmakers’ efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.READ MORE: At Least 2 Buildings Evacuated Due To Gas Smell During Barricade Situation In West Oak Lane: Police
Councilmember Kendra Brooks called on the city to develop an action plan to support and protect service and health care workers from COVID-19. That includes paid time off benefits.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Helen Gym is calling for temporary moratoriums on evictions, tax liens and residential foreclosures.
“We, as leaders, need to understand that our public health is also tied to economic security,” Gym said.
The city’s Office of Homeless Services says it sees nearly 1,000 people a month at risk of eviction and homelessness and so they support a temporary moratorium.
“Anything that hits the public hits the homeless harder because they don’t have a place to live,” Office of Homeless Services Director Liz Hersh said.
Across the city, events are getting canceled due to coronavirus concerns. The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau says three events this week alone were supposed to bring 25,000 people to the city.
The Kimmel Center, which has more than a 3000-seat capacity, says more than 200 performances have been canceled.
“We are currently working to reschedule all performances taking place in our venues between tomorrow and April 11, 2020,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The Wells Fargo Center says it has postponed events at the facility for the rest of the month.
The NBA and NHL have suspended its seasons and MLB has delayed Opening Day by two weeks.MORE NEWS: Woman In Critical Condition After Struck By Police Vehicle In South Philadelphia
CBS3’s Crystal Cranmore and Greg Argos contributed to this report.