PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s road to recovery got a little more clear Thursday after the city released more information about restaurant reopenings. City officials want to make sure that every restaurant in every neighborhood in the city can reopen safely with outdoor dining.
On Thursday, they laid out plans as to how that can happen.
As Philadelphia begins to settle into the yellow phase of reopening businesses and day care centers, outdoor dining will become an option for residents beginning Friday.
“Today we did release guidelines for outdoor dining, which we hope will provide businesses throughout Philadelphia the opportunity to reopen with safe options. Restaurants that have patio areas on their properties or already have sidewalk cafe licenses are authorized to offer outdoor seating beginning tomorrow,” City Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.
The city is also expanding outdoor dining opportunities. Restaurants that may not already have outdoor seating areas can now apply for a permit to create them where space is permitted.
“What we need for folks to do is to register if they do not have enough sidewalk space currently, and also there’s gonna need to be a zoning permit for folks who are using a parking lot or and adjacent lot,” Deputy Managing Director for Transportation and Infrastructure Michael Caroll said.
While restrictions on dining are being loosened, the city has also released any further restrictions on construction. Sites with permits can resume work in full capacity.
COVID-19 cases are continuing to spiral downward in the city, making health officials more confident about reopening. But larger gatherings of up to 25 people are still not recommended.
“We are still differing a little bit from the state in that we are not recommending any social or religious gatherings,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
The city will begin accepting permit applications for outdoor dining on Friday.