PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Jim Kenney says Philadelphia is on track to enter the green phase of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan as early as July 3. In announcing plans for Reopening With Care, the mayor said on Thursday that it’s contingent on COVID-19 rates continuing to decline.
“While we’re anticipating this will happen as early as July 3, I want to remind everyone that our actions each day will determine whether we are indeed able to take that next step,” Kenney said. “Let me reemphasize that, our own actions will determine whether we will be able to move forward or not. As you’ve seen in other areas of the country, that irresponsibility has set them back, so let’s not go there.”
Kenney, along with Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, also outlined plans Thursday for lifting restrictions next week in Philadelphia as COVID-19 cases continue to go down in the city.
Kenney says the city will allow certain activities not considered to be high risk and permitted in Gov. Tom Wolf’s yellow phase to resume on Friday, June 26.
The activities include residential swimming pools and private swim clubs, salons, barber shops and spas, religious gatherings up to 25 people and zoos from the outside only.
“It’s the result of people following the stay-at-home order, the people of Philadelphia didn’t just flatten the curve, you suppressed the virus and in the process saved thousands of lives,” Farley said. “Each activity will come with very specific guidance, our safe mode guidance and a safety checklist.”
New for Yellow Phase: These activities can resume on June 26:
–Residential swimming pools and private swim clubs
–Zoos (outside only)
–Personal services such as salons, barbers, and spas
–Small indoor social and religious gatherings (up to 25 people)
— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) June 18, 2020
Those safety measures include things such as face masks, social distancing, limiting people, checking symptoms, cleaning and hygiene.
“People come about talk about sports, politics,” Mark Lightfoot said.
For 30 years, Lightfoot has run his Germantown barber shop, the Philadelphia Hair Company, without so much as a vacation.
“A haircut can change you. You could have raggedy clothes on and a new haircut and you could look like a million dollars,” Lightfoot said.
But that feeling of rejuvenation he offered customers came to an abrupt stop in late March.
“When you saw the NBA stop in the middle of the game, you knew it was for real,” Lightfoot said.
The mandated COVID-19 closure was a hit financially and mentally, but Lightfoot decided to use the time to renovate.
“I’m going to make sure that they finish, it’s not that much, they got to hurry up,” Lightfoot said. “I’m going to have the signs put up next week.”
So now it’s a dash — a happy one, albeit — to finish up the barber shop in time to reopen next Friday.
As for the new sign, Lightfoot said, “I want everyone to be shocked and amazed when they come in, like this is real nice — a real nice clean environment.”
Once Philadelphia enters the green phase, Kenney says outdoor recreational and sports activities can resume, as well as gyms, schools and colleges, libraries and museums, shopping malls, small outdoor events up to 50 people and restaurants with indoor seating with some occupancy restrictions.
Kenney says Philadelphia will still prohibit or restrict some activities that are allowed by the state in the green phase. Casinos, indoor theaters and large gatherings will not be immediately allowed in the city. There’s no date as to when those might be allowed.
“Many people seem to think green means go, green therefore means everything is allowed, green does not mean every activity is allowed,” Farley said, “and green in Philadelphia will be more restrictive than green the rest of Pennsylvania both in what activities are allowed and how they must take place.”
Philadelphia officials announced an additional 68 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the citywide total to 24,723. Ten new deaths were also reported. To date, there have been 1,513 deaths related to COVID-19.
Officials say 51% of the city’s deaths from COVID-19 are from long-term care facility residents.
Wolf said Thursday face masks continue to be considered critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“In yellow and green counties, it is required that masks are worn when visiting businesses to protect employees, employees’ families and communities as a whole,” Wolf said. “Mask-wearing has proven to be an important deterrent to the spread of the virus, and as more counties move to green and more things reopen, we need to be vigilant in our efforts to continue our mitigation efforts.”e of the virus in the fall.”
CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.