PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia health officials are expected to put a hold on the planned reopening scheduled for this Friday, July 3. The official announcement is expected to come Tuesday, impacting indoor restaurant service, gyms, libraries and malls.
Opening too fast runs the risk of increasing cases of COVID-19. That’s what’s happening in other parts of the country.
Philadelphia wants to gradually lift restrictions, especially now that the coronavirus has plateaued in the city.
“We’re no longer seeing the decline that we were seeing before,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
The health commissioner says Philadelphia is now averaging 100 cases of COVID-19 a day, still not meeting the green reopening target of 80 cases.
So the planned lifting of restrictions on indoor activities, like gyms and restaurants, probably won’t happen as tentatively scheduled this Friday.
“I think we need to be very cautious about reopening now in view of that big wave across the United States,” Farley said. “Maybe we shouldn’t be opening things up, particularly high-risk activities — any activity where people are indoors, close together, not wearing masks is high-risk activity.”
Farley says the new cases are part of a national trend of young people contracting coronavirus. It’s prompted Philadelphia to make wearing masks mandatory inside and in crowded areas.
In Pittsburgh, bars are being closed because of a surge in cases, again, among younger people.
“They’ve traveled out of state, often to hot spots across the country like Florida, Texas, the beaches along the Carolinas, and recently visited bars, particularly in the Southside and Oakland,” Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen said.
“This is a war that we’re all in,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said.
Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine visited a hospital in Harrisburg Monday to thank all health care workers. They’re hoping the state’s slight increase in cases won’t be part of the trend happening in other parts of the country.
“We still have to be careful, we have to stay vigilant, we have to stay alert. COVID-19 is still present in our communities, it represents a danger,” Levine said.
Most of the state of Pennsylvania is now in the green phase of reopening. One exception is Philadelphia, where salons, private pools and outdoor dining are all being allowed to operate.
There is no indication yet on how long the continued restrictions on indoor activities will continue.