By Jan Carabeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Stricter COVID-19 restrictions are now in effect across Philadelphia. The new restrictions went into effect at 5 p.m.

Among the changes are closing museums, libraries, and gyms. Youth and community sports are also prohibited.

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“I’m just upset we can’t stay healthy like it’s hard to get outside,” Philadelphia resident Colton Smith said.

Indoor dining is now prohibited and outdoor dining will be limited to four people of the same household.

“It’s a bummer, but we’ve been through it before. We’ll get through it again,” Caroline Franano of Media said.

Health officials say the new restrictions are meant to contain the now surging number of COVID-19 cases in the city.

But many don’t believe the new restrictions will do the trick.

“I work loss prevention in a department store in Center City, and I come into more contact with people there than I do in the gym,” Jo Hewitt of South Philadelphia said.

Retail is still allowed.

Salons, hotels and religious sites will also remain open with limitations.

And the ever-popular Christmas Village in Center City is also a go.

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“The Christmas Village celebration is just a wonderful event and it helps lift people spirits. But here’s the thing, outdoor gatherings, the Philadelphia Department of Health even said avoid large outdoor gatherings,” Jefferson Health Northeast Program Director of Family Medicine Dr. Rob Danoff said.

This year’s village only features half the usual number of vendors, and each is spaced 10 feet apart. All guests must wear masks.

But the nearby Christmas Market does have a disclaimer on its website reading, “Please be aware that exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit.”

It goes on to say, “Guests should evaluate their own risk in determining whether to attend.”

“Anyone at higher risk of disease, we’re encouraging, please, it’s better not to go. Don’t take a chance right now,” Dr. Danoff said.

City officials acknowledge that these restrictions may mean further business closures and job loss, but the concern is COVID cases will overwhelm hospitals.

The closures will last until at least the new year.


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