By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s new “Safer at Home” COVID restrictions are now in full effect. The new rules were put in place effective 5 p.m. on Friday in hopes of stemming the spread of the coronavirus as new cases continue to topple records in the region and the country.

All indoor gatherings with people from more than one household are now prohibited in Philadelphia through the end of the year. Indoor dining is also banned, along with youth sports, theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, game spaces, museums, libraries, casinos, and gyms.

The restrictions went into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday and will last until at least Jan. 1, 2021, meaning that it will be dining al fresco only now in the city.

On Saturday, the weather was a saving grace for Philadelphians.

“It’s a beautiful night in Philadelphia,” Dar Maldonado, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, said.

Maldonado was in Philadelphia on Saturday night celebrating his birthday.

“The industry is alive in Philadelphia, for sure,” Maldonado said.

The self-proclaimed foodie vows to continue to eat out, even after the warm temperatures disappear.

“That’s where I feel I come in play, I want to help these smaller businesses,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado isn’t the only one.

“I’ll be out all winter, I can’t stand being in my place. I’ll try to do what I can,” Chad Greber said.

Restaurants along the 2nd Street corridor in Old City want to keep patrons coming.

“Dining tables, heat lamps, wind breaks,” Barry Gutin, who works at Cuba Libre, said. “We have blankets.”

While the lamps keep diners nice and toasty, some are just happy to be out enjoying the beautiful weather.

“The heating lamp works, so it does make a difference and it feels good out,” Eddie Maldonado said.

“It feels amazing, just good family time and everything,” Aidan Maldonado said.

Over at Love Park, family time at the Christmas Village weekend preview is a must.

“It’s definitely calmer, definitely more spaced out. They normally have it super-condensed,” Rudy Coboentz said.

With half the usual number of vendors, “It gives a chance to get out and do a little something in a safe kind of environment with not too many people with open air,” Rick DaGostino said.

The entire village, including the food court, is crowd-controlled and shopping is now isolated to the perimeter.

There is a lot to enjoy in the city during this break in the weather. Restaurants are definitely embracing it, despite the restrictions.

One owner says they’ll continue to lose money on a weekly basis, but their goal is to find ways to lose less money as time goes by.


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