PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia health officials say they’re seeing a drop in demands for the COVID-19 vaccines, and they are stepping up outreach to get more shots in people’s arms. However, city officials said Friday they feel confident enough to loosen some restrictions on restaurants, effective immediately.
From a chilly morning to a cool afternoon, it’s a nice day to be outside, but while the temperature has gone up, the volume of people heading to get vaccinated in the city has been trending down. That has Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley concerned, even as he allows some loosened restaurant restrictions.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
Sunglasses, delicious food, and stellar company.
“Outdoor dining with an atmosphere set up and you still have social distancing,” Donna Hogan said. “I think that’s perfect because we need to live again.”
But the nice weather belies the ongoing risk posed by rising city COVID-19 rates.
“As more people are being vaccinated and just keep distancing and maintaining the little bit of distance between tables and air circulation,” Chad Calderon said.READ MORE: Mothers Who Lost Sons To Gun Violence Gather At Dell Music Center To Receive Potted Flower On Mother's Day
Farley says, as of Friday, 708,000 people in the city have received at least their first vaccine. That’s promising, but vaccination numbers are down, and demand is slowing. There is now a strong push to get people who haven’t already gotten their shots to get them.
“Outdoor dining is safer, but people that are vaccinated and they’re not worried,” Nilton Volpato said.
The news is positive enough for the city to reinforce that outdoor dining can increase to more than 50 people and restaurants with a bar can seat up to four people from the same household in a group.
Farley says bars, where people are drinking and not eating, are generally riskier than restaurants.
“We’re allowing it now because there are restrictions we think we can have on bar seating that will make it no riskier than table seating,” Farley said.MORE NEWS: Police: Teenager, 23-Year-Old Killed In Quintuple Shooting In Olney
Farley says the city will continue to watch infection rates and keep encouraging people to get vaccinated. Walk-up access is available at many of the city vaccination sites.