PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia is expanding its indoor dining and outdoor gathering limits next week. The expansion comes as COVID-19 cases in the city have slowed down and more coronavirus vaccines are going into the arms of residents.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said Tuesday that beginning May 7, indoor dining capacity at Philadelphia restaurants can expand to 50% and 75% for businesses that meet “enhanced ventilation standards.”READ MORE: Philadelphia Officials Expected To Provide Update On Reopening Timeline Tuesday, Sources Say
Indoor table sizes can also expand to six people indoors and 10 people for outdoor dining. Customers can also sit with people from other households. Restaurants are still required to follow COVID-19 guidance, including masks when customers are not at their table and social distancing tables at least 6 feet apart.
Under the relaxed restrictions, indoor catered events can resume at 25% capacity of the space but with a cap of 75 people total. Officials say if COVID-19 cases continue to fall, they may increase that capacity to 150 people as early as May 21.
“If the case rates continue to fall, we’ll increase that cap from 75 persons to 150 persons as of May 21,” Farley said. “Other gatherings and events we will increase capacity limits to meet the state’s standards of 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors for other gatherings.”READ MORE: 13-Year-Old Among Injured In Allentown Triple Shooting
Indoor gatherings and events may also increase their maximum capacity to 25% of normal capacity and outdoor gatherings and events will be able to increase to 50% capacity.
Farley recommends that anyone planning to participate in these higher-risk and higher-density events should be vaccinated first.
Health officials announced 469 new COVID-19 cases in the city Tuesday, bringing the citywide total to 137,500. There were also 10 additional coronavirus-related deaths, as the death toll reached 3,452.MORE NEWS: Tyree Roundtree Shot, Killed By Co-Worker Over $1,500 In Construction Wages, Philadelphia Police Say
In all of these situations, the health commissioner made a strong recommendation that anyone participating in these higher-risk and higher-density events should be vaccinated first.