What there is to know
- Philadelphia will stop eating indoors, close gyms and museums, and restrict gatherings inside homes starting Friday, November 20. The restrictions are expected to last six weeks.
- Outdoor gatherings will have new limits of people and food and drink will not be permitted. Youth sports must end the game.
- Early childhood education and childcare can continue to operate in person with strict safety protocols.
Philadelphia announced new coronavirus restrictions on Monday aimed at tackling the lack of mask wearing and social distancing inside public spaces, restaurants, gyms and inside private homes.
The restrictions bring the city back to the bans that were put in place during the spring COVID-19 outbreak. Under the restrictions that go into effect on Friday, indoor parties and meals will be canceled; fitness centers, museums and libraries will be closed; and eating and drinking will not be permitted at outdoor gatherings. We have a full description of the new restrictions below.
Takeaways, deliveries and al fresco dining with new limitations may continue to work. Hairdressers and barbers will be allowed to continue operating with the current restrictions in place.
Philadelphia has seen a precipitous increase in new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks – from nearly 400 new infections on November 4 to more than 1,100 on November 13. Across the city, deaths from the disease have exceeded 1,900 since the pandemic began. More than 55,000 residents have been confirmed to have the disease and more than 1,900 people have died.
“Sadly, the epidemic is approaching its worst,” Dr Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, said Monday afternoon. The current COVID-19 positivity rate is 13.4% and the average number of new cases has increased 700% in the past two months, officials said.
The number of confirmed cases per day is doubling about every three weeks, Farley said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said city leaders don’t like putting the restrictions in place, but saving lives is paramount.
“Obviously we don’t like to do this, but we can’t ignore the numbers and we have to take these precautions in order to get back to a healthy situation,” Kenney said.
Pennsylvania has reported 9,675 new cases in the past two days, with more than 2,440 people hospitalized and 531 of them in an intensive care unit. Health Secretary Dr Rachel Levine said on Monday that contact tracing staff were struggling to get people to provide details of where they led to their confirmed infection.
Nationwide, data from NBC News shows the virus is spreading rapidly with more than 133,000 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours. 11.1 million Americans have contracted the disease and at least 240,300 of those people have lost the battle with the virus. Preliminary data from two vaccine candidates – one from Pfizer and one from Moderna – shows they may have a 90% + effectiveness rate, but health officials argue that it will realistically take months to deploy them to the public.
The restrictions are in place as the holiday season approaches. Public health experts fear that family gatherings for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Years will further accelerate the spread of the virus.
Many medical experts have indicated that small gatherings, such as inside homes and around kitchen tables, are top-notch dissemination events due to lack of mask wear and good social distancing .
The Philadelphia restrictions are aimed at reducing the possibilities for people to linger indoors with people not from their homes and where they should remove their face masks.
Farley said contact tracing shows the virus “is spreading all over the place” through a variety of settings.
Left unanswered, Farley and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the city could see more than 3,000 new infections a day and that the hospital’s capacity would be exceeded by the end of the year.
The number of people hospitalized in the city on Monday is higher than it was in April – three weeks after a total shutdown around that time.
“We could totally exceed the hospital capacity of the whole city by the end of 2020,” said Farley. He added that modeling shows that between 700 and 1,400 people could die by the end of 2020.
Farley said that while the restrictions will only be in place for Philadelphia, he is urging his counterparts in the counties surrounding the city of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to adopt similar measures, as many people travel between them and often hospitals. of the city serve the surrounding communities.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday reduced limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings statewide as cases spiked in the Garden State.
Here’s a breakdown of the new COVID-19 restrictions as of Friday 20 November 2020 to Friday 1 January 2021.
Indoor gatherings of any size, in any place, public or private are prohibited
- No indoor parties, group meals, watching group sporting events
- No visit between households
- No indoor weddings, funerals or baby showers
Outdoor gatherings are limited by size and no food or drink
- Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10% occupancy or 10 people per 1,000 square feet; ceiling of 2000 people in very large spaces
- No food or drink can be served to ensure people are wearing their masks at all times
Following Monday’s announcement, the Philadelphia Eagles said fans will no longer be allowed in the stands during home games at Lincoln Financial Field.
Meals inside the restaurant must cease and new changes to outdoor dining
- Dining in restaurants must stop
While restaurants have worked hard to follow precautions, the risk to people indoors in cold weather without a mask is too great, officials said.
- Outdoor meals will be limited to 4 seats per table and all must belong to the same household to avoid spreading the virus from one house to another.
Retail stores may operate with limited occupancy
- Density reduction inside retail stores should be applied
- No more than 5 people per 1000 square feet.
- All staff and customers must wear masks
- Stores should not serve anyone who is not wearing a mask
Museums, theaters, gymnasiums to close and youth sports to stop playing
The following businesses must close or cease operations:
- Youth, community and school sports
- Bowling, arcades and play areas
- Day services for seniors
Youth and community sports organizers are being asked to stop moving games and practices to surrounding counties that have fewer restrictions in place.
Religious institutions can operate with reduced occupation
- Service celebrations are permitted, but with a reduced density of 5% or 5 people per 1000 square feet.
- Online worship services encouraged
Continue to work from home whenever possible
- Workspaces are requested to continue to allow staff to work from home unless their work can be performed in this environment
Online education only for middle and high schools
- Only virtual learning will be allowed for colleges, universities and high schools until January 1, 2021.
Child care centers and access centers, elementary and middle schools will be allowed to continue operating in person with strict safety protocols in place, including universal mask wear and social distancing.
The Philadelphia School District planned to send some students back to classrooms in the coming days, but has put the decision on hold after this recent spike in cases.
City officials say they know children are less likely to fall seriously ill if they contract the disease and that early childhood education is paramount. In addition, essential workers need child care. They highlight the success seen in Europe, where schools have been allowed to remain open while reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Kenney said he and city leaders understand the new restrictions will be devastating for business and pleaded with federal and state leaders to provide stimulus assistance to keep people afloat and help the city fight. against the virus.
“We hope that Congress, sooner or later, maybe sooner, will come up with a bailout for the American people to deal with this problem,” Kenney said. “We cannot just, as a city, manage this on our own. ”
Kenney would not rule out shutting down non-essential businesses altogether if the numbers continue to rise. “We are trying to do it in increments,” the mayor said.
The following companies are allowed to operate with current coronavirus restrictions, the city said:
- Grocery stores and farmers markets
- Home construction, renovation, repair and maintenance
- Manufacturing and warehousing
- Real estate operations and transactions
- Health services
- Home support services, such as home health services
- Taxis and carpooling services
- Outdoor Mobile Food Carts & Trucks
- Drive-in events where people stay in their vehicles
- Child care centers and early learning centers
- Elementary and middle schools
- Access centers for primary and secondary school children
Coronavirus deaths in your city and state – and in the United States
These charts use the daily coronavirus death data from Johns Hopkins University to show the seven-day moving average of deaths at the city, state and country level.
The impact of the coronavirus varies greatly in the United States from place to place.