Coronavirus in Philadelphia: Indoor dining will resume on September 8, says Mayor Jim Kenney

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – Philadelphia-based eateries will be allowed to reopen with restrictions on Sept. 8, Mayor Kenney announced Thursday.

“We need to follow what we are asked to do by the health department,” Kenney said. “I beg you to follow the rules.”

Indoor dining will be covered at 25% capacity, with tables allowing a maximum number of four seats, said Health Commissioner Dr Thomas Farley.

Farley said all servers should wear face masks and face shields. Seating at bar will not be allowed and alcohol must be served with food.

“We ask restaurant managers to take these restrictions very seriously, and to follow them,” he said.

Barry Gutin owns Cuba Libre on Second Street and of course says this is great news.

“We have far too much capacity. We hope to continue to fill it in the future,” Gutin said.

But getting here has not been easy.

“Even with the seats outside, we are still fighting to survive,” Gutin said.

He hopes everyone in the sector meets the guidelines.

However, the announcement for indoor dining was not well received by all restaurant owners.

“I can’t hold my breath. That’s number one. It could change after this interview,” said Bodega Bar and kitchen owner Steve Vasiliadis.

Vasiliadis, who has spoken to Action News on several fronts about the plight of some restaurant owners during the pandemic, says the announcement comes too late.

“On a personal level, a lot of people who are in the business are suffering terribly and they are on their way to closing their doors,” he said.

Farley said they decided on September 8 specifically to prevent Labor Day holiday crowds.

From 20 August, the Department of Public Health will reopen these locations with restrictions:
– The bowling alley
– Arcades
– Games room (throwing axes, mini golf, swimming pool, ping pong, escape rooms, and other indoor play facilities)

North Bowl in Northern Liberties is open again.

Owner Oron Daskal said, “I’m proud of Philadelphia. I’m proud we did our best. We do every other job with half-hour steps in between so we can disinfect.”

On September 8, additional restrictions will be lifted, including the reopening of cinemas with restrictions.

Out of town, AMC cinemas have reopened, as in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.

They now mostly show reviews. There is reduced capacity, social distance and masks are required.

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