Philly Enacts Long New List of COVID Rules, Restrictions and Outright Prohibitions

Life as you know it, or at least as you've known it for the last few months, is about to change dramatically.

a COVID sign in Philadelphia, which has just announced new Philadelphia COVID restrictions

A COVID prevention sign in Philadelphia, which has just announced new Philadelphia COVID restrictions (Photo via City of Philadelphia)

UPDATE: The city says that even outdoor Thanksgiving dinner parties are banned. For the full story, click here.

Amid surging COVID cases in Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney and health secretary Thomas Farley announced new Philadelphia COVID restrictions during a Monday afternoon press conference.

These new restrictions go into effect on Friday, November 20th and are set to continue all the way through January 1st, though the city was quick to note that these restrictions could be extended, and that new, more restrictive measures could be put in place.

“We do not take any of this lightly,” said Kenney. “And believe me, more than anything in the world, I wish none of this was necessary. But there is no doubt these changes are necessary.”

Philly’s COVID restrictions affect a wide range of local businesses and activities.

The city has prohibited indoor dining entirely, while outdoor tables are limited to four people, who are supposed to come from the same household. (Farley admitted this is basically impossible to enforce.) Check our Philadelphia Outdoor Dining Guide for the best local al fresco options. Wear a sweater.

Casinos, museums, theaters and other performance venues must shut down entirely. Gyms cannot offer indoor workouts or classes. High schools and colleges must go virtual, with the exception of clinical instructions for health science classes.

The city is also, notably, banning indoor gatherings involving people from different households. So if you live within the city limits and plan on having your grandmother or your next door neighbor over for Thanksgiving next week, think again – unless you have a picnic table/outdoor heater set up. This extends to indoor weddings, funerals, and wedding and baby showers. It basically includes everything, with the exception of religious gatherings. You’re allowed to go to church, but churches must limit crowds to five percent of occupancy.

“We encourage all religious institutions to hold their services online only,” Farley told reporters during the press conference.

Salons, spas and barbershops are allowed to remain open. But staff members and customers must be masked at all times. If you were hoping to get a facial or a shave next week, you can’t do it in Philly.

Retail stores can continue to keep their doors open, but the city has lowered their legal capacity five people per 1,000 square feet. So that line outside the Apple Store on Walnut Street is just going to get longer, as if that were possible.

Unaffected by the new restrictions are pharmacies, banks, Uber and Lyft, hotels, food trucks, daycare centers and elementary and middle schools.

Farley pointed out that these new restrictions apply only to Philadelphia. But he’s asking neighboring counties to implement the same restrictions.

“We all use the same hospitals,” Farley said. “We all interact with each other. We’re all in this together.”

For the complete list of new restrictions and guidelines, go here.