Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced in a press conference Tuesday that it will drop its “Safer At Home” coronavirus restrictions on June 11.
The mask mandate will still be enforced but stores, gyms, bars, and restaurants will all be open with limited restrictions. The coronavirus pandemic hit the city hard. Philly, which has a population of about 1.5 million, had nearly 150,000 total coronavirus cases and more than 3,500 deaths. Although the city is gearing up to reopen, Kenney is urging residents to continue being safe.
“We are not yet declaring victory because cases and hospitalizations can rise again at any point if we’re not diligent. I urge everyone to be smart, to continue wearing masks around others, and most importantly, to join the more than half a million fellow Philadelphians who already got their vaccine,” Kenney said according to ABC6.
The rest of Pennsylvania is set to reopen on Memorial Day, but the city of brotherly love will reopen two weeks later as it is the most densely populated city in the state. Additionally, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told NBC Philadelphia the city wanted a little more time to relax rules.
“I know the shutdown has been extremely difficult for everyone… everyone has suffered from being separated from others,” Farley said while noting he believes the previous restrictions saved thousands of lives.
Throughout the pandemic, Philadelphia has often delayed relaxing restrictions until after the state has just to be careful.
Many restrictions will begin being relaxed beginning May 21. Restaurants can open indoors at 50% capacity and can be at 75% if they pass certain ventilation qualifiers. The city will also drop its requirement that alcohol must be purchased with food. Offices will be allowed to operate with no density limits, however, mask requirements will stay in effect.
Retail stores, bowling alleys, museums, and libraries will also be allowed to operate without density limits but masking will still be enforced. Gyms and pools will have 75% capacity and indoor exercise classes will be limited to 25 people.
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have all coordinated their reopening for next week, May 19.