MLK Drive Closed to Cars as Philly Looks to Facilitate Social Distancing

The stretch of closed road runs from East Falls Bridge to Eakins Oval

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A stretch of Philadelphia’s Martin Luther King Drive is closed indefinitely to vehicular traffic as the city tries to provide a safe outlet for people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The stretch of closed road runs from East Falls Bridge to Eakins Oval, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s office announced, saying the closure is “in the interest of facilitating social distancing among trail users.”

The mayor’s office said it “strongly encourages” people to stay indoors — echoing the recommendations of health experts — but acknowledged that “physical activity is important to well being.”

The closure of MLK Drive will allow people to go outside while providing enough space to maintain social distancing, the mayor’s office said. Health experts say people should maintain about six feet of space between one another to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In Philadelphia, at least 67 people had tested positive for the virus as of Friday afternoon, with confirmed cases in Pennsylvania numbering at least 302.

“Up until now, for most people, this has been something that is very theoretical, something you see on television. This is about to get real. We expect that many people in Philadelphia will get this infection,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley warned.

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