Philadelphia will make slight adjustments to its coronavirus restrictions as it seeks to aid restaurant owners, the city’s top doctor said Friday.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said the city is still averaging more than 500 new infections a day, so the changes aren’t extreme, but they’re designed to help struggling restaurants.
Now, restaurants with outdoor dining will no longer be bound by Philadelphia’s 50-person cap, as long as they submit an application to the Department of Licenses and Inspections. In addition, restaurants with bars will be able to seat up to four people from the same household so long as they’re at least six feet from other patrons at the bar and provided there’s a barrier separating them from the bartenders.
“We’re trying to help businesses adjust and make money without having to risk additional spread of the virus,” Farley said.
The commissioner also noted that, while Philadelphia has fully vaccinated more than 400,000 people and given more than 716,000 at least one dose, the racial disparity between who’s inoculated and who’s not is growing.
“I’m not happy with the gap that we are seeing in the uptake of vaccine by race. (There is a) big difference among whites and African Americans, who are the group that’s got the lowest vaccination rates,” Farley said.
He said the disparity is mainly among younger adults and added that requiring people to register for a vaccine online seems to be disproportionately hurting Black people. The city is trying to get more providers to allow for walk-in vaccinations, which will hopefully mean more Black people have access to shots, Farley said.