Philly cancels all large events for 6 months, says COVID-19 risk is too great


UPDATED: 6:20 p.m. 

Kenney said he’s disappointed and knows Philadelphia residents must be too.

“It was not an easy decision to make, but as we continue to battle COVID-19 and try to restore some sense of normalcy in our city, there will be many difficult decisions to come. The health of Philadelphia residents, workers and visitors must be our top priority,” he said.

While it means the cancellation of events from parades and races to block parties, the moratorium does not apply to First Amendment-protected gatherings, such as the demonstrations for social justice that still fill city streets almost daily. 

This will also not apply to private outdoor events with fewer than 50 guests, such as weddings and family picnics; to recreational sports with fewer than 25 participants; or events on private property, including performance venues and stadiums, though Health Commissioner Tom Farley said there’s a caveat. 

“I do think games can be played with the kind of safety precautions they’re proposing. I do not think they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe and have a big crowd there,” he said.

This is an extension of the ban that began in March, which forced the cancellation of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Since then, officials have been making decisions about large events one at a time, in hopes of an improvement that might allow them to resume.

It's not clear what convinced them that improvement is not coming before 2021. 

Some virus experts have said large events will not be safe until there's a vaccine. Philadelphia's health commissioner has said he's optimistic there will be a vaccine in 2021, maybe even early 2021.