Philly officials warn restaurants to separate tables or risk being shut down again

The percentage of tests that are positive is at an all-time low of six percent, Health Commissioner Tom Farley added. 

However, Farley said he is concerned about the return of outdoor dining, receiving reports and seeing for himself that tables were not placed 6 feet apart, and patrons were not wearing masks even when they weren’t eating.

“This epidemic isn’t over. Far from it. Until we have a vaccine, the only thing protecting us is our behavior,” he said. 

Farley said the Health Department will be stepping up enforcement and will close restaurants that pose a risk. 

He said the city wants restaurants to come back but violating the rules works against that.

“If you don’t follow the rules, you may end up delaying indoor dining and it could be that we have to shut down the outdoor dining. We’ve made so much progress, let’s not lose everything we’ve gained at this point,” he said. 

The topic came up during a City Council hearing on expanding outdoor dining, and restaurateurs testified most are following the rules and none want to be the cause of a resurgence.