Philly announces some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in January

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia will lift some of its COVID-19 restrictions on Jan. 4 as long as the state gives the green light. But others, including indoor dining, will remain in effect until Jan. 15.

The city had imposed restrictions on residents and businesses that were meant to last until at least Jan. 1. The state of Pennsylvania followed suit and imposed restrictions meant to expire on Jan. 4.

Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said Philadelphia is recovering from the Thanksgiving surge, and new cases are going down just in time for a Christmas surge, which he expects will be closely followed by a New Year's Eve surge.

“We’ll begin to see the effect of Christmas in the last few days of December and we’ll begin to see the effect of New Year’s on about Jan. 5. These two spikes will likely run together and unfortunately may feed off each other,” he said.

With that timing, Farley said the city won’t lift restrictions on the riskiest activities.

Restrictions that will remain in place through Jan. 15 include:
- Indoor dining
- Indoor gatherings and events
- Theaters
- Casinos
- Colleges
- Indoor organized sports

Some less-risky activities that may resume on Jan. 4, if the state lifts restrictions, include:

- Museums
- Gyms
- Outdoor sports
- In-person high school
- Outdoor catered events