UPDATED: 4:22 p.m.
Because the city will not meet target goals set by leaders — and because of the rise in coronavirus cases from restaurants and bars that reopened more quickly, like in Texas and Florida — Philadelphia is scaling back its planned July 3 reopening.
Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said the Department of Public Health will re-evaluate weekly what may open and what must stay closed, but it is expected that gyms and restaurant indoor dining will stay closed until at least Aug. 1.
Farley said this decision was difficult but necessary, as the city failed to meet its target goal for a decrease in the number of new cases.
In recent weeks, about 3% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. Now, that number is up to 5% in Philadelphia. The ideal target for entering the “green” phase is 4%.
Plus, with a surge in new cases across the country, Farley is concerned the spikes will eventually impact Philadelphia.
New cases are increasing, especially among a younger demographic. He strongly believes that is related to travel down the shore.
“What we’re hearing is many people living together at a beach house or socializing at bars and restaurants,” he added.
The Department of Public Health announced 142 new cases of COVID-19 in Philadelphia and five additional deaths from the virus on Tuesday, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 26,133 and the total number of fatalities to 1,584 since the start of the outbreak in March.
“If cases rise here in Philadelphia,” Farley continued, “it is possible we will have to close activities that we are currently allowing, or that we are starting to allow reopening as of Friday.”