As COVID-19 restrictions take effect, some Philly businesses argue they’re not part of the problem

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By KYW Newsradio

CHESTNUT HILL, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Tighter coronavirus restrictions go into effect in Philadelphia at 5 p.m. Friday. Of the strictest rules, indoor dining and gatherings are not allowed.

Spaces like museums, libraries, movie theaters, performance spaces, casinos, bowling alleys and gyms must close until at least New Year’s Day.

Amy Carolla, owner of Balance Chestnut Hill health and wellness studio, said they are turning their attention to virtual workout classes and some outdoor training — something they got used to earlier in the year.

She’ll have to rely on clients who will keep paying even though her doors are closed.

But Carolla gets it — something has to be done to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Businesses like hers, however, shouldn’t be punished.

“I absolutely think there needed to be further restrictions. Watching the cases go up, it’s scary,” she said. “If I, for any reason, thought this was part of the problem, I would lock my doors and do all virtual. But this is not the problem.

“It’s hard because as small businesses, you’re watching gatherings and people without masks and just so nervous that you’re gonna get shut down and have that finger pointed at gyms and restaurants, and I don’t feel like we’re the problem.”

Capacity was already very limited, and everyone has been masked.

Restaurant owners say the biggest problem with the shutdowns is a lack of government funding to help them get through the year. Many will close their doors for good.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said most gyms have been taking and following the necessary steps, but the city needs to act now.

“This is a dangerous period. This is possibly the worst period of the entire epidemic,” he said.

A major concern has been asymptomatic people unknowingly passing the virus to others. City officials hope these restrictions make a big difference as the country inches closer to a vaccine.

“Remember that these restrictions are temporary — just six weeks,” said Farley, “but death is permanent.”

For a full breakdown of the city’s guidelines, visit phila.gov.