Starting Friday, Philadelphians can attend indoor weddings and eat meals inside at more crowded restaurants, and in New Jersey, customers will be allowed to sit at the bar for the first time in more than a year — all thanks to declining numbers of new coronavirus cases in both places.
Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced the city’s latest guidelines last week. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled the restrictions his state was poised to relax on Monday. The changes come as both places push to vaccinate all eligible adults against the coronavirus.
But even as the restrictions ease up, some caveats still apply.
Indoor catered events can resume, with a limit of 25% capacity of a venue and a cap of 75 people.
Masks will be required at catered events and can only be taken off when people are sitting at a table and eating, even if the guests are vaccinated.
Restaurants can increase capacity for indoor dining to 50% from 25%, or to 75% from 50% for restaurants that have met enhanced ventilation standards.
Table size limits will increase from four people to six people for indoor dining.
For outdoor dining, table size limits will increase from six people to 10 people.
In New Jersey:
Up to 500 people may gather outdoors.
Large outdoor stadiums can now fill 50% of their seats.
Capacity for indoor weddings, funerals, performances, and political gatherings increases to 50% or up to 250 people.
People sitting at the bar must be spaced six feet apart from other customers.
Starting May 19, even more restrictions are set to disappear. New Jersey will remove limits on outdoor gatherings and allow stores, restaurants, theaters, and other businesses to operate at full capacity as long as they keep patrons six feet apart.
Pennsylvania plans to remove all restrictions except mask-wearing starting Memorial Day. Philadelphia, however, does not yet plan to follow suit: The city will said it will review the state’s policy but retain its own restrictions.