Residents in the Philadelphia region are getting a wave of normalcy just in time for Memorial Day, with the bulk of remaining COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted as cases drop and vaccinations rise.
The moves come as the number of new coronavirus cases have plummeted to nearly 10-month lows across the Delaware Valley. Pennsylvania is averaging about 1,143 new cases a day over the past seven days, down 68% over the past month. New Jersey has seen an 83% drop in new cases over the same timeframe, and hasn’t reported more than 1,000 new cases in one day in nearly three weeks.
Here’s a rundown of what COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on Friday and in the days ahead:
Starting Friday, fully vaccinated people in New Jersey can take off their masks indoors and businesses will no longer be asked to maintain social distancing. Bar service can resume at bars and restaurants, which will also be permitted to reopen their dance floors.
Masks will still be required in health-care settings, schools, child-care centers, camps, on public transportation, in some state offices, and in shelters and correctional facilities. Businesses can still require that customers wear masks and maintain social distance, and Gov. Phil Murphy urged anyone with health concerns for themselves or their families to continue taking precautions.
The state’s remaining indoor-gathering restrictions and its cap on attendance at large indoor venues will be lifted June 4.
On Memorial Day, Pennsylvania will lift nearly all its remaining COVID-19 restrictions.
Starting Monday morning, Pennsylvania restaurants, bars, stores, salons, gyms, theaters, event venues, nightclubs, and other businesses can open at 100% capacity, and crowd-size limits will be lifted on all indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Schools will no longer be required to report their coronavirus prevention measures to the state. Cleaning, sanitizing, and distancing mandates for business owners will also be lifted, though the Department of Health encouraged all to follow CDC guidance.
Pennsylvania will also fully drop its mask order on June 28, or when 70% of adults in the commonwealth are fully vaccinated, whichever happens first. With Pennsylvania this week becoming the 10th state to have 70% of its adults vaccinated with at least one dose, it is on track to reach that threshold by the end of June.
Once the mask order is eliminated, Pennsylvania will align fully with mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which still requires individuals to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.
The city is lifting its few remaining coronavirus rules earlier than expected.
Effective Wednesday, June 2, Philadelphia will eliminate nearly all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity limits at the city’s stadiums and arenas. The city had planned on waiting until June 11, but on Friday officials cited the lowest number of new cases since late September and test positivity rates below 3% as reasons for moving the date up by more than a week.
Philadelphia’s indoor mask mandate and its 11 p.m. last call for dining order will continue to be enforced, the city said in a statement Friday. The city may drop those restrictions June 11, if case counts and hospitalization rates continue to drop.