Philadelphia Loosens Some COVID-19 Restrictions For Restaurants

Alecia Reid reports.

Video Transcript

- Philadelphia officials say they are seeing a drop in demand for vaccines. And they are stepping up outreach to get more shots in arms. However, they feel confident enough to loosen some restrictions on restaurants. Those take effect right away. Alecia Reid has our coverage now from Rittenhouse. Alecia, good evening.

ALECIA REID: Good evening, Ukee. Temperatures are on the rise. But the volume of people in the city getting vaccinated is trending down. And that is a cause for concern for the city's health commissioner. Even then, he is lifting restrictions for restaurants.

Sunglasses, delicious food, and stellar company.

DONNA HOGAN: Outdoor dining with an atmosphere set up. And you still have social distancing, I think that's perfect because we need to live again.

ALECIA REID: But the nice weather belies the ongoing risk posed by rising COVID rates in the city.

CHAD CALDERON: As more people are getting vaccinated, just keep distancing and maintaining a little bit of distance between tables and lots of air circulation.

ALECIA REID: Health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says as of today, 708,000 people in the city have received at least their first vaccine. That's promising. But vaccination numbers are down. And demand is slowing. There is now a strong push to get folks who haven't already gotten their shots to get them.

NILTON VOLPATO: Outdoor dining is safer. But I mean, if people are vaccinated and they're not worried.

ALECIA REID: The news is positive enough for the city to reinforce that outdoor dining can increase to more than 50 people. And restaurants with a bar can seat up to four people from the same households in a group. Farley says bars where people are drinking and not eating are generally riskier than restaurants.

TOM FARLEY: We're allowing it now because there are restrictions we think we can have on bar seating that will make it no riskier than table seating.

ALECIA REID: Dr. Farley says the city will continue to watch infection rates and encourage people to get vaccinated. A number of city sites do accept walk-ins. Reporting live from Rittenhouse Square, Alecia Reid, CBS 3 Eyewitness News.

- Alecia, thank you.