Outdoor tips, meal site schedules, city services: What you need to know this Memorial Day in Philly

Philadelphia's Schuylkill River Trail

Philadelphia's Schuylkill River Trail (Emma Lee/WHYY)

With Philly’s falling COVID-19 case counts and sunny, warm weather for the unofficial start of summer this weekend, city officials want to remind residents that we are still in Pennsylvania’s “red phase” and under the strictest stay-at-home orders.

“The last thing we want to see is a holiday weekend wiping out all the progress,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in his daily update this week as he discouraged large gatherings.

The good news is that the city’s parks and trails will be open this weekend. So if you can safely socially distance there, or if you’re looking for something outdoors-y for you and your household — big parks like Fairmount and FDR may be good options.

But meeting up with friends, barbecues, large picnics and other types of gatherings? Those are still a no-go for now.

Kenney also asked that people who visit the city’s parks take any garbage they create back home with them to prevent trash bins from overflowing, especially as the city’s trash collection schedule has been one to two days behind certain weeks due to staffing issues and a shifted, bi-weekly recycling schedule.

Some other options to do this holiday from our friends at PlanPhilly: go searching for the city’s latest public art and explore new neighborhoods.

If you plan to visit one of the city’s parks this weekend, the city is strongly recommended these tips to keep you and others safe:

  • Head to your neighborhood green space if there is one nearby
  • Don’t crowd the most popular sections of a park. Find a place to sit away from other people.
  • Try to limit your park stay to under two hours, so others can enjoy the outdoors safely and avoids overcrowding
  • Avoid touching benches, handrails
  • Make sure to bring a water bottle as public water fountains are not available during the pandemic.
  • Outdoor group sports and use of playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment remains off-limits.
  • Keep your dog leashed so owners can properly social distance

As with any major holiday, city services will be curtailed on Memorial Day. City buildings continue to remain closed due to the pandemic.

Trash and recycling collection will not be collected on Memorial Day. For neighborhoods with a Monday collection, residents can set their trash out on their curb after 5 p.m. for a Tuesday collection. For the rest of the city, trash and recycling collections will be behind by one day for the remainder of the week.

Meal site pickup schedules changing this week for holiday

The city also continues to offer free food and meals for residents who need assistance. With the holiday, schedules will be shifted. You can call 311 for help finding a local food pantry, or you can text your ZIP code to 1-800-548-6479 to receive a list of nearby pantries.

The 40 city-run food distribution sites will be closed on Monday. Sites will open instead on Tuesday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. Those sites will open as usual on Thursday, May 28 at the same time as well.

Senior centers operated by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging will be closed on Memorial Day. Any meal deliveries scheduled for Monday will be on Friday, May 22 instead. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s older adult centers will also be closed Monday and will reopen on Tuesday for meal pickup.

Parks & Rec Monday meal distributions for students will be rescheduled to Tuesday, May 26. The School District of Philadelphia’s meal sites will open as normal on Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. All charter school meal sites will be closed Memorial Day except for Richard Allen Prep in Southwest Philly, which will be open 9 a.m. to noon.

Two of Philadelphia Housing Authority’s meal sites — Raymond Rosen Manor in North Philly and Westpark Apartments in West Philly will be open on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon. All other PHA sites will reopen on Tuesday. Additionally, two of the city’s temporary outdoor meal sites — one at Ruth and Clearfield streets in Kensington and one at Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City will be open, from 1 to 3 p.m., and 4 to 5:30 p.m., respectively.

All city district health centers, and the city-run COVID-19 testing site in Center City will be closed on Memorial Day. To check hours and availability at other testing sites, here’s a list of Philly region sites.

WHYY’s Ximena Conde contributed reporting.

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