Pandemic curfew soon to be permanent fixture in Philly

City lawmakers say the goal is to keep young people safe inside at a time when city violence is high.

A closeup of Philadelphia City Hall.

Philadelphia City Hall. (Danya Henninger/Billy Penn)

Philadelphia implemented a curfew for teens amid a rise in crime during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Now, City Council has approved a measure to make the nighttime restrictions for young people permanent.

The curfew requires those under 18 to be inside by 10 p.m.

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson said there are exceptions for teens who are working after 10 p.m. and for those who do not have a permanent address.

“Those youth would not be penalized in any way because of them going to and from work,” she said. “In addition to that, we met with the Juvenile Law Center and there would not be penalties for homeless youth.”

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New Councilmember Anthony Phillips, who comes from a non-profit that works with young people, supported the bill.

“At a time when there seems like there is no limit of the senseless whirlwind of violence facing teens and young people, we are taking a temporary step in the absence of a cure-all,” Phillips said.

The bill passed with near-unanimous support from the new 16 member council, with four members having their first official day of session and the departure of Helen Gym Tuesday.

The change goes to Mayor Jim Kenney for final review.

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If approved, teens from 14 to 17 would have to be home by 10 p.m., and those 13 and younger by 9:30 p.m.  The curfew concludes at 6 a.m.

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