Philly is in a modified ‘green’ phase now. Here’s what you can and can’t do

Philadelphia's Schuylkill River Trail

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

Philly goes green on Friday, but it may be more in name than in practice.

While the rest of Pennsylvania is technically in the green phase, city officials announced earlier this week that Philadelphia County isn’t meeting all the necessary targets that would allow for a full green phase following the state’s tiered reopening scale.

As coronavirus cases rise across the country, they’re rising in Philly too: the city is averaging more than 100 new cases a day, and about one-third of new cases reported are in people under the age of 30. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said on Thursday that the city is now experiencing a “second wave” of the coronavirus.

Under this restricted phase, gyms and fitness centers will remain closed. Bars and restaurants aren’t permitted to offer dining indoors — which has put a strain on Philly establishments that were readying to open to customers this weekend.

The soonest Philly can now enter the unrestricted green phase is August 1, Farley said. And if cases continue to rise, it’s possible certain activities that are currently allowed may be off-limits.

“Nothing has changed about the virus, nothing has changed about the human body since March,” Farley said on Tuesday. “The only thing that’s going to change is how we behave.”

So what can you do under Philly’s modified green phase?

First and foremost — you’ll need a mask in most public spaces. Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine signed an order Wednesday expanding the mask-wearing directive to residents statewide. Now, every time you leave the house, you must wear a mask in places where social distancing of six feet isn’t possible. Philly issued its own version of that order last week.

Most of the activities allowed under Wolf’s green phase tend to be outdoors, or where mask-wearing can be enforced. With that, outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are OK too.

Philly museums, libraries, indoor shopping malls and Rivers Casino (formerly SugarHouse) can reopen, but only under strict protocols. People must wear a mask at all times and maintain a distance of more than six feet from each other.

Many of Philly’s popular museums have started to release their reopening dates. The Franklin Institute will be the first to reopen to the public, with limited hours starting July 8 through a “modified museum experience,” which like many of the other museums, will require tickets to be purchased in advance for a specific date and time.

The Barnes Foundation tentatively plans to open its doors on July 25, the Academy of Natural Sciences on July 31, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is waiting until September 12 for its public reopening.

Plans for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Rivers Casino has yet to release details on when it plans to reopen, though other Philly-area casinos reopened in late June.

The Free Library of Philadelphia and its more than 50 branches across the city continue to be shut down to the public — but with your membership card, you can still access e-books and other educational resources from home.

No eating, drinking, or smoking indoors will be permitted at any of these places. All of these institutions will have to follow the city’s safe mode guidance, which includes enforcing mask-wearing policies and installing protective barriers inside businesses.

Schools and colleges were also able to reopen as of July 1, and Farley said officials are working closely with Philly schools on their plans to welcome students back safely.

Theaters — both of the cinematic and live performance varieties — will be closed until a date still to be determined.

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