PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials are expected on Tuesday to outline plans to lift restrictions on indoor dining. The possible announcement comes as case counts continue to soar and as health officials receive criticism for a slow vaccine rollout.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Pennsylvania is 35th per capita on vaccine delivery. While the number may seem high, the state says they are working as fast as they can.
“We all need to do better to rollout the vaccine and get vaccines into arms,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.
Dr. Levine went on the defensive as questions mount as to why the vaccine rollout has been so slow.
“I think the pace has increased in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation last week very well,” the health secretary said. “We need to continue that and improve on that.”
As the vaccine continues to be made available, case counts continue to rise. Over the past seven days, the state has recorded over 42,000 cases, which is an increase from the week before, but Philadelphia is reversing the trend.
On Monday, the city announced 1,500 cases, which was the total for the three days over the weekend, representing a decrease from the week before. That’s good news for restaurant owners who are waiting to hear if they can reopen.
“We feel we’ve done everything to keep our staff and our customers safe and we’re going to continue to do that,” said Kite and Key owner Jim Kirk.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said a return to indoor dining was dependent on not having a spike in cases. If the city follows the rules set forth by Gov. Tom Wolf, restaurants will be able to have up to 50% capacity.
Assuming we don’t have a spike in COVID-19 cases between now and Jan. 15, we plan to allow limited indoor dining to resume on Jan. 16. We will provide details at next Tuesday’s COVID press conference, and guidance will be added to our website at that time. https://t.co/foUDH6pd87
— Jim #MaskUpPHL Kenney (@PhillyMayor) January 8, 2021
Kirk says even a smaller percentage would be welcomed.
“With the 25%, that’s a welcomed blessing for us and we’re looking forward to getting back to 100%,” Kirk said.
As things slowly get back to normal and vaccinations continue, Dr. Levine is asking for patience.
“I know it is really challenging to have patience but we must show patience. The amount of vaccine available to Pennsylvanians is still extremely limited and it will take several months before there’s enough vaccine available for everyone,” Dr. Levine said.
The state is still currently only vaccinating people in group 1A, but they are drafting plans to include people in group 1B. Those are essential workers, including people who work in food service, public transportation and teachers.
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- COVID In Philadelphia: City Officials Expected To Outline Plans To Lift Indoor Dining Restrictions [https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2021/01/12/covid-in-philadelphia-city-officials-expected-outline-plans-lift-indoor-dining-restrictions/]