UPDATE: On August 20, the City of Philadelphia announced that indoor dining will be permitted starting September 8, 2020. Learn more about our updated safety guidance.

As Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said recently, “We may be tired of the pandemic, but the virus is not tired of us.”

While life is not completely back to normal, the city is starting to gradually lift restrictions. As businesses are reopening and some activities are starting up again, what is it that you can and can’t do?

Support Businesses

COVID-19 and the shutdown have had a significant impact on our economy and business community. How can you support businesses while maintaining a safe distance?


  • Do order takeout and delivery. Many businesses have come up with creative solutions, offering curbside pick-up and other ways to support the health of patrons and servers alike. Tipping generously is appreciated.
  • Do bring your takeout meal home or have it in a park, keeping an appropriate distance from others. Be respectful of our hardworking Parks and Recreation staffalways leave your surroundings cleaner than when you arrived. Find out what Parks and Recreation sites are open and what activities are permitted.
  • Do eat outdoors at a restaurant or cafe. When dining outdoors, go with the members of your household, and be mindful of busy and less busy times of day.
  • Do be courteous of servers and other patrons. Wear your mask when arriving at an establishment and when not actively eating or drinking. Don’t linger after your meal; create space for others to dine out as well.
  • Do support your local barber, salon, and other favorite retail establishments. Remember to always wear a mask, wash your hands before and after visiting, and follow the guidelines put forth by management, including the number of people allowed in the store at one time. Whenever possible, make an appointment in advance. Your business is appreciated, as is your care for employees and fellow customers.


  • Don’t eat or drink indoors at an establishment. Indoor dining is still restricted in Philadelphia. Drinking and dining indoors are high-risk activities for COVID-19 transmission.

Celebrate Milestones

It’s important to keep celebrating life events and milestones, but even a birthday party with close friends and family carries risk.


  • Do invite your loved ones to drive or walk by outside your house, holding signs of congratulations or best wishes.
  • Do meet up with a small group in a park or other spacious, outdoor location. Make sure to wear masks, keep at least six feet of distance with those outside of your household, and limit your time there.
  • Do sit on your stoop, porch, or front yard and talk with friends or neighbors who are six or more feet apart. 


  • Don’t invite people to gather inside your home. Even if it’s a small group, indoor gatherings are very high-risk. There have been cases of indoor birthday parties and other events across the country where all or many guests fell ill with COVID-19.
  • Don’t attend a large gathering of 50 or more people. Even if it’s outdoors, large crowds can still be dangerous, particularly if people are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Learn more about allowable Parks and Rec permits for family picnics, weddings, and sports.
  • Don’t sing, particularly without masks on. Singing carries a high risk of spreading respiratory droplets and transmitting COVID-19. You can sing “Happy Birthday” to your loved ones over the phone.

Recreate Responsibly

You don’t need to stay home all summer, and there’s quite a bit of Philly to enjoy—safely!


  • Do enjoy our parks and trails for hiking, biking, walking, birdwatching, and other activities in nature. Visit with the members of your household, and always wear a mask when in public places.
  • Do participate in outdoor recreational and sports activities. Everyone should be masked and keep at least six feet apart. Since it’s tough to play basketball six feet apart, this is the perfect time to practice your shot. Because it can be dangerous for folks to sit together, there shouldn’t be any spectators. And everyone should wash or use hand sanitizer often.
  • Do exercise at the gym—with a mask. If you can’t wear a mask and exercise, avoid the gym. Gyms reopened with strict requirements. You must wear a mask at all times and maintain six feet of distance from others, and fitness classes must be fewer than 10 people. Although gyms may be open, we recommend exercising outdoors whenever possible. 
  • Do visit libraries, museums, and indoor shopping malls. Always wear a mask, keep your distance, and follow the instructions of staff who are working hard to keep the public and employees safe.


  • Don’t watch a movie or performance in a theater. Theaters and indoor venues are restricted. This is a time for #NetflixAndChill (with proper protection), a virtual watch party with friends, or supporting your favorite musician by tuning in on Facebook Live.

Take Care

COVID-19 has caused a huge disruption in our lives, and it’s normal to feel stressed, frustrated, and anxious about the future. Remember to take care of yourself.


  • Do move your body and exercise. With many of us stuck at home more than usual, it’s taken a toll on our physical and mental health. Find some tips for joyful movement at home and outdoors. 
  • Do stay connected with loved ones. Whether it’s over the phone, text, email, or waving to the neighbors across the way, we all need to feel supported and connected during an isolating time.
  • Do try something new! A new recipe, meditation, arts and crafts. The Free Library is offering tons of digital programming, including cooking classes, virtual book clubs, gaming, skill-building workshops, and more.
  • Do seek support if you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression, or if you just need someone to talk to. You are not alone.
  • Do be kind to yourself. If you’re struggling, it’s okay. Practice patience and self-compassion.

Shared Responsibility

As Philadelphia reopens, we need everyone’s full cooperation and consideration. Please continue to follow the Department of Public Health guidelines. We are carefully monitoring COVID-19 cases, and we’re not in the clear yet. 

As always, follow the 3 W’s:

  1. Wear a mask
  2. Wash your hands
  3. Watch your distance

These are three things that we all, as individuals, have some control over and are very effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Remember: COVID-19 symptoms do not show up right away, or sometimes at all. Some people may not know that they are sick or may not have symptoms, and they could still transmit the virus. We need to assume that anyone, at any time, young or old, could be sick.

We all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and each other safe in order to avoid another wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Thank you for doing your part.