Earlier this month, Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania would be further loosening COVID restrictions statewide, beginning on April 4th.
Under those rules, the revised limits for indoor events would allow for 25% of maximum occupancy, while outdoor events would be bumped up to 50%.
That’s great, and the Union will benefit from that next month because they play in Delco, but the Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies are stuck until the City of Philadelphia decides to match the state guidelines.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen for at least another month, according to Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, who said this at Tuesday’s briefing:
“We will not make the changes that the Governor has made, in the City of Philadelphia, on April 4th. We think it’s better to wait for vaccinations to protect people. Now, there are restaurants and caterers who have asked for some sort of date, so they can plan. So we’re announcing today we will increase restaurant capacity and allow indoor catered events and increase our indoor gathering limit on April 30th, if our case rates are declining as we approach that date. If they’re still rising quickly, we’re not going to be able to remove restrictions.”
In a follow up question, Farley confirmed that these guidelines would extend to our sporting venues. April 30th looks like the soonest Philadelphia will match, so we’re going to be more than three weeks behind the rest of the state.
This means we’ll have to continue with 15% capacity for the Wells Fargo Center and 20% capacity for Citizens Bank Park. That’s about 3,000 people and 8,600, respectively.
The reason for the delay is because case counts are going up in Philadelphia and the city is taking precaution. And honestly, this shouldn’t surprise anybody. The city has frequently been operating about 3-4 weeks behind the state when it comes to the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.