Philadelphia is on track to reach the Green Phase in early July. If current COVID-19 case rates continue to decrease, this next step could happen as early as July 3.
“We’ve been seeing really 600 cases a day in April,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “Now we’re down to about 80 cases a day on average, and in mid-April about 40 percent of the people tested for the coronavirus infection tested positive. Now we’re down to about 3 percent. People at Philadelphia didn’t just flatten the curve, you suppressed the virus and in the process saved thousands of lives.”
Although the Green Phase is a significant step in the process of reopening, it does not mean that all restrictions on daily life will be lifted.
“Many people seem to think that green means go, that green therefore means everything is allowed,” Farley said. “Green does not mean that every activity is allowed.”
In fact, there will be more restrictions put on city activities with stricter guidelines than the other Pennsylvania counties.
The city is monitoring certain metrics, including the presence of the virus, adherence to guidance on mask use and the healthcare system capacity, to determine when and if they meet the guidelines of the Green Phase.
Thursday’s numbers for the presence of the virus met the target of less than 80 cases a day for the Green Phase, with 68 confirmed cases. The city wants to see a continued decrease in cases for four weeks in the Yellow Phase before moving to the Green Phase.
Starting June 26, some activities formerly prohibited during the Yellow Phase can now take place, including small indoor social and religious gatherings of up to 25 people and the opening of salons, barbers and spas.
To read more about the city’s official plans to progress to the Green Phase entitled Reopening with Care, click here.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s efforts to work toward social justice have both affected the Fiscal Year 2021 budget plans. The newly proposed budget will reduce funding for the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments and will result in the elimination of hundreds of jobs. It also aims to decrease the impact on people of color who Kenney said “are disproportionately impacted by the virus and are already suffering from decades of systemic racism.”
The reductions in the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia Fire Department budgets have shifted funding to housing, arts, adult education, and workforce development. One of the recipients of the funds is the African American Museum who will receive a full restoration in funding.
“We will keep all Philadelphians safe, healthy, and educated while maintaining core municipal services that our residents rely on daily,” Kenney said. “Just as importantly, the most difficult decisions were made through a lens of racial equity.”
A final vote for the budget will take place on June 25.