Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has canceled all large public events in his city through until the end of February next year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It includes city events held on public property including parades and festivals but does not apply to events held on private property – including sports stadiums and concert venues.
The banned events also include fairs and block parties.
‘Decisions on how to resume those types of events will be based on current public health guidance as the situation in Philadelphia progresses,’ spokeswoman for the mayor, Lauren Cox, said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has canceled all large public events in his city through until the end of February next year to prevent the spread of COVID-19
The Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney tweeted his decision to cancel large public events
City has canceled all major public events until February 28, 2021 in an effort to curb the virus
Private outdoor events for ceremonies such as weddings will also be allowed to go ahead if there are fewer than 50 guests.
The ban does not apply to demonstrations and first amendment activities.
Philadelphia has seen more than 27,500 cases of coronavirus resulting in 1,640 deaths.
Since lockdown restrictions were lifted, people under the age of 30 appear to be accounting for 40 per cent of new cases, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
‘Philadelphia has built up a reputation for hosting spectacular events of all sizes, but to safeguard against the spread of the virus, the event landscape in our city is going to look very different,’ said Kenney.
All large gatherings are canceled including the Thanksgiving Day parade (pictured in 2019)
‘To bring people together in large groups… would not be responsible. And that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,’ Kenney explained during a lunchtime news conference on Tuesday.
‘The bigger lesson right now is that we’re going to have to live with this virus for a long time… We’re going to have to have some restrictions on our actions until we deploy a vaccine,’ said Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Health.
‘I know this is disappointing people, but we’re certainly not going to be deploying a vaccine and be free of this virus in January.’
Although Philadelphia is not dealing with the same rise in cases that any southern states are experiencing, Farley says the time is still a ‘dangerous period.’
The city has learned from the 1918 flu pandemic when it held a parade that led to a massive outbreak.
The Philadelphia Marathon, scheduled for November, has also been canceled this year. Pictured, runners in the Philly Half Marathon from September 2019
Such an event is ‘still in the memory’ of those working in public health and ‘weighs on all of our decisions’, said Farley.
‘We’re gonna have to have some restrictions on our activities until we deploy a vaccine and the way for us to avoid similar increases is to have everyone follow the safety precautions,’ he said.
During the press conference, City Managing Director Brian Abernathy said that the city had spoken to the majority of event producers and they understood the public health challenges.
The ban does not apply to demonstrations and first amendment activities so things like the Black Lives Matter protests, seen above, would still be allowed to continue
‘I don’t think they were surprised by the city’s position, and I’d say some of them were relieved,’ Abernathy said. ‘None of us are happy about the event cancellations, but we all recognize it’s the right thing to do for the public health.’
Several other cities have also canceled large events. Last week, New York City and Toronto canceled all large events that require a city permit until September 30.
On Monday, the Chicago Marathon was canceled, while New York’s was shelved last month.
When it comes to smaller cities, Raleigh, North Carolina is not holding any events until October, while Syracuse, New York has canceled everything until the end of November.
New cases continue to rise with the US reporting over 400,000 infections for the week ending July 12, which was up 21 percent from the previous seven days
Forty-six states reported more new cases of COVID-19 last week compared to the week before