As of June 12, restaurants in Philadelphia are allowed to reopen as part of the “Yellow Phase,” which essentially means that we’re allowed to eat outside again - as long as everyone is following a lengthy set of rules. You can feel free to read those rules in all their bureaucratic glory on this website.
But since we know there’s not enough coffee on this planet to get you through pages of government-speak, we’re going to unpack the most important info below to help you better understand what eating at a restaurant looks like right now.
Do I have to wear a mask?
Yes. All customers have to wear a mask (unless they have a medical condition or disability), but you can remove the mask once you’re seated at a table.
Does the restaurant staff have to wear masks?
Yes. Every single restaurant employee is required to wear a mask, so just assume everyone is smiling politely at you for being such an understanding, patient customer.
How many people can I bring with me?
As of right now, the only guidance is that restaurants cannot have any parties larger than 25 people. Feel free to use that as an excuse to not invite your in-laws to your birthday party this year.
Do I have to make a reservation?
We’d recommend it as restaurants aren’t currently allowed to have areas for people to wait in line, but not every place will be taking reservations either.
What else are restaurants doing to ensure a sanitary environment?
In order to reopen, all restaurants must have six feet in between tables, as well as at least six feet between outdoor seating and sidewalk space, and are limited to 50% overall outdoor capacity. Employees have to wash their hands frequently, and servers have to do so between every table they visit. Any lines that need to form (like for the bathroom) will have physical markers to keep people six feet apart while waiting. And lastly, tables and chairs also have to be sanitized before a new party can sit down.
Will I have to get my temperature taken before I sit down?
No, no one will be pointing an electronic thermometer at your forehead on the way to the table. While restaurant employees are required to take their own temperature before every shift, you won’t have to. But, obviously, if you’re experiencing any symptoms at all, please stay home.
When will restaurants be open for indoor dining?
Indoor dining will be reserved for the “Green Phase,” but no date has been set for that yet.
I don’t think I’m ready to eat out yet, but I still want to support restaurants. How can I do that?
We definitely understand - restaurants will still continue to offer delivery and takeout at this time. We’ve already published a bunch of takeout-specific guides, with everything from Philly Bars & Restaurants Selling To-Go Cocktails to Where To Get Dessert For Takeout & Delivery. We’re keeping them updated so you can still support the restaurants you love during these times.
I have a different question.
Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can figure out where to get a haircut. But the best and easiest way to get clear, fast answers about a restaurant is to just call that restaurant directly. They’ll be happy to chat. Just be patient, understanding, and kind. These are weird times, and we’re all trying to adjust safely.