ABOVE PHOTO: Socially distanced dining at Headhouse Square (Photo: Visit Philadelphia)
The current phase of opening in Pennsylvania eases many restrictions for gatherings, entertainment and travel in the five-county region with additional safety guidelines in place within the City of Philadelphia.
As of November 2020, additional guidelines are in place in Philadelphia through January 2021.
While we navigate a “new normal,” getting out and about in Philadelphia and the Countryside can raise lots of questions — especially when differences remain between the city and the surrounding region.
Your best bet: Plan ahead before visiting to see what experiences to expect.
Looking for more help in planning your Philly trip? Call the Independence Visitor Center to speak with a visitor experience expert at 800-537-7676. They’ll help you navigate all the great things you can do right now in Greater Philadelphia.
Below, check out our tips on how to navigate visiting Philadelphia during the Green Phase of reopening.
Guidelines and Masks
Do I need to quarantine if I’m visiting from out of state? Visitors to Pennsylvania from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 prior to entering. If someone is unable to get a test, they must quarantine for 14 days. Read more here.
Do I need to plan ahead? Yes! For the best experience, planning your excursion ahead of time is key. Each business and destination will have slightly different guidelines.
What does Green Phase mean in Greater Philadelphia? Green means go — with safety precautions in place — and the reopening of destinations like museums and libraries, restaurants, casinos, indoor shopping malls, gyms and indoor exercise classes, and more. Note that as of November 2020, additional restrictions in Philadelphia closed museums, theaters, casinos, game spaces, gyms and other recreational activities.
Is mask-wearing mandatory? Yes, mask-wearing is mandatory in the whole region for all public spaces where six feet of social distancing isn’t possible. At restaurants, diners may remove masks while seated at a table with their family for eating and drinking.
How many people can get together socially? For social gatherings, the number of people who can safely gather depends on the size and location of the venue or event. In the City of Philadelphia, further restrictions prohibit all indoor gatherings involving people from more than one household and limited outdoor gatherings, too, even with masks and distancing.
What is it like staying in a Philadelphia hotel right now? Hotels in the region are accepting guests now that they’ve made numerous safety adjustments to ensure visitors feel and stay safe. Many hotels are offering deals now, too, so check with individual properties to see what’s of the moment.
What’s it like to dine out in Greater Philadelphia now? As of November 2020, indoor dining (at 50% capacity) is permitted only in the Countryside and outdoor dining continues in both the City and Countryside — with precautions to keep everyone safe. Make reservations ahead of time wherever possible since the number of people allowed inside and out at restaurants varies from spot to spot.
Do I need a reservation to dine at a Philadelphia restaurant? Reservations are definitely recommended to ensure the dining experience you’re seeking will be available, especially when planning to dine indoors. Check OpenTable, Resy, or Tock for Philadelphia reservations or call the restaurant directly to book.
Can I just get a drink at a restaurant? Not yet. Restaurants offer table-service only (read: no bellying up to the bar) and alcohol orders at restaurants must be accompanied by food. You can grab a mixed cocktails to-go without ordering food.
What’s outdoor dining like in Philadelphia? Restaurants and bars have more capacity to seat and serve guests outdoors on their patios, sidewalks, and new “streeteries” (i.e. parking spots converted into outdoor seating).
How many people can sit at a table together when dining indoors versus outdoors in Philadelphia? Philadelphia’s guidelines call for tables to be limited to four people of the same household when dining outdoors. Indoor dining is not currently allowed in Philadelphia.
What time is last call? At the latest, Philadelphia restaurants will stop taking indoor orders at 11 p.m. and close at midnight. Note that many restaurants stop serving earlier at their own discretion.
Visiting Museums, Attractions, Shops & More
What is it like to visit a Philadelphia museum or attraction now? Museums and attractions in the region are open with capacity limits and, very often, timed ticketing. The upside? Museum-going is now an intimate, VIP-like experience with fewer visitors crowding halls and no more than 10 people (including staff) present in any single exhibit room at one time. Museums and attractions in the City of Philadelphia are closed until January 2021.
Are retail shops and shopping malls open? Yes, indoor malls and retailers are open with capacity limits. In Philadelphia, shops have to limit entry to a maximum of 5 total customers for every 1,000 square feet of space, so you might wait to get in to some shops.
Are casinos, live theaters and movie theaters open in Philadelphia? No. Entertainment venues like casinos, movie theaters and live theaters are not currently open for safety.
What’s riding public transportation like now? The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) serves Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties with public transportation via subway, bus and regional rail. SEPTA has a comprehensive guide to reopening phases that outlines what riders can expect on various kinds of public transit. In this phase of reopening, SEPTA operates a regular schedule for transit and a modified schedule on Regional Rail, with other modifications as needed. Note, too, that Regional Rail paper ticket sales ended October 2, 2020, so a SEPTA Key Card with money loaded in the Travel Wallet is the way to pay your fare.
Are taxis and rideshares available? Yes, taxis and rideshare services (Uber, Lyft) are open in the region with key safety guidelines in place. Planning ahead to schedule a taxi or rideshare car is highly recommended since drivers and services may be limited right now.
Remember, planning ahead will always be your best bet to ensure a great experience. When in doubt, call ahead or call the Independence Visitor Center to speak with a visitor experience expert at 800-537-7676.