By Donovan Levine

The city of Philadelphia is banning all indoor gatherings, public or private, for the remainder of 2020 as the city battles a resurgence of COVID-19, as reported by officials on Monday.

Philadelphia has banned the opening of restaurants, gyms, casinos, museums and libraries. All college and high school in-person instruction is also prohibited.

The new mandate will go into effect Friday, Nov. 20, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Credit: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Mayor Jim Kenney’ decision is likely due to a record-shattering amount of COVID-19 cases statewide that have skyrocketed this past weekend. 

U.S. Rep. Joe Ciresi from Pa. reported a record 5,531 new positive COVID-19 cases via a press release on Friday. This capped last week’s total at 28,290 new cases and added to the statewide total of 254,287.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds. 

While these numbers are tentative, they are also the highest for both daily and weekly reported cases since the first lockdown in March.

Kenney believes that without this dramatic action, hospitals will become overrun by the end of the year.

“The bottom line is that if people don’t follow it and it doesn’t work, we’re going to be in the situation longer than we need to be,” said Kenney. “So it will be a self-fulfilling problem if people won’t cooperate and refuse to follow what we’re asking them to do and the case count goes up.”

“Kenney believes that without this dramatic action, hospitals will become overrun by the end of the year.”

New Jersey has also imposed restrictions and have limited all indoor gatherings to less than 10 people and outdoor gatherings to no more than 100. 

KU students who are Jersey natives and heading home this weekend should be wary as case tallies in Jersey reach record highs, much like Pennsylvania.

Health officials such as Dr. Thomas Farley and spokesperson James Garrow strongly discourage all Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.

School districts in Philadelphia’s neighboring counties, like Montgomery and Chester, are also switching to online classes effective Nov. 17.

Although Governor Wolf has not moved to enforce broader statewide restrictions such as the ones seen in March, a second lockdown or similar restrictions are likely with the way this current COVID-19 trend is shaping up.

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