(Source: Phila.gov)
(Source: Phila.gov)

Philadelphia officials announced sweeping new restrictions Monday in an effort to combat the rapid spread of coronavirus.

The order requires all high schools and colleges to move to online instruction only and bans youth sports. It prohibits indoor dining and requires the closure of all cinemas, live theaters, museums, libraries, casinos, and gyms.

In general, "All indoor gatherings and events involving people from more than one household are prohibited, in public or private spaces," the city said in a statement.

There are a few exceptions. Elementary and and middle schools may remain open, as may child care centers, as long as they follow Department of Health guidance regarding Covid-19 precautions.

Indoor religious services are allowed, but with maximum capacity of 5 people per 1,000 square feet or 5% normal maximum occupancy.

Certain businesses may operate, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, health care services and hotels. Public transit will continue.

The restrictions begin Friday and remain in effect until Jan. 1.

As of Monday, Philadelphia had recorded more than 2,500 new Covid-19 cases since Friday. Its case incidence rate is 270.4 per 100,000 population, well over the threshold for "substantial community spread." More than 1,900 Philadelphians have died from the disease.

"There is no doubt these changes are necessary," Mayor Jim Kenny said at a news conference.

Tim Stuhldreher