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While indoor dining, customers must wear masks when they are not eating. Credit: Jeffrey Liu

Philadelphia restaurants can increase indoor dining capacity from 25% to 50% starting on Friday. 

Diners at different tables must remain six feet apart from one another, and tables must contain four or fewer seats to discourage people from different households from dining together, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said in a video message. Restaurant staff will be required to wear face masks and face shields at all times and customers must wear masks when they are not eating, he added.

Farley said restaurants will still not be able to offer seating at bars and alcohol must continue to only be served with meals.

The decision to increase indoor dining capacity comes as a result of falling case counts across the city, Farley said. Over the past two weeks, however, there has been a 14% increase in cases in the state, The New York Times reported

“If case rates start to rise — which they very well could as weather starts to get cooler, depending on what happens in the rest of the country — we may have to reimpose some of these restrictions," Farley said.

In addition to the city guidelines Farley outlined, restaurants must adhere to state guidelines and follow the same steps as other restaurants in Pennsylvania that expanded indoor dining on Sept. 21.

Restaurants planning to reopen must self-certify through the "Open & Certified Pennsylvania" website that they are following the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, 6abc Philadelphia reported.

Indoor dining first reopened in Philadelphia at 25% capacity on Sept. 8. As capacity expands, Farley urged restaurants to remain committed to offering outdoor seating.

“Even as we are expanding the opportunity for restaurants to have more diners indoors, we want to encourage restaurants to have outdoor seating, and if anything, increase their outdoor seating because we do think that’s a much safer environment for diners,” Farley said.