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Philadelphia restaurants cannot offer indoor dining and must limit outdoor dining to four people of the same household until Jan. 1. Credit: Max Mester

In a unanimous vote, the City Council passed a bill imposing a six-month moratorium on evictions for certain restaurants.

The bill, sponsored by city councilman Bobby Henon, offers financial relief to non-chain restaurants that have seen at least a 50% drop in revenue since the start of the pandemic and are currently operating with under 100 employees, according to Billy Penn. With an expected signoff from Mayor Jim Kenney, the legislation will outlaw evictions on these eateries for the next six months and halt fees for late rent payments.

“While this legislation won’t solve every problem facing restaurants and catering facilities, it’s a measure that will provide some relief and ensure that our commercial corridors remain intact temporarily,” City Councilmember Bobby Henon told Billy Penn.

The new city ordinance arrives after numerous small businesses around the city have been forced to temporarily or permanently shut down due to the pandemic-induced economic crisis. Restaurants in particular have suffered since Philadelphia announced new, stricter restrictions from Nov. 20 to Jan. 1 that ban indoor dining and limit outdoor dining to four people of the same household.

While the bill should help small businesses make it to warm spring weather, when outdoor dining may become easier to operate according to Philly Voice,  thousands of small Philadelphia business owners in other industries still face the threat of eviction. 

As landlords demand rent, attempts at a citywide ban on residential and commercial evictions have failed to make great strides within the city government.

A recent bill to extend the ban on residential and commercial evictions, similar to one instituted in spring, has failed to be implemented according to City councilmember and 1993 College graduate Helen Gym, Billy Penn reported.

Pennsylvania continues to face unprecedented coronavirus infection rates each day, with Gov. Tom Wolf urging Pennsylvanians on Monday to abide by social distancing protocols in an effort to prevent overwhelming hospitals any further, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Over the course of the past two weeks, Pennsylvania’s situation has gotten much more dire. If we don’t slow the spread of the virus now, if we don’t do this, the reality is COVID-19 will overwhelm our hospitals, overwhelm our healthcare systems,” Wolf said during the Nov. press conference.

Depending on how Pennsylvania’s expected COVID-19 surge plays out, Wolf may announce additional pandemic guidelines soon, the Inquirer reported.