July 14, 2020 / 3:38 PM / a month ago

Philadelphia mayor cancels large public events through February 2021 due to COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Tents with small exam rooms are being prepared to test for and treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outside Pennsylvania hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 27, 2020. REUTERS/Jessica Kourkounis

(Reuters) - Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday announced a moratorium on most large public events in the city through Feb. 28, 2021, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I know this news will be disappointing for many Philadelphians, it was not an easy decision to make,” Kenney told a news conference. “But as we continue to battle COVID-19 and try to restore some sense of normalcy in our city, we know there will be many difficult decisions to come.”

The mayor said the moratorium will apply to events of 50 people or more on public property, including but not limited to festivals, parades, concerts, carnivals, fairs and flea markets.

Demonstrations and First Amendment-protected activities remain permitted, as do events with fewer than 25 participants held on private property, as long as they follow public health guidelines, Kenney said.

The moratorium also does not apply to events held at sports stadiums, which are private property.

“Decisions on how to resume those types of events will be based on current public health guidance as the situation in Philadelphia progresses,” a spokeswoman for the mayor said in an email.

Reporting by Gabriella Borter and Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Franklin Paul, Matthew Lewis and Tom Brown

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