Philadelphia Plans To Allow Bigger Crowds At Games, Casinos

Philadelphia Plans To Allow Bigger Crowds At Games, Casinos

With Pennsylvania announcing it will lift its coronavirus restrictions on Memorial Day, the city of Philadelphia released its plans to reopen. The decisions by the state and city will allow for more fans in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia arenas for the NHL and NBA playoffs.

During a news conference Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the city’s reopening date would be June 11, two weeks after the rest of Pennsylvania is set to reopen.

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“This moment is possible because of the immense sacrifices that Philadelphians of all ages made over the last year," Kenney said in the news conference. “We are not yet declaring victory because cases and hospitalizations can rise again at any point if we're not diligent. I urge everyone to be smart, to continue wearing masks around others, and most importantly, to join the more than half a million fellow Philadelphians who already got their vaccine.”

How Will This Affect Casinos And Sportsbooks?

While all mask requirements will remain in place, PA casinos and PA sportsbooks can operate at 50% maximum capacity, or 75% maximum if they can meet enhanced ventilation standards; social distancing will be enforced at a minimum of three feet of distance between persons of different groups; alcohol can be sold to customers at gaming machines.

Restaurants remain at 50% maximum capacity, or 75% maximum if they also can meet enhanced ventilation standards; distance between chair backs will be reduced from six feet to three feet; the requirement for alcohol to be served with food will end.

The Wells Fargo Center, home of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and NBA playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers, will be allowed to operate at 50% of occupancy limit and must enforce a minimum of three feet of distance between persons of different groups. The Sixers will be hosting games when the playoffs begin while the Flyers’ season is over.

On Memorial Day, Pennsylvania’s changes mean that bars, casinos, event venues, gyms, nightclubs, restaurants, salons, sportsbooks, stores, theaters and other businesses can open at 100% capacity. Crowd-size limits will be lifted on all indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Pittsburgh Penguins Playoff Games

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and the state's Department of Health also announced on Tuesday that capacity limits for gatherings would be increased to 50% indoors and 75% outdoors starting on May 17. On Memorial Day, they will go to 100%.

With the announcement, the Penguins, who are in the NHL playoffs and will face the New York Islanders in the first round (time, date TBD), announced that capacity at their home games at PPG Paints Arena would also increase to 50%. That means the Pens can allow more than 9,000 fans for any game played on or after that date.

If Game 1 of the Islanders series is played before May 17, capacity for that game will remain at 25%. Any games on or after May 17 will be increased to 50%.



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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