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Anxiety High For Philadelphia Business Owners With New COVID-19 Restrictions Coming Monday

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia officials warned on Friday that they're fine-tuning a new round of COVID-19 restrictions. The mayor's office says exact details will have to wait until Monday, but scores of business owners are anxious. They were already on the brink of closing from lockdowns in the spring.

Philadelphia reported 680 new coronavirus cases Saturday, with no new deaths. This comes as Pennsylvania reported its highest number of cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

There's been a lot of anxiety this weekend for business owners in Philadelphia as they inch closer to Monday when the city is expected to announce new restrictions.

Ari Duenas takes pride in the work being done at his gym, Revolution Fitness Factory, in Olde Kensington.

"Our class size averages about five," Duenas said.

Revolution Fitness Factory lost 70% of its business when doors first closed earlier this year due to the coronavirus. As owners anxiously await Monday's impending announcement, Duenas's fear is that if they have to close again, "we're done."

"You can basically put a closed forever sign on us because we can't do that," Duenas said.

"We're moving to the end of November and it's going to get cold and slippery and we're going to be out of options," Duenas said.

Survival is key and restaurants are just as apprehensive. Indoor dining may be nixed.

Harper's Garden got creative and now has heated individual greenhouses that will bode well for outdoor dining. Some diners have been paying attention to the rise in COVID-19 numbers.

"You see the numbers come and we're like, 'the city is going to shut down in a few days,'" John Walker said.

And so they've already been taking precautions.

"I personally haven't eaten indoors yet and don't really plan on it as long as there are nice enough heat lamps," Lilah Epstein said.

If there's another shutdown come winter …

"It's just not enjoyable to sit outside when it's 30 degrees and you're sitting here shivering while you're eating," Rachel Hark said.

"Restaurants have been able to adapt pretty well to outdoor dining so far," Josh Lafair said.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says there will not be a complete shutdown, but there will be restrictions that will hopefully help change the trajectory of the virus.

"This is going to be potentially the most dangerous period. If we don't do anything," Farley said, "this period will have the most people in hospital beds and potentially the most people that die from it if we don't take action now."

The hope is that there will be as little disruption as possible. As for dining, some patrons still plan on supporting restaurants by ordering takeout.


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