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Campus & Community

What Dragons Should Know About Changes in Philadelphia Due to COVID-19

March 16, 2020

Here’s how the city has responded to the novel coronavirus outbreak, and what Drexel University Dragons remaining on or near campus should keep in mind.

Please visit the ‘Drexel’s Response to Coronavirus’ website for the latest information on campus preparations and responses regarding COVID-19.

Drexel University has been keeping the Dragon community informed with each new turn in its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But some may be asking what has changed within the Philadelphia community at large? As of March 16, here’s what Dragons should be aware of in terms of the city’s larger response and how you can help play a part in containing the virus.

Large gatherings are not recommended

On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an interim guidance to recommend that large events and mass gatherings of more than 50 people be cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks.

The University had already announced similar parameters for campus events, and Student Life has halted all student organization events until further notice.

What this means for the city is that gathering places like restaurants, bars and entertainment venues are being asked to shut down or take that action on their own.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced on March 15 that restaurants and bars in five counties must close dine-in services starting March 16, including in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties, which surround Philadelphia. Several businesses in Philadelphia county have also taken it upon themselves to close. Following the state-wide mandate, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on March 16 ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down by 5 p.m. that day. Only “essential” businesses will remain open, including supermarkets, gas stations and veterinary clinics, among others. Additionally, he announced they would halt all non-essential government operations by March 17.

Check your favorite businesses’ websites or social media channels for the latest information on their hours of operation, and whether or not your favorite restaurants might still be offering carry-out or delivery services.

In the same way you should expect to eat out any time soon, don’t plan on attending a concert or sports game, either. The NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS have all suspended play for at least two weeks. The Kimmel Center has shut its doors, and other venues have been impacted by artist cancellations.

Call in to venues about events for which you may have pre-purchased tickets to inquire about cancellations, postponements or refunds. You can also see a running list of cancelations on Ticketmaster here.

Social distancing is recommended

Over the course of the last week, “social distancing” has become the new norm. Drexel is doing its part by moving finals and the start of Spring term classes online and encouraging faculty and professional staff members to work remotely, while still maintaining essential campus functions for those who need them. The School District of Philadelphia also announced a two-week closure from March 16–27.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University joined its neighbors on the Parkway in a decision to temporarily close to the public and postpone or cancel public programming for a minimum of two weeks, effective starting March 14. All public programming through April 30 has been postponed or canceled. More information and updates can be found here. 

Other gathering places like the King of Prussia Mall have shut their doors, which means that…

People are spending more time outside

According to WHYY, public health experts say parks are a safer option than indoor meeting spaces when looking for recreation. So while all official Philadelphia Parks & Recreation programming is suspended starting March 16, Dragons can still take advantage of the wide open spaces near campus — like FDR Park, Fairmount Park and the Wissahickon Valley Park — as the spring temperatures continue to bloom.

There is help

On March 14, the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline was established, and anyone in the region including health care workers can reach the helpline by calling 1.800.722.7112. You can also find a list of University resources on the coronavirus response website.