PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, life in Philadelphia is slowly getting back to normal. While malls and pool clubs have been open elsewhere in Pennsylvania for nearly a week, Philadelphia gets its chance Friday.
At the height of the pandemic, the Vesper Dayclub in Northern Liberties didn’t think they’d be allowed to open at all. But now they’re planning a grand reopening for Friday. But don’t expect the same day club as years past.
“We spent so many days and months indoors, cooped up. You reach the end of Netflix, you reach the end of Hulu and my God, it’s just so nice to be outside,” Northern Liberties resident Curt Bosson said.
It’s the great outdoors in the middle of a city. Vesper Dayclub is opening its pool for the first time this season.
“With a lot of travel restrictions going on, this is kind of a little oasis in the city where people can still feel like there’s some sort of normalcy going on,” said Derek Gibbons, with Vesper Dayclub.
Vesper spent the last four months deep cleaning the club. You must make a reservation and wear a mask unless you are at your assigned location.
In the past, Vesper got a reputation for hosting huge parties. They say that will not be happening this year, they’re capping the capacity at 20%.
“We used to do parties upwards of 400, 500 people a day. Obviously, that’s not the model we’re going for this year,” Gibbons said.
Malls, including the Fashion District in Center City, are preparing to reopen as well. Per state orders, they can only be at 50% capacity.
Because of the pandemic, they were forced to close just six months after opening.
“We opened last September and weren’t expecting something like this to happen so we’re ready to go and excited to see everybody,” said Sarah Frank, with the Fashion District.
While many of the anchor stores with street access opened last week, this will be the first time stores inside the mall can open. All common area seating has been removed and the food court is closed.
Back at Vesper, they’re aware of the risks but are being vigilant.
“As long as you’re cautious and self-aware of what your risk factor is and what’s going on,” Bosson said. “It’s just common sense.”
Unlike previous years, the day club will close at 7 p.m., seven days a week.