The City of Philadelphia and the Chamber of Commerce will announce plans Wednesday to revitalize small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Mayor Jim Kenney along with other city leaders will unveil a newly created initiative, with hopes of promoting the safe return to Philadelphia for both work and play.
“COVID has wreaked havoc on the entire world, impacting the health of citizens and the well-being of our city – including businesses and arts and culture. The economic health and vibrancy of our community depend on residents, workers, and visitors coming back to Philadelphia – the heart of our region,” officials said in a press release.
There were signs of hope on Tuesday when the Marathon Grill at 16th and Sansom streets reopened in Center City for the first time since May. It’s the anchor of a block shut-off for outdoor dining.
The Center City District said the reopening of Marathon shows the neighborhood is trending in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go.
A year ago, Center City’s restaurant industry employed nearly 52,000 people. That number was about 229,000 as of February 2021.”Now, our next goal, of course, is to get our office buildings open fully, safely, so we can get more people in the city,” said Philadelphia Councilmember At-Large Allan Domb, who’s also a real estate developer.
However, also on Tuesday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley announced the city will not follow the rest of the state in adopting relaxed restrictions on April 4.
Last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced expanded business and event capacity limits, and the lifting of a long-standing coronavirus restrictions on bar service.
Starting April 4, patrons in Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, can be seated at the bar and get alcohol service without the purchase of food; gyms, malls and casinos will also be allowed to increase capacity to 75%.But it will be a different story in Philly. Farley said that beginning April 4, the city will allow the maximum capacity of outdoor catered events to expand to 250 people, with some restrictions. The Department of Public Health strongly encourages people over the age of 65 to be fully vaccinated before attending one of these events.
Philadelphia will also allow food to be served at business meetings beginning April 4.
Throughout April, Farley said he will review the local trends in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to gauge if it is safe to further loosen restrictions and come closer in line with the state’s guidance. If that happens, the city will announce the changes before April 30, so businesses can plan for the updated guidance.
Commerce Director Michael Rashid, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Chair Susan Jacobson, former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Property Trust Bill Hankowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brandywine Realty Trust Jerry Sweeney and Chief Administrative Officer of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Angela Val are among the city leaders who will be part of the morning announcement.
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