Data shows cell phone activity involving non-residential workers in Center City is up 38% compared to last July.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Center City has come a long way in recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdown in 2020, but there is still a way to go.
Paul Levy, president of the Center City District, says that while tourism and residential life are close to pre-pandemic levels, the number of in-person office workers is still only 50 to 52% of what it was before COVID.
Levy says he is optimistic, though, that Comcast's decision to call roughly 8,000 employees back to the office, if only for three days a week, will inspire other large companies to do the same.
"The world has changed, but I think there are really several really important things by collaboration, business mentoring of employees, creativity. It comes out of face-to-face interaction," said Levy.
And the available data shows the trend moving in that direction.
The Action News Data Journalism Team found that cell phone data activity involving non-residential workers in Center City is up 38% when you compare last July to July of this year.
And that is music to the ears of Devon Sellers, the general manager of Misconduct Tavern on JFK Boulevard.
He says that trend and the return of Comcast workers is huge.
"I've heard Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday they are coming in. Then I know that's going to happen. I know the staff of those days and I can expect us to be busy those days. I can't wait," said Sellers.
And Levy says it's also music to the ears of the many other workers and industries that depend on a vibrant, in-person workforce.
"When office workers are remote, we lose maintenance jobs in office buildings," he says. "We lose security jobs. We lose retail jobs. We lose Uber and Lyft drivers."
Comcast workers are expected to return the week of September 12.