Local business owner feels Philadelphia "yellow phase" transition is too sudden

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While Philadelphia will move into the "yellow phase" of reopening on June 5, some local businesses like Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books in the Germantown section, say those plans may be too sudden.

"As the city moves into the yellow phase, one of the challenges for us is that the options that are now available to us, like delivery curbside, don't fit our business model or our culture," said Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University professor and owner of Uncle Bobbie's. "We're an intimate space, we're a cafe and a book store."

Hill says Uncle Bobbie's won't be successful if it changes the business model to meet the requirements of the yellow phase.

From a health perspective, Hill says his staff doesn't feel confident enough to reopen giving recent events.

"We're just a few days over a major protest movement in the city, and it'll be a week or two weeks before we fully understand the impact of those gatherings on public health," said Hill. "For us to quickly open up and bring all those people together in a space might not be the wisest move. We're trying to balance our financial interest with more importantly meeting the health needs of the city."

Hill says from talking with other local business owners in the city regarding reopening, he certainly doesn't feel like he's alone.

"I speak to a lot of business owners in the city, particularly small business owners," said Hill. "Many people are finding it challenging. Many had to piece together federal and local funds and still working out the details about how to use the funds they got."

"This doesn't just feel like being closed for a week or two and just turn the key and go again," said Hill. "This is a situation where people have to restart, rehire people and restock inventory."

For the city overall, Hill says change is needed between community and police.

"The biggest thing that we need to do right now is let go of the old way of doing things," said Hill. "We have to allow for the possibility of the way we understood policing, the way we've understood the community and the way we understood that relationship has to become completely reimagined and rebuilt."

Hill says if that's not done, communities and police may find themselves with the same problem all over again.
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