Philadelphia economic sectors are recovering, but hospitality is lagging behind: Experts

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020
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City leaders now say, post COVID-19 economic downturn, industries are bouncing back.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Even in the rain Monday, sidewalks were crowded in Center City Philadelphia.

City leaders now say, post COVID-19 economic downturn, industries are bouncing back.

"The good news is all the trend lines are going upward. But obviously, we have to be careful of a second spike, we have not seen that here like other cities," said Paul Levy, president of the Center City District.

Their latest report shows that between March and April, the city lost more than 101,000 jobs. But now, overall employment has rebounded by more than 43,000.

Just about every sector has seen a solid bounce-back except for leisure and hospitality industries, including arts, entertainment, hotels and restaurants.

In February, that industry held more than 78,000 jobs but as of August, the industry was down to just 47,000.

Ed Grose, the Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, says hotels are only hanging on.

"If things don't change soon, I'm very concerned for our industry. People are going somewhere else to host their business meetings, somewhere else to hold their weddings, somewhere for training events because we can't host them in Philadelphia right now," he said.

He wants to encourage travel to the city.

"It's safe to stay at a Philadelphia hotel. Hotels are cleaner than they ever have been. We should be able to host indoor events larger than 25 people," he said.

As for restaurants, like Porta on Chestnut Street, they're more optimistic and see a path forward now.

"We are just 3 weeks into opening and the numbers keep getting better and better. So we couldn't be happier," said Emma Brandimarte, Porta's hospitality manager.

But despite everything we've all been through Levy says, given his experience, the city will be back.

"I was in the city in the 70s and 80s when we lost a quarter-million jobs. I was here for the recession in 1990. We all thought the end was coming but cities are very resilient," he said.

On Tuesday, city officials are set to announce whether or not they will allow for larger gatherings inside.