Philadelphia prepares for economic boost ahead of July 4

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- President Joe Biden hopes the country would be somewhat back to normal by July 4, so Action News traveled around the city and suburbs Thursday to see how things were going.

At Independence Mall, tourists were taking in the historical sights.

The Greear family, who was in town from Atlanta, Ga., say they feel just fine.

"We were hoping more attractions would be open to the public, but it looks like we're in the right direction," said Shiela Greear.

Along with tourists, Action News got the pulse from some of the business sectors.

Owners Olivia Caceres and Daniel Miller of Martha Restaurant at Martha and York streets say things have been on the up and up, and it's exciting to see.

They add what will help with their full recovery is continued neighborhood support.

"During the week, it helps us so much when people just want to spend time and have a beer and a hoagie with us," said Caceres.

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As far as the Philadelphia hotel industry goes, the 4th of July holiday is expected to be huge for the city.

Visit Philadelphia expects some hotels will sell out, and some hotels within walking distance of the Liberty Bell Center are already booked at 90% occupancy for the weekend.

But Ed Grose, the President of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, says there's still work to be done overall.

"All my hotels are telling me that their occupancy is still low. A lot of the employees are not back yet," said Grose.

He says what would give a boost to hotels and the local economy is for office work to resume.

"Once that happens, we'll start to see business travel increase, and we're headed in the right direction. But we still have a ways to go," said Grose.

Out in the suburbs at Brick & Brew in Havertown, Delaware County, things look much better.

"We're as busy as we've ever been. Our diners have been coming back full-fledged, which is amazing," said manager Kelsey Jackson.

However, they still are having an issue with staffing.

"With unemployment, I think we really are seeing it keep people at home," said Jackson.

President Biden was also hopeful that by July 4, 70% of the American population would be vaccinated. Things stand at 66.5% of Americans having at least one dose of the vaccine.

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