Photo credit: Hector Davila Jr./AL DÍA News.
Photo credit: Hector Davila Jr./AL DÍA News.

Ready. Set. Philly! initiative delivers a progress report on the state of Philly businesses

The year-long plan to encourage a return to work comes to an end showing signs of life.


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Philly’s business arena may not look the same as it did a year ago. Owners had to adapt and think quickly during the pandemic to avoid permanent closures and remain financially afloat.

Civil leaders along with business and city officials saw the threat posed by COVID on Philly’s economic stability and took action to combat it through Ready. Set. Philly!

Ready. Set. Philly!, a work and financial growth initiative, delivered a progress report Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 14, on the state of Philly businesses and entertainment. The project was launched by the City of Philadelphia and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia in March 2021.

“We are coming back to offices and businesses safely, but most importantly we are coming back to life filled with culture, entertainment, and tables prepared by award-winning chefs,” said Mayor Jim Kenney at the conference.

Kenney listed the opening of new businesses who moved into the city, and how SEPTA contributed to the program's outreach efforts this year. He also urged the need for more vaccinations throughout the region to bring workers back.

Data collected from the program showed openings of up to 67 new businesses, and additional ones to open in 2022. The city had witnessed visitors of over 300,000 people attend live events this year.

Susan Jacobson, chair of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, admitted the plan’s original goal was to get employers back to the office by Labor Day, but the team faced setbacks with new COVID variants springing up.

Jacobson said the initiative permitted businesses to create a safe return plan that included innovation to company culture, workplace changes, sanitary best practices, and exposure reduction.

“Workgroups began to think ‘how do we deploy our forces more strategically and effectively so that we can do more with the resources we have?’ I believe it showed us a collaborative process going forward,” said Bill Hankowsky, former chief executive officer of Liberty Property Trust.

Although it is not a full return, Ready. Set. Philly! ends seeing signs of growth and improvement across work and play.

Paul Levy, president and CEO of Center City District, reviewed numbers from a November survey revealing that nearly 90% of restaurants and retailers in the city reopened.

Restaurants to require COVID ID’s

After the conference, Kenney took questions from the media regarding the new indoor dining vaccination mandate to take effect starting Jan. 3, 2022 in Philadelphia.

Some have wondered how the mandate will impact businesses in the city next year, and what it will mean for residents in areas that don’t require one.

“I have seen restaurants in favor of IDs and hope it will foster a safe environment for everyone,” said Kenney. “Everyone from nearby areas will need to be vaccinated in order to dine in the city.”


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