Philadelphia-area business leaders' outlook for 2022
The unpredictability and changes brought about by nearly two years of COVID are among the top challenges businesses are facing in 2022, industry leaders told Axios.
State of play: Positive COVID-19 case counts have been rising for weeks in Philadelphia as the Omicron variant spreads.
- The city's new vaccine mandate for restaurants, sports venues and other establishments went into effect on Monday.
Yes, but: Many businesses have identified ways to overcome obstacles in the new year.
Axios asked local leaders what they have on their radar in 2022. Here's what they had to say:
The issue: The food industry continues to struggle with labor shortages, rising wages, inflation and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic.
- Restaurant-goers should expect prices to rise in 2022, warned Ben Fileccia, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association.
- "Prices have not significantly gone up on restaurant menus in 20 years," Fileccia said.
One solution: The association wants to ensure outdoor dining options for food establishments remain permanent throughout Pennsylvania in 2022.
- Of note: Philadelphia has already allowed some streeteries to stay in place.
The issue: The regional African-American Chamber of Commerce said many of its members have yet to fully recover from the pandemic-driven economic downturn.
- It's hindering businesses from planning for the future, the chamber's president and CEO Regina Hairston said.
One solution: Helping Black business owners attract equity capital, or outside investments beyond traditional bank loans, could make a difference.
- "There's a collaborative effort to move Black businesses in that direction for them to really have wealth in order for them to grow their businesses," Hairston said.
The issue: Rising costs and supply chain snags could sink development projects and push smaller developers out of businesses, said Gary Jonas, president of the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.
- "When you have a rise in costs like we've had, at some point, it makes the building and development of properties unfeasible," he said.
One solution: Equitable housing is at the forefront of the group's efforts this year.
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