Jan 4, 2022 - Business

Philadelphia-area business leaders' outlook for 2022

Illustration of a vintage cash register with covid cells on the display.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

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.

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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