PHILADELPHIA, May 21, 2020 – Today, several members of City Council introduced a resolution authorizing a joint hearing of the Committees on Finance and Commerce & Economic Development that will focus specifically on Philadelphia’s safe, equitable, and robust recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
As they continue to convene virtually and adhere to physical distancing guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19, Councilmember Derek Green (At-Large), Chair of the Committee on Finance, and Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District), Chair of the Committee on Commerce and Economic Development, set forth legislation authorizing the respective committees to hold a joint hearing on Philadelphia’s approach to a robust, equitable and safe economic recovery. The resolution, also co-sponsored by Councilmembers Cherelle Parker (9th District), Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At-Large), Allan Domb (At-Large) and Isaiah Thomas (At-Large), will allow stakeholders, community members, business owners, healthcare experts and others to provide insight – drawing from personal and professional experiences during this crisis – and direction for Philadelphia’s path forward.
“The objective of these hearings is to get invaluable input from the public and those who are on the frontlines of this pandemic, to help provide us with as clear a picture as possible of how to move forward and ensure our City’s recovery,” said Councilmember Green. “Without their feedback and knowledge, a full and equitable recovery will be nearly impossible.”
As Philadelphians are reminded constantly, the effects of COVID-19 on the City’s economic landscape reverberate through nearly every aspect of daily life. Since statewide stay-at-home orders began on March 23rd, there have been more than 65,000 confirmed cases in the Commonwealth and over 4,800 deaths, while approximately 1.5 million people have filed for unemployment. Guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with recommendations from Governor Tom Wolf and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, have halted many services and activities citywide, thereby drastically slashing City revenues and altering life as we know it.
“We need a safe, smart restart of our local businesses in Philadelphia,” said Councilmember Squilla. “I believe that we should work with the business owners, with guidance from the CDC, to set a plan in place.”
With Philadelphia making up about a quarter of the state’s coronavirus cases, many businesses across the City remained closed. This is creating further uncertainty and even more dire circumstances for businesses, many of which are women and minority-owned and already struggle with gaining access to capital and other vital resources.
A date for hearings to begin has not yet been announced. A copy of the full resolution is available to view here.