Philadelphia's hospitality industry hopes for relaxed restrictions

Philadelphia moves into its next phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.

Video Transcript

- Is the looming decision on the COVID-19 restrictions in the city.

- Residents and business owners alike are anxiously waiting for word while trying to plan for the summer. Action News reporter, Maggie Kent, live for us now at Independence Mall with the full story. Maggie.

MAGGIE KENT: Charry and Rick, those who work in the hotel and restaurant industry just say they're looking for a road map, a possibility of what's to come, which can help them plan for future restrictions being ended. I spoke to a representative from the Philadelphia Health Department today who said the 300 plus people who are being diagnosed in Philadelphia with COVID every day has them pumping the brakes. And they're still monitoring that situation.

It's music to the ears of business owners.

- Indoor capacity restrictions will be completely lifted.

- We anticipate completely removing the limit on outdoor gatherings.

MAGGIE KENT: Easing restrictions in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But city leadership in Philadelphia has not announced plans to follow suit.

BEN FALLETTA: Philly is really going to be an island unto itself.

MAGGIE KENT: That's a worry for Ben Falletta, Director of Operations for the Philadelphia Restaurant and Lodging Association. For Erik Travers at the Red L Tavern too. His restaurant sits on the corner of Fifth and Chestnut with a view of Independence Mall.

ERIK TRAVERS: When you can go across the bridge or you can go right outside of Philadelphia itself, it certainly hurts our business because the travelers are going to stay elsewhere.

MAGGIE KENT: Mayor Jim Kenney touting a reopening of tourism in the city yesterday.

JIM KENNEY: Tourism plays a significant role in our city image and in our economy. Pre-COVID tourists spent $7 billion in our region.

MAGGIE KENT: Without announcing definite plans for reduction in restrictions.

JIM KENNEY: We're not out of it yet. And we need to be careful.

MAGGIE KENT: Beth Weber came in from Arizona.

BETH WEBER: They have the restrictions. But that's OK. You just have to go with the flow.

MAGGIE KENT: Going with the flow today, Temple grads who were allowed to walk across the stage with their various colleges as family looked on from outside.

KEMATI JANICE PORTER: For me, today, the irony of this celebration, while it was a really high point in the family, is that we have to watch it through iron bars. And there's an irony.

MAGGIE KENT: We expect to hear from our Philadelphia Health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, tomorrow. And of course, we'll be asking him about any future plans to see a reduction in those COVID restrictions. Live at Independence Mall, Maggie Kent, Channel 6 Action News. Charry.