Philly COVID: Downtown streets on 13th Street gone as utility work begins

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Some businesses in downtown Philadelphia are facing an unexpected setback as Restaurant Week kicks off.

Public and road works forced the “streeteries” along 13th Street to collapse.

Businesses have used “streeteries” to pivot during the pandemic, but the city has warned restaurateurs that public works are still a possibility.

“It’s hard to lose that space to customers who still wanted to have the ambiance,” said David Montague, operations manager for downtown restaurants Bar Bombon and Charlie was a sinner.

In a letter sent to restaurateurs a month ago, the initial deadline called for the removal of “streeteries” by January 10. But under pressure from some owners, the deadline was extended to January 20.

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Fergus Carey, chairman of the board of the Midtown Village Merchants Association, said it doesn’t appear the city is making it easier for operators to rebuild structures.

“We were told, ‘Well, you can’t put them back until you get all the proper permits this time, not the emergency permits,'” Carey said. won’t come back. I’d bet they won’t come back.”

Montague added that rebuilding some of these elaborate structures may not be an option due to cost and city code that prevents them from being built in bike lines.

“I don’t know if we’re able to put them back together,” Montague added.

Some who enjoyed the sets are sad to see them go.

“It’s great for families; a lot of people who don’t feel comfortable eating indoors still have the option,” diner Sarah Bonkowski said.

Others are more motivated to see options to avoid city warrants.

“I’m glad they’re giving us the option to eat out because my vaccination status is none of their business,” said tourist Rebekah Smalley.

Construction work should be completed by the summer.

A Zoom meeting between the city and the restaurateurs is scheduled for Monday, where both parties are expected to give more details.

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