Top Stories

Downtown Pittsburgh looking to recover after COVID-19 pandemic

PITTSBURGH — Can downtown Pittsburgh recover after the COVID-19 pandemic? Some are optimistic about a full recovery, but one business owner who lost $1 million in revenue last year said he isn’t sure he can stay afloat.

“I just don’t know how much bouncing back there’s going to be and I think the damage, yeah, it’s been done and there’s no coming back,” Chris Weck said.

Weck said he’s watched as all of his neighbors on Liberty Avenue have gone out of business or relocated over the last year. With restrictions loosening, he said he’s still not sure he’ll be able to turn a profit.

“A lot of places still aren’t going to open up. I don’t think companies will still be sending their employees back into town,” he said.

Mayor Bill Peduto said he’s confident that once the state hits that 70% vaccinated mark, some of the region’s biggest companies will be bringing people back to the office.

“The major employers I’ve met and talked directly with, PPG, BNY Mellon, PNC Bank and Highmark, say they’re interested in bringing their employees back to work,” Peduto said.

It’s not clear, though, where the city is headed post-pandemic.

“How office development, residential development, retail development will continue after this, I think, is still an open question and we’re all trying to figure that out,” said county executive Rich Fitzgerald.

For some like Rachel Brieve, who works Downtown, will enough people be vaccinated?

“I think that’s definitely something that needs to be kept in mind once those events and activities do return,” she said.

Others are more hesitant.

“The only fear I would have is when things start to open back up, we do it too early and there are too many COVID-19 cases because we’re not doing the proper precautions,” Ben Reinke said.