Some doctors and nurses will be sleeping over at the hospital tonight just to make sure they’re on time for work tomorrow morning in Center City. Across the region, from kindergarten to doctorate seminars, classes are canceled. Meanwhile, some of the Philadelphia area’s biggest employers are closing shop as the city braces for the most congested event since Pope Francis’ visit in September 2015.
The city government is closing and jury duty will be rescheduled. Employees at the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the parade stops, won’t be working.
Aramark, which partners with the Eagles, has gone as far as to declare Thursday celebrations a company holiday at its three Center City locations — its Innovation Center, Data Center and headquarters at 1101 Market St. — according to spokeswoman Karen Cutler.
The bars and retailers looking to cash in on this day were ramping up.
Philadelphia-based FMC Corp. will also remain open, but is offering its 500 employees flexible schedules and the chance to work from home due to travel concerns. Spokesman Ken Gedaka expects some employees to drop off their briefcases in the company’s University City office and make the 10-minute walk to be a part of the parade.
“We’ve actually encouraged them to go and celebrate,” said Gedaka. “It’s really up to the employees to decide.”
Meanwhile, Boeing’s 4,000 employees from the Philadelphia-area were encouraged to seek permission from managers to attend the parade. To make up the time, they can use vacation or leave without pay. At the company’s Ridley Township facility on Friday, staff gathered for an Eagles rally on the flight ramp.
Independence Blue Cross, the region’s largest health insurer, which is partnering with SEPTA to offer free subway rides in the city on Thursday, will close its Center City headquarters, as well as its offices in Mount Laurel and Plymouth Meeting, according to spokesman Grant Gegwich.
Drivers for ride-sharing apps will also be working extra shifts. Uber has partnered with Miller Lite to provide riders with two $10 ride credits for travel adjacent to the parade route, until $130,000 worth have been redeemed. Lyft is offering drivers incentives to stay on the road.
The University of Pennsylvania, the city’s largest private employer, has suspended operations. Yesterday, the student paper’s editorial board asked the school’s administration to “make good on its efforts to better integrate Penn into Philadelphia” and cancel classes as most Philadelphia-area universities had already done.
Comcast’s Center City campus, which employs 7,500 workers, will close, according to a spokesman. But the Wells Fargo Center will remain open. The Flyers are offering a special deal, $52 for two tickets, for Thursday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
And for bars and sports merchandise stores, Philadelphia’s first Super Bowl victory means more workers and longer hours.
Giavana Suraci, the event coordinator for the Tavern on Broad, says the bar is opening up at 8 a.m. “Everyone that can work will be here.”
“We’re pretty much preparing to be completely swamped by crazy Eagles fans, which we love,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Philly Team Store plans to open as early as 7 a.m. Eric Castellucci, the operations manager, says the store at 1720 Chestnut St. will be “triple staffed, if not more.” It is also struggling to ship in more merchandise due to street closures.
At Hahnemann University Hospital, essential staff are sleeping over just to make sure they can make it to work the next day. Since the pope’s visit in 2015, they’ve been conducting drills to prepare for events such as this. The hospital has recommended that patients reschedule outpatient procedures.
And the Philadelphia Eagles says its office in the NovaCare Complex will be empty. The staff has somewhere else to be.