Mayor Martin Walsh today announced a litany of new resources available to small businesses in Boston impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The resources, which include tools, surveys, and support services for restaurants and small businesses, have been created through the City's Office of Economic Development, and are available online on boston.gov/small-business or under the Local Resources "Economic Development Response" on boston.gov/coronavirus.
"Boston is a city that looks out for one another, and during this challenging time, we are doing everything we can to support the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities," said Mayor Walsh in a press release. "I encourage Boston residents to continue patronizing the businesses most impacted by this pandemic -- purchase a gift card, order take out, or support your local businesses in whatever way you are able to. Our Office of Economic Development is in our neighborhoods, talking with businesses and responding to their immediate needs, and we will keep working to support our small businesses here in Boston."
The Office of Economic Development (OED) has created the following resources for small businesses in Boston:
Highlighting Open Businesses in Boston
The Office of Economic Development has created a tool for essential businesses to publicly share that they're open, share gift-card information, and which (if any) delivery/take-out services they use. This guide is available for residents to utilize, and explore what local businesses are open in their neighborhoods.
The Office of Economic Development encourages all essential businesses that are allowed to remain open during the statewide closure of businesses that are non-essential to the COVID-19 response, to register online if they are still open. The guide is available online on boston.gov/open-businesses.
Under the State of Massachusetts' new emergency order all businesses and organizations that do not provide "COVID-19 Essential Services" are required to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. Businesses with questions on what is deemed essential are encouraged to view the State's guidance on essential businesses.
If the function of a business is not listed in the State's directory, but a business believes that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, businesses may request designation as an essential business. This is available through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and can be applied for online.
Boston Restaurant Support
The Office of Economic Development has created another tool for restaurants to publicly share that they're open, share gift-card information, and which (if any) delivery/take-out services they use. This guide is available for residents to utilize, and explore what local businesses are open in their neighborhoods.
The Office of Economic Development encourages restaurants to register online if they are still open. The guide is available online on boston.gov/restaurant-support.
By direction of Mayor Walsh and the Boston Licensing Board, the City of Boston has lifted licensing regulations to allow takeout/delivery at all restaurants. OED has also created a guidebook for offering take-out and delivery that can also be used for groceries, pharmacies, and others. The Office of Economic Development has created a form for employers and employees to complete if they agree to expand their services to delivery.
Small Business Conference Calls
The next Small Business call will be held on Tuesday March 31st at 3pm as a resource for small businesses. Please email email@example.com to be added to the distribution list.
Small Business Survey
Boston's Small Business Team has been working in individual neighborhoods to ensure support is given, and is working to proactively address concerns in the business community. As part of that work, the Office of Economic Development has launched surveys for small businesses to pinpoint the help and services they need during this time. OED is currently collecting responses for their second survey, and have had more than a thousands respondents so far.
The results of the first survey are already available on boston.gov.
In addition to the services above, OED has sent a letter to the small business community with guidance on regulations and safety protocols, in 6 languages. The Small Business Team offering one-on-one technical assistance to help get services online. Interested businesses can reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org.