Coronavirus information
For the latest updates, please visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) website:
Coronavirus updates
Back to top

Letter from Mayor Walsh to the arts and culture sector


Published by:

Arts and Culture

The letter below from Mayor Walsh went out to the City of Boston's arts and culture community.

Dear Boston arts organizations, 

It is clear that COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is having a significant impact on our city including Boston’s arts sector. The Governor has announced new restrictions that have led many arts organizations to cancel programming, fundraisers, and other community events. Since the virus first surfaced in Boston on February 1, 2020, the Mayor’s Office has been compiling updates and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance for businesses and organizations. We want you to be informed and have access to all that we know about the virus, how to curb the spread, and its impact on the city. 

In addition to the resources and efforts noted below, the Mayor’s Office will connect weekly (via video conference call) with local arts organizations to share resources, and hear your perspective and experiences. The agenda will involve a briefing on the coronavirus from the City, what resources are available to you, followed by time for you to voice your questions, concerns, and suggestions. 

The next video conference will be held Friday, April 3, 2020, at 3 p.m.

Join the video conference 

Web Meeting ID: 555 418 692

Dial-in: 1-312-626-6799

There will be a maximum of 500 people during the live call. After the call is completed, notes and FAQs will be updated to If you have any questions, please contact We will also be organizing a conversation with individual artists at a later date.

You can find the most up-to-date information from the City of Boston by using these resources:

  • On Monday, March 23Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all employers that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public from Tuesday, March 24, at 12 p.m. (noon) until Tuesday, April 7 at noon. Exempt industries include: healthcare, public safety, groceries and take-out restaurants, utilities and infrastructure, and other essential services. The Order also limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from the 25-person limit established in an earlier order. 
  • On Sunday, March 15, Mayor Walsh declared a Public Health Emergency in the City of Boston in order to activate and deploy all the resources and personnel necessary to meet the needs of the moment.
  • Immediately, businesses must restrict patronage to less than 25 individuals, including staff.
  • Non-essential construction is temporarily paused as of March 17, 2020. 
  • On Sunday, March 15, Governor Baker announced the barring of all restaurants and bars from providing sit-in service starting on Tuesday, March 17, which means that you should be operating through take out and delivery ONLY.
  • Mayor Walsh issued new protocols for City of Boston employee travel and City-sponsored events.
    • The City of Boston is prohibiting any business travel, both foreign and domestic, for city employees outside the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
    • City-hosted events or meetings with more than 25 people should be postponed or canceled. Events or meetings with fewer than 25 people should be held in a space that can accommodate double the number of people expected to attend, to allow for social distancing. Events primarily geared towards those at-risk populations like older adults and those with underlying medical conditions must be postponed or cancelled. Please note that all events hosted by non-City organizations and agencies held within City buildings (libraries, community centers, schools, City Hall, etc.) will need to find new locations.
  • Governor Baker declared a state of emergency, and issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of 25 or more people in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Please review the emergency order for details.
  • For your convenience and distribution to your organizations and employees, we have provided COVID-19 fact sheets in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole
  • You can also refer to BPHC cleaning tips, prevention tips, and hand washing guidelines.  
  • The Inspectional Services Department has issued guidelines for food businesses in the City of Boston Employers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • The CDC issued Guidelines for Businesses and that ensure you and your employees are practicing good protective measures. To review the full guidelines and resources from the CDC, please visit this website.

Information on COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. The Boston Public Health Commission continues to provide updates to our coronavirus (COVID-19) page. Constituents with individual questions can call the City of Boston Health Line at 617-534-5050 (Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) or Boston 311 (24 hours for any non-emergency questions). We also have a Boston Artist Relief Fund where we’re providing grants to individual artists who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

We stand ready to support you through this quickly evolving situation, just as you have supported our City through the years. 

Take care of yourselves, 

Martin J. Walsh

Mayor of Boston

Watch the latest meeting