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Letter from Mayor Walsh to the small business community

Read a letter from the Mayor to small businesses and the small business community.

Dear Boston small business owners and local business community members,

The Governor has announced new restrictions related to COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, which may impact your business operations. 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, we would like to connect (via conference call) with business owners to 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 conference call will be held Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at 4 p.m.

Dial-in: ‬ 1-614-664-9433‬ / PIN: ‪799 590 823‬#

If you have time, please take a moment to fill out this survey: 

Complete our survey

After the call is completed, notes and FAQs will be updated to If you have any questions, please contact Natalia Urtubey in the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development or 617-635-0355.

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

Information and Guidance
  • 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-emergency construction is suspended as of March 17, 2020. Construction sites will have until March 23, 2020 to properly shut down their sites, including protection from wind, security, and all necessary safety measures.
  • 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:
  • No restaurant (with or without an alcoholic beverages license), bar, club, private club, social club, or entertainment venue may at any time allow more than twenty five (25) individuals in the licensed premise including staff. 
  • No establishment may serve food or alcoholic beverages for on premise consumption. This effectively means a complete prohibition on the service of alcohol with the exception of retail package stores.
  • Establishments may only serve patrons food via take-out and delivery. For any restaurant or bar room that serves food, we are lifting regulations so that all restaurants and bar rooms are allowed to provide take-out and delivery (Any restriction or regulation prohibiting take-out is temporarily lifted.) This includes facilities without take-out licenses
  • We encourage the use of take-out and delivery services. If you do not currently utilize a delivery service, the Office of Small Business is able to help you. Contact 311 to be connected to us. 
  • Establishments offering take-out and delivery may stay open to the closing hour currently listed on their license.
  • Establishments must remove or rope off all seating in the licensed premise. 
  • Establishments must abide by the CDC's social distancing policies. 
  • As of right now, beer gardens will not be opening until this public health crisis is over. 
  • On Wednesday, March 11, Governor Baker declared a state of emergency, and issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of over 250 people in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Please review the emergency order for details and exceptions to certain institutions and situations. 
  • 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 Employersto prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Below are CDC 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.
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees;
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Information on COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. The Boston Public Health Commission continues to provide updates our coronavirus (COVID-19) page. Constituents with individual questions can call the City of Boston Health Line at 617-534-5050 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or Boston 311 (24 hours for any non-emergency questions).

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

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