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Responding to COVID-19's impact on Boston's arts and culture sector


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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 for arts organizations will be a combined call held Friday, August 7, 2020, at 3 p.m.

Register for the video conference 

Our Artist Resource Manager Julia Ryan is also holding regular calls with Boston artists, where she'll be discussing the Boston Artist Relief Fund and other relief funds and resources available to artists, as well as highlighting how some artists are adapting to barriers caused by COVID-19.

The next call for artists will be on Tuesday, July 28 from 4-5 p.m.

Register for the Artists' Call

There will be a maximum of 500 people during the live call. If you have any questions, please contact

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

  • View information related to reopening in the City of Boston here
  • On Sunday, April 5, Mayor Walsh announced strict new measures for social and physical distancing for residents in the City of Boston.
  • 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.
  • Non-essential construction is temporarily paused as of March 17, 2020. 
  • 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, and a survey for individual artists and creative workers to ensure they are getting the support they need.

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