Guest Op-Ed: As Our City Reopens and the Weather Gets Warmer, I Encourage Everyone Who Can Support Our Small Businesses

By Acting Mayor Kim Janey

Warmer weather has brought good news in Boston’s fight against the pandemic. Across our city, COVID-19 cases have dropped to their lowest levels in more than a year. And, from Roxbury to Roslindale, East Boston to West Roxbury, Boston residents are getting vaccinated at rates that outpace the rest of the country.

As a result of this progress, I recently announced that the City of Boston will align with the Commonwealth and COVID-19 restrictions starting May 29. Our battle against COVID-19 is not over. Reopening our city will only work if we all continue to do our part to fight the pandemic.  

We know what works in Boston. We have created a culture of wearing our masks, washing our hands, and keeping our distance that keeps us safe. Let’s keep it up, as we enjoy the recovery, reopening, and renewal of our city.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted small businesses and businesses of color across the city. As Boston reopens, I encourage all of us to support these businesses and help our city make an equitable recovery.

Small businesses are what make Boston the city we know and love, and my administration is working tirelessly to make sure they are front and center in our economic recovery. This includes the All Inclusive Boston Campaign to showcase stores, restaurants, and cultural assets all across the city. We’ve also launched the B-Local app that gives shoppers reward points at neighborhood businesses.

Small businesses assistance from our Office of Economic Development also includes weekly Small Business Calls, small business COVID surveys, and more than $16.6 million in grants to over 4,500 businesses through five COVID-19 relief funds for small businesses. We have also expanded public space for business extensions through this year’s Outdoor Dining Program, Food Truck Lottery, Outdoor Fitness Classes, and more.

As mayor, I take regular neighborhood business walks throughout our city, including in Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Chinatown, Upham’s Corner, and more. Talking with business owners generates new ideas and deepens my appreciation of the pivotal role businesses can play in Boston’s equitable recovery. From restaurants, to bookstores, to clothing stores, our city is a powerhouse in its diversity of services, cultures, and ideas.

This summer, I urge you to do your part in supporting our city and helping neighborhood businesses recover from unprecedented challenges. Here is how you can help:

•Download the B-Local app and earn rewards automatically when you shop at hundreds of participating local businesses across the City when you make a purchase with a credit or debit card. Then, redeem those rewards like cash at local businesses!

•Visit the All Inclusive Boston website and discover new and diverse businesses to explore.

•Post your visits to local businesses on social media using #AllInclusiveBos and spread the word to your family and friends about where you go!

Boston’s recovery, reopening, and renewal takes all of us. Thank you for doing your part by getting vaccinated and safely enjoying all that Boston has to offer. Let’s make this a happy, healthy summer.

For more information on Mayor Janey’s efforts to support small businesses, visit: https://www.boston.gov/departments/small-business-development.

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