Boston City Councillor and mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell released on Monday a “Restaurant Recovery Plan,” a detailed blueprint laying out a vision for how Boston can better support and revitalize its restaurant industry, which has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Developed through partnership with a number of Boston’s noted chefs and restaurant owners, Councillor Campbell’s plan includes a number of elements to provide restaurants with immediate relief during the pandemic, including waiving liquor license fees for 2022, capping third-party delivery fees at 15%, helping restaurants fight food insecurity, and making the COVID-19 vaccine accessible for restaurant workers.
“Boston’s restaurants ground us in the city’s rich cultural diversity and international identity, and are a key part of why people choose to live in the City,” said Councilor Campbell. “They are the site of our first date with our future partner, the places we gather with friends and family to celebrate milestones, and where co-workers become lifelong friends. The restaurant industry is also the nation’s second largest private employer, creating low-barrier employment opportunities and driving economic activity in our neighborhoods. Boston must do more to support restaurants through the remainder of the pandemic, and to accelerate a rapid recovery of our restaurant industry as soon as the pandemic is over.”
A series of changes proposed in the plan, which largely focuses on “reducing red tape and removing barriers to access,” includes establishing a Hospitality Division in City Hall to streamline the permitting and inspection process by creating a centralized ‘one-stop-shop’ to guide restaurant owners and entrepreneurs; creating a 15-member Hospitality Advisory Council to advise on hospitality industry policy recommendations; doubling down on expanding street patios for outdoor dining; expanding Open Streets across the city; and reforming Boston’s antiquated liquor licensing system to make it more equitable and expand access to liquor licenses for Black-owned restaurants.
Cassandria Campbell, founding partner of Fresh Food Generation in Roxbury, voiced her support for the plan and said she was “excited by Andrea’s vision for supporting and growing a diverse and inclusive restaurant industry in Boston. Andrea’s plan outlines short and long term strategies to not only help restaurants recover, but also grow in the aftermath of this difficult pandemic year. Restaurants help residents feel connected to their neighborhoods and each other and are a tool in creating community across neighborhood lines and cultures. We need a mayor who will spur economic development and opportunity for entrepreneurs of color and women and Andrea is that leader.”
Campbell’s restaurant recovery plan is an extension of her economic recovery plan, released in February, which details strategies to drive an equitable recovery from COVID-19, make it easier to do business in Boston especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs, close Boston’s profound racial wealth gap, and capitalize on Boston’s unique innovative and entrepreneurial strengths to grow with local talent.
Campbell has also released comprehensive policy plans on transportation, environmental justice, public safety and criminal justice, education, and public health, including a COVID-19 recovery plan and a plan to address the crisis at Mass & Cass.