A summer resolution: Support small businesses

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, the city’s 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’s Covid restriction changes starting May 29. Our battle with the coronavirus is not over. Reopening our city will only work if we all continue to do our part to fight its reach.

We know what works in Boston. We have created a culture where we wear our masks, wash our hands, and keep 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 companies and help our recovery an equitable one. 

Small businesses are what make Boston the city we know and love, and my administration is working tirelessly to make sure their needs are front and center in our economic recovery programs. 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 business 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 some 4,500 businesses through five Covid relief funds. 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, Uphams 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!

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

Kim Janey is the acting mayor of Boston.

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