March 24, 2020 Guidance from Boston's Office of Economic Development
This article is a part of Revby's COVID-19 Small Business Support Series. Due to the nature of our unprecedented situation, many details are fast developing and subject to change. All efforts are given to provide accurate information according to official sources (such as SBA.gov and other federal and local authorities) as of the date of publication.
On March 24, the City of Boston’s Office of Economic Development hosted their second Facebook Live event to provide resources and guidelines for Boston’s small business owner community as we work through the devastating effects of COVID-19. Closures of non-essential businesses and services, stay at home orders, and social distancing guidelines have had a particular impact on the livelihood of community-based small business owners.
For those who were not able to join the event or who experienced technical difficulties on the phone lines, you may find the recorded event here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=527795128152198
The following are highlights on what we heard on the call:
Advice on what to do about rent: Call your landlords to discuss your situation and alternative arrangements. The top 10 commercial landlords are ready for calls from their small business tenants.
Advice on mortgage relief or help paying on your existing loans: The consistent advice is to call your bank/lender as soon as possible and discuss your situation. All Boston area banks are prepared and ready for your call to discuss options, which may include the waiving of late fees or alternate payment terms.
For a list of open, essential businesses in Boston and a list of open restaurants: boston.gov/open-businesses
Support specific to food businesses and restaurants, visit: boston.gov/restaurant-support. If you are a food business that is open for take-out or deliver and want to be listed on the city government’s website, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Regulations for food deliver and take-out service has been temporarily lifted.
If your delivery drivers or customers are having a hard time finding parking in front of your restaurant for efficient delivery / pick-up service, go to: boston.gov/takeout-zones The department of transportation will help by setting up a temporary food pickup zone in front of your business.
For non-food businesses, while you or your staff can’t make deliveries personally, you can still utilize the postal service and other shipping services that remain in service so you may continue to ship out your product to customers.
For guidance on unemployment benefits, including guidance for those who are self-employed or are 1099 workers, stay tuned for changes to the typical criteria, which will be made possible through the federal stimulus bill.
We'll continue to monitor updates and resources to share them with you here on the Revby blog. Please stay safe and healthy!