Supporting Small Businesses and Artists During COVID-19 

Announced on March 14th 2019, both Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker have set restrictions and limitations as to how restaurants can operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Many of the businesses in the Brighton Main Streets' community are restaurants or bars, so our neighborhood will be directly impacted. Brighton Main Streets understands and recognizes that the actions taken by the governor and the mayor are to slow the spread of the virus and to make public health a top priority during these times. 

 

As a our mission states, Brighton Main Streets works to support and promote the neighborhood businesses. While we encourage neighbors to continue following the guidelines set by public health officials such as social isolation and diligent sanitation and hygiene practices, Brighton Main Streets is creating this as a tips and resources page as to how you can continue to shop & support local businesses!

 

For residents, there are two important ways you can be supporting our local businesses:

  1. You can purchase gift cards from you favorite establishments. While Boston Public Health officials are calling for social distancing and practicing diligent sanitation and hygiene skills, for those who are feeling well, you can swing by, pick-up a gift card and use it at a later date.
  2. Order take-out. While it sounds simple in practice, the city and the state have placed restrictions for businesses that serve food, while also easing licensing regulations so that such businesses can serve take-out and delivery options more easily. This also includes pizza shops and cafes.
 
For business owners, there are opportunities for economic relief being discussed at both the state and federal levels, while the city figures out what it can do to support businesses at this time. Additionally, there is literature and tips as to handle cleanliness at your establishment. This list will be updated periodically:
  • Staring March 24th, all non-essential businesses are required to close until April 7th. For a list of what qualifies as an essential business, that link is here.
  • Business owners are encouraged to fill out the City of Boston's Office of Economic Development's (OED)  COVID-19 Small Business Survey. This will allow the OED team to monitor how business owners are being impacted over the next few weeks, and can in turn create legislation or policies to support them.
  • The Office of Small Businesses Development is working to help any restaurant & bar establishments get signed up on mobile ordering platforms. Companies like GrubHub are even waiving commission fees, see here. Contact the Office of Small Business Development for assistance, click here.
  • The Small Business Adminstration's (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loan Program can support businesses who qualify. You can fill out the downloadable form here.
  • The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is constantly providing new information on their website. Additionally, BPHC has hand washing/sanitation posters for businesses in English, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional), and Vietnamese, as well as fact sheets translated into several more languages. All of these materials can be found on the BPHC website.
  • If you have to make the hard decision and lay off workers, the governor's office and the state's House of Representatives have made filing for unemployment and receiving benefits easier. You can find the information for that here.
  • Nonprofits that serve communities who are being directly impacted by COVID-19 are able to receive funding assistance through The Boston Foundation and the City of Boston's Response Fund, for more information click here.
  • Governor Charlie Baker has announced a $10 million fund to support small businesses being impacted by COVID-19. Business owners can complete applications at www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org and can email applications to mgcc@masgcc.com with the subject line, "2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund." NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS 
  • Facebook announced that it will be creating a $100 million grant program to support small businesses during COVID-19. The application process has not opened up yet, but will be in the coming days. Read up on this charitable fund, here.
  • The Boston Business Journal has created an additional resource guide for small business owners across the state.
  • If you have not taken your restaurant's menu online, or your business is not on a food delivery app, the City of Boston has created a Small Business Take-Out & Delivery Guide.
  • Business owners are having to face many tough decisions during COVID-19, and may have considered closing but are worried about what getting back on their feet may look like after this. The firm Bowditch and Dewey have created this "checklist" for small business owners considering shutting down and how they can set themselves up for a successful reopen, see here.
For artists/musicians, many have had to cancel upcoming performances or exhibits. The city and other organizations are working to create support funds for our city's creatives. This list will be updated periodically:
  • The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, in partnership with the Boch Center for the Arts, has modified their Opportunity Fund to be a  Boston Artists Relief Fund .
 
 
 
If you know of any additional assistance in funding or other opportunities to support small businesses and artists during COVID-19, you can email our Executive Director, Aidan McDonough, directly. Also, if you have updated Take Out and Delivery options be sure to add them to our list.

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