Government Support for Restaurants During Mandatory Shut Down

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Dear City Councilors, Mayor Walsh, Governor Baker:

On behalf of my Boston restaurant colleagues, I urge you to offer immediate assistance to the MA restaurant community. If such support is not sufficient, or rapidly deployed, many of our restaurants may not be able to survive the gauntlet of a closure, especially if that extends beyond several weeks.

 What the restaurant community provides to the city of Boston—in terms of tax revenue, employment opportunities, and the support of our civic and cultural life—is immeasurable. We are the lifeblood of the city. We enrich the city both literally and figuratively. Even with our fabled history and historic buildings, we would not remain a great tourist destination without our restaurants. Many of us support small local fundraisers and organizations, as well as renowned annual galas to benefit organizations (such as Rosie’s Place) that do critical work for our communities and residents.

In this crisis, our teams will do everything in our power to support our employees, including those who do not qualify for assistance because of their residency status. Our loyal neighbors and supporters will help us in the short-term by buying gift cards, and take-out, if that’s feasible. But the likelihood of a fair number of our restaurants not surviving this crisis is high without significant and immediate assistance from city and state agencies.

Measures that would have a strong impact include, but are not limited to:

  • Expedited processing of applications for unemployment benefits
  • Expedited processing of SBA loan applications, with a generous deferral period for starting payments
  • Expansion of “emergency leave” criteria in HR 6201 to include all industry workers impacted by mandated restaurant closure
  • Payroll tax cut and/or holiday
  • Creation of a general relief fund to assist restaurants with urgent short-term obligations for restaurant owners and their staff
  • Deferral of sales tax payments
  • Call for rent and loan abatement for restaurant workers impacted by the industry closure

The need for assistance and support is pressing and immediate. We trust that you will appreciate the gravity of our situation and do everything in your collective power to act on our behalf. With support, we will rebound with energy and enthusiasm, and be at the forefront of Boston’s recovery.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in this letter are my own, but I believe represent many of my colleagues.

David Doyle

Owner, Tres Gatos Restaurant

Co-Owner, Little Dipper Restaurant

Co-Owner, Casa Verde Restaurant

Jamaica Plain