One topic that is sure to be a major focus in the Boston Mayoral race is each candidate’s plans to help local businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn.
Candidates running for the city’s highest office have been making the rounds in East Boston with Mayoral Candidate and City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu being the latest candidate to meet with logical business leaders to hear first hand the tools and resources they’ll need for recovery.
The neighborhood’s small businesses that dot the community have been the backbone of Eastie’s local economy and many have been severely impacted by the pandemic with loss of revenue, employees and customers.
However, as more and more residents get vaccinated and COVID infection rates come down there is light at the end of the tunnel.
On Friday Wu toured Eastie businesses and met with small business owners and workers to hear from them about the pressing issues facing local businesses in and around Maverick Square.
On her listening tour, she heard from business leaders about their difficulties during the pandemic, recovery plans and needs from Boston’s next Mayoral Administration. She was intentional about visiting restaurants and other small businesses that directly serve the community, and have been impacted by the pandemic.
“I loved meeting with small business owners and workers in and around Maverick Square,” said Wu of Friday’s tour. “The revitalization of our communities after an incredibly difficult year starts with our neighborhood businesses which bring people together and jumpstart our economy. We as a City need to do everything in our power to listen, respond to the problems they face and help them continue to serve as anchors of our neighborhoods.”
Stops made during the Eastie small business tour included Las Americas Travel; Dirty Water Dough Co.; Brasil Brazil; 809 Barbershop; Taco Mex; and Illusions Hair Salon
Before becoming an elected official Wu helped her family open a small local tea shop when she was serving as caregiver to her mother and legal guardian to her sisters. Wu said part of what inspired her to run for office was the bureaucracy and red tape she faced in trying to get her small business off the ground.
Now, with the pandemic wreaking havoc on local business, Wu said small businesses owners need support like never before from the next mayoral administration to ensure they thrive in the post-pandemic era.
As part of her campaign platform Wu has acknowledged small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges as they struggle to pay rent, serve their customers, keep their workers safe, and navigate reopening and recovery.
“We must work with entrepreneurs and advocates to ensure that those with the most need have access to relief and services,” she said.
One plan is Wu’s idea to create specialized support for restaurants.
“Restaurants have been hit especially hard during the pandemic with government-mandated shutdowns and restricted capacity adding to the stresses on an industry with already tight profit margins,” she said. “Boston should work closely to connect federal, state, and local resources to neighborhood restaurants and work to rebuild the local restaurant scene with technical assistance, place-making, programming, and publicity.”