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City Manager Letter to Small Business Community

caution sign The information on this page may be outdated as it was published 3 years ago.

To the Small Business Community-

On Monday, November 23, 2020, the City Council voted on a Policy Order asking me to confer with my regional colleagues in local government concerning restricting high-risk indoor activities, mentioning restaurants and gyms specifically. There has been some confusion in the community about what last Monday night’s vote means. The Council vote does not require gyms to close or restaurants to close their indoor dining. The amended Policy Order as passed asks me, as City Manager, to confer with the Metro Mayors Association on potential protective measures. 

Our business community is a vital and valued part of our City and the local economy, and I want to thank you for all of your efforts to help keep our community safe, to keep your workers employed, and to comply with our public health guidance. I know how difficult the past eight months have been.

As City Manager, I have been meeting regularly with both the Metro Mayors Association and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council since the beginning of the Pandemic. I also confer with my COVID-19 Expert Advisory Panel which meets regularly. Small businesses are often a topic of our meetings as they are the hardest hit by public health restrictions issued by the Commonwealth and at times, by the City.  As you know, enforcement of state issued guidance falls on municipalities, and forums like the Metro Mayors Association is a good place to discuss best practices. In the end, any decision to implement restrictions greater than what is ordered by the Commonwealth falls on me as City Manager and the Cambridge Commissioner of Public Health.

I am hoping we can keep our businesses open, including our restaurants and gyms, but if the rise in cases across the Commonwealth continues to surge, additional measures may need to be taken. Our small businesses have been great partners in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, complying with all guidelines, and adapting to new economic challenges. A working group of my Small Business Advisory Committee has been brainstorming additional guidance and potential next steps to assist our small businesses in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. I want to thank our small business owners and their employees for being such important partners in keeping our community safe.

Ensuring our businesses can remain open is a community effort. We cannot let our guard down on our individual adherence to basic public health measures. Each of us has a responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus. We can do this by remembering and practicing the basics: 

  • Wear a mask or face covering 
  • Practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet 
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds 
  • Limit the size of gatherings
  • If people from different households gather indoors, everyone should be wearing masks and maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet from one another, even in private residences.

Restaurants and other businesses also must continue to adhere to the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces and Sector Specific Workplace Safety Standards, along with applicable City orders, including the City’s “Fourth Amended Temporary Emergency Order Requiring the Wearing of Masks or Cloth Face Coverings in All Public Places, Businesses, and in Common Areas of Residential Buildings Amended on October 2, 2020,” and the City’s “Temporary Emergency Order Delaying Step 2 of Phase III of Governor Baker’s Reopening Plan in the City of Cambridge” issued on October 2, 2020.

As I have done throughout this Pandemic, I will continue to work with the City’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Panel, the Commissioner of Public Health, the Chief Public Health Officer, City Departments, business associations, the Mayor, the Metro Mayors Association, the Governor’s Office, and our community partners to ensure the continued support and protection of our community. If cases continue to rise, additional measures to keep our community safe may be taken by the Commonwealth or the City. The City will continue to evaluate whether we need to provide guidance above and beyond the Governor’s current recommendations, which Cambridge has done multiple times over the past 8 months. If we do make changes, or if changes come from the state we will make every attempt to do so in partnership with the Cambridge business community, utilizing their collective experience and expertise. 

Finally, I want to make sure our business community feels like they can connect with my office at any point during these trying times. You can always reach out to me and/or Matt Nelson (mnelson@cambridgema.gov) in my office who has been my liaison with the City’s business community. 

Louis A. DePasquale
Cambridge City Manager

Page was posted on 11/24/2020 7:10 PM
Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 12:34 AM
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