City Councilor Andrea Campbell and mayoral candidate wants to eliminate the inequities that exist in the city’s restaurant industry while helping it bounce back from the pandemic through her newly announced restaurant recovery plan.
Campbell believes that rebuilding our restaurant industry also provides Boston with an opportunity to break down barriers that have made it far too difficult for independent operators, people of color, women, and immigrants to open their own restaurants in the past. She hopes to build a pipeline of hospitality leaders through BPS vocational education programs and leading local nonprofits; Reform the liquor licensing process and by using the City’s contracting to support local, diverse food vendors.
The following actions are part of Campbell’s plans to help the industry recover:
- Forgive liquor license fees for 2022. Even though Boston’s restaurants and bars have operated at significantly reduced capacity for more than a year, restaurants were forced to pay their 2021 liquor licensing fees to the City – adding an additional financial burden to their bottom line at the worst possible time. As Mayor, Andrea would implement a one-year moratorium on licensing fees for all City restaurants – a measure that other cities in Massachusetts and states across the country have taken for 2021.
- Make restaurant workers eligible for vaccination. As the state lifts restrictions on dining, restaurant workers need to be protected. Andrea believes Boston should follow the lead of other major cities and make restaurant workers eligible for vaccination.
- Cap third party delivery fees at 15%. Delivery service apps like GrubHub and UberEats charge restaurants as much as 30% on each takeout transaction. The Massachusetts Legislature has passed a bill to cap delivery fees at 15%, and the bill is on Governor Baker’s desk. Andrea will push for this to be implemented immediately to alleviate pressure on restaurants.
- Help restaurants fight food insecurity. The pandemic has doubled the rate of food insecurity in Massachusetts. At the same time that one-in-four restaurants are closing, one-in-four Black and Latinx families are now struggling to regularly access food, an unconscionable disconnect in a city that cares about equity. As mayor, Andrea will use her platform to fight for the passage of the federal FEED Act, which allows the federal government to pay 100 percent of the cost to cities and states so that they can partner with restaurants and nonprofits to prepare nutritious meals for vulnerable populations, such as seniors and underserved children. Andrea will work to harness the power of Boston’s philanthropic community to fund programs like Commonwealth Kitchen, which helps restaurants keep their employees working while feeding families in need.
You can read more details of her plan including outdoor patio dining becoming permanent, expanding open streets, and pushing for small business partnerships with developers and landlords here.
Boston Eater also has a great interview with Campbell about her vision. You can read about it here!