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Cambridge Forms Committee to Advise Business Reopening

The City of Cambridge announced Thursday that a Small Business Advisory Committee will advise city policymakers on how the city can safely reopen businesses forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The City of Cambridge announced Thursday that a Small Business Advisory Committee will advise city policymakers on how the city can safely reopen businesses forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic. By Ryan N. Gajarawala
By Taylor C. Peterman, Crimson Staff Writer

The City of Cambridge announced Thursday that a Small Business Advisory Committee will counsel local policymakers on their “Small Business Back to Business” plan — a guide for how the city can safely reopen businesses forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Charlie D. Baker ’79 ordered all nonessential Massachusetts businesses to close in late March in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many businesses have continued remote operation, with restaurants relying mostly on delivery and takeout.

The new committee will consist of eight members — including representatives from business associations across the city, such as Harvard Square Business Association Executive Director Denise A. Jillson and Cambridge Chamber of Commerce President David P. Maher.

Members of the committee will also collaborate with staff from the City Manager’s Office; the Economic Development Division of the Community Development Department; the Public Health Department; the License Commission; and the Inspectional Services, Public Works, and Traffic, Parking, & Transportation departments.

“Cambridge’s economic recovery plan for small businesses is going to require input from a diverse array of business leaders,” Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale wrote in a joint statement Thursday.

Over the past week, state governments across the country have begun making plans to reopen their economies. In the Commonwealth, Governor Baker has extended nonessential business closures to May 18, but his administration also announced a Reopening Advisory Board to create a timeline for restoring the economy. The Commonwealth has also joined a multi-state council, composed of several northeastern states, that will endorse a regional approach to reopening their economies safely as the pandemic continues.

Cambridge’s “Small Business Back to Business” plan will include policy recommendations from the committee, as well as from the Cambridge Public Health Department, the City’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Panel, and the Commonwealth’s Reopening Advisory Board.

In addition to providing input on policy, the committee will help distribute information regarding resources and relief available to small businesses at the local, state, and federal levels.

“Through the work of the Committee, we will be able to adapt to a business environment that is constantly evolving due to COVID-19,” Siddiqui and DePasquale’s joint statement reads.

—Staff writer Taylor C. Peterman can be reached at taylor.peterman@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @taylorcpeterman.

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