Helping Local Businesses Recover from COVID-19

There are 3,600 businesses in Newton, 1,000 of which are home-based. As I know from growing up frequenting shops like Antoine’s and DePasquale’s in Nonantum, our local businesses are more than just places of commerce. They are the backbone of our community. As your City Councilor, I will advocate for responsible development and maintenance of the local connections that make our city so special. 

  1. We must support our business as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of Newton’s businesses, it has placed extraordinary strain on small ones. I have seen firsthand how a strong relationship between city government and businesses can be a lifeline for people. Specifically, I will work to make sure that our city’s restaurants receive necessary support from our city’s government as they work to remain open. We must provide them the relief they desperately need, which began recently with a 50 percent reduction in liquor license fees, as well as enabling more outdoor dining. Nineteen percent of the companies in the Newton COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Grant Program were from my village of Nonantum. Our local businesses provide invaluable tax revenue to our city, and we should not let short-term fiscal concerns preclude us from mitigating the devastating long-term impacts of losing our city’s local businesses. 

From larger-scale financial relief to smaller interventions like the blocking off of roads to enable outdoor markets and dining, there are many ways that Newton can step up and support our local businesses. Our city's Economic Development Commission has released a Local Business Recovery Plan, which lays out various actions our city can take, large and small, to support our city's businesses as we recover from COVID-19. I look forward to implementing this plan on the Council alongside our business owners, Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, and colleagues on the Council to ensure that our local businesses make it through this difficult winter. 

  2. I will invest in our village centers and fight for low income and minority residents.

In 2020, we are pioneering virtual spaces to help us all stay connected. However, we also have an opportunity to reimagine the real-world places that bring us together. We must take this unique moment to invest in our village centers, improve parking, designate overlay districts, and support cultural facilities that cultivate community. I will also view all development projects through the lens of equity, listening to our city’s most vulnerable before moving forward. It is also crucial that our city encourage and support businesses owned by residents of color through the offering of grants and the streamlining of permitting and licensing to help our local economy thrive and work to close the racial wealth gap.