Mayor Walsh’s announcement last week regarding the cancellation of major events and festivals in Boston through Labor Day sent shockwaves through the industry. Specifically, we heard from many hotel partners and planners asking for clarification on how this directive would impact booked business and force majeure invocation. Please note that the Mayor’s directive ONLY applies to city-permitted outdoor events that were scheduled to take place on city property. Please view the City’s updated press release on this matter.
By now everyone has seen that Governor Baker announced a four-phase approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy. The Governor’s decision follows recommendations from the Reopening Advisory Board, which has mapped out the phases of reopening: Start, Cautious, Vigilant, and New Normal.
The roadmap for reopening is now laid out, but it is unlikely to be smooth and seamless; the path is predicated on a series of public health metrics that will either allow it to proceed or trigger moments of pause or even reversal. The Governor is still aiming for May 18, or thereabouts, to initiate Phase 1, and we are hoping that a clearer picture of possible timelines emerges around that date. We have been diligently reaching out to the Governor’s Office to inquire as to when hotels may once again welcome leisure visitors to make reservations, and where this may fit in the phased reopening. Please stay tuned.
The Bureau will be here to guide our partners through this process on all fronts – advocacy, preparedness, and implementation. Soon we will launch a dedicated Landing Page to share guidelines and best practices related to the new normal. While some of the content will pull over from our current COVID-19 page, the new page will be dedicated to the most salient public health issues related to reopening – risk mitigation, sanitation and screening protocols, food and beverage guidelines, transportation updates, and more.
We will also be organizing a webinar series called “Reopening & Recovery: Navigating the New Normal” and we are finalizing the segments of that program this week. We sent out a Survey Monkey poll today asking you to rank which topics you want to hear from us on. On the topic of webinars, this Friday Brand USA will be hosting a webinar on market conditions and consumer sentiment. We encourage our members to sign up.
We will rebound. As we strive to adapt to the new normal, we will also continue in our tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of this vital industry. The Regional Tourism Councils are seeking a massive block grant to drive a comprehensive marketing campaign. We sent a letter to Secretary Kennealy requesting a specific portion of the Community Development Block Grant. And we will continue our pursuit of a Tourism Destination Marketing District. There is legislation before Ways & Means to enable the formation of these districts, and following this pandemic we will need dedicated funding like never before. The time to act is now. We are prepared to lead the industry through the Governor’s four phases and beyond. We are here for you.