Novel Coronavirus Resources for Businesses

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Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-section through the viral genome, seen as black dots.

The Novel Coronavirus outbreak and the social distancing precautions it necessitates are having a big impact on Somerville businesses. We understand the stress that our entrepreneurs, workers, and freelancers are under given the uncertainty of the situation and the level of disruption to daily life.

The site aims to be a place for businesses to access resources, information, and support in this difficult time.

Stay in Touch

The most up-to-date general information about the virus in the city can be found at SomervilleMA.gov/coronavirus. You may subscribe to our Business Newsletter here to receive regular updates on resources and news for businesses. In addition, we and our trusted partners host many events, including our monthly virtual town hall for business owners. We also recommend signing up for City alerts to get general, citywide updates as they are announced.

Questions? Concerns? Submit in the Q&A below and we will be in touch.

Somerville Reopening Resources


Business Reopening Guidelines and Rules
For up-to-date information on business opening dates, policies, and safety requirements, visit the "What's Open, Closed, and OK?" tab at SomervilleMA.gov/coronavirus. Note the detailed guidelines for restaurants, personal services, and Phase 3 businesses.


Winter Guidelines Survey - The City is in the process of creating Winter guidelines for businesses that wish to continue operations outdoors now that the Licensing Commission has extended outdoor seating until January 11, 2021. Our guidelines must consider snow emergencies, construction activities, and public safety as well as business needs. Knowing your business's plans for the winter and whether the 1/11/21 date should be extended can help us design better guidelines and provide more helpful assistance. Fill out the survey to share your thoughts. Email Sue Thomas with any questions.

Coaching for Somerville Businesses Affected by Coronavirus - Get free, expert help on the business issues that matter most right now.

Somerville Delivers - The Somerville Chamber of Commerce Dining & Nightlife Group, East Somerville Main Streets, Union Square Main Streets, Velir, the Welcome Project, and the City of Somerville created SomervilleDelivers.com to promote information on Somerville food businesses who are taking delivery and takeout orders or selling groceries during the COVID-19 crisis. En Español.


Financial Resources for Businesses

Somerville Small Business COVID-19 Relief Fund - Applications are due November 30, 2020 for the second round of Somerville's Small Business COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Outdoor Dining Reimbursement Program - Somerville restaurants with a current outdoor dining permit are eligible for $1,000 reimbursement for outdoor furniture or heaters necessary to keep their businesses open.

MGCC is providing a new round of grants to small businesses. Applications due 11/12/2020 at 12:00 PM.


General Resources for Businesses

This page contains legal support, useful links, and informational resources for businesses facing coronavirus disruptions.


Para mas información en Español sobre todos los recursos disponibles para los pequeños negocios en Somerville, por favor contacte a Daniela Carrillo de la Oficina de Economic Development en dcarrillo@somervillema.gov. También puede contactarnos al (617) 625 6600 ext. 2546.

Para obter uma cópia deste panfleto em Português, entrar em contato com 617-666-3311 ou por e-mail SomerVivaPort@SomervilleMA.gov.

Pou yon kopi infòmasyon sa an Kreyòl Ayisyen, tanpri rele 617-666-3311 oubyen voye on email nan: SomerViv@SomervilleMA.gov.

The Novel Coronavirus outbreak and the social distancing precautions it necessitates are having a big impact on Somerville businesses. We understand the stress that our entrepreneurs, workers, and freelancers are under given the uncertainty of the situation and the level of disruption to daily life.

The site aims to be a place for businesses to access resources, information, and support in this difficult time.

Stay in Touch

The most up-to-date general information about the virus in the city can be found at SomervilleMA.gov/coronavirus. You may subscribe to our Business Newsletter here to receive regular updates on resources and news for businesses. In addition, we and our trusted partners host many events, including our monthly virtual town hall for business owners. We also recommend signing up for City alerts to get general, citywide updates as they are announced.

Questions? Concerns? Submit in the Q&A below and we will be in touch.

Somerville Reopening Resources


Business Reopening Guidelines and Rules
For up-to-date information on business opening dates, policies, and safety requirements, visit the "What's Open, Closed, and OK?" tab at SomervilleMA.gov/coronavirus. Note the detailed guidelines for restaurants, personal services, and Phase 3 businesses.


Winter Guidelines Survey - The City is in the process of creating Winter guidelines for businesses that wish to continue operations outdoors now that the Licensing Commission has extended outdoor seating until January 11, 2021. Our guidelines must consider snow emergencies, construction activities, and public safety as well as business needs. Knowing your business's plans for the winter and whether the 1/11/21 date should be extended can help us design better guidelines and provide more helpful assistance. Fill out the survey to share your thoughts. Email Sue Thomas with any questions.

Coaching for Somerville Businesses Affected by Coronavirus - Get free, expert help on the business issues that matter most right now.

Somerville Delivers - The Somerville Chamber of Commerce Dining & Nightlife Group, East Somerville Main Streets, Union Square Main Streets, Velir, the Welcome Project, and the City of Somerville created SomervilleDelivers.com to promote information on Somerville food businesses who are taking delivery and takeout orders or selling groceries during the COVID-19 crisis. En Español.


Financial Resources for Businesses

Somerville Small Business COVID-19 Relief Fund - Applications are due November 30, 2020 for the second round of Somerville's Small Business COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Outdoor Dining Reimbursement Program - Somerville restaurants with a current outdoor dining permit are eligible for $1,000 reimbursement for outdoor furniture or heaters necessary to keep their businesses open.

MGCC is providing a new round of grants to small businesses. Applications due 11/12/2020 at 12:00 PM.


General Resources for Businesses

This page contains legal support, useful links, and informational resources for businesses facing coronavirus disruptions.


Para mas información en Español sobre todos los recursos disponibles para los pequeños negocios en Somerville, por favor contacte a Daniela Carrillo de la Oficina de Economic Development en dcarrillo@somervillema.gov. También puede contactarnos al (617) 625 6600 ext. 2546.

Para obter uma cópia deste panfleto em Português, entrar em contato com 617-666-3311 ou por e-mail SomerVivaPort@SomervilleMA.gov.

Pou yon kopi infòmasyon sa an Kreyòl Ayisyen, tanpri rele 617-666-3311 oubyen voye on email nan: SomerViv@SomervilleMA.gov.

  • What does the new State guidance mean for my Somerville business?

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    04 Nov 2020

    In an effort to combat rising COVID cases in Massachusetts, new guidance from the State will become effective on November 6. These executive orders include changes to mask wearing policies, hours of operation for businesses, and gatherings. Here are the key points:

    • Masks: State policy now requires that everyone over the age of 5 wear a mask whenever they are in an indoor or outdoor public area. In Somerville, the policy remains that everyone over the age of 2 wear a mask whenever they are in an indoor or outdoor public area. Those with a medical or disabling condition are exempt from regulations, but in some cases may need to provide documentation.
    • Closing Period: These rules supersede any local license your business may have in Somerville.
      • Businesses in the following categories must be closed from 9:30pm to 5:00am.
        • Restaurants (restaurants may offer food and non-alcoholic beverages for takeout and delivery during the closing period)
        • Arcades and other indoor and outdoor recreation
        • Indoor and outdoor events
        • Indoor and outdoor theaters, movie theaters, and performance venues
        • Youth and adult amateur sports activities
        • Outdoor recreational experiences and educational activities
        • Close contact personal services
        • Fitness centers and health clubs
        • Museums and historical facilities
        • (This is a summary, see the order for the complete list.)
      • Businesses may not sell alcohol or adult-use cannabis from 9:30pm to 5:00am. This includes retailers, restaurants, caterers, events, and delivery services.
    • Liquor License Renewal: Section 12 licensees that remain closed to the public may

      automatically renew their licenses for 2021 without submitting proof of liquor liability insurance (however, licensees must submit proof of liquor liability insurance to the local licensing authorities prior to reopening to the public) or proof of having a workers’ compensation insurance policy (however, licensees must have no payroll at the time of renewal, and licensees must submit proof of workers’ compensation insurance to the local licensing authorities prior to reopening to the public). See the ABCC brief for more details.

    • Gatherings: The State has tightened gathering rules, but the City of Somerville still maintains its stricter limits.
      • If there are specific rules relating to your business regarding capacity limits, those rules still apply.
      • If not, Somerville rules are that any indoor or outdoor gatherings are capped at no more than 10 persons.
      • However, all gatherings--no matter size and location--must now be dispersed by 9:30pm, except for religious or political gatherings, per the State order.


  • Additional State Assistance for Businesses

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    23 Oct 2020

    New Grant Funds Available for Businesses From the State
    Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is administering the Small Business Grants program, with $50.8 million available beginning today. Grant awards range between $25,000 – $75,000, and eligibility criteria and applications are available here.

    As part of this grant program, preference is given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other underrepresented groups, or focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts, who have been unable to open and those most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preference is also given to applicants that have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs, including PPP and other relief related to COVID-19.

    The program has two distinct funding “doors” based on business size, with different eligibility criteria, which is available online. Applicants must review the information to determine which program to proceed with applying.

    Monthly Town Hall Thursday, November 5
    Join us Thursday, November 5 at 3pm to hear updates and ask questions of City staff. This month, we will be joined by "Rat Czar" Georgi, who will be sharing information about the City's efforts against rats, providing advice about best practices to control rat activity, and answering your questions.


    RESOURCES & INITIATIVES

    Promote Your Restaurant on Somerville Delivers Social Media
    Somerville Delivers now has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As we share social content to increase awareness in the Somerville area around takeout, delivery, and other eating/drinking options, we would love to feature some local restaurants in our posts – including yours. If you’re interested in being featured on our social media channels, please send a quote and a photo to bsommer@somervillema.gov.

    Seeking Business Representative for Jobs Creation and Retention Trust Board of Trustees
    The City of Somerville is seeking to fill a vacancy for the designated local business representative seat on the Jobs Creation and Retention Trust (JCRT) Board of Trustees. Responsibilities will include managing the JCRT fund, working with the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD) staff to implement strategies outlined in the workforce development strategic plan, identifying target industry sectors and resident demographics for job training programs, soliciting project proposals, and more. Anyone from the local business community who would like to volunteer to serve on the Board is invited to send a statement of interest to Economic Development Specialist Ben Sommer at bsommer@somervillema.gov by noon on Friday, October 30.

  • Phase 3 Timeline Updates

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    Update on Phase 3 Step 1 Timeline
    At our Monday, August 31 meeting, the City announced that the following businesses would be eligible to open on September 8:

    • Fitness facilities & health clubs
    • Motion picture, television, streaming productions
    • Martial arts & dance facilities
    • Non-athletic instructional classes

    Other Phase 3, Step 1 industries (movie theaters, outdoor theaters, outdoor performance venues, indoor recreation, and museums and indoor historical sites) remain on hold.

    For more information about the requirements for these businesses to reopen, please visit SomervilleMA.gov/Phase3Reopening.

  • Phase III Reopening Delayed in Somerville

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    03 Jul 2020

    Somerville Phase III Step 1 Reopenings Delayed to July 13 at Earliest
    Yesterday, Governor Baker confirmed that Phase III Step 1 would begin on Monday, July 6 for the Commonwealth and on Monday, July 13 for Boston. Mayor Curtatone has since confirmed that, with the exception of the Phase 3 Healthcare and Human Services providers (which will open according to statewide plans), no other currently closed establishments in Somerville will reopen prior to July 13. Updated guidelines for gatherings will also not go into effect until July 13 at the earliest. This will give City officials time to continue working with business owners to create safety protocols. In some cases, opening dates later than July 13 may be set as a result. Additional guidelines will be shared next week.

    The businesses included in Phase III Step 1 include indoor movie theaters, outdoor theaters and performance venues, indoor recreation (batting cages, driving ranges, bowling alleys, go karts, and rock-climbing facilities), gyms and fitness centers, and museums and cultural institutions. The State also released updated guidelines for indoor and outdoor events.

    MassINC Small Business Poll
    MassINC Polling Group is conducting an important statewide survey about how the coronavirus has impacted small businesses in Massachusetts. Small businesses with 500 employees or less are invited to take the survey, which should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Businesses can take the survey in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Haitian Creole, or Vietnamese.

  • Reopening Policy Updates | Streatery on Elm

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    23 Jun 2020

    Updates on Restaurant Reopening Policies

    Restaurants may open for indoor service on Monday, June 22, 2020. To do so, complete the following tasks:

    The COVID-19 Control Plan Template, the HASP and the revised layout must be submitted through Citizen Serve. Submit these documents as an attachment to your health department food license. Also, remember to print out a copy of these documents and keep them available on site in your place of business.


    Note: If you're a restaurant seeking additional space to cook or host diners safely, reach out to economic development and we can put you in touch with opportunities as we become aware of them.


    Updates on Close Contact Reopening Policies

    To open, these businesses must:

    The HASP and layout plan must be emailed to ISD@somervilllema.gov prior to opening. Also remember to print out a copy of each and have it on-hand in your shop. ISD will try and acknowledge all submissions as they are received, but an acknowledgment is not required for the establishment to open.

    Somerville Small Business COVID-19 Relief Fund Awards Announced

    We recently announced award winners for the City's Small Business Relief Fund. If you applied and haven't received an answer, check your spam folder, visit the award announcement, or reply to this email.

    Massachusetts Announces Additional Tax Relief Measures

    The collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes for small businesses that would be due from March through August has been delayed and will now be due in September. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.

    Elm Street Closure

    One lane of Elm Street in Davis Square will be closed to vehicular traffic today, allowing for additional space for outdoor seating and pedestrian travel through the square. Interested in pursuing more space for your business? Our curbside needs survey is still accepting submissions.

  • De-Escalation for Businesses

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    18 Jun 2020

    De-escalation Techniques for Businesses
    Now that businesses are reopening, we know you might be dealing with tense customers as they adjust to new policies and procedures. We have representatives from Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration and The Mediation and Training Collaborative joining us to talk about conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques for business owners and employees. Join us Tuesday, June 23 at 3:00pm.

    Last Chance for PPP
    Time is running out to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to help your small business through the COVID-19 crisis. There is still more than $120 billion available and the June 30 deadline to apply is fast approaching!

    RFI: FabVille, Reimagined
    Somerville's fab lab will need to adopt a virtual or blended delivery model as a result of COVID-19. The City has released a Request for Information (RFI) to explore ideas that will help us contract with an organization later in the summer to manage programming.

  • Business Q&As

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    12 Jun 2020

    Upcoming Q&As for Opened Businesses
    If you're still trying to understand the guidance that affects your business, or have new questions now that you're trying to implement required practices, join us for one of our upcoming meetings to get your questions answered.

    Reminder: Working Groups
    You can still sign up for the close-contact personal working group or the entertainment & nightlife working group to participate in conversations about the guidelines for these industries.

  • Reopening Policy Updates: Restaurants, Retailers, Personal Care & More

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    10 Jun 2020

    Somerville’s Phase II Reopening Schedule Matches State’s Timeline and Increases Safety Measures
    After a review of Governor Charlie Baker’s Phase II reopening plan, the City of Somerville accepted the June 8 reopening date for all included sectors and activities such as outdoor dining, limited indoor shopping, and limited organized sports practices -- with added City-required safety measures for hotels, motels, sports leagues, and restaurants to better protect public health. Please read the press release for all updates.

    New Working Groups
    We are establishing two additional working groups to explore the state guidelines on close contact personal care businesses and entertainment facilities like theaters, event venues, and bars.

  • Restaurants Reopening | New Working Groups

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    09 Jun 2020

    Somerville Restaurants Reopening Policy
    After a collaborative effort by Mayor Curtatone, local restaurant owners, and City staff, the City has released an application for restaurants to permit outdoor dining, which will allow them to open in Somerville under the newly established state and local guidelines. All applications from existing outdoor seating permit holders will be fast-tracked, which may allow them to open as soon as Wednesday, June 10, while new applications for outdoor dining permits and requests for expansion of an existing permit will be considered by the Licensing Commission starting on Friday, June 12, 2020. See more information at SomervilleMA.gov/restaurantreopening.

    New Working Groups: Close Contact Personal Care and Entertainment & Nightlife Facilities
    We are establishing two additional working groups to explore the state guidelines on close contact personal care businesses and entertainment facilities like theaters, event venues, and bars. Sign up using the links above if you would like to be involved.

  • Conversation with Restaurants

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    01 Jun 2020

    Restaurants Virtual Town Hall
    Join Mayor Curtatone and City staff tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2nd, at 10:30am, for a virtual town hall to discuss the reopening of Somerville's restaurant industry. The meeting will consist of a short presentation, followed by a question and answer session with the Mayor directly.
    Zoom Link
    Meeting ID: 932 2819 8183
    Password: 580946

    Updated Information for Somerville Salons
    Somerville salons and barbershops were allowed to open today, and the Somerville website now has information about the required steps to open safely. In addition, members of the Personal Care Working Group developed an online form that can walk you step-by-step through all of the guidelines that you’ll need to consider.

    COVID-19 Business Needs Survey: Reimagining Open Space and Streets
    We know our businesses are eager to rethink how our public spaces, streets, sidewalks, and public parking can be repurposed to help them maintain viability and ensure safety for customers; City staff is too. Please fill out this survey to let us know what might be useful for your business as we explore things like pickup and drop off areas, expanded 15-minute parking zones, widened sidewalks, expanded outdoor dining, and whatever else you've dreamed up while waiting for the curve to flatten.
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