Boston Mayor Kim Janey unveiled a new campaign Monday to promote an equitable recovery for the city's tourism and hospitality industries as well as small businesses which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Janey announced the campaign, called "All Inclusive Boston," during a press conference at the Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.
"I'm proud to announce 'All Inclusive Boston,'" she said. "It showcases Boston as a city with a new generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and artists -- a city that is welcoming to everyone."
Unlike past travel and tourism promotions, highlighting places like Fenway Park and Faneuil Hall, this effort has a different focus.
"The all inclusive Boston campaign boldly puts our people and our neighborhoods front and center for the very first time," the mayor said.
The campaign invites people to rediscover Boston's 23 neighborhoods, connecting the city's downtown core with "a rich array of cultural and culinary attractions," Janey said.
"This campaign is one that I believe is a game changer," said Colette Phillips, whose communications firm partnered with Proverb and the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop the campaign. "Not only in allowing our economy to reopen safely, but with a new narrative that reflects the city's history, diversity and vibrancy."
In a campaign that began last November, Boston is putting equity at the center of the city’s pandemic recovery with the hospitality sector as the focus.
"Revenue for the tourism sector is down as much as 70%. In fact, hotel room revenue is down 80%," said Martha Sheridan, with the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"It’s a great project that they’re doing. Showing different sides of Boston besides the Freedom Trail or downtown," said Anthony Traniello, the lead bartender at the Dorchester Brewing Company -- a hidden gem with a million dollar view. "It’s really exciting to get people to be able to come out here and experience a different side that they normally wouldn’t."
"I’ve been born and raised in Dorchester and I feel like Dorchester has a lot to offer and I feel like it’s amazing that they’re trying to shine a light on Dorchester right now," said Geo Lambert, a third-generation family member running M&M Barbecue that offers a not-to-be-missed pulled pork and dumpster fries. "And it’s so diverse in so many different ways that we need to showcase it."
But Janey cautioned that the unveiling of the campaign does not mean Boston will be welcoming large numbers of tourists immediately.
"Let me be clear, the pandemic is not over," the mayor said.
Janey said last week that she continues to closely monitor coronavirus data with a team of health officials to determine whether any reopening adjustments need to be made. She also said she was considering implementing more stringent coronavirus restrictions in Boston, citing a "troubling" rise in cases.
The Boston Public Health Commission is also watching the metrics closely.
“We will continue to closely monitor the data and make any decisions regarding reopening or rollbacks based on the metrics. We understand people are tired of this pandemic but the virus is still spreading in our City," a Boston Public Health Commission spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. "We are asking everyone to continue to take steps to protect themselves and each other: wear a mask in public, wash your hands often, avoid crowds, watch your distance and get tested regularly. And when it is your turn, get vaccinated.”
The city continues to see an increasing positivity rate, which as of Thursday stood at 4.8%, up from 4.2%. That's a .9% increase, which translates into over 216 cases per day, Janey noted.
Janey said she continues to monitor coronavirus activity across six key metrics: daily positive cases, daily percent of positive cases, community COVID tests, COVID related emergency room visits, available ICU and medical surgical beds and ICU bed occupancy.
Testing activity has also increased across the city neighborhoods, according to Janey, who again encouraged Boston residents on Monday to get tested on a regular basis.
Last week, Janey unveiled a $50 million addition to the city's Rental Relief Fund in a bid to help renters remain in their homes and help landlords who are struggling.
Meanwhile, as she continues to closely monitor coronavirus data and considers reopening adjustments, the mayor has committed to working with Superintendent of Boston Public Schools Brenda Cassellius regarding school opening.
Boston students grades nine through 12 made a partial return to the classroom last week as part of a mandate from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Boston Public Schools received state approval to delay the return to full-time in person learning for K-8 students until April 26, at Cassellius' request. Until then, students will continue on their current learning model, officials said.