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LETTERS

Restaurants need us, and we need them

A sign at the Pour House on Boylston Street, one of 3,600 restaurants in Massachusetts to have closed since March 1.
A sign at the Pour House on Boylston Street, one of 3,600 restaurants in Massachusetts to have closed since March 1.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

I was saddened to read that nearly 23 percent of Massachusetts restaurants have been forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic (“Many restaurants have closed. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.” Page A1, Sept. 13). The statistic is staggering and means tremendous economic pain and the loss of thousands of jobs.

I was the GM of UpStairs at the Pudding, once a mainstay on the Cambridge culinary scene. Its closure in 2013 felt like an empty seat at the dinner table in Harvard Square. Imagine if that happens now in every neighborhood in Greater Boston.

The nonprofit I now lead, providing medically tailored meals for the chronically ill, has received tremendous support — in food donations and fund-raising, volunteerism, and board leadership — from the ranks of Greater Boston restaurants over the years.

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This fall and winter, restaurants face an existential threat. They are trying to hang on, but they can’t pay their bills with a dining room that must remain half empty for social distancing.

A big way we can help is to persuade Congress to pass the Restaurants Act, a $120 billion revitalization fund for the industry. The tab may sound big, but the alternative is far worse in terms of economic damage.

A smaller way is to go out for a bite to eat, safely, as much as we can. Dine distantly, buy a gift card, sign up for meal delivery. We set up a Web page (servings.org/dininginbos) to return the favor to our friends in the food industry.

Our support will help ensure not only that our local restaurant industry survives but that it can rebound and thrive for all our benefit.

David Waters

CEO

Community Servings

Jamaica Plain