Boston tourism industry feeling sting of restrictions through summer

BOSTON — Businesses that depend on tourism in Boston are bracing for another brutal summer financially with lingering restrictions.

The city of Boston isn’t planning on a full reopening until Aug. 22, nearly three weeks after the rest of the state.

This means capacity limits will remain at 50 percent and a number of other restrictions will stay in place during most of the peak season.

News of other states and cities reopening sooner, including New York City’s plans to fully reopen on July 1, is adding to frustration.

“We would really appreciate reconsidering of the opening date given that a city like New York is opening on July 1, so we can salvage some of the summer,” said Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Sheridan told Boston 25 News that the state’s announcement of an August reopening is already resulting in companies cancelling reservations.

She said the meeting limit of 200 is turning some away from Boston.

“We had several cancellations immediately after the announcement yesterday. I would guess the losses for some of our hotels, in the aggregate, would be in the tens of millions of dollars,” explained Sheridan.

The impact on tour companies is also expected to be significant this summer.

“Right now, having half capacity until the end of summer really makes it almost impossible for us to have a profitable year,” said Cindy Brown, CEO of Boston Duck Tours. “We’re dealing with a huge competitive disadvantage for our city and our state.”

Gov. Charlie Baker said what happens between now and the end of May will determine if Massachusetts can potentially reopen sooner.

“If people continue to get vaccinated in Massachusetts, if people continue to do the right things, if people continue to do the work that we all know will reduce case counts, reduce hospitalizations, and make this Commonwealth a safer, better place, we’ll take a look at where we are and make a decision as we go about whether we can move that date up,” said Baker at a Thursday news conference.

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