Commentary By Jack Connolly:Say It Ain’t So, Mayor Joe

Say It Ain’t So, Mayor Joe

Had to be a sad day in the Ville late last Friday afternoon when the City Of Somerville opted out of joining the rest of the Commonwealth improving the tight COVID-19 restrictions, and relaxing the rules as of March 1st.

Without a doubt, countless Somerville merchants and small business operators and their employees are less than thrilled. The light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is definitely much dimmer here in Somerville than our neighboring communities. Statewide, the firing gun for the start of the race to reopen stores, restaurants, and businesses has been fired, and Somerville operators are stuck at the starting line, unable to compete equally as of March 1st.

Say it ain’t so, Mayor Joe?

The clarion call for action went out early Friday morning from long-time Somerville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephen Mackey, who must’ve gotten wind of the City’s intention not to get on the on the bus to reopen our local economy, as he advised Somerville Chamber of Commerce members by email to contact the Mayor and City Councilors to favor moving with Massachusetts and neighboring communities, to reopen our handcuffed local economy by going to Phase 3 Step 2 on March 1st, and as public health continues to improve, move to Phase 4 Step 1 on Monday, March 22nd. Those pleas obviously fell on deaf City Hall ears.

Mackey was right to point out that COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations are on the decline, vaccination rates are rising, vaccine rollouts are accelerating, and vaccination site availability is widening daily, here locally, regionally, and around the country.

Are you saying it ain’t so, Mayor Joe?

A year ago not moving forward likely made sense, but as we move forward in succeeding weeks and months, Somerville restrictions certainly make less sense; Chamber Director MACKEY points out that Somerville is not an island, and that most of us here in the’ Ville are less than a mile from another city, and certainly within Boston’s urban core.
Here in my neighborhood of Davis Square, we’re looking at 15 vacant storefronts, unknown number of vacant office spaces, and many merchants and small businesses are operating at a reduced capacity or not all; How bout the Somerville Theatre? In 2019, some 200,000 patrons from all over the region attended the historic treasure of a theatre for movies, live performances, concerts, and comedy shows; Surely many attendees frequented local pubs and restaurants before or after Theatre visits.

Are you gonna say it ain’t so, Mayor Joe?

Nobody whether they are a Generation Z’er, a millennial Generation Y’er, or aging Senior, will doubt that protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our residents must remain job #1?, but as Mackey points out, getting our Somerville economy back to life must be a close 2nd.Lets’ join the rest of the Commonwealth, show some confidence in our residents and businesses to do the right thing moving ahead; As unlikely as it may seem, if it doesn’t work out, you can always rollback then right?

Can you say it ain’t so, Joe?

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Jack Connolly
17 Winslow Ave.
Davis Sq. Residential Home & Property Owner
Former Ward Six and At Large Alderman (now Councilor)

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