An Important Message from Harvard Square

“Good afternoon, my name is Denise Jillson, I am the Executive Director for the Harvard Square Business Association, whose mission is “to promote commerce in Harvard Square while being good stewards of the public space.”

Over the past several weeks, the Coronavirus created uncertainty for our 300+ businesses located here in Harvard Square, of which, over 70% are locally owned and independent. That uncertainty reached new heights earlier this week when we learned that college students were being sent home for the balance of the semester. We appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into this decision and fully support it. It was not made lightly. Public safety is the ultimate priority.

As an association enjoying its 110th year, we are struggling with the delicate balance of carrying out our mission while realizing the challenges presented by COVID-19.

We encourage you to adhere to all the guidelines set forth by the CDC, state and local officials while being practical and prudent in your retail and food choices. If you must stay away, please consider alternative ways to continue shopping within your community. Many businesses offer direct internet or phone orders, as well as gift cards for later use. 

If you are not at high risk and are confident in your community’s ability to combat the virus by adhering to CDC guidelines, please step outside and support your local business district. Enjoy your local restaurants, knowing they meet rigorous regulations. Shop your local stores. Take advantage of local services from pet care to nail care. Please be intentional before you shop with a device. How you purchase always matter, but it matters more now.  If you are prone to online purchasing, please consider taking a break.

From Harvard Square, to Jackson Square, local districts will prevail if their community pulls together.

While we must all work with our government leaders to fight the virus on the global front, we can lessen the local negative economic impact through our transactional support of our local businesses. A vibrant local economy and a stable global market depend on it.

As spring approaches, Harvard Square’s public spaces will be activated with outdoor seating, player pianos, ping pong tables and corn hole. Our street buskers will entertain you and our chess players are ready to challenge you. Patios and rooftop decks will open in a few short weeks and historic Winthrop Park is beginning to bloom. 

We look forward to seeing you with sincerest hope that this crisis will be over soon. Please take care and stay well. Thank you.”

-Denise Jillson
Executive Director
Harvard Square Business Association