Pedestrian traffic to retail, entertainment and restaurants in Boston has soared since January 1, far exceeding the national average, but declined last month on fears about the coronavirus delta variant and the CDC’s recommendation that the People are wearing masks indoors again, according to a new report.
Business in Boston retail, restaurant, and entertainment establishments grew 137% year-to-date, while visits to restaurants and eateries alone rose 125%, compared to the national average of 52%, according to marketing firm Zenreach.
“Boston and other northern cities are known to have fairly severe winters, so people don’t go out that often in January and the rest of the winter. That’s why you’ll see tremendous growth later on as more and more people have been vaccinated and mask requirements have been lifted, ”said Megan Wintersteen, Vice President of Marketing at Zenreach.
George Regan, who represents more than 30 Boston restaurants, was encouraged by the results.
“People like the attractiveness and vitality of the city, not just the food, but the atmosphere and the experience of being in a very pedestrian-friendly city,” said Regan. “Hannover Street (in the North End) is doing well and the Seaport is running like a gangster.”
But the numbers also show how bad Boston was before the city reopened in the spring and summer, said Bob Luz, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.
“Walking around Boston last year was like an apocalypse,” said Luz. “Restaurants are still in the struggle of their lives.”
Concerns about the Delta variant last month and the Council of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people return to masks indoors except in their homes have been the growth that Boston and the nation witnessed in the spring and early summer , dramatically reversed, said Wintersteen.
In the past 30 days, she said, Boston’s restaurant industry growth has fallen to just 1%, while the country’s growth has plummeted -2.15%.