By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) – Perhaps Canal Street is a microcosm of our economy right now. Some old favorites, like The Fours Restaurant & Sports Bar, have thrown in the towel in the face of COVID-19.

But down the street, there are signs of life. For instance, a Shawarma and Falafel place called New York Shawarma Guys recently opened.

“We’re doing good. A lot of people came back to the area,” said Mohammed Neamah of New York Shawarma Guys.

With the business picking up, they’re hopeful. The restaurant and hospitality industries have been devastated by COVID-19. And now, a $900 billion stimulus package is being debated in Washington.

“It is absolutely critical that our federally elected officials get the job done that they were hired to do,” said Bob Luz, the head of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “Effectively, a week from Monday, unemployment benefits run out.”

The stimulus package would allocate $330 billion for small businesses. This would help places like Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage in Harvard Square.

“They keep moving the goal posts,” Bill Bartley said. “Hibernation, I don’t think is an option for a business like ours. It’s not an option for the restaurant business. All the talented people are going to be gone.”

Bartley’s family has run this place for 60 years. And he’s doing what he can to keep his staff working.

In the last year, Massachusetts has lost 338,000 jobs. Each day the stimulus package is delayed, that number grows.

Bill Shields