BOSTON (CBS) – If you thought the local economic damage done by Covid-19 was over, think again.

Did you know Boston’s hotel industry has been hit so hard by the tourism slump, the landmark 1,000-room Sheraton Boston is still closed?

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“There’s certainly some challenges we’re experiencing now and on the horizon,” said Jim Rooney, president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, who suggests the key to recovery for tourism and our overall business climate lies in quick action by politicians more adept at squabbling than acting:

  • In Washington, where Rooney wants to see an infrastructure deal finally pass and Trump-era tariffs lifted to help get supply chains moving;
  • And on Beacon Hill, where he wants an end to the arguing over how to spend our $5 billion dollar federal windfall.

“Let’s get something done in the next three months and then if there’s more to debate about what programs in housing should we fund, have that debate maybe in a phase two,” he said.

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But we wondered: If the infrastructure talks in D.C. should collapse and/or Beacon Hill remains gridlocked, would that be a big red flag for him?

“Huge red flag,” said Rooney. “Americans and the business community, in particular, want to see some signals that there can be urgency, that there can be compromise, that there can be collaboration and government can get the job done, there’s a big hunger for that.”

And Rooney echoed the warning of Gov. Baker’s new “future of work” study – we’re not going back to the way business used to be done.

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“It’s all online now, so people just have to embrace the fact that they have to learn the new ways life is lived, commerce is conducted,” he said

Jon Keller