That translates into a lot of money not being spent around town.
Amir Shiranian, who runs Amelia’s Taqueria, told the Globe in June that he was eager to see business get back to normal once the fall semester began. The taqueria ― with locations near Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, and Berklee ― typically counts on students for roughly 75 percent of sales.
While sales at Amelia’s have doubled since the spring, when students left Boston, they are still down by about 50 percent from this time last year. Shiranian said he hasn’t noticed any uptick at the restaurant near Berklee.
“We are doing better, but we are far from where our numbers were last year at this time,” he said.
Even at schools offering some in-person classes, students may have fewer reasons to move around if many of their classes are held online and they are following social distancing protocols. Colleges say there has been a decline in sales of semester MBTA passes, which offer an 11 percent discount and are popular among students who live off campus.
Last year, MIT sold 1,000 passes, but only about 75 this year. At Emerson College, sales are down about 50 percent to just over 400.
Shiranian said he briefly considered extending the reduced hours at the Amelia’s near Northeastern University on Huntington Avenue once the semester started, but decided to “play it safe,” based on sales numbers over the past few weeks.
Julio Guerrero, who owns Temple of Groom in Cambridge, between Harvard University and MIT, said traffic at his barbershop has increased slightly over the past few weeks, but only from fewer than 15 customers a day to about 20. His monthly count sits at around 500; before the pandemic it was closer to 1,500.
Guerrero said he hasn’t