Chamber News

July 15, 2020 Likes Comments

Covidiot by any other name

Beth Teitell calls them “mask holes.” I’ve been referring to them as “covidiots.”

But we’re talking about the same thing, those members of the public who scoff at covering their face in public.
The mask wars isn't just a science-defying red state/blue state issue. Sometimes it's apolitical selfishness.
As Tietell writes in the Globe, mask hostility is especially a problem for many restaurants, where workers struggle to stay safe and owners fear a second COVID shut-down here could force them to close forever.
“I see grown-ups, with a kind of smirking defiance, walk maskless through our restaurant, or dangle their masks under their chin or below their noses, or not bother with them at all,” chef Jody Adams wrote in an oped quoted by the Globe.
Even the nation’s top retail chains and the nation’s largest food and retail union agree on the need to for nationwide mask mandate.
Gov. Charlie Baker mandated face coverings back in May (for everyone over two, unless you have a medical condition).
Non-compliance carries a penalty of $300 but have there been any fines issued anywhere in the Commonwealth?
Regional ballot initiative deserves a shot
Many of the state’s largest business associations have come out against a proposal to allow local municipalities to raise local taxes for transportation needs, the Globe’s Jon Chesto is reporting.
But the idea sounds intriguing to me.
The proposal would give municipalities the ability to team up with each other to form new regional taxation districts.
Tax increases would need voter approval, via a local referendum in one or multiple communities, before they could take effect. Increases could be imposed on property, sales, auto excise, or lodging taxes, Chesto explains.
Greater Boston’s inner suburbs will succeed or fail on our ability to combat gridlock by reducing single occupancy vehicles. Having the ability to ask voters in our communities to raise revenue to address specific projects could be just the tool we need.
The proposal is part of a transportation bond bill scheduled for debate in the Senate tomorrow. Here's hoping it moves forward.
Apartment prices swoon in June
Rents for an apartment in Boston sank by nearly six percent in June, a sign that the apartment market has been more damaged by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic than developers anticipated, Biznow reports.
The data, from RealPage, suggests landlords are being forced to discount market-rate units below their listed price, something that would have seemed unthinkable last year as Boston's housing prices soared. Average asking rent is now $2,346 per month, according to RealPage, still about $930 more than the national average.
Closures continue

Eater Boston is reporting that DavidsTea it shutting down all 42 locations, including at the Street in Chestnut Hill.
Wasabi at the Natick Mall (you know the place with the conveyor belt sushi) has also shut down. "The mandatory COVID closure just destroyed us," manager Jeffrey Miller tells the Framingham Source.
Resources we like to remind you about
  • The Health Connector is hosting a webinar today (July 15) at 4 p.m. to help residents learn about their health coverage options. For more information and registration. Details here.
  • The MA Small Biz Reopening Guide is an online resource created through a partnership between Mass Growth Capital Corp. and Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corps. The site helps businesses navigate available guidance and tools that will help them reopen safely and successfully.
  • Small Business Strong is a public-private partnership that offers access to information, business advisors, and functional specialists to help small business navigate the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Businesses can find SBA Resource Partners (including Massachusetts Small Business Development Centers) through the Find Local Assistance Tool.
  • MGCC offers resources for small businesses, including translation support for PPP applications and technical assistance through the COVID-19 Small Business Stabilization Network.
Who’s behind those signs and those masks?
Have you been wondering about those “We thank you front line workers” signs that have been showing up all across Newton and occasionally other communities as well?
Here’s the story behind the signs written by BU journalists Yumeng Zhang and Yian Zhou for the Globe.
And here’s where you can order yours with proceeds to benefit the Newton-Wellesley Hospital COVID-19 Fund, the Newton COVID-19 Care Fund, and the Newton Food Pantry.
And here’s our own Tiffany Chen telling you about the “Apart Together for Needham” or “Apart Together for Newton” face mask with proceeds also going to local charities.
If you watch closely, you’ll see me on NBC10 yesterday wearing my “Apart Together” mask.
See you tomorrow!

President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.


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