Chamber News

July 16, 2020 Likes Comments

Don’t just reopen. Talk with your team.

As workplaces reopen, addressing our employees’ well-being is as important as implementing safety protocols.

Not acknowledging months in isolation, the loss of friends or family, fears of a resurgence, feelings exposed by the murder of George Floyd and other Black Americans, is about as big a mistake as managers could make right now.
 
Psychological research indicates that, when under stress, our brains do not respond nimbly and creatively. When that happens, work does not happen well.

Please join us at 1 p.m. today for a discussion lead by William James College about how to welcome your people back into the workplace by finding ways to address the feelings they'll be bringing with them.
 
Use the front door and pay up!
 
After nearly four months of free rides, Green Line and MBTA bus riders will be required to enter through the front doors, instead of the back doors, which also means everyone will need to start paying again.
 
The rear-door policy was adopted at above-ground Green Line stops and on buses to enable social distancing between drivers and riders. The T has since installed separation barriers. Globe story is here.
 
In other transportation news, the state Senate begins debating a bond bill today that is quickly being loaded up with amendments to make up for leadership’s decision to kick the transportation crisis can down the road.
 
That may sound OK to some now that the roads aren’t particularly congested and we haven't had a recent derailment. But we all know that kicked can is going to get crushed if we don't do anything. CommonWealth has a good recap.
 
Arts nonprofits get battered by shut down
 
Cultural nonprofits in Massachusetts have lost $425 million in revenue from COVID cancellations and closures. And it will cost them another $117 million to cover cleaning, PPE and other reopening costs, representatives of the Massachusetts Cultural Council told lawmakers Wednesday
 
Cultural nonprofits estimate that it will take on average two years (and in some cases, up to five years) to recover their programming and financials back to pre-COVID levels.
 
And it will take additional time for the public to feel that it is safe to come together in groups to participate in cultural programming.
 
"Without immediate action, organizations will shutter and artists who are at the heart of our sector will leave Massachusetts," said MassCreative director Emily Ruddock. MassLive story here.

SBA Advance program out of funds
 
The Small Business Administration says it has discontinued the $20 billion Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance program because they've allocated all of the available funds.
 
But the Washington Post says scam artists drawn by the lure of “free money” are creating problems for the agency and its inspector general.
 
“It’s a feeding frenzy,” said [a] person with knowledge of the program. “A lot of these [loans] are going through with little or no due diligence.”
 
More than one thing can be true at the same time. Perhaps they ran out of money after loaning part of it to the wrong people.
 
EIDL Advance provided $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000. Recipients did not have to be approved for a loan to receive the Advance, and the Advance provided an interim but vital source of funds while applicants awaited a decision on their loan application.
 
Oh, and the Post also has a different story about errors in way the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program's jobs data is being reported.
 
Garden City seeks gardeners
 
The City of Newton has a large number of outdoor flower pots that could be used to brighten outdoor seating areas for local restaurants. All they need are flowers and volunteers to plant them. To help, email City Councilor Alicia Bowman who is spearheading this volunteer effort. Green thumbs optional.
 
Not sure which area restaurants offer outdoor dining? Browse our directory.
 
Rather get takeout? We can help there too!
 
Larson Center program
 
The Gloria Cordes Larson Center for Women and Business at Bentley University is organizing a virtual panel program titled “Beyond the Gender Binary: Gender Inclusion in Today's Workplace” on July 21 at 11:30 a.m.
 
The program will include perspectives ranging from individual journeys of self-discovery to allies who will share their experiences and explore inclusive policies and practices that organizations can adopt.
 
Anti-covidiots bill
 
Officially it’s called “An Act relative to preventing a COVID-19 resurgence.” I think of it as “An act to keep covidiots from killing us.”
 
Filed by state Reps. Mindy Domb and Jon Santiago (an ER room doc), HD.5181 seeks to make face mask wearing mandatory in any indoor or outdoor public setting, including in elevators; healthcare setting, while using public transportation (including taxi and ride-shares).
 
Outdoor masks would be mandatory in public parks, streets, sidewalks or recreation areas when a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained.
 
It also includes a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors from a state with a COVID-19 five percent test positivity rate or higher (violators subject to $1,000 fine). And it calls for the creation of a “plan for proactive enforcement of the governor’s mandatory safety standards for workplaces."
 
CommonWealth’s Sara Betancourt has more details, including the answer to a question I asked yesterday:
 
Have there been any fines for not wearing a face mask issued anywhere in Massachusetts?
 
See you at our zoominar at 1 p.m.?
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.

 

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