Chamber News

October 15, 2020 Likes Comments

Everybody wins when you dine locally

Newton-Needham Dining CollaborativeIt's no secret that the pandemic is taking its toll on local restaurants. One in five restaurants statewide have closed. More inevitably will.

But, instead of throwing in the kitchen towel, more than 60 Newton and Needham restaurants are teaming together, rolling up their sleeves, and rolling out a promotion aimed to encourage and support local dining through the Newton-Needham Dining Collaborative’s Keep Making Memories Contes t.

Here's how it works: Any time you visit a participating restaurant between today and Nov. 15, post to Instagram or Twitter with the #keepmakingmemoriescontest hashtag.
 
Post a photo of your meal, of you dining out, or of the restaurant you visited. If you’re camera shy or not on social media – you can enter via an online form a the bottom of this page.
 
There will be three random drawings from all entries each week (for gift card values around $25), with additional prizes for multiple entries. No purchase is necessary (rules here). But we certainly hope you’ll help support and promote our restaurants at this critical juncture.
 
 
BC infection rates decline
 
Boston College’s weekly COVID-19 undergraduate positivity rate fell last week for the second week in a row, a new semester low, according to university’s COVID-19 dashboard.
 
Now students are being surveyed to whether they would prefer to return home for the Thanksgiving break and finish out the semester remotely, or remain in Massachusetts (at BC or at home) and complete the semester on campus. The university will make decision by Monday, the Heights reports.
 
Rausch wants to hear about your business
 
State Sen. Rebecca Rausch wants to hear from you. The Needham Democrat has launched a survey for small business owners to better understand how the pandemic may have impacted your business.
 
The survey will be used to inform statewide policy solutions in the Massachusetts state legislature to combat the coronavirus pandemic and related economic downturn.
 
"Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, and COVID-19 has posed significant challenges for our local and state economies," said Rausch. "I want to hear from our local business leaders to ensure the legislature's actions are as responsive to our local economies' needs as possible."
 
PPP questions? Of course you have questions.
 
Since last week’s announcement from the SBA about its new streamlined the forgiveness application process for Paycheck Protection Program loans of $50,000 or less, I’ve received tons of questions from businesses and nonprofits wondering about how and when to proceed.
 
My first suggestion is always to consult with your financial advisor or lawyer if you have one. Second suggestion? Check in with your lender.
 
And here’s some added resources:
If you reach out to the SBA hotline or any of the above resources, please let me know if you found them to be helpful, or the opposite, so I will know if I should keep recommending them, or not.
 
Newton reverses decision to remove parking
 
The City of Newton is reversing its decision to eliminate upwards of 200 parking spaces along Washington Street and replace them with a one-way bike lane.
 
The spaces were removed, without advance notice, last Thursday along the Mass Pike side of Washington Street between Sullivan Tire in West Newton and Lowell Ave. in Newtonville.
 
City officials say the move was a trial designed to last a few months.
 
But after hearing objections from City Councilors, businesses and the community, the decision was reversed yesterday and the parking reinstated.
 
A community meeting scheduled for this evening at 6 p.m. to discuss the matter is still taking place, according to City Councilor Alicia Bowman. Join the meeting via Zoom here.
 
While the city erred by not communicating the decision in advance (or giving stakeholders a chance to weigh in), it’s appropriate to be rethinking travel along Washington Street.
 
Parking on the south side of Washington is generally light. Making cycling safer along that corridor (and across the region) should be a shared priority. But improvements need to be considered more holistically. This may have been a good idea, but it wasn't executed properly.
 
To fully appreciate how Washington Street could be truly transformed to benefit all forms of travel I highly recommend watching this eye-opening video created a couple years ago by renowned urban planner Jeff Speck.
 
Really, find ten minutes today to watch it.
 
Today’s three bullet points
  • Lasell University’s President Michael Alexander will host a neighborhood town hall for area businesses, community leaders and neighbors next Weds, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. via Zoom. Register here. See Lasell’s COVID-19 testing results here.
  • The Department of Housing and Community Development offers two programs that can assist eligible low-income households in covering both past and future rent and mortgage costs. On Monday, the Baker administration also announced a $171 million initiative to support tenants and landlords during the pandemic. To learn more about the Eviction Diversion Initiative and available housing assistance programs, visit mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp.
Business leaders call for election integrity
 
A group of more than 50 of the nation’s top business leaders -- including media, technology, retail, real estate, finance and more – are calling on Americans to work together to “fix Democracy.” (New York Times)
 
The executives, part of the Leadership Now Project, have signed a joint nonpartisan statement which includes a call for counting every vote; urges the media to avoid calling the election prematurely; and calls on business leaders to promote patience and civility among employees, communities and the American people.
 
You can learn more about the effort and, if so inclined, add your business here .
 
Be back tomorrow.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.

 

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