Chamber News

September 01, 2020 Likes Comments

Grim reaper won’t leave retailers alone

If you have not voted yet, you’re in the minority.

But you still have time.
 
Most Bay State residents who are expected to vote in today's Democratic or Republican primaries, have already cast their ballots Secretary of State William Galvin said yesterday.
 
At stake are U.S. Senate races on both the Democratic and Republican sides and a seven-way Democratic primary for the seat U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III is giving up in order to challenge Sen. Ed Markey.
 
If you're voting the old fashioned way, check here to be sure your polling location hasn’t changed. If you've voted by mail, you can track the status of your mail-in ballot.
 
Or, if you’re one of the 400,000 voters who asked for a mail-in ballot but never sent it, you can still bring it to a drop box at your city or town hall by 8 p.m. tonight.
 
As for what you should do with that stack of over-sized post cards sitting in your front hall, I have no idea.
 
Needham and chamber partner on shop-dine local campaign
 
As part of an effort to encourage supporting Needham’s small businesses and restaurants, the chamber and the town are splitting the cost of hanging “Dine Local Shop Local Needham” banners in the downtown shopping district.
 
The new banners (similar to the navy blue banners with the same message the chamber hung along Chapel Street last year) will go up along Great Plain Ave. next week.

The town is also hanging banners along Chapel Street that remind residents to wear face coverings to help protect the health and safety of workers and the community at large.
 
Needham officials have worked cooperatively with our downtown restaurants and retailers in recent months, creating outdoor dining spaces for meals to go, reducing liquor license renewal fees, providing signage for COVID-related safety measures and eliminating parking meter fees through Labor Day.
 
We’re grateful for the support.
 
We’re also grateful to Paul Good with the Needham Community Revitalization Trust Fund for organizing banner program and coordinating this effort.
 
And a big shout out to Steven Schwede and his team at Fast Signs in Needham (a chamber member) for giving us a great price on the banners!
 
Newton’s plastic bag and polystyrene bans are back
 
Back in July, the Baker administration caught merchants and officials in communities across the state by surprise when -- without advance notice -- it lifted the state’s ban on reusable bags in grocery stores and allowed plastic bag bans to go back into effect.
 
Municipalities scrambled to respond. In Newton, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller granted Newton merchants and shoppers an extension, to Sept. 1, to comply with the city ordinance that bans plastic bags.
 
“Recognizing that there was no advance notice of the statewide order rescission, the City of Newton will delay enforcement of its plastic bag and polystyrene ordinances until Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, to give retailers time to adjust to this change,” Fuller said at the time.
 
So effective today, Newton businesses should not be distributing single use plastic bags or serve food in polystyrene (Styrofoam).
 
And once again, Newton businesses are required to charge 10-cents per paper bag.
 
Needham only has a voluntary plastic bag ban so the paper bags that cost a dime at, for example, Trader Joes in Newton are free in Needham.
 
Watertown’s single-use plastic bag ban ordinance is also back in effect but enforcement will not begin until Oct. 1. Watertown does not require a fee for paper bags at checkout.
 
Other communities have responded with other deadlines, which of course is one of the problems with not having these products regulated at the state level.
 
Masks. They aren’t just for Halloween anymore.
 
But what about Halloween?
 
A bipartisan group of 30 members of Congress are asking the CDC to provide safety guidance on celebrating Halloween during COVID, the Hill reports.
 
They’re asking for the CDC to weigh in on activities such as leaving packages of candy for friends and neighbors and setting up drive-through trick-or-treat venues where children can dress up and wear masks, preferably not one of these.
 
Babson grads can help your company
 
Would you like to tap into the minds of Babson’s innovative and entrepreneurial grad students? Babson College is now accepting applications for its Spring 2021 Graduate Student Consulting Programs
 
The Babson’s Graduate Experiential Learning Programs leverages the knowledge of a graduate student consulting team for innovative solutions and insights – at no cost to your organization.
 
Email sgray1@babson.edu or call: 781-239-6149 for details and deadlines.
 
Life sciences developer believes in the burbs
Alexandria Real Estate Equities continues to expand into the inner burbs.
 
After recently acquiring properties in Newton and Watertown, the life sciences developer has just acquired Reservoir Woods East, a trio of Waltham buildings that includes the U.S. headquarters for gas and electric company National Grid, for a combined $330 million, the BBJ reports.
 
Grim reaper won’t leave retailers alone
 
Another round of bad retail news. The Natick Mall Neiman Marcus is closing at the end of this year, Patch reports. The Dallas-based retailer is in the midst of a bankruptcy reorganization and is closing six other stores across the U.S. The store at Copley Place in Boston will remain open.
 
Another Natick Mall anchor, Lord & Taylor will close up as the company ends a nearly 200 year run closing its remaining 38 stores (so including Back Bay) and shutting down its website.
 
The Globe's Jon Chesto is reporting that one-fourth of businesses at Faneuil Hall haven’t reopened due the pandemic (although they might get a pot shop!).
 
That’s actually rosier than in San Francisco where less than half of the storefront businesses open at start of pandemic are still operating.
 
Forbes reported yesterday that so far more than 13,800 stores have announced plans to close in 2020 — a number that will surely rise.
 
"Debt is now the common enemy," writes Walter Loeb. "Every retailer who had high debt before all of this started is closing some stores and cutting back on new projects."
 
Some travel restrictions lifted
 
Colorado, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were recently added to the lower-risk list of states that are not subject to travel order restrictions in Massachusetts. Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey and New York are also exempt.
 
Rhode Island was initially exempt but was dropped from the exemption list after a rise in COVID-19 cases.
 
Visitors entering Massachusetts from 40 other states must quarantine for two weeks or test negative for COVID-19 up to 72 hours before arriving in Massachusetts.
 
D-Line shuttle buses return on weeknights
 
Bus shuttles will replace train service on the MBTA Riverside line most weeknights through December as a result of the Green Line D Track and Signal Project, the Fenway Portal Project and the Brookline High School Expansion Project.
 
Visit the Green Line D Service Changes for the latest shuttle information and D Line schedule. Subscribe to T alerts at www.mbta.com/alerts.
 
Four days to go!
 
A reminder about Friday’s deadline for the 50 Most Influential Business People of Color in Greater Boston’s western suburbs list. To qualify, nominees must work at and/or sit on a board for a business or nonprofit that is physically located in Newton, Needham, Watertown, Waltham, Wellesley, Natick or Framingham.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.

 

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