Chamber News

Needham / Newton
January 20, 2021 Likes Comments

Here's to new beginnings

We face overwhelming challenges. And the nation reached a devastating milestone yesterday.

But I’m feeling optimistic today.

Hope you are too.

This morning, the Globe’s Larry Edelman offers this pragmatic and sobering look at the economy president almost-elect Joe Biden is inheriting, while Tom Keane provides the optimism we want.

Here's to new beginnings. And competence. And a lot less drama.
 
State adds vaccine sites

The state is expanding its vaccine roll out to include 15 CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies this week. An additional 40 retail locations (including some Wegmans, Big Y, Price Chopper, Stop & Shop and Hannaford) will be added next week.

Fenway Park will become the state’s second mass vaccination site, joining Gillette Stadium.
 
Here's who's eligible now: Phase 1 of the state’s plan includes clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care; long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities; first responders; and congregate care settings, including corrections and shelters.
 
Here's who's next (Feb-March): Phase 2 includes food service, transit worker, teachers and other occupations. (School teachers are lobbying to be moved up on the list. And the Herald proposes accelerating food workers.)
 
The general public is not expected to be eligible to receive the vaccine until Phase 3 in April.
 
The state updates its vaccine time line Tuesdays and Thursdays by 5 p.m. The latest can be found here.
 
Home sales hit 16-year high

More single-family homes were sold last year in Massachusetts than in any other year since 2004, despite a once-in-a-century pandemic that threatened the financial security of thousands of residents and dramatically changed the process of buying and selling a home, reports Colin A. Young at State House News.

There were 61,469 single-family home sales in 2020 -- a 3.9 percent increase over the sales total of 2019, according to The Warren Group. And December 2020 saw 6,410 single-family home sales in Massachusetts -- the most ever recorded for the month and up 28.6 percent from December 2019.
 
"In the wake of the first COVID-19 lockdown way back in March, single-family home sales took a nosedive for the entire second quarter," Warren Group CEO Tim Warren said. "If you told me back then that by the end of the year that the total number of sales would surpass 2019, there's no way I would have believed you...yet here we are."
 
A Boston Indicators report issued yesterday noted that rental prices in Boston have declined during the pandemic with high-cost neighborhoods seeing the most dramatic reductions. Rents in downtown Boston have decreased by 8 percent
 
Newton extends curb side parking

As part of an effort to make local commerce easier, Mayor Fuller has extended the city’s curb side pickup program until the end of the state of emergency as declared by the governor. Newton is also exploring whether to allow short-term spaces during recovery and then rebound stages.
 
To request a short-term 15 minute space in front or near your place of business apply here.

Watertown installing smart meters

Smart parking meters are being installed in Watertown this week. Both street meters and the municipal lots in Watertown Square, Wells Avenue and Coolidge Square will be able to take credit cards and quarters.

Mobile payment by cell phone will be accepted soon.

The new parking fee is $1.00 per hour except in the Wells Avenue Lot and along Nichols Avenue, where it will be $.50 per hour. Credit card transactions and in the future mobile payment will have a $1.00 minimum fee and a service fee of $.25. Parking payment is required Monday through Saturday except holidays, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
 
Today’s need to knows
 
We’ll keep mentioning this until it's fixed

If you looked at the Globe’s “Project Takeout” map, you’d think Greater Boston’s west suburban communities were restaurant deserts. (Just two restaurants offer takeout in Needham? Only one in Wellesley?) We know that’s not true.
 
We will continue to point our this shortcoming until it’s fixed.
 
Wellesley ready for its close up
 
If parts of the new Netflix film “I Care A lot” look familiar that’s because some scenes were shot in and around around Wellesley including Wellesley Square, Wellesley Hills and Babson, according to the Swellesley Report. The film, to be released next month, stars Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González and Dianne Wiest.

$5 billion down, $279 billion to go
 
The SBA approved about 60,000 Paycheck Protection Program applications last week to select borrowers and lenders. The applications totaled $5 billion, or about two percent of the $284 billion the program has available to lend, the New York Times reports.
 
Those figures do not include loan applications sent to the agency yesterday, the first day most lenders and borrowers were eligible to apply.
 
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that five prominent anti-vaccine organizations known for spreading misleading information about COVID-19 received more than $850,000 from the PPP, a program that aims to help business and nonprofits impacted by that same pandemic they’ve been lying about.
 
If you applied or tried to apply for the PPP yesterday (or last week), send me an email and let me know how the process went and which bank you worked with.
 
And it's not to late to register to attend our PPP webinar on Friday. Scroll down to register.
 
Take time to appreciate today. I know I will.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.
Dine out. Take out. Shop locally. Mask up. And tip generously.

 

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