Baker’s decision, like each phased reopening before it, has been thoughtfully executed, with exacting sector-specific protocols and carefully monitoring
of health data trends.
A setback in Massachusetts would be disheartening. It would be disrespectful to the front line workers who've given so much. And it would be devastating
to our exhausted businesses and nonprofits that have been working diligently to pay bills and reopen safely.
Asked last week if he was concerned about a rebound of the virus here, Baker said the people of Massachusetts and employers have “demonstrated time
and time again” that they’ve been willing to abide by the rules and follow the guidelines.
He said that part of the problem that led to spikes in other states was the reopening or bars and nightclubs.Bars, nightclubs and other large venues
will not reopen until Phase 4, which Baker won’t allow here until there is the availability of therapeutics or a vaccine.
Baker urged the public to “continue to be smart about how we do this.”
Business owners don’t want to police their customers. They shouldn't have to.
Retail and office guidance updated
Indoor gatherings are now limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet but should not include more than 25 people (although as Jon Chesto reported
in the Globe yesterday, the hotel industry had been lobbying for a lot more
Gatherings in enclosed outdoor spaces are limited to 25 percent or 100 people.
All businesses and sectors in Phase 3
are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards. Consult these sector-specific protocols and the When Can My Business Reopen?
pages for more specifics.
No kumbaya moment here
One last thing about the reopening plan: As noted above, I believe the Baker Administration has generally done a thoughtful job rolling out and communicating
during this crisis.
But they blew it on overnight camps.
Rather than opening this month, overnight camps will be closed until 2021. This makes sense for health reasons. That doesn’t excuse the bad communication.
“That was a punch to the face for all of us,” Matt Scholl, president of the state camping association and a director of two camps told the Globe. “It
came as a total shock to us. We didn’t even get an e-mail or a phone call about it.”
Life sciences center planned for Mount Auburn Club site
Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Newton’s National Development paid just under $33 million for the 6.3 acre location.
“Like most other athletic clubs, we have struggled with the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, and even now are unsure of what its long-term effects will
be for our industry,” the club’s owners, the Crowley family, wrote in a letter to members.
“We look forward to working with the Watertown community on an exciting new development that is consistent with the vision for reinvigorating Coolidge
Avenue,” said National Development managing partner Ted Tye.
C-Line shut down until Aug. 1
Track replacement and repair work has begun on the MBTA’s C-Line and will continue until Aug. 1. Free shuttle buses will run between Cleveland Circle
to Kenmore. More details here.
Here’s the project fact sheet
Who got a PPP loan?
Yesterday, the Small Business Administration released the names
of 660,000 small businesses and nonprofit organizations that received at least $150,000 under the program. The average loan size was $107,000.
Restaurants, medical offices and car dealerships were the top recipients.
Not too late to apply
Here's your chance to add your business or nonprofit to a future PPP recipient list.
Over the weekend, the program was officially extended to Aug. 8
There is still approximately $125 billion in PPP loan funds available.
MBTA's COVID response could encourage more driving
Traffic is back. It’s not as bad as it was. But certainly, we’re seeing more cars as our economy reopens.
And now a report
by the economic advocacy group A Better City
that things may get worse quickly if the MBTA isn’t able to execute a plan that gives commuters confidence to get out from behind the wheel.
The study compared the T to public transit systems in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. on a range of safety
protocols. They placed our transit agency in 4th in terms of preparedness to minimize COVID-19 risks.
- MBTA currently excels in cleaning and disinfecting protocols, as well as workforce management practices.
- The agency is making progress with restoration of service, requirement of face coverings, and provision of hand sanitizer, but more is needed on
- But the MBTA is lagging behind other agencies in ensuring physical distancing and issuing a comprehensive reopening plan.
"This anticipated mode shift to single occupancy vehicles will lead to crippling roadway congestion, as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions
that will disproportionately impact underserved communities and communities of color," the report read.
According to the report, all of the systems have a six-foot social distance requirement, except for Boston and Philadelphia were the standard is three
That’s all for now.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber