Chamber News

Needham / Newton
December 01, 2020 Likes Comments

Important reminder to all employers

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day designated to highlight giving-back to the nonprofits that are so essential to doing everything from providing a safety net to educating and caring for our families and our planet to enriching our lives.

Please include our local nonprofits in as part of your philanthropic giving today and throughout the year.
 
You can find a list of the more than 100 nonprofit chamber members here.

Important reminder to all employers
 
As the coronavirus numbers keep moving in the wrong direction, a reminder that if you have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19, you are required to report it to your local board of health.
 
It's also essential that employees participate in and cooperate with the COVID-19 Community Tracing program.
 
Here’s additional reminders from the state’s Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development:
  • Review the Department of Public Health’s information and guidance for persons in quarantine or isolation, and share it with your employees.
  • Remind all employees to report instances of possible exposure and to immediately quarantine until either they receive a negative test or they self-isolate for 14 days, in accordance with the DPH guidance.
  • Ensure employees who have faced possible exposure do not feel pressured to report to the workplace, whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms. Reassuring employees of their job security will help prevent virus transmission between coworkers.
  • Monitor use of break rooms and warn employees of risks associated with carpooling. These settings have both been identified as hot spots for COVID-19 infections. Information about carpooling can be found here.
Most workers in Massachusetts have the right to earn and use up to 40 hours of job-protected sick time per year to take care of themselves and certain family members. Workers must earn at least one hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
 
Additional information on sick time requirements can be found on the Attorney General’s Office website.
 
Don't be surprised by that number
 
More than 10,000 applications were received last month for a a slice of a $50.8 million state grant program that only has enough funds to help around 1,000 Massachusetts business, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports.
 
But 10,000 applications only begins to illustrate how many of our businesses are struggling right now.
 
There likely would have been many, many, more applications if Mass. Growth Capital, hadn’t announced in advance that priority would be given to businesses in Gateway Cities, as well as those owned by women, people of color, and veterans and businesses that have not received prior federal aid, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.
 
That last factor alone would have discouraged nearly half of all the business in the state from applying, given that 46 percent of all Massachusetts businesses received a PPP loan by July, according to MAPC. (The numbers were even higher in our immediate region.)
 
Imagine how many more thousands of applications Mass Capital might have received.
 
“I knew we would be oversubscribed but I did not think it would get to 10,000,” Joe Kriesberg, president of MACDC and a Mass. Growth Capital board member, told Chesto last week. “It demonstrates the tremendous need out there in the small business community for more resources at every level — state, federal, and local.”
 
If your business applied for one of the grants, expect to hear back some time this month. It’s also possible that an additional $17.5 million or so could be added to replenish program, depending on current budget negotiations.
 
Even then, it won’t be nearly enough.
 
Coming today: PPP's who's who
 
A federal judge has ordered the SBA's to release detailed information about the $659 billion PPP loans it has made today, the Business Journals reports.
 
The agency must release the names, addresses and precise loan amounts of all individuals and entities that got PPP or related Economic Industry Disaster Loans.
 
Newton to host zoning reform discussion
 
The Newton City Council has been engaged in a multi-year effort to update, rewrite, and clarify Newton’s outdated Zoning Ordinance.
 
Tomorrow night at 7 p.m. (Dec. 2) and again on Thursday at noon the city’s Planning Department will presenting some of the ideas being considered and offer a chance for to provide feedback. RSVP to attend.
 
The presentation ("Zoning Redesign: Where We Are Now”) will be posted Dec. 4 on the Zoning Redesign website along with a survey. More details here.
 
To learn more about this project and its history, I strongly recommend looking at the excellent resource library compiled by the civic group Engine 6.
 
Today’s three need to knows
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in partnership with the SBA, and Mass. Small Business Development Center, are offering a session on free resources and support available to small businesses on Dec. 10 at 11:30 a.m..Register
Another useful resource: Dental Cupid
 
No, Dental Cupid is not a dating platform for dentists.
 
Instead it’s a website designed to connect those experiencing dental emergencies to nearby providers during the pandemic, reports Jordan Frias at BostInno.
 
Since launching in April, Dental Cupid has connected 16,000 patients to dentists. The site does not charge dentists to join the platform or patients to use it.
 
Retailers stress shopping options

While Massachusetts retailers want consumers to know they can safely shop in person, more and more Main Street merchants are now selling online too.
 
Half of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts' roughly 4,000 members now have e-commerce capabilities. That's up from 26 percent one year ago, State House News reports.
 
RAM is projecting that online sales will account for more than a third of sales this holiday season for its members, up from almost 20 percent in recent years.
 
"Real progress has been made in a matter of months on digital promotion, marketing and online sales for Main Street businesses," said RAM President Jon Hurst.
 
Many businesses also offer curbside pickup, delivery and even shopping by appointment.
 
And you can browse locally online too
 
A reminder that the chamber has created an new online directory designed to help shoppers find local services, merchants, restaurants and organizations within our communities.
 
You’ll find lists for local retailers, restaurant gift card deals, local dining and our curated ‘shop local market’ for locally made or locally branded items that make the perfect gifts for clients, family and friends.
 
Local businesses looking to be added to our directories can complete this form. We’ve created a library of shop local materials here .
 
The “All Over Newton” website has also launched a really impressive shop local directory and is coordinating a series of online “shop Newton” weekends.
 
So get out there -- or log on -- and give locally and shop locally, okay?
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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