Chamber News

July 21, 2020 Likes Comments

Our latest updates and events

Mixed drinks to go are finally legal in Massachusetts.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the Senate-delayed bill yesterday afternoon, about six weeks after a more ambitious restaurant relief bill was passed by the House and three months after beer and wine to-go was approved.
Restaurants can begin selling mixed drinks to-go immediately.
Drinks can be as large as 64 ounces. Lids with sipping holes or an opening for straws must be covered.
No mixed drinks can be sold after midnight. If the mixed drink is to be transported by a motor vehicle, either by delivery or pick-up, the drink should be placed in the trunk or some other area that’s not considered the passenger area. (More on the regulations here.)
“It’s not going to push anybody over the finish line, but we’ll take every little bit of help we can get,” Tony Maws of Mass Restaurants United told the Globe, adding that “this does not help the smaller mom and pops serving pizza and tacos that don’t have a liquor license.”
Looking for a list of local restaurants offering takeout and/or delivery? Go here.
And remember: When possible, order take out directly from the restaurant, rather than through a third-party app.
Now, go even bolder Needham
Yesterday I wrote about some of the small but important steps Needham officials have taken to make it easier for restaurants to succeed.
In a blog post, architect and Needham resident John Rufo urges the town to go even bigger by planning more permanent changes to streets and how we think of what a street is.
"The creative spontaneous response during the COVID crisis where small portions of 'streets' are reclaimed for other uses has functioned as a real-time experiment, allowing us to easily imagine our typical street a little differently," writes Rufo, who is also on the chamber’s board of directors.
"Replace the jersey barriers, the traffic cones and temporary galvanized railings with design elements of the same function but better aesthetics, and the street quickly becomes a new kind of enjoyable place to dwell in and share.”
West Newton Cinema reopens
On Friday, the beloved West Newton Cinema opened its doors to the public for the first time in four months.
No one came, reports Newton Patch.
But the theater’s owners are optimistic that audiences will slowly – and safely -- return.
“We have spent the last few months making small improvements to the building as well as preparing to welcome our patrons back into an environment that is safe and adheres to ALL government guidelines,” says a notice on the theater’s website.
“We will only be selling 25 tickets/theater, so we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance online to secure a seat.”
Newton’s other movie theater, Showcase SuperLux at the Street, remains closed. But Davio’s next door is open.
Needham Unite Against Racism event tonight
Workers and residents are invited to share their personal experiences with racism in Needham, and their concerns and suggestions for improvement as part of the town’s Needham Unite Against Racism Initiative.
This initiative is intended to be an ongoing effort and launches tonight (July 21) at 6:15 p.m. Watch via Zoom here. There’s also a resource page here that answers a number of policy questions.
The chamber has also created a page of resources exploring diversity, equity and inclusion resources and this directory of area businesses that self-identify as immigrant-owned, minority-owned, LGTBQ-owned woman-owned and/or veteran-owned.
Search the categories here or click here to add your business or nonprofit.
Fair collection returns
The MBTA began collecting fares again at all above ground Green Line stops as well as on buses and the commuter rail.
The T had allowed riders to enter via the rear door on trollies and buses as a way to social distance from drivers. Front-door boarding also resumed on Monday with new separators between drivers and passengers installed.
Face coverings are required on all MBTA vehicles, although enforcement remains an issue.
And a recent study by the group A Better City warns that the MBTA’s approach to COVID-19 may worsen traffic.
Transportation funding: point, counterpoint
This week’s Codcast features an interesting point-counter point on transportation funding. Chris Dempsey, director of Transportation for Massachusetts, makes the case for more revenue. John Regan, president and CEO of the business group Associated Industries of Massachusetts, disagrees.
...and one more point
And, in case you missed it, yesterday in a letter to the editor in the Globe, I explained our chamber’s position in support of one element of the transportation funding debate, regional transportation ballot initiatives.

President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
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