Chamber News

July 13, 2020 Likes Comments

Plastic bag bans are back

Plastic bag bans are back

Over the weekend, the Baker Administration reinstated the ban on plastic bags and bag fees, effective immediately.

Unfortunately, the order did not allow time for merchants to adjust to the sudden change.

Reinstating bags bans, effective immediately, doesn’t give business owners a chance to use up their stock of existing plastic bags or a chance to stock back up on paper bags if they need them. Even 30-60 days advance notice would have been a help.

It’s bad enough that store workers have to enforce mask wearing. Requiring cashiers to be the ones who inform customers this week that they have to pay for bags again, is just cruel.

It will now be up to the 139 cities and towns in Massachusetts (including Newton, Brookline, Watertown and Wellesley) with bans on bags to communicate the changes to merchants and consumers.

Cabot Park looking to expand
The Newton City Council will vote tonight on a special permit to allow Cabot Park Village to construct a five-story addition with 18 new units and common accessory use space at 280 Newtonville Ave.
As part of the agreement (page 6 here), Cabot Park has agreed to make 20 of the units at the existing Cabot Park facility, permanently affordable. Originally those 20 units would have converted to market rate in 2036.
Virtually helping your new colleague
Keeping employees engaged and working collaboratively while working remotely comes with all sorts of challenges.
But what about new hires? New employees are meeting coworkers via webcam, getting their company cell phone and IT equipment sent via certified mail, transitioning the kitchen table to become their new workspace.
What’s the key to successful new employee on boarding? Blum Shapiro shares some ideas here.

Sloe slow gin fizz
It took six weeks, but Beacon Hill lawmakers finally reached agreement Friday on a bill allowing Massachusetts restaurants to sell to-go cocktails, State House News reports.
The Senate's bill allows restaurants to sell mixed drinks in sealed containers alongside takeout and delivery food orders.
What the Senate didn’t do is agree to a broader restaurant relief bill the House passed unanimously in early June -- which also included a cap on third-party delivery fees and waived penalties and interest for late meals tax payments.
Both bills require drinks be sold in sealed containers, in the same order as food, and with a limit of 64 ounces per transaction. The Senate bill further limits customers to no more than two mixed drinks per entree ordered, under the same 64 ounce cap.
The two branches would need to agree on the final language and the governor needs to sign it, so don't start selling to-go mixed drinks yet!
Put this on your calendar
COVID-19 has challenged businesses to rethink every aspect of work and relationships with employees and clients.
In addition to worrying about social distancing, PPE and other safety necessities, the national discussions of equity, inclusion and racism have captured everyone’s attention and they are on the minds of your employees and clients.
If you can, please reserve this Thursday from 1-2 p.m. for a zoom panel program focused on the conversations we all need to have with our employees as we reopen workplaces. Details of this program, presented in partnership with William James College, will be announced this afternoon.
...these events too
And here’s three other important online programs worth noting:
  • Congressmen Joe Kennedy and Seth Moulton will join Eva A. Millona, president and CEO of MIRA; Segun Idowu, executive director of BECMA and Betty Francisco, co-founder of Amplify Latinx in a discussion today (July 13) at 3 p.m. about the challenges facing immigrant owned small businesses. Details and registration information here.
  • On Wednesday (July 15) at 2 p.m., the MA Small Business Development Center Network is sponsoring a program on the same themes. Details about “Discrimination and Best Practices: How to Manage Unlawful Discrimination and Implicit Bias” can be found here.
  • And a reminder, that LinkedIn is offering a multi-part Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging training series which is available for free through Aug. 31. The courses are designed to help us understand and confront unconscious bias, having inclusive conversations and creating diverse workplaces.
Be back at 7 a.m. tomorrow with more.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.



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