Chamber News

Needham / Newton
November 13, 2020 Likes Comments

Please make time to watch this


Thanks very much to our remarkable panel (above) and everyone who joined us yesterday to celebrate the release of our 50 Most Influential Business People of Color list. If you didn’t have a chance to participate, please make time to watch the video this weekend. I sincerely don’t believe you’ll be disappointed.
And if you missed John Hillard’s interview with some of our honorees in the Globe, you can check that out here.

Your chamber is proud to have partnered with Colette Phillips on this project. But our commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusivity in Greater Boston’s western suburbs can't stop here. Please send me your thoughts and suggestions for next steps.
One final comment: Yesterday I congratulated our 50 honorees for making the list. But I realized later that what I should have done is thank these 50 women and men for inspiring and elevating us and our communities. We are so fortunate.
Baker: Field hospitals a precaution
The Baker administration will announce plans today to begin setting up field hospitals in preparation for worsening COVID-19 conditions as the state prepares to cross the threshold of 10,000 confirmed deaths from the disease, reports Matt Murphy at State House News.
But Gov. Charlie Baker, however, warned against becoming too alarmed by the rising numbers of daily cases and hospitalizations, pointing to the progress the state has made in testing and the improved preparedness of the health care system.
"We're nowhere near the uncharted territory we were at in the spring. Nowhere near it," Baker said yesterday.
The Department of Public Health reported this week that the state's hospitals were operating at 72 percent occupancy of non-intensive care unit beds and 50 percent capacity in ICUs around the state.
Massachusetts reached another grim pandemic milestone Thursday, surpassing 10,000 COVID deaths.
This one has a 'familiar' ring
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported yesterday the same thing that Baker has been talking about for months: Casual gathering are fueling the latest coronavirus surge.
Or as the governor has said, over and over: "Familiar people being familiar."
The Post article noted that earlier coronavirus clusters were linked to nursing homes and crowded nightclubs. But public health officials nationwide now say case investigations are increasingly leading them to small, private social gatherings.
“We’ve all gotten used to our bubbles, but I don’t think we’ve really asked whether someone who’s in our bubble is also in another person’s bubble,” said Nirav Shah, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Maine.
The Post also quoted Needham’s Public Heath Director Tim McDonald, saying he’s considering a campaign reminding residents that, according to guidance from the CDC, they should avoid spending more than 15 minutes within six feet of most other people in a 24-hour period.
And in a Globe op-ed this week, a group of infectious disease experts shared similar concerns about informal gatherings while actually cautioning against closing businesses or schools.
“It’s not clear that shutting down would stop or even control this spread," they wrote. “In fact, there’s a real chance such measures would have the opposite effect, prompting more congregating indoors in household or private settings.”
One opening. One closing.
Bianca at the Street at Chestnut Hill officially opened yesterday, Boston Chefs reports:
"The highly anticipated restaurant from acclaimed restaurateurs Nancy and Tim Cushman (of o ya and Hojoko) was originally set to open in March but good things come to those who wait – good things like wood-fired pizzas, house made pastas, crispy nori sushi tacos and lots of creative cocktails.” The menu is here.
Not such good news in Wellesley where Fat Face closed, according to the Swellesely report.
The British clothing brand opened its Church Square location in late 2018.
What lies ahead for retail?
The Globe’s Janelle Nanos took a look this week from a consumer perspective into how holiday shopping will be different this year:
“The tree lighting ceremonies in retail shopping districts? They’ll probably be on Zoom. Crowding into stores for Black Friday sales? Not a great idea. Kids posing for photos with Santa? Not without a temperature check,” Nanos writes.
“Still, people are creatures of habit, and retailers are hoping that if they can add a dash of holiday magic into the dark winter ahead, it might offer a sense of normalcy.”
For an industry-focused dive into the same topic, join us Thursday (Nov. 19) at 11 a.m. for our panel 2020's Retail Homestretch: Will The Grinch Steal Christmas? with some of area's top retail developers.
Our panelists will discuss impacts on short and long-term leasing, foot traffic, emerging trends and the retail forecast heading into 2021.
Today’s three need-to-knows
  • Do you have questions about the specific state guidance for your business or nonprofit? You can access the full list of sector-specific protocols on the reopening website.
Public art planned along Needham rail trail
Needham is embarking on a project to cover up a 75-foot graffiti-tagged fence along the Needham Bay Colony Rail Trail while engaging residents in a community art project that will promote unity and kindness in Needham.
The project invites residents to paint sections of a mural designed by Megan Carleton, an expressive art therapist who works for Needham Youth and Family Services, designed with input from youth in the community.
“Art that unites, like this project does, is so important right now and we’re glad that it’s happening in Needham,” said Moe Handel, chair of the Select Board. “It’s another example of the value of public and private efforts to improve the quality of our community.”
Will you apply for a state small business grant?
As Tuesday’s deadline to apply for some of the $508 million from the state’s small business grant program looms. I'm interested in hearing how our local business owners feel about the program and its criteria.
Have you or will you apply? Did you consider applying but decided not to? Or did the requirement that your business had to be established before Sept. 30, 2019, hold you back? Please email me.

And a reminder: If you need help completing your application LISC Boston is offering technical assistance for small businesses applicants.
Want to help the chamber (but don’t have a business)?
Finally, looking for a way to support the chamber’s advocacy and programming but you don’t work locally, or perhaps you’re retired?
Earlier this year we created a new membership category – Citizen Members -- for individuals who are not directly affiliated with a business or nonprofit organization but share our mission.
Citizen Membership does not include a business listing, marketing benefits, referrals and access to other tools designed to promote your company.
But it’s a great way to stand up and say that you share our passion for the economic and cultural vitality of our communities. (And the chamber team does virtual high fives each time we gain a new Citizen Member!)
Since May, 57 residents have become Citizen Members. Annual membership is $95. Details can be found at the bottom of this page or email Lise Elcock.

We’re grateful for you even considering it!
Take good care this weekend. Mask up. Shop locally. Be back on Tuesday.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.


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