Chamber News

Needham / Newton
February 11, 2021 Likes Comments

Senior citizens have suddenly become extra popular

No, a vaccine chaser is not something you order at O'Hara's to celebrate getting an appointment.

They’re actually everyday folks who hang out at hospitals and vaccination clinics, hoping to be offered any leftover doses.
 
The Globe’s Beth Teitell spent some time the other day with some vaccine chasers waiting in vain to score outside Fenway (Oh, for the good old days when we'd only do that if the Yankees were in town.)
Vaccine tourism has become a thing too.
 
But now, there’s another way get a shot at your shot: Find a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or really anyone, who is 75-years-old or older.
 
Under a new policy, beginning today, you can be their plus-one and also get inoculated at your local vax clinic.
 
Gov. Charlie Baker's new buddy program is designed to help those 75-plus who may be reluctant to be a burden and ask for a ride, or need other help with their appointment. You can even get your first dose if your older companion is receiving his or her second dose.

That’s good news, for some.
 
But as Bruce Mohl points out in CommonWealth, moving some people higher in the vaccine line, forces those lower in the pecking order to wait longer and longer.

Marylou Sudders, the secretary of health and human services said yesterday it would be “several weeks” before the state moves on to those 65-plus followed, eventually, by the rest of the folks on this list.

Baker also announced that a mass vaccination site will open at the Natick Mall on Feb. 22, with a capacity to scale up to 3,000 doses daily. Appointments for Natick open Feb. 18 here.
Go here for instructions for checking your eligibility, to locate a site near you, or to schedule an appointment. Data on distribution is here.
 
Your vaccination questions answered
 
Last week the Department of Public Health launched the “Trust the Facts, Get the Vax” public awareness campaign.

The campaign will allow residents to learn more about the science and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and provides answers to frequently asked questions.

For employers, vaccines come with added questions. Can you require your employees to get the vaccine? How do you handle requests to be excused from a vaccination program?

For answers to those and other questions join us via Zoom tomorrow (Friday) at noon when Joe Lazazzero from Littler Mendelson, PC will explore the legal and practical considerations employers need to consider when thinking about a vaccine program.
 
We'll discuss the implications under state and federal law, including HIPPA, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as wage and hour considerations. 
 
And if you missed yesterday's chamber webinar about the state's Paid Family Medical Leave law you can read about and watch it here.
 
Jobs report worse than we thought

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell said yesterday that the real unemployment rate in January was “close to 10 percent,” significantly higher than the 6.3 percent rate reported last week.
 
The discrepancy is due to the “misclassification” of some jobless Americans, Powell said during a virtual speech. (Washington Post)
 
Missing paperwork holding up biz grants

About half of the 8,000 small business grant applications submitted to through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. were initially rejected because their paperwork was incomplete, reports the Globe’s Shirley Leung and Janelle Nanos.
 
The program has awarded more than $450 million in direct financial support.
 
But there’s still millions left in the till and the quasi-public agency is in the process of contacting some of the 4,000 businesses whose data was incomplete and inviting them to submit it now for consideration.
 
Leung and Nanos' article also documents a variety of hold ups and denials from the latest Paycheck Protection Program round, writing that the “Small Business Administration has been slower to approve these loans and is denying them at higher rates.”
 
If your business encountered problems (including delays getting state funds, once approved) or success from MGCC or the SBA, drop me a note so we can continue to advocate on your behalf.
 
Need to knows
  • Associated Industries of Massachusetts is hosting a program on how companies are innovating and re-imagining supply chains after facing shortages and slowdowns from the pandemic on Feb. 24 at 8 a.m. Register here.

 

  • Looking for information about the SBA’s Targeted EIDL Advance program? SBA recently added this frequently asked questions section which includes information about the application process, eligibility and program criteria.
  • On Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. Lasell University President Michael B. Alexander and Lasell senior administrators will provide an update from campus for neighbors, local businesses, and community leaders. Register here.
National law firm opening in Newton

Seeger Weiss LLP, one of the best-known consumer-side law firms in the U.S., expanding into Massachusetts with its first office on Centre Street in Newton Centre, reports Greg Ryan at the BBJ.
 
The firm plays a role in many environmental law cases as well as class actions that have grab national headlines. Seeger, for instance, was co-lead counsel for former NFL players in the litigation against the league over its handling of concussions.
 
T to make getting Charlie Cards easier, fare evasion harder
 
MBTA stations across the region will soon allow riders to purchase Charlie Cards straight from the fare vending machine.
 
The new machines will dispense the plastic Charlie Cards, replacing the commonplace existing machines that could only refill a card acquired elsewhere or print a paper ticket, reports Chris Lisinski at State House News.
 
The T is also gearing up to get tough on fare invaders.
 
The move comes as the agency lays the groundwork for a new cashless fare system that will allow Green Line rides to board and pay at any door via card readers. The approach is expected to speed up boarding and cut trip times by 10 percent, but it raises the question about what to do about people who hop on board and don’t pay, writes Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth.
 
Juniper/Sweet Basil chef aids Community Council
 
The League of Women Voters Needham, Green Needham and the Needham Community Farm raised $3,000 at a Zoom event last week for the Needham Community Council with chef Dave Becker (of Sweet Basil in Needham and Juniper in Wellesley). Attendees watched Becker prepare a three-course meal while enjoying meals from Juniper prepared and distributed in advance of the event.

Meanwhile, there’s still time to participate in the Community Council’s “Buy A Meal - Give A Meal Program.” The program supports a different Needham restaurant each month and helps a neighbor in need receive a freshly cooked meal. Each month, the Council’s 275 food pantry households will each receive a gift certificate to the restaurant of the month. Details here .

One mask good, two masks better

A new CDC study suggests wearing two face masks instead of one can reduce exposure to cough particles by nearly 96.5 percent.

The study also found that “knotting and tucking” one’s face covering can be used to enhance mask performance and offer better protection against pathogens in the air.

“Multiple simple ways to improve fit have been demonstrated to be effective,” the CDC said. “Continued innovative efforts to improve the fit of cloth and medical procedure masks to enhance their performance merit attention.”
 
Experiments showed that when two individuals -- one who is coughing and another who isn’t -- are double-masking or wearing the knotted and tucked masks, the exposure of the person receiving the cough was reduced by 96.4% and 95.9%, respectively. (MassLive story here)
 
And speaking of masks, did you see the really sweet Globe story about Rafi Nova, the Newton-based family business (and chamber member) that’s winning acclaim for their innovative mask designs, including for small children?
 
Ravi Nova’s latest innovation, designed in concert with Easter Seals, is a silk-lined mask designed for kids and adults with autism and sensory sensitivities.
 
Your favorite chamber is hiring!
 
Your chamber looking for an outgoing, people-loving, person to help us continue to grow and serve the business and nonprofits in Newton, Needham, Wellesley and Watertown.

Our Member Outreach Coordinator will assist with membership recruitment, engagement and retention as we look to nurture our region’s economic recovery.
 
We’re a small – but very busy – staff. And every person on our mighty team, was recommended by a chamber member. So I’m counting on you to help us find an amazing person for this new position. Details here.

President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.
 
P.S. Valentine's Day is Sunday. Have you booked your dinner yet?

 

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