It’s the start of the workweek and a significant one for retailers and office-based employers who, under Phase One of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan,
are among the sectors now allowed to inch back to work.
Every work sector
has significant restrictions. (And as you’ll read below, even some of those guidelines may have been modified this weekend.) Office
capacity, for example, is limited and there are strict protocols. Many of our members tell me they’re remaining closed, for now.
Why you can buy shoes at Target, but not Michelson's
or it's considered safe enough to get a haircut but not buy a belt
isn't clear to me. But now that our merchants can offer curbside, please think of them the next time you need something.
Sure, Amazon is easy.
But local jobs and livelihoods are on the line.
Before today’s updates
One more thing before today’s updates. Once again, I want to express my gratitude to the more than 50 local businesses and individuals who’ve donated so
far to help us close our projected $75,000 budget gap
Thanks also and welcome to 19 new chamber members and 30 inaugural Citizen Members
who’ve signed on during our appeal.
There are three ways to support our advocacy and programming:
- If you’re not a member already please join.
Belonging to the chamber not only supports our advocacy and programming, it conveys strength in numbers, signaling to local, state and federal
officials that you share our commitment to thoughtfully rebuilding our economy.
- Donate . Any contribution large or small will be deeply appreciated.
- Become a 'Citizen Member' for $95.
Citizen Members are individuals who are not directly affiliated with a local business or nonprofit organization but share and want to support the
I’ll report on our progress tomorrow.
State guidance updated (I think)
What’s different? Beats me. I’ve read both twice. But I’m not sure because neither document makes figuring out what’s been updated easy (although I do
suspect some of the curbside pickup guidance changed).
Review both carefully for updates that may apply to your business sector.
And here’s a request to the administration (which generally speaking I believe has been doing a good job): How about noting what’s new when you change
something that people’s health, safety and livelihoods depends on?
Reminder to all businesses and nonprofits
What can I do, is remind you that every business that is now open (and every business and nonprofit that’s looking ahead to reopening) must
take these steps before opening:
Congress to vote on PPP fix
It looks like Washington may be poised to revise the Paycheck Protection Program’s inflexible flexibility rules after all.
A bipartisan proposal in the House could be voted on in the House as early as tomorrow, Politico reports
The bill would give businesses 24 weeks to spend the money instead of eight; a timeline that has frustrated many still-closed or mostly-closed businesses
and nonprofits. The House proposal would also eliminate a requirement imposed by the Trump administration that required businesses to spend at least
75 percent of the funds on payroll if they want the full amount of the loans to be forgiven.
The Senate may also be open to reforming the federal program. A different bipartisan bill there would extend the spending period to 16 weeks and would
provide some loans to help businesses with operating expenses for six months, according to NPR
While business owners anxiously await revisions (and wonder what they should do in the meanwhile), the Treasury Department released new PPP guidance on
Friday (what's with these weekend guidance releases anyway?)
Need help? Ask a mentor.
We already have mentors ready to assist with HR, communications, digital marketing, Quickbooks, pivoting to online communications/ e-commerce, tax planning,
selling, business networking and more. Use the mentee application
if you want to tap into this free resource.
LabShares shares with COVID-research companies
Last month I mentioned
that LabShares Newton
a shared office and laboratory incubator for emerging biotechnology and life science companies located on the Nonantum/Watertown line, was offering
free, fully-equipped lab space for projects that seek to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Sure enough, LabShares selected three companies
and helped them undergo their critical research. Here’s who they picked:
- DOTS Technology Corp is a startup democratizing science by unlocking the power of point-of-care detection. With a focus on developing diagnostics for severe food allergies,
DOTS is applying its novel protein detection technology to target COVID-19 viral RNA.
- Mantle Biotech is developing heat-stable, mass-manufacturable biological reagents for the detection of coronavirus proteins in patient samples, enabling the high-throughput
production of rapid, low-cost, and instrument-free diagnostic assays.
a subsidiary of Bambu Global, is developing a rapid point-of-need detection diagnostic test that will enable both consumers and healthcare professionals
to detect COVID-19 within a sample in minutes, if not seconds, using its proprietary color-changing expertise.
And LabShares, a chamber member, did one more interesting thing since I last wrote about them.
They hired another chamber member called TOURIT
to produce this highly-recommended 3D tour of their facility
so you can see first-hand what this amazing facility looks like. Really check it out.
Be back tomorrow (or sooner if we learn anything that shouldn’t wait.)
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber