Chamber News

Needham / Newton
March 04, 2021 Likes Comments

Testing is the new toilet paper

If it’s Thursday, it’s vaccine roulette day; the day when next week’s appointments are loaded into the state mass vax web site, which in recent weeks has been overwhelmed with demand, but underwhelming in performance.

Residents 65-plus, along with those with select medical conditions, are eligible to try their luck at scoring one of 12,000 first shot appointments (fewer than last week).

Those unable to land an appointment, will have added competition for slots one week from today (March 11). That’s when about 400,000 teachers, early educators and school staff members will be added to the state eligibility pool (CVS is accepting teachers at 47 Bay State sites now).
"The 65-plus group and the two health conditions group between them represent about a million residents,” Baker explained yesterday. “So far, we've received enough vaccine to vaccinate about one-third of the folks in that category.
"The math on this is pretty straightforward: If we add 400,000 people on March 11 to the eligible pool, that'll mean we'll be back to having about a million people who are eligible to receive a vaccine."
In other words, Vegas odds makers would say don't get your hopes up.
Wondering where we stand overall in vaccines? The Globe created this useful tool and these handy charts. All the state’s vax info is here.
Testing is the new toilet paper

Remember a few months back when COVID tests were as scarce as toilet paper had been a few months before that?
Now grocery store shelves are stocked and the lines at testing centers across Greater Boston are mostly gone, as providers say they've seen a decrease in people looking for COVID testing.
And that’s worrying experts.
Fewer tests increase the chance of missing an emerging outbreak and skew reopening decisions, reports Dasia Moore and Laura Krantz at the Globe.

Testing nationwide is down too, dipping 20 percent last week, according to the CDC.

Historic Auburndale property goes on the market
Back in the days when we held networking events (they'll be back!), the Walker Center for Ecumenical Exchange -- a majestic conference center and bed and breakfast in Auburndale -- was a favorite event location.
But the center (which has a fascinating history dating back to the 1860s as a children’s missionary and home for transient resident) has closed permanently, due to the economic fallout from COVID.
Details about this property and sale are here.
Wellesley restaurant ready for its close up
The Wellesley Tavern is set to open on March 10, replacing Door No. 7, which had operated for two years before the COVID shut down. The concept has changed but owners Laura and John Wolfe haven’t.
The pair, who also operate The Cottage (located on the other side of Linden Square) are looking to the Tavern to bring “a family-friendly vibe to the Linden Square dining scene,” according to the Swellesley Report.
Meanwhile, the Cottage, which been operating for take-out only, is getting ready to reopen for onsite dining.
Beacon Hill still pondering PPP, UI fixes
Jon Chesto at the Globe has the latest on efforts to protect thousands of small businesses from getting hit with a state tax on federal funds they received through the PPP.
Without action, businesses structured as corporations won't have to pay state taxes on forgivable PPP dollars. But businesses structured as “pass-through entities,” which are taxed via personal income taxes, will.
Not addressing the matter will cost pass through business owners an estimated $150 million, according the Baker administration which supports a fix.
Also urgently pending is the governor's call to freeze unemployment insurance rates.
With UI bills due to go out in a few weeks and taxes due March 15, both items need immediate attention from a Legislature known for waiting to the last minute.
Energy saving program can help restaurants
If you run a restaurant in Needham, Newton, Watertown or Wellesley, a new program provides a way for your customers to support your business while helping themselves.
Spread the word about no-cost MassSave home energy assessments to your customers. When your customers sign up and complete a virtual home energy assessment with HomeWorks Energy, HomeWorks will purchase a $25 gift card from you that your customer can use on their next visit.
Thanks to Green Needham, who came up with this idea and worked with HomeWorks to share it more widely.
To participate, contact Riley Duggan, of HomeWorks Energy, at 207-664-9393.

Dig this list! (We certainly do)
Time, once again, for our monthly welcome to our new members, along with a few employers who are returning after a lengthy absence, to the chamber.
In February, we welcomed 32 members (including 4 reinstatements). Most notably -- just two months since we’ve officially expanded into Wellesley -- we gained 21 Wellesley members last month (for a total of 30 so far this year).
Please join me in welcoming our February’s new and reinstated members to the chamber.

February’s new members from Wellesley:
Additional new and reinstated members:
Not yet a member? We’re here to help your business and our region thrive. Lean more and join here.

Last thing before I go...

Looking for incentives to help lure your working from home workers back to the office? How about one of these.

See you tomorrow. Really sorry to see you go Jackie Bradley Jr.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.


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