Chamber News

May 18, 2020 Likes Comments

The big reveal. (Plus: 17 ways to say 'forgiveness')

Ready for the big reveal?

Today’s the day Gov. Charlie Baker and his Reopening Advisory Board will outline plans for reopening the state’s economy.
 
Yesterday at about 2 p.m., our friend Charlie Breitrose at the indy Watertown News website may have been the first to break the news that “construction, manufacturing and houses of worship” would be the first areas Baker will allow to reopen.
 
By 8 p.m. the Globe had confirmed Charlie’s story with added details, noting that offices would be permitted to open next week (May 25) at 25 percent capacity. Barbershops, hair salons, and recreational marijuana shops would also open next week, the Globe added later last night. Retailers would be able to provide curbside pickup and hospitals will be cleared to resume elective procedures.
 
Restaurants won’t open during the first phase.
 
MassLive provides added details.
 
We’ll know more when Baker holds a press conference this morning at 11.
 
How to say ‘forgiveness’ in 17 languages
 
On Friday, the Small Business Administration released Paycheck Protection Program information and forms translated into 17 different languages. So now, business owners can be frustrated by the program's ever changing guidance in their own native tongue.
 
Also on Friday, the SBA released the PPP application borrowers must use to determine the amount of the loan that may be “forgiven” by their lender.
 
This, of course, is the thing every borrower has been waiting for.
 
Except, experts say, the SBA’s release Friday failed to include the (promised) narrative to go with the application, which could help small business owners fill the thing out.
 
American Banker offers details about some PPP changes here.
 
But the 11-page application’s release got a big a thumbs down from the American Institute of CPAs, which said “the document and related instructions partially address some outstanding issues but leave others unaddressed and, more importantly, still do not provide enough flexibility for those who receive funds.”
 
Flexibly is really what’s missing here.
 
Business owners are being forced to spend the loan paying employees while their doors are closed, instead of being able use the funds when they reopen. Some are paying employees to stay home. Others scramble to obey the spirit of the rules (and spend taxpayer dollars respectfully) by having their workers come in even if there's not much to do.
Toni Nitti at Forbes went so far as to say the SBA also neglected to provide “detailed blueprints for constructing a fully functioning time machine, so nearly two million small business owners could magically transport back to a time when this forgiveness guidance would actually be useful.”
 
Karyopharm, Kennedy help vets home
 
Newton-based oncology drug company Karyopharm Therapeutics (a chamber member) donated 4,000 KN-95 masks to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home to assist in with the deadly outbreak at the long-term care facility. Congressmen Joe Kennedy III and Richie Neal joined CEO Michael Kauffman with the delivery Sunday.

“On behalf of the team at Karyopharm, I was proud to join Chairman Neal and Congressman Kennedy today to support our elderly veterans who are especially vulnerable in the current climate,” said Kauffman. “The donation of 4,000 medical masks for use by the residents and staff at the Holyoke Solider Home is one of several initiatives that Karyopharm has undertaken to do our part to serve the communities most in need during these challenging times.”
 
“We cannot save the veterans who lost their lives due to this outbreak, but we can ensure those still living in the home and the staff have the equipment necessary to protect their health and safety,” said Kennedy. “Just like all aspects of our nation’s recovery, these efforts will be driven by active, compassionate members of our community like Dr. Michael Kauffman and the Karyopharm team.
 
"To the families still mourning the loss of loved ones who served this nation, our hearts are with you.”
 
Expanded eligibility for COVD-19 testing
 
The Mass Department of Public Health has expanded eligibility for COVID-19 testing. All symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested for COVID-19. All individuals in Massachusetts identified as a close contact by a local Board of Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Community Tracing Collaborative, or a health care provider should be tested.
 
A note about Needham’s water
 
You may notice an unusual odor in the tap water in Needham over the next several days. While it may have an odor, the water is safe to drink. Due to a mechanical pump failure, the Needham Water Department is activating its connection to MWRA earlier than expected. Typically, Needham supplies water from local wells for part of the year, supplementing local supplies with MWRA water during higher demand periods.
 
Finally, smile and help a nonprofit
 
Here’s a great project being promoted by the Rotary Club of Newton (yes, they’re chamber members). Now through May 29 you can have a professional photographer visit the front of your house and at a safe distance, take pictures of you and yours sheltering in place.
 
All they ask is for a donation (suggest $50) to the Newton Rotary Foundation. Rotary will pass your entire donation along to one of six local nonprofits of your choosing. Full details here.
 
That's it for now. But I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about tomorrow.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
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