Chamber News

Needham / Newton
November 10, 2020 Likes Comments

This is a BIG week for your chamber

Look, folks. Here's the deal:

This is a big week for your chamber.
This afternoon at 1 p.m., join me for a conversation with Congressman-elect Jake Auchincloss. I’ll get his reaction to the national election, but also ask about his transition from Newton City Council (and the contest to fill his seat) and his priorities for representing the 4th Congressional District. Your questions will be welcome.
Also, just announced, we're hosting a Zoom briefing Friday at 10 a.m. to discuss COVID testing, the critical role it it can play in reopening businesses and our efforts to open a testing site in the Newton-Needham-Waltham- Wellesley area with Project Beacon.
Our featured event is Thursday’s unveiling our out biggest project of the 2020: The publication of the first-ever Newton-Needham MetroWest 50 Most Influential Business People of Color list.
We’re not divulging the list until Thursday. But we have released the names of five of our honorees because they will be participating on a panel we’re calling “The ROI of DEI: Why diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to success in the suburbs.” Here's who's speaking:
Please join these five leaders Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for an important conversation.
GK Marketplace to launch today
Our Business People of Color list partner, Get Konnected !, is launching the GK Market, Boston's first online multicultural marketplace for small businesses today. The project aims to create a platform for businesses in the Greater Boston area to promote their goods and services, restaurants and shops, and everything in between especially for the holidays.
This site is open to companies of every size, but will be most useful for those who do not have an operational website and want more than a Yelp page to showcase their business. Sign your company up here.
About face masks
Last week, I asked readers of this newsletter to let me know if they felt local police should start enforce mask wearing, now that Gov. Charlie Baker has made face covering in public mandatory for everyone over five years old.
The feedback was more mixed than I expected.
Some felt the threat of a $300 fine would take the burden off of store clerks, restaurant staff, fitness instructors and others who often find themselves acting as enforcers.
Another respondent said she’d go shopping more, and turn to Amazon less, if she felt the mandate was being enforced.
Some supported reasonable enforcement, but not outdoors, which the data says is scientifically unnecessary.
Others felt their civil liberties were being ripped-away simply by my asking the question.
“Move to Communist China,” wrote one guy, who perhaps didn’t know, or care, that China has essentially flatlined COVID.
And one local municipal leader, who asked to remain anonymous, said mask wearing needs “social control,” not policing. “There is already enough stress on both sides of the police/public relationship.”
Framingham and Northampton are among the municipalities that are issuing fines. The MBTA said Friday that it would begin enforcing the new requirement, reports Universal Hub.
More about masks
Business groups around the country commended President-elect Joe Biden yesterday for calling on all Americans to wear masks, the Hill reports.
"I won’t be president until Jan. 20, but my message today to everyone is this: It doesn’t matter who you voted for or where you stood before Election Day. It doesn’t matter your party or point of view. We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next couple months," Biden said. "Not Democrat or Republican lives, American lives."
Deep cuts proposed by MBTA
From Chris Lisinski at State House News
Starting this spring, the MBTA would eliminate commuter rail service on weekends and after 9 p.m. on weeknights, 25 bus routes, halt subways and buses at midnight, and scale back more transit options under a package of service cuts officials unveiled Monday.
The plan will be the subject of a month-long public comment period ahead of a vote in December and aims to shave more than $130 million from what the T spends on running buses, trains and ferries.
The T published an interactive map on its website laying out the line-by-line and route-by-route cuts on the table.
Officials plan the steepest cuts on routes where ridership has declined the most during pandemic and in areas where commuters have access to alternatives. But the vast majority of the system -- which hosted upwards of 1.2 million rides a day before COVID struck -- will be affected in some way.
Opponents argued that the cuts would make commuting more difficult for riders who rely on public transit to get to essential jobs. They also warned that making transit less accessible could push more workers onto roadways, exacerbating traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.
The changes are likely to remain in place for years, although MBTA officials said they will monitor trends and respond accordingly if they notice increasing demand or crowding.
Both subway and bus service would stop at midnight, affecting more than 2,000 riders based on September figures.
Sen. Becca Rausch, a Needham Democrat, tweeted that she "will be fighting this" after she learned about "seriously concerning + frustrating service cuts" during a morning briefing.
Today’s three need to knows
  • Looking for Thanksgiving dinner options now that you won’t be going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house? We’ve created a directory of area restaurants offering dining or a special takeout menu on Thanksgiving. (If you're a restaurant owner/manager and you would like to be added to this list, let us know at
  • Crews continue to work most weeknights (8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.) and most weekends through December along the MBTA’s D-Line between Riverside and Beaconsfield stations. Here's details.
Biden taps Newton doc for COVID task force
Congratulations to Newton resident Atul Gawande on his appointment to President-elect Joe Biden's COVID Task Force.
Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.
He previously served as a senior advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration. (BBJ story here.)
The COVID-19 Advisory Board is a team of leading public health experts who will advise Biden and his transition team.
We lost a good guy this weekend
Finally, our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Newton City Councilor Allan “Jay” Ciccone Jr., who passed away suddenly Saturday night.
Ciccone was serving his seventh term on the council and had been a member of the Sherborn Police Department for 17 years. His passion and compassion (along with that special twinkle in his eye) will be missed. Information about services here.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.


Subscribe to our Events eNewsletter, INBusiness or BOTH!