Chamber News

April 28, 2020 Likes Comments

Up next: Mandatory face masks?

Welcome to day 48 of our state-ordered shut down. Rent is due on Friday.

We’re also just six days away from May 4; the date when Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive order to close businesses expires. No one expects the governor will issue a blanket reopening of all businesses. Look instead for a gradual ramp up.
“Obviously whatever decision we make needs to come with a little thought and a plan behind it, so we’ll probably put that out later this week,” Baker said at his daily press briefing yesterday.
Needham considering mandatory face coverings, will Newton?
Needham’s Board of Health will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon at 2 p.m. to consider adopting a rule requiring use of cloth face coverings in businesses, work sites and government buildings, as well as commercial and residential building complexes. The requirement would apply to employees as well as customers and visitors.
Yesterday, the City of Somerville announced plans for an even stricter mandatory policy, requiring coverings both inside stores, commercial and multi-unit residential building but also outside in public spaces. Somerville’s rules carry a potential $300 fine. Brookline’s just-announced face covering rule also includes outdoor public spaces but, it appears, no fine.
Needham’s proposed order does not specify a fine.
The chamber asked Mayor Fuller’s office if a face covering regulation was being considered. The (unsatisfactory in my view) response from her spokesperson Ellen Ishkanian was “I will keep you in the loop.”
Newton restaurants may now sell groceries
Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller did announce last night that Newton restaurants may now sell grocery items to cook at home as well as dry goods like toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, etc.
“I worked with our Health and Human Services, Inspectional Services and Planning Departments to make sure we do this safely. Restaurants must continue to comply with all food handling requirements, including temperature and storage, proper labeling and ingredients, and observe the stated guidelines for operating during this pandemic,” Fuller wrote.

Server crashes in dash for PPP cash
The first day of the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program was another bumpy one as the SBA’s servers were overwhelmed by demand and procedural changes and crashed minutes after going live.
If there are still funds left, the Boston Fed has created a web page with resources for New England smaller businesses including nonprofits to aid them in applying for the PPP. Businesses can also consult SBA Resource Partners, who offer remote counseling and coaching. And this list of online resources provides technical assistance in languages other than English.
If you do have your PPP loan
If you have secured your PPP loan, now’s the time to start worrying about making sure you use it correctly so you can take advantage of its forgivable benefits.
Check out this forgivable features guide from Fidelity Bank. And Bruce Brumberg, a Newton resident and blogger from Forbes offers this advice: Paycheck Protection Loan Backlash: How To Defend Your Business Reputation And Avoid Getting Shake Shacked
We hope to host a webinar with the SBA on using your PPP loan later this week. Details coming soon.
What’s next for retail?
Did you catch Boston Globe’s interesting list of 10 predictions about the future of retail yesterday? On Thursday, the chamber will host our own discussion via Zoom about the topic featuring seven local bricks and mortar merchants discussing their challenges and how they’re adapting.
Newton-Wellesley Hospital asked us to share this
  • For those who may be wary of visiting a hospital during these anxious times, let us assure you: Massachusetts hospitals are open for business
  • We have the beds. We have the physicians. We have the nurses. We have the specialists. We have the resources.
  • Our healthcare system is effectively caring for our COVID-19 patients while also maintaining the capacity to treat any other patient who requires emergency medical care
  • Newton-Wellesley Hospital and all Massachusetts hospitals are taking comprehensive precautions and doing everything possible to keep our emergency departments clean and safe
  • We have also vastly increased our ability to treat patients remotely, removing the need to see patients in person unless there is an immediate need to do so
  • Direct ask of the public: if you experience chest pain and sweating, slurred speech and facial drooping, severe abdominal pain, an asthma attack, suffer an accident like a fall or a deep cut, or any other symptom that causes you concern, we urge you to seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • Call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department
  • Our doctors and nurses will be there to provide you with the highest quality medical care the Commonwealth is known for
Finally, this morning
  • In yesterday’s email I shared a list of local businesses that are selling personal protection equipment. Here’s one addition: Boston Showcase Company has 3-ply masks in stock which they are primarily selling to restaurants will also sell to the public.
  • NBC10 Boston is hosting a livestream about the PPP with Chris Carlozzi, MA Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses today (April 28) at 2 p.m. on its Facebook page.
  • The Boston Globe recently launched a Small Business Support Initiative via Slack to connect small business leaders with resources and access to experts to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic. Join this free virtual community here.
Oh yes, stay in touch, just don’t touch!
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

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