Chamber News

April 29, 2020 Likes Comments

We've been extended (and other updates)

As we enter day 49 of the state-ordered shut-down, we’ve confirmed what we all already knew: This is far from over.

Yesterday Governor Charlie Baker extended his order requiring non-essential Massachusetts businesses to close physical operations until May 18. It’s the second time he’s extended this order. The prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more people and stay at home advisory was also extended.
But (silver lining perhaps?) Baker also appointed a 17 member Economic Recovery Advisory Board (including one NN Chamber member business owner, Steve DiFillippo of Davios) to recommend a plan for reopening the economy. The group’s first virtual meeting took place yesterday and they're meeting again today.
Oh yes, rent is still due on Friday.
Deep cuts at TripAdvisor
This was a discouraging day for our largest private sector chamber member, TripAdvisor, which cut 900 jobs worldwide -- about 25 percent of its workforce -- and closed its satellite offices at North Station and in San Francisco.
The company is also putting most of its salaried employees on a four-day week schedule with a corresponding 20 percent reduction in base salary for three months. CEO Steve Kaufer, who co-founded TripAdvisor above Kosta's Pizza shop in Needham, announced in a heartfelt video that he would forgo his salary for the rest of year.
Needham requires face masks, Newton has no comment
 Needham’s Board of Health followed in the footsteps of municipalities across the state yesterday, adopting an emergency order requiring individuals to wear face coverings in a variety of settings including businesses, work sites, and government buildings (but unlike in some communities, not outside).
Needham’s requirement applies to employees as well as to customers, visitors and the general public and takes effect Friday through June 16. Needham’s regulation does not include a fine for failure to comply.
Meanwhile, several Newton City Councilors expressed their frustration yesterday that Mayor Ruthanne Fuller has yet to say if the city is considering a similar requirement.
I share their frustration: This seems like a good public policy and this administration is typically very transparent. But for the second day in a row, when I asked Fuller’s spokesperson Ellen Ishkanian about this, all she would say was, “I’ll keep you in the loop.”
Here’s where you can get a mask (and other PPE)
Given Needham’s new mask rule, we're reprinting our list of local businesses that have told us they’re selling Personal Protection Equipment. Call ahead to confirm and tell them you heard about it from the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber.
  • Boston Showcase Company has 3-ply masks in stock which they are primarily selling to restaurants but also selling to the public.
  • National Lumber on Needham Street has three-ply masks in 10 packs and 50 packs, as well as KN95’s masks and disposable gloves.
  • Keyes Drugs in Auburndale has supplies of surgical masks (limit 5 per person) and offers curbside pickup.
  • Union Pharmacy in Newton Centre will be getting surgical masks later this week, also is selling N95 masks.
  • Hipstitch in West Newton is making and taking orders for fabric masks. There’s a three day turn around for shipping.
  • Rafi Nova in Needham has pivoted to importing cloth masks. They used to import bags and accessories. Since April 3, they have donated 10,000 masks to essential workers and have sold over 50,000. We store and pack all orders from Needham.
  • Birds Hill Pharmacy in Needham is making its own hand sanitizer and has some supplies of gloves and masks.
  • Fully Promoted in Newton has access to a variety of PPE items, including medical grade KN95 masks, fabric and disposable masks, gowns, hand sanitizer.
If your business is selling PPE to businesses, nonprofits or individuals, let me know.
Got those PPP blues?
Still struggling to nab a PPP loan? Or are you among the fortunate whose application has been approved by the SBA? Either way, you should know that we’re hosting yet another SBA webinar tomorrow (Thursday) at 2 p.m.
Unfortunately, the loan forgiveness calculations and guidelines that every grant recipient is really anxious to understand, haven’t been released by the SBA yet. But the information and chance to ask questions may still be helpful.
You can also consult SBA Resource Partners, who offer remote counseling and coaching. This list of online resources provides technical assistance in languages other than English.
A resource that may be a good fit for your company
Has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Would you like help transitioning your business into a COVID-19 sensitive marketplace? Would you like to tap into the minds of Babson’s innovative and entrepreneurial grad students?
Consider getting involved in Babson’s Graduate Experiential Learning Programs to leverage the knowledge of a graduate student consulting team for innovative solutions and insights – at no cost to your organization.
Babson is currently looking for company projects for Fall 2020 programs. Project proposals have a soft deadline of June 15. Interested? Check out the: Babson College Graduate Student Consulting Program Application or contact Sophie Gray for additional information and further conversation.
Finally, this morning
  • State pharmacy regulators have released these guidelines for licensed pharmacies to take if an employee is presumed or confirmed to be positive for Coronavirus.
  • Project Bread has asked us to spread the word to recently laid off hospitality workers or others who are food insecure to sign up for SNAP (food stamps). Call 1-800-645-8333 or go here.
Yep, stay in touch, just don’t touch!
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber


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