Chamber News

March 31, 2020 Likes Comments

We've opened our virtual doors

These days patience is more than a virtue. It’s mandatory.

And, as is increasingly becoming clear, we’re going to need a lot of it. For a long time.
Here at your chamber, we’re busy reinventing how we serve our members -- and during this crisis, non-members too -- with webinars, information sharing, commiserating, advocacy and anything else we can do.
While member dues underwrites a large portion of our operating expenses, our mission is to advocate for our region’s overall economic and cultural vitality. So, for now, we’ve opened our virtual doors to any business or nonprofit that has questions or needs assistance, with the hopes that -- even if you’re not a member now -- you’ll choose to join once get though this together.
Of course, like so many of our businesses and nonprofits, our business model is upside down right now too. We’ve been forced to cancel or postpone all our spring events, including Spring Seasonings, a big revenue generator. So we’re tightening our belts and, with the continued support from our incredibly generous partners, focusing on being here for you in new ways.
This week that includes a planned webinar with Congressman Joe Kennedy on Thursday (I’m sure there will be lots of questions about the CARES act) and an online panel discussion about where the commercial real estate market may be heading on Friday. Scroll down for details for both and other timely updates.
Hang in there,
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Eversource unveils payment plan
In addition to postponing customer disconnections for non-payment and assisting customers with financial programs to help pay their bill, Eversource is providing extended payment arrangements for small business customers. In normal operations, small business customers get up to three months for bill payment arrangements. To support small business customers through the COVID-19 crisis, Eversource is offering a $0 down payment and a 12-month payment arrangement, with the first payment not due until June 1.
LabShares Newton offers lab space for COVID-19 research
LabShares Newton, a shared office and laboratory incubator for emerging biotechnology and life science companies located in the Charles River Mill District, is offering free, fully-equipped BL2 lab space, tissue culture facilities, and related resources for researchers working on diagnostics, therapeutics, and other biomedical projects that seek to address the global COVID-19 crisis. This offer is available to the scientific community-at-large including for-profit and non-profit organizations, companies, and academic researchers on a selective, term-limited basis.
“We recognize that many labs may be closed at this time due to COVID-19 and want to help support this critical research,” said Jeff Behrens, CEO of LabShares Newton. “We are making research space available for scientists who are working on COVID-19 and who may not currently have access to their labs.”
Banks are as anxious for CARES act details as the rest of us
Local bankers tell us that they’ve been flooded with calls for anxious business owners awaiting specifics about the $2 trillion federal CARES Act. In particular many are hope to access the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which provides 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Unlike other programs, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
Unfortunately, our bank partners – like the rest of us – are still waiting for the federal guidelines. In the meanwhile, here’s an overview of the small business features provided by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship and an updated summary published by the U.S. Chamber.
Here’s hoping we know more soon!

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