Chamber News

April 16, 2020 Likes Comments

What the rest of us need to do

As the number of COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts passed 1,000 yesterday, there are very few of us who haven’t been touched personally by the loss of someone we know.

Meanwhile our health care workers, first responders, grocery clerks, drivers, government workers and many others, wake up every day -- at risk to themselves and their loved ones -- to serve and keep the rest of us healthy and safe.
 
For those of us safely working, or waiting, from home, there’s a weariness setting into our new reality and likely some guilt for feeling that way while others take big risks. In the early weeks, we were running on adrenaline, adapting and pretty much reacting to this new world. Now it's sinking in. This is the new normal...FOR A WHILE. Maybe a long while.
 
Eventually, no idea when, we will move to a new reality. Increasingly, I’m being asked by state and municipal leaders, among others: What will businesses need? How can we start planning for a reopened economy? What does a successful ‘after’ look like?
 
That’s a hard question to answer when you don’t have a time table and don't know what the reentry protocols will be.
 
Still, we owe it to the front line workers who are sacrificing for us to begin planning for their future, as well as ours.
 
So tell me what you think. How should those of us who are not on the front lines be preparing for what comes next? What will it take to bring back our businesses, our jobs and our economic and cultural vitality?
 
Send me your ideas. I’ll share them here (and with our elected leaders) in the days and weeks to come.
 
A warning for employers with 1099 workers
 
Under the CARES Act, independent contractors are eligible for the first time to file for unemployment benefits. And that has the Associated Industries of Massachusetts worried.
 
The problem, according to AIM, is that many 1099 workers are erroneously filing for benefits now as if they were W2 employees because the dedicated portal independent and gig economy workers are supposed to file isn't operational. (The new portal isn’t expected to be ready until April 30.)
 
The concern is that some of these workers will file under the current system and be erroneously classified as your employees. Unless you respond promptly to challenge the error, your business could face a variety of legal complications.
 
Learn why and what you should do if this happens to you.
 
And a warning about PPP too!
 
So you’ve applied for, or perhaps even been approved, for one of those PPP loans. Excellent. Except, before you go any further, you might want to consider this advice from Newton resident Bruce Brumberg whose latest column in Forbes is titled: “How To Avoid Going To Prison For Your Paycheck Protection Program Loan: Advice From Former Federal Prosecutors.”
 
Check out his earlier column too.
 
NBC10 wants to hear from businesses
 
Starting next week, chamber member NBC10 Boston will launch what they hope will be a regular series of Facebook live shows offering practical tips and advice for business owners. Before the first program, the station wants to know what you’d want to know.
 
In particular, do you have any questions about ways to market or promote your business in the COVID-19 era? Send your suggestions to Mimi Segel. The first episode is tentatively planned for Tuesday April 21 at 2 p.m. We’ll let you know how you can watch.
 
Health insurance enrollment period extended
 
Residents who have lost job-based health coverage have until May 25 to apply to the state’s Health Connector under an extended enrollment period. Qualified Massachusetts residents can have access to health coverage with low or zero dollar premiums and low co-pays and no deductibles. Go to www.mahealthconnector.org to apply.
 
COVID-19 resources for Watertown
 
The Watertown Free Public Library has developed this COVID-19 resource guide for Watertown businesses and residents.
 
Health jobs waiting to be filled
 
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center has established a staffing portal for healthcare professionals to apply for job opportunities. PPE is provided for all workers at long-term care sites and there is temporary housing for workers that are unable to commute daily.
 
Volunteer opportunities are also available. Volunteers should sign up at MA Responds here.
 
Chamber offers marketing tools
 
A reminder to members that the chamber’s website offers tools to virtually spread awareness about your services, products or organization. Here’s a few things you can do in just a few minutes.
  • Login to your member portal and click on "website information." Not sure what your login is? Email us and we’ll reset it for you. Make sure your information is correct, including links to your website and social media channels.
  • Upload your logo and update search results description to showcase your mission, specialty, programming or service areas.
  • Enter links to virtual offerings; share fundraising campaigns; or links to sign up for your e-newsletters. You can add visuals and/or videos too.
That’s it. A built-out member profile builds awareness for your operation. Not sure where to start? Here’s a short video on how to build your listing.

Finally, do you have an uplifting story to share? Hosting a virtual event or class? Have specific donation requests or volunteer needs? You can upload timely news releases and/ or events through this portal to display on our website. Or just tag us @nnchamber on Instagram or Twitter.

If you have questions or need help contact Tiffany Chen.

Stay in touch. Just don’t touch.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688

 

Subscribe to our Events eNewsletter, INBusiness or BOTH!