What we should be doing while waiting for vaccines
Yes, Massachusetts’ vaccine roll out has been inadequate, frustrating and messy.
Yesterday, Gov. Charlie Baker outlined steps state plans to take (including opening a call center next week) to improve the process.
Meanwhile, as we wait for supply to catch up with demand, it would be useful for the rest of us to turn our attention to the other, even more substantial,
challenge facing vaccines: The hesitancy by many, especially among populations of color,
to become vaccinated at all.
We need our federal, state and public health agencies to take the lead on setting up the infrastructure.
But we – in our case the business and nonprofit community -- can play a big role in making sure our workforce is willing and able to become vaccinated
when the time finally comes.
Here's a list of suggestions for how employers can play a pivotal role, according to MAPC. (With added material here from the CDC)
Be proactive about promoting factual information about vaccine safety to your employees, including data about vaccine efficacy and Massachusetts’ phased rollout plan.
Prepare to connect employees with vaccination sites when vaccines become available.
Employers could prepare information about where to access vaccine clinics and consider setting up or accommodating a workplace vaccination site.
Educate workers about the importance of getting both doses. Provide incentives to do so through be offering employee recognition and rewards.
Make sure that people in your workforce do not have to choose between getting paid and getting vaccinated. Employers can reinforce or create policies
that protect wages and provide paid time off for vaccination. For example, employers can recognize the challenges for employees who have children,
who rely on public transportation and who may be caregivers and facilitate vaccination during times that are both convenient and feasible.
The bill would lock the state into its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, set interim emission reduction targets, establish appliance
energy efficiency standards, authorize additional purchases of offshore wind power and codify protections for environmental justice communities, among
Sen. Michael Barrett, one of two lawmakers who refiled the bill, said the law would not require restaurant owners to retire appliances early.
"[Restaurateurs] wanted to make sure that ovens and warmers and refrigerators could run to the end of their useful lives before these newly efficient appliances
provided in the bill have to be purchased,” Barrett said. “… current equipment will not have to be retired early.”
Meanwhile, Tamara Small, the CEO of NAIOP Massachusetts, which represents commercial developers, told CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl,
that provisions calling for a net-zero energy code would “create immense uncertainty for our industry.”
“Aside from the costs associated with such a requirement, there are very serious hurdles to doing this, including electrification of thermal heating (distribution
capacity limits), eligible renewable energy (currently scarce and very expensive under certain definitions), and challenges with different building
types (lab vs. office vs. multifamily),” Small said.
If Baker ends up vetoing the bill again, both branches appear poised to surpass the two-thirds threshold required for an override.
Need to knows
J.P. Licks is running its second annual Sock Drive to benefit the residents of Rosie’s Place. Bring new socks into the Newton and Wellesley locations
during the month of February and receive a $1.00 off coupon for your next visit to J.P. Licks for every pair you donate. JP Licks (chamber members,
of course) collected over 300 pairs in 2020 and hope to collect 600 pairs this year.
On Tuesday (Feb. 2) at 11 a.m. Professor Leanna Farnam, chair of Lasell University’s Science and Forensic Science Program, will host “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines But Were Afraid to Ask.” Join the
webinar. Pre-registration not required.
Needham officials will share its rezoning plan for the parcels occupied by Muzi Motors and WCVB/Channel 5 along I-95 via Zoom next Weds (Feb. 30) at
7:15 p.m. Relevant materials are here.
To view via Zoom use ID: 878-8270-9890.
Local companies ranked LBGTQ-friendly
Six employers in our region -- TripAdvisor, AthenaHealth, Bright Horizons, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Sun Life, Tufts Health Plan – were among Massachusetts
employers earning a top score on this year's Corporate Equality Index, an annual report from LGBTQ policy foundation the Human Rights Campaign that
ranks companies based on best practices for LGBTQ inclusion.
The $720 million effort is the "largest small business grant program of its kind in the country," said Gov. Charlie Baker. “About a third of these grantees
have received no other aid of any kind."
The deadline to apply has passed but more grant awards are coming.
Flex schedules sure, but what about Zoom?
No doubt when the time comes to return to our offices, things are going to look and feel different.
“We do believe workers across America will want to work from home on a part-time basis more frequently,” said Owen Thomas, CEO at Boston Properties was
quoted as saying in this BBJ story.
“We also see, with CEOs, the importance that they see in in-person work, and their strong interest in getting their employees back in the office.”
And then there’s the looming Zoom problem, developer Tom O’Brien recently told the CodCast.
O’Brien said, he has noticed the difference at meetings where some people are attending in person and some are there via Zoom.
“The people who are on Zoom during a meeting when people are there in person, it just doesn’t work. You can’t fully participate as a Zoom person while
people are in the room. What’s going to end up happening is those sorts of awkward situations are going to drive this kind of return to the office
Baker has long said Phase 4 would come when we have either vaccines or effective therapies. Phase 4 includes bars, nightclubs, concerts, theater, festivals
and pretty much all the other things we're all wistfully awaiting.
But, just as the weeks seem endless, could there actually be more than four phases?
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