Chamber News

Needham / Newton
January 08, 2021 Likes Comments

What we're learning about PPP 2.0

No surprise here: With COVID cases at an all-time high, Gov. Charlie Baker has extended the 25 percent capacity cap for nearly all businesses through at least Jan. 24.

The restrictions were set to be lifted this Sunday.
"As we all know, Massachusetts is fighting its way through a second surge. Cases are growing and hospitalizations continue to climb," he said. "That puts a lot of pressure on our health care system and our hospitals."
Our expansion into Wellesley moves forward
Late last month, our board chair Linda Sloane Kay announced plans to expand our chamber's outreach and engagement into Wellesley.
Our decision follows months of great conversations with members of the Wellesley Chamber’s board, during which we mutually agreed that the businesses and nonprofits in our region stand to prosper from the connections, networking and camaraderie that could come from being under the same umbrella.
I recently discussed our plans in an interview for the Wellesley Townsman. You can read it here.
New details for PPP 2.0
Slowly but surely, we’re getting more information about the much-anticipated second round of the Paycheck Protection Program.
The SBA has just released new guidance for the $284 billion program. It doesn't tell us when the new application portal will open, but it does say the deadline for round two applications will be March 31, reports Andy Medici for the BBJ.
Here's a few other worth noting:
If you received a PPP loan in 2020, it could be advantageous to work with your same lender again because you won’t need to submit any additional documentation.
Second time applicants will need to show a 25% reduction in revenue in any quarter in 2020, compared with the same quarter in 2019. But you won’t need to submit those documents now if your application is for $150,000 or less. The information can come when, or anytime before, you apply for forgiveness.
If you didn’t apply for the PPP last year you can do that too. In fact, the SBA has reserved $15 billion for first time applicants with 10 or fewer employees and you won’t need to document the same 25% year-over-year revenue drop that second timers must.
There’s also a separate $15 billion grant program for live venues and theaters. Applicants can only apply and receive funds from one or the other.
Here’s links to the SBA guidance released Wednesday.
For more information and updates, visit or
Back by popular demand...
We’re happy to announce that Ili Spahiu from the SBA will be returning on Jan. 22 at 10 a.m. via Zoom for a presentation about the PPP.
Spahiu presented for the chamber three times in 2020 and, as anyone who attended will likely tell you, his presentations can be super helpful.
Spahiu will review the new criteria and requirements for the new round of the PPP, as well as the forgiveness process for PPP loans awarded in 2020. He will also provide information about the SBA’s EDIL program and answer your questions.
We’ll share the registration link for this program next week.
A-door-able program seeks to enhance Newton’s villages
At a time when we’re all looking to rebuild the economy and lift our spirits, Newton Community Pride, in partnership with the city, has just announced a new program to promote economic vitality of Newton’s village centers and the enjoyment of public art.
The nonprofit is looking for artists to decorate approximately 20 recycled wooden doors to be installed in and around several of Newton’s village centers.
The goal is to encourage engagement with public art as well as encourage more foot traffic to safely support local businesses in a safe, physically distanced manner.
Artists are invited to apply for this juried initiative by Feb. 28. Winners will be selected by March 30. Selected artists will each be paid commissions of $425. Following the exhibit, the doors will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to support further public art initiatives. More information here.
Commuter rail cuts coming
Starting Jan. 23 commuter rail trains will no longer run on weekends for the Needham Line and six other commuter rail lines.
Weekend service on the Framingham/Worcester line, (which runs through Newton and Wellesley) and four other lines will still run, but less frequently.
The changes are the first of a series of MBTA service cuts approved in December. Other service cuts will be implemented later this year.
Today’s need to knows
  • An effort to make Hammond Pond Parkway in Chestnut Hill more bike and pedestrian friendly will be discussed by the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation at a zoom meeting on Jan. 21, 7 p.m.
Someone please rip off this idea
A Philadelphia developer has launched a multimedia advertising campaign aimed at supporting that city’s restaurants by encouraging people to order takeout. The #takeoutphilly campaign includes print, radio, web, direct mail, social media and ads and on bus shelters and digital screens.
Cleaning surfaces is so 2020
Are you still disinfecting every surface in your workplace and spending a lot of money on disinfecting products?
All that scrubbing and disinfecting – and all the time and money it takes to do just that --might not be necessary, reports NPR.
While we all know about the danger of air bound particles, the risk of getting infected from touching a surface contaminated by the virus is low, says Emanuel Goldman, a microbiologist at Rutgers.
"In hospitals, surfaces have been tested near COVID-19 patients, and no infectious virus can be identified," Goldman says.
"Instead of paying so much attention to cleaning surfaces, we might be better off paying attention to cleaning the air, given the finite amount of time and resources," says Linsey Marr, an infectious disease professor at Virginia Tech.
"When you're out in public, be aware of surfaces you touch and wash your hands often," concludes NPR reporter Patti Neighmond, "It's much more effective to wash your hands thoroughly than try to clean everything you touch."
Take good care of each other. Be back Tuesday.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.
P.S. In case you missed it, here's the recording from yesterday presentation about COVID testing. I was particularly fascinated by the mention of a possible app that could tell if you have COVID by your cough....



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