Governor Charlie Baker’s shutdown order is set to expire in four days. But it’s pretty clear that nothing is going to look or feel very different on Monday.
Or Tuesday either.
Instead, the governor once again said
May 18 will be the day he unveils the recommendations from his Reopening Advisory Board, not any actual reopening.
The Reopening Advisory Board report is expected to recommend businesses that don’t have close contact with customers be the first to get back to work.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty employers can be doing to get ready no matter when that is. This includes preparing to follow those protocols
every business will need to follow, including face coverings, social distancing protocols and signage, cleaning protocols and training for employees
regarding social distancing and hygiene.
Those who have let workers go will want to consult these guidelines
regarding recalling folks back. There’s many steps employers need to take and document. For furloughed workers, this will be a recall notice. For terminated
workers, this will be an offer of employment, among other things.
Al fresco to the rescue?
As we wait for new opening guidelines and timelines, one idea that’s gaining a lot of traction is an effort to allow for more outdoor dining
Turns out there’s a myriad of regulatory hurdles, both locally and statewide that make this harder than it should be.
As a first step, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and others are lobbying for legislation that will allow state municipalities the authority to
sidestep to approve outdoor dining liquor permits. There would also need to be changes on the local level to speed up this process but it’s an important
Meanwhile, here’s some new guidelines for reopening businesses
published by a very well respected organization, the American Industrial Hygiene Association. This website provides targeted guidance for specific
types of businesses such as restaurants, retail, gyms, offices, and hair salons.
Newton offers help for small businesses
The City of Newton is now accepting applications from small businesses seeking help covering commercial rent or mortgage, wages, loss of inventory, and
other demonstrated costs, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller has announced.
“Our local small companies have felt so deeply the financial impact of the loss of business during this health crisis,” Fuller said. The Newton COVID-19
Small Business Recovery Grant Program aims to provide “a boost toward recovery for our small businesses.”
The $300,000 program is funded from the city’s federal emergency allocation of Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus funds. It’s earmarked to aid
in the stabilization of existing small brick and mortar businesses within Newton that have had significant business disruption due to COVID-19.
“This program focuses on assisting the smallest merchants in Newton,” Fuller said.
Grant awards will range from $10,000 for microenterprises (five employees or fewer, including the owner) and $15,000 for businesses with six to 20 employees.
Franchisees of national or regional chain businesses are not eligible.
Yep, another PPP update
Much to the frustration of business owners
the Small Business Administration keeps revising the guidelines surrounding its Paycheck Protection Plan. Some revisions are understandable given how
quickly the program was launched. But changes to the program’s guidelines has sparked some law suits
around the country over conflicting guidance
Yesterday’s SBA update (Question 46 here
addressed whether or not PPP grant holders are required to “certify” financial need in order to accept their award…. and whether or not applicants
might be audited.
According to this Question 46 analysis
by Blum Shaprio, PPP loans under $2 million won’t be audited. But Question 46 “did not formally define current economic uncertainty which makes the
PPP loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations,” the law firm concluded. “It appears that their audits will be based on individual facts
and circumstances for each borrower.”
As always, don’t take my word for it. Read the documents carefully. Consult a financial advisor. And brace yourself for possible whiplash as new guideline
We know there’s going to be more stories like this
which had been operating inside the Shops at Chestnut Hill since 2015 (next to Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana), is now closed
Boston Restaurant Talk reports.
Owner Morgan Morano, once hoped to franchise the shop nationwide but the pandemic put a stop to it all, with Morano posting on her website
that the closure of her business is “permanent.” According to Eater
she considered the PPP loan
but found that it wasn’t the right fit for her shops. Plus, the new COVID-19 safety requirements would “require additional capital from already strained
businesses” for equipment, training, implementation of new protocols, and such.
Trying to picture what mall shopping may look like in the future? Here’s a promotional video
made by Simon Malls, operator of the Shops at Chestnut Hill and many others.
Workbar reconfigures for safe opening
Along with custom cleaning stations, Workbar will add touch-free thermal scanners that light up green if someone has a temperature under a certain benchmark
or red if they are over a certain temperature. That way, community managers don’t need to get close to others to take temperatures.
A few final items
- Applications for certain health-related permits in Needham are now available online only. These include septage/grease/medical waste haulers, indoor
and outdoor pools, and demolition permit reviews. Click here.
- Here’s a current list of sites across the state that are offer COVID-19 testing.
Different rules apply at different sites.
- Need some pointers for surviving a quarantine? The Town of Needham recently shared this story about a former resident who knows all about it. Check out her tips and resolve to follow them this weekend.
I hope you'll join me at 11 a.m., when we talk with Sen. Ed Markey.
Let us know how we can help
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber