Chamber News

July 10, 2020 Likes Comments

Your morning update awaits

While so many things seem to be on hold these days, the Northland project on Needham Street is steadily moving forward.

After winning approval from voters just days before the COVID shutdown, the project’s teams have been busy working on designs and timelines.
Northland has also managed to make the project even more environmentally friendly than it originally was. Originally, three of the development’s mixed-use residential buildings were slated to be passive house certified buildings, an energy efficiency standard that would be the largest ever built in Massachusetts.
But they’ve since upped that to five buildings. So instead of the 280 apartments, 422 of the 800-unit building will incorporate passive house standards.
In addition, all units will be entirely electric, not gas for hot water, another enhancement that has earned praise from environmentalists.
Demolition on the site will begin this fall with construction expected to begin next summer.
Here’s a stunning statistic
Tufts University survey found that just 57 percent of Americans said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if one were available today.
“It’s really concerning that only 57% of our respondents said they would get vaccinated. It’s evident that we need to begin working on a national vaccine strategy and education campaign right now-- even before we have the vaccine in hand,” said Jennifer Allen, professor of community health in Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences and co-leader of the study.
“There is still some uncertainty, but some studies show that we need between 60 and 70% of the population to be vaccinated in order to confer herd immunity.”
Willingness to be vaccinated was highest among Democrats (71%) compared with Independents (61%) and Republicans (47%). The study also revealed marked differences of opinion toward vaccination across racial groups, with 58% of non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics reporting they would get the vaccine as compared with 48% of non-Hispanic Blacks.
Gov. Charlie Baker has said that Phase 4 of the state's reopening will not begin until there is a vaccine or therapeutics.
Local hospitals suffered big losses as COVID struck
Massachusetts hospitals collectively saw more than $2 billion in net losses in early 2020 as the coronavirus spread to the United States and shook stock markets, according to data compiled by the state Center for Health Information and Analysis. (MassLive story here.)
Mass General Brigham, formerly known as Partners HealthCare, reported the largest shortfall with net losses of more than $1 billion. The hospital system includes Newton-Wellesley Hospital which reported a $19 million loss.
The Beth Israel Lahey Health reported a $142 million loss, with the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Needham at a $2.4 million deficit.
“The analysis covers the first two weeks of canceled elective procedures at Massachusetts hospitals, which was only the beginning of a financial free-fall that has grown increasingly dire in the months since,” Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association said in a statement.
“Even as care services are restored, severe revenue challenges persist. These early findings underscore the need for substantial and ongoing financial support so our hospitals can weather this storm and continue to treat every patient in need of care.”
Event for immigrant-owned businesses
The president's freeze on new foreign work visas is rippling through the state’s economy, from businesses that count on workers from other countries for seasonal labor to technology companies that can’t find enough highly skilled job candidates in the United States, the Globe reports.
And on Monday (July 13) at 3 p.m. the Massachusetts Immigrant And Refugee Advocacy Coalition has organized a virtual roundtable to discuss the needs of another critical segment of our economy: Immigrant-owned businesses.
Speakers include U.S. Rep. Joseph L. Kennedy III, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Eva A. Millona, president and CEO of MIRA; Segun Idowu, executive director of BECMA, and Betty Francisco, co-founder of Amplify Latinx.
Organizers say more than half of the program will be dedicated to hearing from small business owners. Details and registration information here.
And a reminder
As part of a continuing effort to support and promote a wide diversity of businesses within our communities, the chamber has expanded the searchable categories in our online directory to allow businesses to self-identify as immigrant-owned, minority-owned, LGTBQ-owned woman-owned and/or veteran-owned.
Search our directory here or click here to add your business or nonprofit. Read the Newton TAB article about our initiative here.
Tough times for Chestnut Hill mall retailers
Kitchen retailer Sur La Table filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday and announced plans to close its four Massachusetts stores, including at the Shops at Chestnut Hill, as well as Copley Place, Natick Mall and the Burlington Mall, the Boston Business Journal reports.
Two other retail chains with a presence at the Shops at Chestnut Hill – Brooks Brothers and J. Crew – are also involved in Chapter 11 proceedings. The chains plan to keep operating, though likely in a pared-back fashion.
Covidiots in the news
  • A customer at the Stop N Shop on Watertown Street shoved the store’s manager backwards after arguing with an employee about not wearing a mask. The manager had a cut lip.
  • Following an argument between customers over mask wearing in a Walgreens, an East Bridgewater man was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon after he pulled out a gun.
Resources and grants
  • The COVID Relief Coalition offers pro bono legal assistance to vulnerable small businesses. The coalition’s intake form for small businesses to receive free legal services is available here
  • Women and minority owned small businesses can find help navigating the impact of the COVID-19 though the Small Business Strong initiative. Services includes expedited, pro-bono resources ranging from access to capital to consulting, business restructuring, business growth, digital marketing and customer engagement plans.
Say hello to our new friends!
Finally, I’d like to end the week welcoming 17 businesses and nonprofits that became chamber members (or renewed after a prolonged absence) in June.
The fact that your chamber continues to grow in 2020 is beyond gratifying. We pledge to work each and every day to support you and our region’s economic and cultural vitality.
My thanks to all our members. And a hearty welcome to our newest members:
Not a member yet? We'd be honored to include you on our July list. Go here or email Lise Elcock to learn more.
Have a great weekend. And don’t be a covidiot. Wear a mask.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Your chamber is here when you need us.


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