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Formerly the Newton-Needham Chamber

State shuts down free COVID test site

Every single step combatting this global pandemic has been harder than it should be because it’s been politicized.
 
Yesterday it was the Supreme Court’s turn.
 
Even though vaccines and boosters are required to physically enter their place of work, the Court decided 6-3 along ideological lines that OSHA -- the federal agency that exists to keep the nation’s workplaces safe -- doesn’t have the authority to keep the nation's workplaces safe.
 
And that's not as sarcastic as it sounds. That's really how they ruled.
 
So now it’s back up each business to devise its own polices to protect their employees.
 
Or not.
 
Note: The court’s ruling only throws out the vax or test rule that applied to employers with 100-plus onsite workers. It doesn’t impact many other vaccine mandates, including the proof of vaccine rules that are about to begin in Boston, Brookline and elsewhere.
 
Needham COVID test center closed by state
That free COVID test site that had been generating long lines in Needham Center for weeks has been shut down by state Department of Public Health.
 
DPH closed the Center for COVID Control site on Highland Ave., and two other Massachusetts locations, after multiple customers complained they were having problems getting test results.
Aleya Siyaj, founder and CEO of the Center for Covid Control admitted to Boston 25 that “due to our rapid growth and the unprecedented recent demand for testing, we haven’t been able to meet all our commitments.”
 
The company said it will use this “operational pause” for additional staff training in sample collection and handling, and ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines.
 
But the state says they'll need a license before they can reopen.
 
Webinar today for employers about testing guidelines
A reminder that there will be a webinar this afternoon (Friday) at 2:30 p.m. hosted by state Office of Housing & Economic Development and Department of Public Health specifically for employers with questions about the latest CDC and DPH testing guidance.
 
Here’s the Zoom link. Passcode: 364462
 
More on our call for masks in Needham and Wellesley
I had several interesting conversations yesterday in response to the requests our chamber sent to Needham's and Wellesley's Boards of Health this week asking both municipalities to adopt temporary mandatory indoor mask mandates.  
 
For example, the owner of a fitness facility (which requires vaccines and boosters for all clients) told me that that a mask mandate “will kill my already struggling business.”
 
But a different fitness venue operator said he “would welcome that decision being taken out of my hands [and made by the town] as it would certainly make my life simpler, at a time when running a small business is anything but simple!”
 
These are tough decisions folks. We’re talking about people’s livelihoods. And to clarify: The chamber's board of directors is asking Needham and Wellesley to adopt a short term, temporary, indoor mask rule. We feel this is necessary at a time when our hospitals are at capacity and worker absentee rates are debilitating.
 
Our other two Charles River Chamber communities, Newton and Watertown, both have indoor mask mandates in place. Natick’s Board of Health just voted to mandate indoor masks. Framingham’s new mayor is thinking about it.
 
No sign of lab space slow down
How hot is the market for lab space?
 
The opposite of what it's been like this week on Mount Washington.
 
A recent report by real estate firm Colliers showed a 0.0% vacancy rate in Cambridge for lab space in third-quarter 2021. Across the river, Boston’s lab vacancy rate was 0.3%, reports the BBJ's Grant Welker.
 
And just up river, the lab vacancy rate in Watertown is a mere 0.7%, a Colliers official told me.
 
And there’s no sign of slowing down,
 
Boston-area life sciences companies received $10.7 billion in venture capital in the first nine months of 2021, about as much as the next two regions — San Francisco and San Diego — combined.
 
And one-third of all life sciences venture capital nationally went to Boston-area companies, Welker adds.
 
Looking to hire a 'wizard'? Keep it to yourself
Is your company looking to hire a ninja guru wizard who likes a challenge?
 
If so, good luck. 
 
In a job market where applicants are scarce, how you word your job posting can make a big difference, according to a survey from Skynova of 1,000 job seekers.
 
What shouldn’t you do?
 
Use the words "guru,” "competitive," "ninja," "challenge" and "wizard" in your job postings because, according to the survey, they all generate negative impressions of your company.
 
Words that left a positive impression included "growth,” followed by "flexible" and "motivated."
 
And then there's “challenge” which shows up on both the positive and negative words list, which, need I point out, illustrates why this whole candidate search thing is a challenge?
 
Naturally, what really matters -- the survey found -- was compensation. Job seekers may discount a job posting entirely if the company fails to include information about prominent benefits, such as health coverage, vacation and sick days, or child care options, Skynova found.
 
And here’s some different -- and arguably more important -- reasons why you should post actual salaries.
 
Newton lost a hero this week
Newton Fire Lieutenant Raymond McNamara died at the age of 79 at his home in Watertown this week.
 
Twenty-nine years ago, "Ray Mac" was one of 11 Newton jakes who were injured from a chemical explosion after rushing into a burning building on Needham Street, recalls Jerry Reilly at Village 14.
 
He was the worst injured of all the firefighters, sustaining horrible burns over 90% of his body. He was not expected to live, spending 14 months in the hospital. He lost his nose, his ears, his sight, and underwent 30 operations.
 
But none of it deterred Ray Mac who was regularly seen around the fire stations, festivals and across the city for years, inspiring everyone by his humor and his perseverance, and even the time he went skydiving.
 
“His love for the profession, his dedication to the department and his fellow fire fighters, and his boundless enthusiasm for life inspired us all,” Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement last night.
 
Ray Mac has two sons currently serving on the Newton Fire Department. Our condolences to them, his family and the entire department
 
That's this week's Need to Knows, unless you need to take a break from all the world’s craziness and enjoy some breathtaking photos of our planet instead. Aw, go for it.
 
Be back Wednesday. Stay warm, safe and inspired this weekend.
 

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