This balancing act will never fully end
Let's acknowledge the obvious.
There will be not be a day when we’ll uncork the champagne and declare that the COVID-19 pandemic is officially over.
Rather, we’re forever going to be engaged in a delicate balancing act of moving on with our lives with an evolving mix of precautions, politics and medical advancements.
“In many ways, the future of the virus has arrived,” writes David Leonhardt in the New York Times.
“I’m still going to be thoughtful and careful,” Dr. Robert Wachter tells The San Francisco Chronicle when asked when he plans to resume activities he -- and so many of us -- have given up.
But “if I’m not going to do it now, I’m probably saying that I’m not going to do it for the next couple of years, and I might be saying I’m not doing it forever.”
Leonhardt’s piece explores what this means from a variety of perspectives, including the risk of local spread based on where you are; vulnerability based on age or other factors; and the seasonality of spread.
In case you missed finding out where Bob Langer likes to eat in Newton Centre
Many thanks to the brilliant and astonishingly humble Dr. Robert Langer and to NBC10 Boston’s Latoyia Edwards, our two hospital leaders, and the hundreds of you who participated in our Fall Business Breakfast yesterday.
And a hat tip to presenting sponsor Needham Bank and our other sponsors.
If you missed the program, here’s links to the three segments from our morning:
- Remarks from outgoing chamber board chair Linda Sloane Kay.
- My conversation with Newton-Wellesley Hospital President Dr. Errol Norwitz and John M. Fogarty, president of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Needham
- Latoyia Edward's conversation with Dr. Robert Langer (including some dine local talk)
Are Fridays the new Friday?
As more office workers transition to hybrid work schedules, multiple surveys suggest Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays have become the days when employees are most likely to be working on site.
In contrast, offices on Mondays and Fridays are feeling like a ghost town.
But that’s not what’s happening these days on the MBTA.
Turns out Fridays currently have the highest-ridership day overall on subways and buses, reports State House News’ Chris Lisinski.
"This is a very interesting phenomenon," according to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak.
"We are seeing folks who are working hybrid are choosing not to commute into work in large numbers on Fridays, yet we're seeing higher ridership on Fridays."
But maybe don't let your employees pick their WFH days?
Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University, explains why he believes it a mistake for managers to let workers choose their own work from home days.
Needham launches holiday shopping campaign
Needham retailers and restaurants are partnering with the chamber and the town to launch a new program that encourages shopping and dining locally for the holidays.
Starting this Saturday, you’ll be able to pick up a “shopping passport” at any of 36 participating businesses.
Collect stamps through Dec. 24 from three different participating establishments and you’ll qualify to be entered into a prize drawing. Add bonus stamps for more chances to win.
“We hope that Needham residents will make the extra effort to support the small, independently owned businesses in town on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season,” said Eileen Baker of Proud Mary on Great Plain Ave. and a member of the chamber’s Needham Business Alliance committee that helped create the passport program with Needham Economic Development Manager Amy Haelsen.
Learn more about the Needham Holiday Passport Program here.
Newton offering paid interns for trades industry
The City of Newton is looking for local businesses from the trades industry to participate in a work-based education and career exploration program specific to young people looking to enter the trades industry after high school.
The program will provide paid internship opportunities and free career exploration activities such as career panels, informational career interviews and post-secondary planning. If you work in the carpentry, electrical, construction, demolition, medical or technology industries, contact Meghan Murtagh, Asst. Director of Youth Services, 617-796-1436.
After hesitating, Wellesley grants restaurant license
Wellesley’s Select Board took longer than usual.
But ultimately, it approved an application this week by restauranteur Derek Brady to open a southwestern-themed tacos-plus restaurant called Lockheart on Central Street.
The approval required two meetings, including two lengthy executive session meetings. The Swellesley Report explains.
Other need to knows
- The Transportation Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership will host MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project on Tuesday (Nov. 23) at 8:30 a.m. Register.
- Check out the outdoor Winter Market at Dunn-Gaherin’s, 344 Elliot Street, Newton Upper Falls – sponsored by Better Life Food. It’s happening this Saturday (Nov. 20) as well as on Dec. 4, 11, and 18, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- The Mass Department of Environmental Protection has expanded its current waste disposal bans effective Nov. 1 to include commercial organic/food waste (including retail and restaurants) generating more than one-half ton of these materials per week. In addition, mattresses and textiles have been added to the list of materials banned from disposal or transport for disposal in the state.
Baker in Watertown touts life sciences training
Gov. Charlie Baker and other state leaders toured Arranta Bio in Watertown on Tuesday to celebrate national apprenticeship week and announce $2.7 million in new grant funding that will go to 19 organizations, including MassBioEd, to support apprenticeships in biomanufacturing and other fields, reports Matt Murphy at State House News.
Baker said government has traditionally done a better job training people to work in the trades than preparing them for careers in science and technology. But with 50,000 to 70,000 jobs expected to be created in the life sciences over the next 10 years, he said there is a "huge opportunity" to help the industry grow in Massachusetts and put people to work.
Arranta Bio currently has 160 employees, but anticipates hiring another 100 for jobs at its Watertown and new Boxborough facilities, said CEO Mark Bamforth.
The company has spent $100 million over the last two years building out its capacity to apply the mRNA technology used by Pfizer and Moderna in the COVID-19 vaccine to fight other diseases and will spend another $50 million by the end of next year.
It has sponsored four apprenticeships this year, and another four next year.
But don’t take the governor’s or Bamforth’s word for it. Watch this segment from Tuesday’s media event featuring one of Arranta Bio’s apprentices.
That’s today’s need to knows unless you need to know about the elephant that could be a person and the New York Court of Appeals case that's seeking to prove just that.
Have lunch outside today! See you tomorrow.
Greg Reibman (he, him)
Charles River Regional Chamber
P.S. We're hiring! Join our team and learn just how much YOU can make a difference in your community.