They only have six days to figure this out

Here’s an idea for municipalities thinking about how they should spend their millions in American Rescue Plan dollars: Give some of it to those essential workers who took care of us throughout the pandemic.
 
That’s what a city in Southern California is doing.  
 
Last week the Oxnard City Council unanimously agreed to give anyone who worked at least three months in a grocery store or pharmacy during the first 12 months of the pandemic a $1,000 bonus.
 
Oxnard officials say the program is the first of its kind in the country.
 
 
 
Senate to consider emergency order extensions
 
In just six days a bushel of pandemic-era state emergency orders turn into pumpkins.
 
Finally, tomorrow, the Senate will debate a series of extensions for some of the expiring measures, reports Katie Lannan at State House News.
 
The bill would allow municipalities to continue to make its own approvals of outdoor dining until April 1, 2022.
 
It would also extend the sale of to-go cocktails through March 1, 2022, a move some restaurants say would help their bottom line but is opposed by the Massachusetts Package Stores Association.
 
The Senate bill does not include an extension of a cap on third party meal deliveries -- a measure many of our chamber member restaurants consider a high priority.
 
It does include provisions to allow local municipalities to continue holding their meetings remotely through April 1, 2022. 
 
Remote versions of representative town meetings; public corporation shareholder meetings; and nonprofit member meetings would continue through Dec. 15, as would notary services by videoconference and mail-in voting, writes Lannan.

 
But they only have six days to figure this out
 
Senators have until this afternoon to offer any amendments to the emergency order extensions, followed by deliberations tomorrow.
 
But with most provisions expiring next Tuesday (one notable exception is outdoor dining, which expires Aug. 15), that doesn’t leave much time for the House to present its own bill or for the inevitable, always mysterious, conference committee process.
 
 
On the other hand, Connecticut does this
 
Meanwhile Connecticut is making drinks-to-stay a lot easier after lawmakers approved a law this week that permits self-pour alcohol machines to be used in bars, restaurants and breweries.
 
Then again, they still have happy hour in the Nutmeg State too. 
 
 
Here’s something every Wellesley business should know about
 
If you have employees, job candidates or even customers looking for transportation to and from your place of business in Wellesley, this new service may be a godsend.
 
The Metro West Transit Authority is now offering free on-demand door-to-door rides between any destinations in Wellesley as well as last mile connections to the Waban and Woodland T Stations in Newton, Newton-Wellesley Hospital; and the bus hub at the Natick Community Center.
 
The service is available on weekdays (excluding holidays) from 6:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
 
All vehicles are fully accessible and available for any passenger 12 or older. Details. Or email questions to info@mwrta.com, or (508) 283-5083.

 
Mistakes CEOs should avoid when launching a DEI initiative
 
Launching a DEI initiative? The BBJ has some tips on mistakes CEOs should avoid, including laying out the arguments for why you can’t just leave DEI issues in the hands of your HR team.
 
“The problem is, if a firm's HR team were really qualified to deal with DEI issues, firms wouldn't need new initiatives in the first place,” one expert advises reporter Ian Carlos.
 
“A CEO wouldn't try to wing a company's legal or financial considerations; that's why they have attorneys and CFOs,” he adds. “So why should DEI work be any different?”

 
Yes, people are doing this
 
The newest black market? Fake vaccine cards.

 
Here’s a better idea
 
Get an actual vaccine instead in Washington State and get one of these for free.

 
Historic conference center in Newton on the market
 
The owner of a 150-year-old conference center for clergy and faith communities has permanently closed its doors and is selling the roughly 2-acre property at the corner of Grove and Hancock streets in Auburndale, reports the Globe’s John Hilliard.
 
Originally founded in 1868 by Eliza Walker as a missionary home, the Walker Center For Ecumenical Exchange provided conference and retreat housing, graduate student housing, and programming. It also offered a bed and breakfast, and held programs for faith communities and their leaders.
 
The property is about a half-mile from the MBTA Riverside station and a short walk to the shops in Auburndale village.
 
 
Four SBA updates
 
 
City Councilor(s) wonder why LBGTQ community was asked for its opinion
 
Finally today, I’ve been meaning to share a link to something that happened at a Newton City Council committee meeting late last month.
 
Better late than never, I suppose.
 
It’s a short exchange that took place following a presentation from the city about how it plans to solicit input about the future of the city’s village centers to inform zoning decisions.
 
As part of this ambitious effort, the city’s planning department has been holding dozens of focus groups and intentionally reaching out to groups that often aren't asked directly for their opinions on municipal matters – including high schoolers, people with disabilities, the BIPOC and LBGTQ communities, older adults, creative communities, renters and others.
 
But when it came time for questions from councilors, Councilor Julia Malakie asked (through her colleague Councilor Pam Wright) why “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people” were being approached to provide separate input from “straight people.”
 
You can watch the entire ten minute exchange here up through City Councilor Alicia Bowman’s concluding comment here.
 
That’s today’s Need to Knows, unless you need to know why you should never hit a golf ball at Yellowstone National Park.
 
Be back tomorrow.
 
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
 
Your chamber is here when you need us.

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