Governor Baker Announces Phase 3 Updates for Restaurants & Bars

09.28.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

Governor Baker has announced that beginning today, Monday, September 28, restaurants will have updated sector-specific safety standards. The new measures allow restaurants to accept parties of 10 diners per table (an increase from the previous number of six diners per table) and allow restaurants to utilize bar seating for dining, as long as social distancing guidelines remain in place.
 
Unlike Boston, who will remain limited to a maximum of six diners per table due to the City’s recent uptick in cases, New Bedford will be complying with the update in protocol without any changes.
 
We recognize how hard small businesses and restaurants throughout the City have been hit by COVID-19 and encourage you to consider buying and dining local in order to help support our community, culture, and economy.
 
To view additional sector-specific updates and details of the Governor’s reopening plan, click here.
 
For more information on the status of reopening in New Bedford and other important news, visit New Bedford’s COVID-19 page.

AHA! New Bedford announces campaign for A Community Thrives, part of the USA Today Network: Crowdfunding campaign needs to raise $6,000 in local support to be eligible for over $2 million in additional grants by The Gannett Foundation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Candace Lee Heald, Director of AHA!
Phone: 508-965-4816
Email: AHACoordinator@southcoastcf.org
Website: AHA! New Bedford and A Community Thrives Campaign

New Bedford, MA — In 1997, the local newspaper, The Standard Times, convened a planning process to identify the SouthCoast as a regional hub. An Arts and Culture subcommittee had the idea to create a program that would celebrate the uniqueness of the region’s past, present and future: Art, History and Architecture, or AHA! Two years later, free AHA! Cultural Nights began every second Thursday of the month, and is now a long-standing tradition in New Bedford.

AHA! has a 20+ year history of offering free programs to the community, mostly located downtown, and collaborates with over 60 artists, cultural institutions and small businesses. When the pandemic hit in March, AHA! quickly pivoted to an online format and #VAHA! (virtual AHA!) brought the city’s rich arts and culture to an online audience and became a statewide model recognized by the Mass Cultural Council.

AHA!’s latest project, “Reimagining Resilience”, has been accepted to participate in the nationwide crowdfunding campaign by USA Today Network called A Community Thrives. A Community Thrives allows neighbors, friends, family and peers to show their excitement and support for community building ideas such as Reimagining Resilience. In turn, this support unlocks access to +$2,000,000 in grants to bring the project to fruition in 2021.

In partnership with the New Bedford Economic Development Council and New Bedford Creative, “Reimagining Resilience” will use AHA!’s existing framework of monthly virtual and in-person free cultural nights to connect community members to the resilience of New Bedford.

The plan for the project is to enlarge the current in-person footprint of monthly events with outreach to community neighborhoods, carrying the message that New Bedford is ready to create, regenerate and re-engage at all levels.

“Working together is what we do — that’s what makes us New Bedford. It’s how we got here and it’s how we will get through this pandemic stronger, with everyone supporting one another — residents, artists, galleries, cultural venues, neighborhood associations, and commercial enterprises,” says Lee Heald, Director of AHA!

From September 21 to October 16, AHA! needs to raise $6,000 in order to be eligible for over $2 million in additional grants by The Gannett Foundation. Visit the campaign page today to show your support.

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New Bedford Transit-Oriented Development (NBTOD) Study Update

08.24.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 
During the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the NBTOD study has continued to move forward, and the project team is excited to share those results very soon.

 
As part of that effort, the project team developed a new webpage for the study that includes many of the same features as the old page and some new ways to share your thoughts. Now, residents, business owners, and city stakeholders can share their comments and feedback in various ways:
 
Email nbtodstudy@gmail.com

Call or text call the project hotline (508) 293-1280

Submit a comment card via Google Doc

 

To stay informed about upcoming events, follow the project team on Facebook, Youtube, or join the mailing list.

 
Also, be on the lookout for the next virtual public workshop tentatively scheduled for October 2020!

#safeNB Marketing Materials Available for Businesses

08.18.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

The City’s Department of Tourism & Marketing has developed digital and print pieces to help businesses promote health and safety.

If you’re interested in utilizing these tools, please contact Brooke Vinagre, Acting Director of Tourism & Marketing at brooke.vinagre@newbedford-ma.gov or (508) 979-1745.

Images may be used either online or in print.

Meeting the moment with innovation in New Bedford

By Steven Froias / Contributing Writer

Beginning in 2010, something remarkable began happening in the City of New Bedford. New business start-ups outpaced the state average here and reached a plateau in 2015 that maintained itself for the next five years. On average, 85-100 businesses of all manner and size opened each year in New Bedford over the course of ten years.

That trend was on track to continue right into 2020 – and then the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

As is the case throughout the country, predicting what happens during the coming year, after an economic shutdown and while the novel coronavirus still seethes while more effective treatment is found or a vaccine is discovered, will be difficult.

However, during the past decade, the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) has had a front-row seat witnessing this period of extraordinary growth and innovation in New Bedford. Indeed, it has been the organization’s mission and privilege to help facilitate this profound change of fortunes in the city and for the region by building policy consensus, forging strategic partnerships, providing critical lending opportunities, and promoting long-term growth potential through a variety of initiatives.

During the current combined health and economic crisis, we’re now seeing the result of years of crucial investment in New Bedford’s economic foundation pay off as businesses small and large seize the culture of creativity that engineered this noteworthy period of growth – and employ it to confront the current challenge. They are moving forward building better in ways that offer a promising outlook once Covid-19 is history.

For example, Arthur Glassman of Glassman Automotive Repair and Sales probably didn’t imagine that he would soon be celebrating 30 years of business as a brick and mortar service center in the city while confronting a pandemic. Yet he is tackling the challenge head-on.

He says that during the first weeks of the total economic shutdown in Massachusetts business came to a screeching halt. But Glassman Automotive used the time to “regroup, reorganize, and basically do the things we had always planned to do but had not got around to doing,” he says.

As an essential business, they remained open – and quickly saw business rebound. The way they were conducting that business had changed, however.

They stocked up from vendors after arranging for contact-less delivery. They installed a dropbox for check and key drop-offs and began taking credit card payments over the phone. They launched a policy called “get in and go” whereby customers would just arrive at a parking space, find the keys in their newly-serviced car, and just drive off the lot with it.

“After 30 years, our customers are friends,” Arthur Glassman says. “They’re happy we are looking after their safety.” As a consequence, business, he says, is now good.

Anne Broholm, CEO of AHEAD LLC, had a different challenge to meet. As a leader of a world-recognized manufacturer of quality headwear, apparel and accessories in New Bedford’s Industrial Park, she realized that ensuring her workforce was ready to safely and effectively return to work after the shutdown was the goal AHEAD had to set for itself.

“AHEAD, like most companies, took a significant hit due to COVID-19 and the implications of the shutdown and overall slowing of the economy,” she states. Like Glassman, the initial shutdown provided time to plot a strategy – and AHEAD’s also involved speeding up plans that had already been part of the company’s long-term strategy.

Broholm writes, “One of the best measures we took was to effectively utilize the workshare program through MA unemployment. This allowed us to return more employees total on a 32 vs. 40-hour workweek once we reopened. In my opinion, it is an underutilized but extremely valuable program.”

“We also continue to aggressively cross-train within the company – this was already an ongoing initiative prior to COVID and we have taken it a step further since reopening. We want to ensure that we have work for everyone at all times and the best way to do that is to ensure that our associates have the skills to do whatever task is needed most at any given time.”

Formulating and enacting innovative programs for the future is nothing new for Anne Broholm. Indeed, she is a member of the NBEDC’s Regeneration Project – a collaborative platform that focuses on research, engagement, and the development of policies that encourage dynamic and sustainable economic growth for a thriving New Bedford.

In addition to protecting their associates’ employment, protecting their health is a top priority, says Broholm. “We have and continue to take all necessary measures to ensure a safe work environment. Our goal has and continues to be to focus on any/all actions we can take to rebuild the company and return to a position of growth. We work every day to identify the takeaways from this challenge that can make AHEAD be even stronger in the future,” she concludes.

Finally, few businesses face the challenges that New Bedford’s many and beloved independent restaurants face.

Jessica Coelho, owner of Tia Maria’s European Cafe in the downtown historic district, recognized this reality early – and faced it head-on by moving decisively. This, too, entailed putting into action some ideas that previously been discussed, but were now imperative to keep the business firing on all burners.

Coelho realized the eatery would have to “drive” take out and, essentially overnight, put in place the infrastructure to make that happen efficiently. “My husband is in the military,” she explains, “so he’s been trained to adapt to change!”

They and her crew quickly created an online ordering platform on ​tiamariaseuropeancafe.com​, and instituted a customer-friendly curbside pick-up service – a challenge for a business in a historic district with no parking lot and limited street frontage.

“I thought about the businesses along Acushnet Avenue,” Jessica says, “And realized they had the same challenge regarding limited parking and curbside to work with.”

Her answer was to designate a dedicated pick-up spot for customers near the restaurant and then promote it vigorously via Tia Maria’s social media. And, it paid off.

“We discovered that curbside take-out was so easy!” she says. “We kind of owned the block!”

Coelho also made sure she was part of the City of New Bedford’s restaurant reopening group launched by the Planning Department, from where she could help formulate outdoor dining policy and eventual indoor reopening plans. It was “very beneficial to be part of the restaurant reopening group,” she says. “It allowed us to open for outdoor dining quickly.”

Tia Maria’s was also part of a program funded by Harvard Pilgrim, coordinated by Coastal Foodshed, which arranged for restaurants to provide meals for seniors.

“That was important to us,” Coehlo says – and not just because it was a financial shot in the arm during the early days of the pandemic. “We didn’t just want to be ‘those people who stayed open during a pandemic.’ We needed a purpose and this gave it to us.” As of mid-July, Tia Maria’s and fellow downtown business Destination Soups have provided over 1,200 meals for seniors through the program.

Like Arthur Glassman and Anne Broholm, Jessica Coehlo says the innovations with which she met the onset of the pandemic will outlive it. Online ordering and curbside pick-up in a historic district, like contact-less vehicle pick-up and cross-training at AHEAD, are ideas that are here to stay.

Though each and other new practices at these businesses were launched to meet a particular moment, they were truly born in a foundation of growth and opportunity that was and is the new bedrock of innovation in this city. While the immediate economic outlook will test the resilience of New Bedford, this culture of regeneration augurs well for the future.

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The New Bedford Economic Development Council is pleased to share the stories of Arthur Glassman, Anne Boholm and Jessica Coelho with you as part of the city’s culture of collaboration. It is what will help see us through the present time and into the future. As always, the NBEDC stands ready to provide any assistance necessary to realize that future, and together we will ride out this storm and maintain the reputation New Bedford has worked so hard to earn over the past decade as a regional economic, creative and social hub for Southeastern Massachusetts.

Governor Baker Announces Phase 3 Updates

08.11.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

Over the weekend, Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts will press pause on the implementation of Step 2 of Phase 3 of his reopening plan, among other initiatives, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Details of the update can be found outlined in the press release here. Key components have been highlighted below:

 

Group Gatherings Update
Effective today, outdoor gatherings must reduce their capacity from 100 to 50 individuals, per the Executive Order from the administration. Indoor gatherings will continue to be limited at 25 people. Please note, this will now apply to both public and private spaces. Read the revised Executive Order for more details.

 

Step 2 of Phase 3 Postponed
Step 2 of Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan has been postponed indefinitely as a result of rising COVID-19 cases across the state. Events hosted at indoor theaters and concerts, among others will be affected. Please see the Order Authorizing the Reopening of Phase III Enterprises for a list of businesses in Phase 3, Step 2.

 

Restaurant/Bar Protocol Update
According to the updated restaurant protocols, alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site.

 

Cross-Agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team
The Administration unveiled a targeted cross-agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team that will lead enforcement statewide and coordinate with local intervention efforts in higher risk COVID-19 communities. For more information, please see the press release.

 

Small Business Updates & Resources
• Last week, the SBA released a PPP Forgiveness FAQ to support borrowers seeking loan forgiveness.
• The SBA also released its Small Business Resource Guide, full of tools and resources to help businesses with everyday operations and COVID-19 related support.
• SCORE, MSBDC, the Center for Women & Enterprise, and many others are available to assist with virtual counseling and workshops to support your small business; find an SBA Resource Partner here.

 

To apply for an outdoor dining permit, click here

 

For information on a free masks (must be New Bedford resident), click here.

 

To view additional sector-specific updates and details of the Governor’s reopening plan, click here

 

For more information on the status of reopening in New Bedford and other important news, visit New Bedford’s COVID-19 page.

Outdoor Dining Guidelines Available on City Website

06.08.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

Mayor Mitchell announced that New Bedford will follow and implement the second phase of Governor Baker’s reopening plan, which allows for additional sector reopening today.

 

The plan includes sector-specific guidance for businesses and operations permitted to reopen with guidelines during the second phase. The Governor’s plan may be found here:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts.

 

New Bedford’s restaurant reopening advisory group has released guidelines outlining outdoor dining available at  https://www.newbedford-ma.gov/health-department/city-guidance-on-reopening-of-dining-establishments/ . Restaurant reopening begins today with outdoor dining and appropriate social distancing.

 

For city dining establishments, the reopening and outdoor dining process includes an expedited Outdoor Cafe permitting process, with easy-to-follow guidance to comply with the state’s public health and safety requirements. The permit is also available at  https://www.newbedford-ma.gov/health-department/city-guidance-on-reopening-of-dining-establishments/.

 

For more information on the status of reopening in New Bedford and other important news, visit the COVID-19 page on  www.newbedford-ma.gov.

 

For information on the masks available to any New Bedford resident who wants one, visit  www.masknb.com.

 

 

 

Owner of Hatch Street Studios in New Bedford Offers Rent Deferment During COVID-19 Crises

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

NEW BEDFORD, MA – On Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Jeff Glassman, Owner of the multi-story Hatch Street Studios complex at 88 and 90 Hatch Street, New Bedford, MA, offered his artist tenants two months of rent relief.
 

Glassman, on a Zoom call with the artists on Tuesday, offered two months of deferred rent to ease their financial burden during the current economic situation related to COVID-19.

 

Artists have the option to spread the deferred payments, May and June rent, over 12 months starting July 1st, 2020.
 

Hatch Street Studios is New Bedford’s largest community of visual and performing artists. More than 60 professional and novice visual and performing artists create work here in a variety of mediums; painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, woodworkers, ceramicists, musicians and others.
 

Glassman purchased the building in 2015. He has worked closely with artists to grow the Hatch Street creative community as well as the art community in New Bedford as a whole.
 

“Since purchasing the building 5 years ago, I have been working with the artists to continue to grow the community within the building and on a larger scale here in New Bedford,” said Glassman. “My goal has always been long term with this community. Hopefully a little relief with their expenses now will help them get through this mess we are all experiencing.”
 

“I can’t say enough on how important it is to the creative community to have an engaged and involved building owner,” said Adrian Tio, Hatch Street artist.
 

Glassman also owns Darn It!, Inc. on Belleville Ave which is a refurbishment and quality control, and warehousing and distribution business for many retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers worldwide. Darn It!’s remains open with a reduced workforce and increased health and safety measures, producing masks for several businesses and organizations in the area.
 

For more information about Darn It! or Hatch Street Studios, please contact Jeff Glassman at 508-999-4584.
 

Hatch Street Studios maintains an online presence with information on individual artists.
 

Visit www.hatchstreetstudios.com for more information.

 

Baker Announces Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program

 

Posted 04.20.20

Anthony W. Richards, II
Deputy Chief of Staff, Access & Opportunity
Office of Governor Charlie Baker
Massachusetts Statehouse
Office: 857-400-5215
Cell: 617-910-8875

 

The Baker-Polito Administration announced today that Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits can now apply online for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

 

The new federal PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and those with limited work history. Applicants can learn more and apply at www.mass.gov/pua.

 

“As a Commonwealth, we are committed to doing everything in our power, and moving as urgently as possible to get workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis the benefits they deserve,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the implementation of this new federal benefit program, we can better support workers not normally covered by the unemployment system like those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.”

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of workers across the Commonwealth, and our Administration is doing everything we can to help,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in Massachusetts is another important step in our efforts to help those who are economically disrupted by this virus.”

 

To be eligible for this new program, individuals must provide self-certification that they are otherwise able and available to work but are prevented from doing so by circumstances relating to COVID-19, including their own illness or that of a family member.

 

Those able to telework with pay and individuals receiving paid sick or other leave will not qualify for PUA. Individuals receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits for less than their customary work week, however, may still be eligible for PUA. Also, those working fewer hours, resulting in a loss of income due to COVID-19, who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits may be eligible for PUA.

 

“It is vital that our workforce gets the resources and help they need during this critical time,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta. “I’m proud of everything our team is doing to rapidly implement new programs, and ensure that as many eligible workers as possible get some relief.”

 

The federal CARES Act signed into law on March 27 created PUA, as well as another temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) that provides an additional $600 weekly benefit for those receiving unemployment benefits or PUA. FPUC provides that additional benefit through July 25, 2020. The Commonwealth announced implementation of FPUC earlier this month.

 

All approved PUA applications will initially receive the minimum weekly benefit amount, plus the additional $600 FPUC weekly benefit. Once a worker’s wages are verified, weekly benefit amounts may increase. The amount of PUA benefits received is based on the individual’s reported previous income. PUA benefits may not be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular unemployment, which is $823 in Massachusetts.

 

Weekly benefits, including any increase to your weekly benefit amount, will be retroactive to January 27, 2020, or the date when you became unemployed, whichever is more recent, as long as you became unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason.

 

PUA Application Process:

 

To apply, individuals must provide their Social Security number or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) number if not a citizen of the United States, and their wage records for 2019, which includes 1099 forms, pay stubs, or bank statements. Applicants will also need the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for dependent children and, if requesting direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers. A full list of required documents is available at www.mass.gov/pua.

 

Please note that, initially, the system can only pay benefits retroactively to the week ending March 14, 2020. Eligible workers will be able to certify for benefits, and will be able to request benefits retroactively to January 27, 2020, if their dates of unemployment make them eligible.

 

Individuals who are determined ineligible for PUA will receive a written disqualification along with information on how to pursue an appeal. Additional information about the appeals process will be separately posted at a later date. Please visit www.mass.gov/dua for the latest information.

Link to Governor’s Press page here.

From the SBA to Your Inbox!

04.07.2020

 

Staff contribution

 

Don’t know where to get started?

 

SBA’s disaster programs spelled out in just a few clicks.

 

Start with the Paycheck Protection Program to see forms; then next to Economic Injury Disaster Loans and advance; then next to Express Bridge Loans and then next to Debt Relief for existing and future SBA 7a, 504 and microloan.

 

The following questions might help point you in the right direction.

 

Do you need?

 

Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees.

 

Then the  Paycheck Protection Program  might be right for you.

 

A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now.

 

You might want to look into an  Emergency Economic Injury Grant .

 

If you have an existing relationship with an SBA Express lender, the Express Bridge Loan  might be a good fit to get up to $25K quickly. Look for Express Lenders to ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential

 

SBA loan?

 

The  Small Business Debt Relief Program  could help.

 

Please direct inquiries and questions to the District Office email at

MassachusettsDO@sba.gov

 

Paycheck Protection Programs Frequently Asked Questions

 

Click here to view PDF of FAQs


SBA District and Regional Office Webinars on Disaster Assistance

 

SBA district and regional offices are offering webinars about Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

 

These webinars explain SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and how you can apply for disaster assistance.

 

Sign up here for alerts.


Virtual Tutoring and Mentoring

 

Offices around the country may be closed to the Coronavirus pandemic, but SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers and other resource partners are providing free business mentoring and training by phone, email, and video.

 

Find an SBA resource partner here .


Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network (MSBDC) provides free virtual assistance.
MSBDC advisors can assist businesses with disaster loan applications.
Online request here for counseling.
If you are not part of the SouthCoast Region, find your region’s counselor here .