Guidance to Prevent Exposure in the Workplace

03.27.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

Dear friends,

 

We wanted to be sure that every New Bedford business has access to federally issued guidance for preventing exposure in the workplace—particularly those considered essential by Governor Baker and still in operation.

 

Below are links to guidance documents prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We urge that you use these links and check them regularly as information is being updated on a continuous basis.

 

CDC

The following  interim guidance  may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.

 

OSHA

This COVID-19  planning guidance  is based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.

 

Taking proactive steps to protect workers and their families of essential businesses is a critical step in keeping the entire Greater New Bedford community safe.

 

We ask that you share these links with everyone in your own network.

 

Be well,

 

Derek

 

Information and Guidance for Restaurants

03.25.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

Dear friends,

 

It goes without saying that restaurants and drinking establishments of all types across New Bedford are some of the hardest hit by this national crisis.

 

Keeping in mind that Governor Baker has allowed takeout and delivery services to continue as essential services, we wanted to take a moment and share two excellent resources for continuously updated information and guidance for operations of restaurants of all kinds.

 

Toast

Toast is a company that works with restaurants of all sizes to combine point of sale, front of house, back of house, and guest-facing technology. They have put together a page on their website that includes some comprehensive guidance on how to; take care of your staff, communicate with guests, manage finances, and sanitizing your store. Here is the  link to that page.

 

Massachusetts Restaurant Association

The MRA is the voice of expertise for the restaurant industry in Massachusetts. The MRA is considered a leading voice of the state’s restaurant and hospitality industry in city halls and on Beacon Hill. They have set up an information center with continuous updates. Those full communications can be read here .

 

We know that much of our New Bedford’s recent growth and vibrancy has come from new and expanding hospitality venues. As such, we will continue to do everything we can to help get through the weeks and months ahead. As we have more clarity on the national resources that will soon be available for businesses and workers, we will share that as well.

 

Stay strong,

 

Derek

 

SBA Online Forms now on nbedc.org

03.25.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

Dear friends,

 

We have been receiving feedback from New Bedford businesses, that due to high volume, they are experiencing difficultly setting up accounts, logging in, and submitting applications in the SBA Disaster Loan Portal.

 

For your convenience we have provided the Disaster Loan Application and associated documents on  nbedc.org .

 

These documents can be completed and submitted by mail, or simply completed in draft so that they are more easily completed and submitted when you are able to login to the SBA Portal.

 

The Portal is available 24 hours per day and we have been informed traffic is significantly less between the hours of 8pm and 6am.

 

Additionally, you can find the NBEDC loan application  here, although we would encourage you to submit an SBA Disaster Loan Application when able. These loans have very favorable terms and there is no obligation to accept the SBA Loan once you are approved.

 

Be well,

 

Derek

 

Small Business Lending Assistance Update

03.23.2020

 

Staff Contribution

 

Dear friends,

 

We wanted to take a moment and clarify the terms for the SBA Disaster Loan Program and our own NBEDC Lending Program.

 

Please note that as of this afternoon, the state’s $10 million loan fund for businesses affected by COVID-19 is not taking new applications. We are leaving the link to that fund (administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capitol Corporation) on our website because the fund may be recapitalized. The MGCC still has their normal loan application process in place.

 

As we receive new information, we will of course pass it along. Please take a moment to share this with any business in your network who may be in need.

 

Be well,

 

Derek


SBA Disaster Loan Program

 

Loan Amount: Up to $2 Million – $25,000 Unsecured

Interest Rate: 3.75%

Term: Up to 30 Years

Repayment: Up to six months deferred payments

Use: Working Capital – Up to six months of fixed expenses

 

Required Documentation:

  • Completed Business Loan Application (SBA Form 5)
  • Completed IRS Form 4506-T
  • Copies of the most recent Federal income tax returns
  • Completed Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413)
  • Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202)

*Other information may be requested

 

Apply here .

 

Fact sheet here .

 

Three step process here.


NBEDC Lending Program

 

Loan Amount: Up to $50,000

Interest Rate: 6%

Term: Up to 72 months

Repayment: Three months interest only then fully amortizing

Use: Working Capital

 

Required Documentation:

  • NBEDC Loan Application
  • NBEDC Personal Financial Statement
  • Most recent year tax returns for business applicant and all principals
  • Year to Date Profit and Loss Statement

 

*Streamlined application and approval process for loan less than $10,000—Detailed information and application here .

Breaking News for Nonessential Businesses

03.23.2020
Staff Contribution

Good morning friends,

 

Governor Baker has just announced an emergency order for nonessential businesses and organizations to close physical workspaces and facilities to customers, workers, and the general public. This order takes effect at noon, March 24th, and continues to noon, April 7th.

 

What is important to understand is how this order affects your particular business. There are many exceptions to this order, so please carefully read the links below provided by the Governor’s office:

 

Emergency Order

Essential Services List

Assemblage Guidance

 

Please pass along this information to others in your network of contacts, and as new information becomes available we will pass it along.

 

Be well,

 

Derek

 

Protecting the health of New Bedford’s residents

NBEDC staff contribution

03.21.2020

Mayor Jon Mitchell has announced that the City of New Bedford will continue to serve the residents of the city and provide essential services remotely while City facilities remain closed to public access as part of the City’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am implementing these measures in order to protect our residents,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “The spread of the Coronavirus is accelerating, and we cannot hesitate in taking actions that will enable our healthcare system to keep pace with the increasing threat.”


City facilities remain closed, with employees working remotely

In order to protect City employees and residents and stem the spread of COVID-19, the City is implementing the following measures and policies:

For office-based employees, departments have arranged for remote work and flexible scheduling, all the while promoting effective social distancing, increased cleaning and promotion of good hygiene. Department heads are putting into place practices that manage remote work, such as daily virtual meetings among staff as well as regular communication.

For employees not based in offices, their work will continue to be accomplished with measures in place that enforce appropriate social distancing and increased hygiene. The City’s custodial staff has worked continuously to thoroughly clean and sanitize work areas throughout City facilities.

Mayor Mitchell has instructed all departments that employees should be given reasonable scheduling flexibility concerning childcare and other important family needs at this time.

Personal care businesses including salons must close effective Monday, March 23

By joint order of the Mayor and Board of Health, personal care businesses which offer services to the public and cannot be provided at a distance of at least six feet, or which create an environment where public health is compromised, must close effective March 23, 2020 (with Sunday, March 22 as the last day of operation).

This includes:
Hairdressers and barbers
Nail salons
Massage services
Body art
Body work
Aestheticians
Day spas
Tanning salons
Fitness and exercise centers

This order does not include healthcare and allied healthcare service providers such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or other medical services.


Residents strongly encouraged to pay bills remotely

City residents are encouraged to pay any bills by mail, by phone, or online. Payments can be made online at the City’s website , and selecting ‘Pay Bills’ directly on the home page.

To mail payments, residents can use the mailing address printed on their bills or mail their bills directly to the City Treasurer at the following address:

City Hall – Treasurer’s Office
133 William Street, Room 103
New Bedford, MA 02740

Anyone with questions about paying bills remotely should contact the Treasurer’s Office at 508-979-1430.

Drop-off locations and in-person payment center

Residents can also drop off payments without person-to-person interaction by using one of the city’s drop-boxes. These white drop boxes are located at:
Corner of Elm and Sixth streets downtown
City Hall, 133 William Street (two locations: main entrance and Sixth Street entrance)
Department of Public Infrastructure, 1105 Shawmut Avenue

In-person payment is strongly discouraged if residents can pay by mail, online, by phone, or by drop-off. However, for residents who have no other option, the city will open an in-person payment center beginning Monday, March 22 at the Sixth Street entrance of City Hall, located at 133 William Street.

The payment center will be open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will admit only one person at a time. Residents making a payment will be separated from a city staff member by a window with a secure drawer for payment, without direct person-to-person contact. Only cash payments will be accepted; all other payment types must be completed remotely.

All city bills including taxes and water bills can be paid there, but private utility bills such as gas and electric bills cannot be paid there.


City continues to provide essential services

As New Bedford Public Schools remain closed, the schools have continued to distribute food to students across Greater New Bedford who need it, offering free breakfast and lunch pick-up Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Campbell School, Carney Academy, Gomes School, Hayden-McFadden School, Keith Middle School, and Roosevelt Middle School. New Bedford Public Schools will also continue to plan and implement virtual learning so students can keep up with learning at home.

Public safety agencies remain active and continue to respond to emergencies across the city. As always, for emergencies, residents should call 911. For non-emergency business with the Police Department, please use their business line at 508-991-6300. For non-emergency business with the Fire Department, please use their business line at 508-991-6124.

The New Bedford Public Library branches and Buttonwood Park Zoo remain closed to public access. The New Bedford Regional Airport remains open with limited public access.

The City is committed to keeping all residents informed of the latest news. Follow the City’s social media pages, including Mayor Jon Mitchell’s and the City of New Bedford’s Facebook pages, tune in to New Bedford Cable Access on Channel 18, and visit the City website here at for regularly updated news.

City facilities will close until at least March 22

 

NEW BEDFORD — Mayor Jon Mitchell has announced that city facilities will be closed to public access, beginning Tuesday, March 17, through at least Sunday, March 22. According to a press statement issued, Monday afternoon, with the growing threat posed by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), City government has begun to shift to a mode of service delivery that minimizes face-to-face interaction.

 

Read more here:

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Small Businesses in Berkshire, Hampden, and Worcester Counties in Mass. Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Release Number: 20-5
Contact: norman.eng@sba.gov, 617-565-8510 / 202-853-5792

Boston – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Connecticut small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Ned Lamont on March 15, 2020.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the entire state of Connecticut; and the contiguous counties of Berkshire, Hampden, and Worcester in Massachusetts; and Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester in New York; and Kent, Providence and Washington in Rhode Island.

“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Connecticut small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Administrator Carranza.

SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.

“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.

“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov(link sends e-mail) for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.

For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov

For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus

###

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

Original story here.

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $10 Million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund

Sarah Finlaw, Press Secretary, Governor’s Office
03.16.2020

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

BOSTON — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced economic support for small businesses with a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief to those that have been affected by COVID-19.

The $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will provide emergency capital up to $75,000 to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full- and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first 6 months. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) has capitalized the fund and will administer it.

“As our administration continues to take steps to protect the health and safety of residents, we recognize the hardships facing the small businesses that create the foundation of the state’s economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This recovery loan fund is a new resource to help small businesses address emergency needs due to the disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Small business owners and their employees are our neighbors and our friends, and their enterprises play vital roles in our communities, and we are committed to helping them cope with the impacts of COVID-19,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “As we announce this small business recovery loan fund, we will continue to work with the Legislature and our federal partners to find ways to effectively provide assistance during this public health emergency.”

“Our office remains in regular contact with the state’s business community to provide updates and receive feedback as the administration continues to expand its comprehensive COVID-19 response,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “These new recovery loans complement other resources like the state WorkShare program and federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, as well as legislative efforts by the administration to support impacted workers.”

“MGCC is committed to helping support the Commonwealth’s small businesses through this time,” said Lawrence Andrews, President and CEO of MGCC. “We are proud to offer this fund as it serves our mission to save jobs and promote economic development. All processing and funding will take place online through MGCC staff.”

How to Apply:

Please complete the application found on MGCC’s website, EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org.

Completed applications can be sent via email to mgcc@massgcc.com with the subject line “2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund”.

MGCC can be reached by email: mgcc@massgcc.com

Loan Fund Details:

  • Who Qualifies: Open to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full- and part-time employees, including nonprofits (negative impact must be verifiable).
  • Terms and Conditions: This fund is being offered with no payments due for the first 6 months, then 30-months of principal and interest payments and no prepayment penalties.
  • Businesses can apply for loans up to $75,000.

About Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation:

MGCC is a quasi-public corporation of the Commonwealth that saves and creates jobs at small businesses, often minority and women-owned businesses, by providing financial services and managerial assistance. MGCC also promotes economic development throughout the state, focusing on Gateway Cities and low- to moderate-income communities. MGCC works with traditional financial institutions to make challenging loans bankable, working with community development corporations and other non-profits to provide financing for job-producing projects, and assisting a wide range of small businesses to find the growth capital they require. Since 2010, MGCC has served over 7,400 small businesses, and positively impacted more than 19,200 jobs with customized working capital financing commitments totaling over $122,000,000. For more information, visit EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org.

Original story here:

Restaurant/entertainment complex at Davy’s site is moving forward

At last week’s Planning Board meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the site plan for Cisco Kitchen + Bar, proposed by Stephen Silverstein, the founder of Not Your Average Joe’s and owner of the Black Whale and his partner Jay Harmann of Cisco Brewers in Nantucket.

According to Director of City Planning Tabitha Harkin, they are drafting the decision on the site plan and once it is signed it will be in the appeal period for 20 days. After that, Harkin said they can obtain building permits.

It was the second time the site plan had been before the Planning Board, and based on recommendations from the first hearing and their interaction with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Steve Gioiosa, President of SITEC Engineering, said some changes were made. Gioiosa was presenting the plan on behalf of Silverstein and Harmann.

The biggest changes to the original plan includes changing the surface of the entertainment area, which will have a space for live music and portable kiosks offering food and beverage service, from a turf surface to sand.

“We settled on going with a sand surface, the idea is to establish more of a coastal feel for the site,” Gioiosa said. “We have a beach area that exists to the south of the site.”

They also worked to make the space more accessible to cyclists, with bike racks offering spaces for 66 bikes, according to Gioiosa, and pulled pavement away from the shoreline to comply with environmental protections.

“I do feel that the Planning Board’s comments took us to a better place,” Silverstein said when reached for comment, saying their recommendations made the site more user and environmentally-friendly.

The Planning Board also said they would support the project as it pursued permission from the Zoning Board of Appeals to put in a seashell parking lot at the site.

At the Planning Board meeting Silverstein did say he and his partner were getting “fatigued with this project” because of the delays which were costing them money.

“The economics and the delays will make this a project that we’re not able to go forward on,” Silverstein said, if they didn’t get the necessary approvals soon.

Since the Planning Board voted to approve the site plan, Silvesterin said, “We fully intend to go forward. We still have to get through the Conservation Commission, we need our final approvals from the DEP, so there are a couple of things hanging out there, but I don’t expect any issues.”

Silverstein said he doesn’t think the approval process he’s gone through is atypical but he decided to say something at the meeting because, “I just needed them that night to not delay us any further, so I made a statement that we need approval otherwise the deal’s going to die.”

Now that they’re receiving site plan approval, Silverstien said, “It’s not a done deal but we are gaining momentum. I would be disappointed and surprised if it didn’t go forward.”

Silverstein said they expect to start site work construction on the estimated $5 million project in January, which would allow them to open in May.

Kathryn Duff, Chair of the Planning Board, said she imagines the project is going to be quite successful and told Silverstein at the meeting “I love how the plans were updated, really nice job.”

However, Duff did bring up a concern about pedestrian safety since they will be leasing a parking lot three blocks away for overflow and event parking.

“We’re proposing a deep use on this site and we need to think of many people walking from a parking area that’s three blocks away,” Duff said.

One of the conditions that the Planning Board added to their approval was that the applicant works with the Department of Public Infrastructure on delineating the pedestrian path from the additional parking area to the site.

Ward 6 Councilor Joseph Lopes attended the meeting and said he doesn’t see any traffic issues arising from the project.

Lopes said he had neighborhood meetings to discuss the project and said “Not one of the neighbors expresses any concerns related to [pedestrian travel to the parking area]. Their main concern was no parking on the west side of East Rodney French Boulevard.”

Lopes said he is already working with the appropriate groups to get no parking signs on that side of the street.

The neighbors of the site have been supportive, Silverstein said.

Something was going to go on that site, Silverstein said, and “The neighbors have decided that this operation under my oversight is the best it can be.”

The site will be based on Cisco Nantucket, and Silverstein said, it’s just a place where everybody feels good, with music, food, beverages, and sunshine.

“If Jimmy Buffett were to open a place, this is kind of what it would l like,” Silverstein said of the New Bedford project. “Sand and flip flops and fish sandwiches, outdoor cooking with pigs on rotisseries, and lobsters steaming, and oysters being shucked.”

Original story here.