COVID-19 in Boston

bakgwailo

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I just caught up on the past week worth of this thread. I regret it. I put falcon on ignore and I politely suggest folks stop engaging him on these ideological, off-topic rants. This thread is no longer about Covid in Boston. It’s a disgrace of moderation. Mods I know you have a challenging job, but you need to do better.
Yeah, I regret doing the same thing. We need a dumpster fire emoji.
 
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Vagabond

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Just to be clear, no one is saying that opinions are not important to this thread. The complaints are that this has gone wildly off-topic.

From the site rules...

Posting Guidelines
  • Stay on topic. Read the thread subject and previous postings carefully before replying to a topic. There is some room to move around in a thread but keep it to a minimum. We want this to be a forum that provides knowledge to its members rather than a soapbox for people who just want to add to their post counts. We will warn you if we think you’re posting too often about nothing and we may move posts that have value but are off-topic. Don’t take it personally. We just want the content to stay strong and the forum to stay organized

Trolling
No trolling. Trolling is a post or an ongoing series of posts of an antagonistic and disruptive nature, including borderline pathological attention to certain threads, which add little new perspective or information, and those which will only serve to needlessly and baselessly provoke a particular member or a group of members.

 

George_Apley

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Have I sworn once? No. Typically, debates are great here ! But once someone throws swears out, it is not worth it. Brings anger into interesting debates and then the fun is gone. The personal attacks are also unwarranted. Not everyone is on edge either.
Swearing isn't necessarily a signal of anger. Often it's for emphasis. Certainly reading text eliminates a lot of tonality and makes to hard to read emotion or intent. I interpreted your posts as angry based on the adjectives you were using. Maybe I was wrong. I'm not seeing a ton of personal attacks in this thread. Again, you have brought in needless jabs about "TDS" and "how many jobs have you created?"...

By "everyone is on edge" I meant that people are generally touchy. People are generally tired of quarantine/lockdown/social distancing. We could all be better served by taking the time to really read what people are saying and trying to respond to that, rather than jumping to conclusions. I'll include myself in that.
 

George_Apley

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I just caught up on the past week worth of this thread. I regret it. I put falcon on ignore and I politely suggest folks stop engaging him on these ideological, off-topic rants. This thread is no longer about Covid in Boston. It’s a disgrace of moderation. Mods I know you have a challenging job, but you need to do better.
Sorry if I let it spin too far. I'm able to jump on the board a few times a day. It's really been about two days of this escalating, and seems to have calmed. The tangents have calmed down. I don't know about a "disgrace", though. I issued warnings and shut down tangents. The balance of complaints between "don't move or delete posts" and "why the hell is this post still on the board" is a tightrope walk. Happy to take more feedback in DMs, just not here.

Now let's carry on with COVID-19...
 

George_Apley

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On the actual NEWS front:

From the Herald: Marty Walsh Rolls out Restaurant, Small Business Aid; Says Pandemic Could Last '8 Months'
Lisa Kashinsky said:
When it comes to dining, Walsh said the city is streamlining the process for restaurants to use outdoor space through the licensing board’s existing one-day permits, is lifting the “alcohol with food only” restriction that currently prevents establishments from serving alcohol outdoors without food and is waiving fees for the approved use of outdoor space.

Walsh floated the idea Thursday of “parklets” — parking spaces where tables can be set up — or closing down parking lots for extra restaurant space. He’s also talked about partial street closures. But the mayor said fully shutting down streets would be difficult — citing the fire station on Hanover Street in the North End as an example.

Walsh implored eateries to fill out the licensing board’s online questionnaire that will serve as a starting point for outdoor expansion.

The mayor also said Boston is disbursing $4 million in Small Business Relief Fund grants to 1,100 businesses throughout the city, 95% of which have 15 or fewer employees, 52% are owned by people of color, 49% are owned by women and 46% by immigrants.
For a "dammit, what a bummer" read, here's a list of "gone for good" restaurants that have so-far closed in metro-Boston from Boston.com
Here are the Boston-area restaurants that have permanently closed amid the coronavirus pandemic

I frequented Stella and Coda fairly often, and have some good memories of Cuchi Cuchi. Sound like Coda was going out in the fall anyway, but still a bummer to miss the summer season.
 

meddlepal

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There will be many more. I really expect half or more restaurants and bars to fold within the next 6 to 12 months. The outdoor seating solution won't work in the winter months. Office worker after work revenue won't return.
 

HenryAlan

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Interestingly on the restaurant front, neighborhood spots seem to be doing better than the downtown/after work spots. Shanti in Dorchester and Roslindale is open, but Shanti in Kendal Square isn't, just as an example. I really can't think of any restaurants in my neighborhood that have closed, but there definitely seems to be a long and growing list of hot spot type restaurants going under. Possibly another aspect to this is a question of ownership. Corporate owned restaurants will close quickly once they find operations to be unprofitable. Sole proprietor/family owned places, on the other hand, may well feel they need to continue, even at a loss, because they have nothing else to fall back on.
 

George_Apley

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Definitely. I'd expect the Back Bay, downtown neighborhoods and the Seaport to get hit the hardest with restaurant closings. Many neighborhood spots are surviving so far, if not thriving. People are ordering take-out in big numbers. Obviously it's very situational for each restaurant and their specific financial footings.
 

Bananarama

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It's really interesting and hopeful to see how some cities are responding, if not only to highlight how Boston is lagging.

Just look at all the pedestrian-only streets around NYC that have gone into effect. Such an in-tune community health response.

walk.JPG


Is there any movement towards this kind of thing here in Boston? I'm tired of the speculative articles with no follow-through.
Is part of Memorial Drive closed today at least? I heard it stayed open on the planned first weekend in April for understandable reasons. But it makes sense now more than ever to shut it.
 

jklo

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The issue I think specifically with Boston itself... is that where you think you would do it, it doesn't have much in the way of a residential population. Memorial Drive is closed but only fraction of it, and of course that's not Boston.
 

Bananarama

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The issue I think specifically with Boston itself... is that where you think you would do it, it doesn't have much in the way of a residential population. Memorial Drive is closed but only fraction of it, and of course that's not Boston.
Good point. Got me thinking...
Boston actually separates pedestrian ways from roads pretty well already. The Esplanade, Commonwealth, the Greenway. A good number of parkway spaces.
I guess Newbury and Charles St are the two standout possibilities I see. My selfish side would like to see parts of Mass Ave go pedestrian only, particularly around Central, Symphony, and Harvard Square. I can imagine the traffic ramifications being brutal though.

We probably don't need nearly as much of an effort as NYC with our population density, but a few strategic places in urban cores with mixed use would be nice.

Coincidentally, Sommerville just released their own version of this kind of thing: https://somervoice.somervillema.gov/covid19mobility
 

Charlie_mta

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NYC has a much more logical system of blocks and parallel streets that allow some streets to be closed off while still maintaining a decent circulation system. It's tougher in Boston and surrounding cities with their haphazard and discontinuous street patterns.
 

jklo

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So do you guys think the virus will rekindle interest in Ye Ol Suburban Office Park? It would be more feasible to reopen sooner at least, with driving alone vs the MBTA and cubes vs Open Offices.

Maybe once Marty realizes that, it will get the wheels moving a bit.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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So do you guys think the virus will rekindle interest in Ye Ol Suburban Office Park? It would be more feasible to reopen sooner at least, with driving alone vs the MBTA and cubes vs Open Offices.

Maybe once Marty realizes that, it will get the wheels moving a bit.
There's really no functional difference. Consider the annual office flu bug: starts in the schools, spreads to the family, lands in the office. That's Contagion 101 sequence right there for any generic respiratory illness...which is why the schools were first to go in this crisis. And Patient Zero is probably bringing it into Ye Olde 'Burban Sprawlpark in the family car they never clean that's been sneezed and snotted all over such that the dashboard makes a mighty fine petri dish. Especially because people are a lot less likely to remember to wash their hands after gripping their own steering wheel used by the spouse and teenage kids than they are after grabbing a strap on the train. Factor demographics that probably favor by a tick the workers in the 'burb office having more young families compared to the trendy Kendall open floorplan, and any physical differences with contagions vs. the layout of the space get lost in demographic noise.

I mean...we really don't have to guess at this one. If there was even the slightest white-collar workspace vulnerability COVID would've already exploited it to the nines. As is, there's been no functional difference between cases with city-slicker workers and the 'burbs cutting along any lines other than straight-up socioeconomic vulnerability, which of course hits inner cities hardest. We'd be seeing a "WOW!" signal in the numbers long, long ago if there were functional difference in workplace transmission rates on apples-apples comparisons like urban vs. suburban office siting of same-jobs.
 

Vagabond

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So do you guys think the virus will rekindle interest in Ye Ol Suburban Office Park? It would be more feasible to reopen sooner at least, with driving alone vs the MBTA and cubes vs Open Offices.
I think it's the exact opposite... Suburban office jobs with enormous cubicle farms are most likely to have been best suited to work-from-home policies. Watch a revolt after telling those workers to go back to their driving commute again.

Almost none of my under 30 employees have cars, and I'm looking for office space. You think I'm going to ask them all fork out $5-10k a year to buy one?

High-end talent remains in the city. Lawyers, bankers, and consultants will still be in the urban core. Tech and Pharma will still be parked right next to MIT.
 

jklo

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Almost none of my under 30 employees have cars, and I'm looking for office space. You think I'm going to ask them all fork out $5-10k a year to buy one?
I think you'd have a hard time getting that demo specifically to willingly board a packed MBTA train for some time, let alone work 2 feet apart in an open office.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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I wonder when the vaccine is finally approved if we will have google maps on which areas are the vaccine zone and the ones that are not.
 

meddlepal

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So do you guys think the virus will rekindle interest in Ye Ol Suburban Office Park? It would be more feasible to reopen sooner at least, with driving alone vs the MBTA and cubes vs Open Offices.
I played golf with a guy heavily involved in the commercial real estate insurance business today and he thinks commercial real estate is toast. He's not even sure he's even going to go back into an office ever again himself. Every company is suddenly realizing they don't need a massive centralized physical presence.

Places like Boston and NYC could be in for a radical change in the next five to ten years.
 

fattony

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I think you'd have a hard time getting that demo specifically to willingly board a packed MBTA train for some time, let alone work 2 feet apart in an open office.
He said “under-30”, not “over-60.”
 

Charlie_mta

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I played golf with a guy heavily involved in the commercial real estate insurance business today and he thinks commercial real estate is toast. He's not even sure he's even going to go back into an office ever again himself. Every company is suddenly realizing they don't need a massive centralized physical presence.

Places like Boston and NYC could be in for a radical change in the next five to ten years.
Remote working was already gaining momentum before COVID-19, but will now accelerate even more. The technology is there and people now realize how effective it is.
 

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