An Open Letter from Martyn Roetter, NABB Chairman
April 17, 2020

NABB in the Coronavirus Era

First and foremost, I hope that you are all succeeding in staying safe–for yourself and all the members of your household as well as for your neighbors. I also hope that the information that NABB has been providing you is proving helpful. We are disseminating this information and advice, drawn from the most reliable sources at the City, State, and even Federal level primarily by way of our weekly e-news and our website, nabbonline.org. We are also making use of social media channels such as our Facebook page.

NABB’s charter emphasizes the importance of preserving and sustaining a vibrant and inclusive Back Bay community. While our lives have become more problematic, and our future more uncertain, we are also uncovering new opportunities to establish and build connections.

We are very mindful that the risk of isolation, so destructive to community, is heightened in today’s circumstances. Convivial gatherings are out for the moment. But new ways of contacting are springing up: neighbors on a street who may not know each other despite years of having lived nearby, now join in scheduled clapping and singing to demonstrate their admiration for health care workers and other essential staff, and daily bagpipe concerts occur in front of the Vendome, drawing appropriately distanced observers. More such events will undoubtedly arise as the quarantine continues.

However, much of our communication now is by computer, and this makes life particularly difficult for some of our neighbors. If you know of any neighbors who may be vulnerable to isolation, particularly those who are not regular users of online communication facilities such as email and Facebook, we urge you to reach out to them. You can contact them by telephone and simply ask how they are doing. You can print out some of the information on NABB’s website and in our e-news, including information on services that can be accessed by telephone, and slip it under their door and/or place it in visible common areas in your condominium or apartment building. You can offer to help those who are housebound with errands.

At this point the information we are emphasizing includes:

  • Connections to the City of Boston’s resources designated to help residents with job losses, small business loans, access to food, answers to questions, etc;
  • Up-to-date developments on the restrictions imposed by state and municipal authorities, the actions they are taking to mitigate and eventually bring the coronavirus pandemic under control, and recommendations for how to stay safe and deal with problems and concerns that arise;
  • Links to various websites that offer the ability to conduct video chats or conferencing calls such as Zoom, Google, Facetime, Skype and others, with instructions on how to use them to connect to family and friends;
  • Advice and tips on ordering delivery of groceries and other household items, including sources that members have found useful and how to cope with long backlogs;
  • Links to performing arts, theaters, art museums, educational sites, and parks from around the area and around the world. These sites can help to keep us in touch with much of what makes life beautiful and worthwhile.

We welcome your ideas and suggestions for ways to help all residents of the Back Bay understand that we are a community, and that it is as a community that we will survive the present and move into the future even stronger. Please send any thoughts you have to suggestions@NABBonline.org. We would be glad to hear from you.

Martyn Roetter, Chair