Northampton clarifies rule around e-commerce

  • Amy Cahillane, executive director of the Downtown Northampton Association. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/12/2020 6:31:07 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Downtown Northampton Association has received clarification from the city on state rules on the owners of nonessential businesses being able to go into their businesses and engage in e-commerce.

Amy Cahillane, executive director of the Downtown Northampton Association, said the guidance around Gov. Charlie Baker’s order shutting down nonessential businesses wasn’t clear when it came to business owners of brick-and-mortar stores engaging in e-commerce.

“The city solicitor actually reviewed the governor’s order,” said Mayor David Narkewicz.

The review of the governor’s order shutting down nonessential businesses, as well as the questions stemming from it, produced the clarification that owners of a nonessential business may go into their store and ship products that are ordered online.

“I think people have been doing this,” said Cahillane.

She also said that she’s sure her members will be grateful that the guidance is clear now.

No employee, and only one owner at a time, may go into a nonessential business and ship products.

“I’m supporting the city solicitor’s decision,” said Narkewicz.

He also said that there are no plans at this time to put into place city rules that would tighten regulations in this area.

Cahillane said that those with nonessential businesses have no other means of earning income currently. She also said that, although she doesn’t know of any downtown businesses that are going to be permanently closing at this point, the longer the shutdown goes on the likelier it is that there will be stores and restaurants that don’t make it.

“It’s hard to predict what the future of downtown will look like,” Cahillane said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at

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