Thursday March 18, 2021
Updated NYS Guidance for Casinos, Movie Theaters, Bowling Alleys, Gyms and Fitness Centers
On March 22, indoor fitness classes can begin reopening statewide at 33 percent capacity with health screening and contact information required at sign-in. Classes should be scheduled to allow additional time for cleaning and disinfection between sessions. Local health departments shall inspect before or within 2 weeks of the fitness center opening to ensure compliance.
 
Beginning April 5, the 11 p.m. curfew currently in place for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiards halls, gyms and fitness centers will be lifted. The 11 p.m. curfew for food and beverage establishments and the 12 a.m. curfew for catered events will remain in effect. Both curfews will be evaluated in late-April.
 
"New York is moving forward with reopening our economy and looking forward to a post-COVID world," Governor Cuomo said. "We know the vaccine is the weapon that defeats this invisible enemy and we are getting more shots in arms than ever before. As we re-open and an increasing number of New Yorkers receive their vaccines, it is more important than ever to continue the practices we know stop the spread of COVID-19. I encourage New Yorkers to continue to wear their masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands. We are reaching the light at the end of the tunnel and if we stay New York Tough, we will get there together."
IRS Extends Filing Deadlines
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.

"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to."
Another St. Patrick's Day Event in the Books!
The North Country Chamber of Commerce has been hosting the St. Patrick’s Day event for more than 60 years. After a rough 2020, we came back this year– virtually, but that did not stop us from some Irish Shenanigans!

Amidst a pandemic, we had to once again go virtual but we wanted to ensure an entertaining event!

We must give a special extra shout out to Matt Boire, for going along with us as we reworked this event, he spent countless hours writing scripts and having a camera up close and personal, Kevin Killeen,Deacon Mark Bennett,Kelly Donoghue and Jay Lesage, Matt Spiegel and his team at Olive Ridley’s, Adam Crosley and Gaelen Trombley as well as Chris and Jacob at Boire Benner Group.

Thank you to our sponsors, CDPHP, Kavanaugh Realty, Dannemora Federal Credit Union and Boire Benner Group.

And lastly, Thank You for your continued support!
Bob Smith Named 2021 Irishperson of the Year
For those of you who don’t know Bob Smith he has been an incredible leader in our community for more than 45 years. He is the owner of Nine Platt Hospitality group, which includes Best Western Plus – Plattsburgh, and the former Ground Round. He has been active for years in charitable and services organizations.

Beyond that he was one of the leaders in developing and advocating for the Clinton County Occupancy tax. If you need a hand Bob is there! As he liked to say, “There is no right way to do the wrong thing!”

He is married to the love of his life, Diane and they have 3 kids, Lindsey, Kristen and Michael, as well as 5 grandchildren. And we would be remised if we did not mention his adorable furchild, Quincy, a 100lb Bernadoodle.

He credits his success to his family, especially his wife, Diane, his staff, including his COO and all around right arm Julie Kramer and his father for teaching him the value of community.

Fun fact, Bob’s father was also named Irishperson of the year in 1972, so this is one of the few Father & Son Irishperson duos.
Area Unemployment Numbers out for January
The N.Y.S. Labor Department has released unemployment numbers for January 2021. Statewide, unemployment stood at 9.4% compared with 4.1% a year earlier. Unemployment rates for our area counties for January were as follows:

  • CLINTON: 7.3% compared with 5.5% in January 2020.
  • ESSEX: 6.8% compared with 5.9%
  • FRANKLIN: 6.5% compared with 5.8%
  • HAMILTON: 6.9% compared with 8.6%
  • WARREN: 7.2% compared with 5.7%
International Trade Week a Success!
Thanks to the cooperative efforts of the Chamber, Consulate General of Canada in New York, and federal agencies in both the United States and Canada, the annual International Trade Day was successfully converted to a virtual event held over several days and attended by more people than ever.

Special thanks to Linda Soltis, Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada in NY; Sharon Swiatek Assistant Director Field Operations, USCBP; Jessica Rupert, Supervisory Program Manager, Field Readiness Coordinator (ACE), USCBP; and Dina Mansour, Advisor, International Market Development, Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, who worked tirelessly with us over several months to make this event a reality.

Over 220 people attended one or more days to get information on timely topics such as Getting COVID Related Goods across the Border, Immigration/Work Visas, Cargo transport regulations, and USMCA/CUSMA. On Day 2, there was a Leadership briefing by US and Canadian officials that focused on our shared economy and strong relationship. COVID has changed many things in both of our countries.

This event demonstrated that though much has changed, the relationship we’ve enjoyed for the past 200 years remains strong and benefits all of us.
NYS Excelsior Pass to Launch Soon!
In the coming days, New York State will be launching Excelsior Pass, a tool that allows New Yorkers and visitors to securely present proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. This unique app provides venues and patrons with a secure method to easily present, scan and confirm test and vaccine information to ensure convenient event flow-through. More information about the app is available in the attached presentation, and we encourage businesses to download and use the app for future events.
 
Additionally, to make COVID-19 diagnostic testing even more available for New Yorkers, the State recently launched the New York Forward Rapid Test Program. This is a unique public-private partnership to make low-cost rapid testing available to the public to support enhanced economic activity, including weddings, catered events and arts and entertainment venues. Visit NY.gov/RapidTestProgram to learn more about this initiative and find sites in your area – new locations are being continuously added ​statewide.
To help the North Country reopen safely and meet the state and local mandates, The North Country Chamber of Commerce has created a comprehensive list of resources to navigate state and local requirements. Check out the home page for details. There is also a series of webinars available for businesses to help educate and provide answers to common questions.
Today's Dose is Generously Supported By:
QUICK LINKS:
  • NYS Vaccination Updates: Official Site for making an appointment to get the COVID-19 Vaccine.
  • Forward NY: Official State Website for opening procedures and guidelines.
  • NYS Travel Advisory: Stay up to date on the latest NYS Travel Advisory Updates.
  • Looking for Supplies: If your business is looking for hard to find protective products, we have created a list of businesses offering hand sanitizer, gloves, wipes, masks and other items.
  • SCORE: Small business owners are resilient and can power through this challenging time, with SCORE by their side.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce
518.563.1000