Tuesday January 26, 2021
CHAMBER WELCOMES EXECUTIVE ORDER REGARDING BORDER CROSSINGS
The North Country Chamber of Commerce is welcoming an Executive Order by President Biden, instructing several key federal agencies to initiate talks with their Canadian and Mexican counterparts regarding how to eventually relieve the restrictions on personal travel over the land borders. The order engages the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State and Transportation Departments.

"This is the sort of official planning effort we have been calling for," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "Not a rush to reopening, which isn't in the cards anytime soon, but a commitment now to exploring agreed conditions and metrics along with possible steps that might eventually begin. For example, how about considering vaccination and test documentation at some point. One of the greatest frustrations of the longstanding closure of our border to most personal travel has been around the absence of any official discussions or planning regarding the eventual way forward. We thank President Biden for this step, and we thank Senator Schumer and the bi-partisan Northern Border Caucus in the House among others for helping to get this on the White House agenda so early."

The Chamber also continues to look forward to working with the task force recently organized by the Wilson Center and its Canada Institute, aiming to generate recommendations for consideration by the U.S. and Canadian governments by the end of March. "This process should now be able to feed information, ideas and stakeholder input to these agencies and their Canadian counterparts," notes Douglas who says he reached out to the center and to former Quebec Premier Jean Charest who co-leads the task force yesterday to express the Chamber's anxiousness to assist.

Garry Douglas
North Country Chamber of Commerce
President/CEO
Gov Cuomo Announces Rate of Transmission has Dropped Below One
Gov Cuomo announced, yesterday, that New York State's rate of transmission (Rt) has dropped below 1. An Rt of 1 or more means COVID-19 will spread quickly.
 
The Governor also announced that elective surgeries can resume in Erie County following a sustained decline in Western New York's positivity rate.

"We predicted that increased social activity would lead to a spike in COVID cases, and that the spike would eventually dissipate, and the ongoing fulfilment of that prediction is good news. The rate of transmission—one of the most important numbers—has now declined below one, meaning the virus is no longer spreading quickly. And when those numbers decrease, you can increase economic activity," Governor Cuomo said. This is good news, but don't get cocky with COVID—this beast has been ahead of us from the beginning and it will require New Yorkers to stay vigilant, wash their hands, wear masks and socially distance to get to the light at the end of the tunnel together."
Gov Updates NYers on State Vaccination Program
The total week 6 federal vaccine allocation has been delivered to providers for administration. New York's health care distribution sites have received 1,304,050 first doses and already administered 91 percent or 1,180,468 first dose vaccinations and 71 percent of first and second doses. Delivery of the week 7 allocation from the federal government will not begin arriving until the middle of this week.
 
"The entirety of our week six allocation was delivered to providers yesterday and already New York has administered 91 percent of its first doses" Governor Cuomo said. "Week after week what we find is, demand for the vaccine and our ability to distribute it quickly outpaces the federal supply. This will continue to happen unless we see an increase to our weekly allocation. We must keep up the momentum we've built by vaccinating all eligible New Yorkers while ensuring fair and equitable access to those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we need more vaccine doses in order to do so."
 
New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals far exceed the vaccine supply coming from the federal government. While the federal government has increased eligibility for the vaccine to include 7 million New Yorkers, the federal supply of vaccines has actually decreased. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.
NYSDOH clarifies Plattsburgh Vaccination Site's Second-Dose Procedures
The region’s new vaccination site continues to see a steady flow of drive-thru appointments as officials now clarify the procedures for second doses of COVID-19 vaccines there.

According to the Clinton County Health Department, residents who receive first doses on or after Jan. 20, will have their second doses scheduled on-site at the time of their appointment.
For residents who received the first dose before Jan. 20, their second doses will be scheduled by NYSDOH. This will be done by phone or email directly by New York State.

Officials have asked anyone who is scheduled for an appointment, but can no longer attend, to immediately cancel the appointment so others can register.
There is a link provided in the appointment confirmation email for any cancelations.
Join the North Country Chamber of Commerce and Excellus for our 2nd Webinar updating the region on the current status of the COVID-19 Vaccine in the Region. As well as answers to your questions.

Topics we would like to discuss:
  • How is the vaccination process going in the North Country?
  • What are the phases? Is a list available and how do people access it?
  • How does someone know they are eligible?
  • How does someone sign-up?
  • Should people be worried about a shortage?
  • How do people make a 2nd appointment?

Panelist Include:
  • Dr. Wouter Rietsema - Leading the North Country Regional Vaccination Network charged with planning and coordinating Covid-19 vaccination for the 7 counties of the North Country Economic Development Region.
  • Dr. Lisa Harris - Vice President Medical Affairs. Excellus
  • Margaret Searing, RN - Clinton County Health Department

Date & Time
  • Date: February 4th
  • Time: 1pm
  • Cost: FREE
Thank you to Excellus for their support, allowing us to keep these webinars on Vaccination Updates free to the community.
The Department of Health’s New York Forward Sports and Recreation Guidance has Been Updated
The Department of Health’s New York Forward Sports and Recreation guidance has been updated and posted on the “Statewide Guidelines” webpage. The detailed guidance read as follows:
 
People Section, Sports Classification Sub-Section (Page 5).
  • Effective July 6, 2020 in regions that have reached or surpassed Phase 3 of the State’s reopening and in accordance with this guidance, participants in lower and moderate risk sports and recreation activities may partake in all types of play.  
  • Effective February 1, 2021, participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments). 
  • Local health authorities should consider the following factors in authorizing or continuing to prohibit higher risk sports and recreational activities as, in many areas, these factors may weigh against permitting such activities: 
  • whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area, 
  • local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity, and 
  • local ability to monitor and enforce compliance. 
  • For all lower, moderate, and higher risk sports, travel for practice or play is prohibited outside of the region or contiguous counties/regions. Interstate travel for practice or play is strongly discouraged and, if undertaken, must strictly adhere to the requirements of the State's travel advisory
  • Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a red or orange zone may only be permitted following consultation with the respective state or local health authorities with consideration of the abovementioned factors. Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a yellow zone is permitted so long as it adheres to all applicable DOH guidance. 
Governor Cuomo Announces Open Enrollment for New Yorkers Extended Through March 31
As part of New York's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Open Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through March 31, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health or directly through insurers. Coverage start dates will vary:
  • Enroll by February 15: Coverage starts March 1
  • Enroll by March 15: Coverage starts April 1
  • Enroll by March 31: Coverage starts May 1  

Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs - Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus can enroll year-round. 

If you need health insurance or have questions, our staff can help. Please contact Lisa Bedard-Dupee at the North Country Chamber of Commerce for information.
Franklin County - Destination Cooperative Marketing Program
The Destination Cooperative Marketing Program (DCMP) is one of three new programs established by Franklin County and managed by the Franklin County Economic Development Corporation (FCEDC) as part of the comprehensive Destination Marketing Plan. FCEDC is the Tourism Promotion Agency for the Adirondack Frontier region which includes Malone, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake.

The DCMP is designed to offer local tourism-related attractions and businesses, or groups of tourism-related businesses financial support to undertake independently developed marketing efforts. Eligible expenses include: traditional marketing , digital marketing, mail marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing. We encourage applicants to use these funds to promote efforts in response to Covid-19.

The current Small Campaigns program category applications are due on January 31st. Applications must be completed and submitted online. 
Quebec's Curfew May Extend Past Feb. 8
With the number of new cases dropping, Premier François Legault said that Quebec is moving in the right direction in its battle with COVID-19, but it has a long way to go before the crisis is over.

After nearly two weeks of living under a curfew and with other restrictions in place, Legault said Quebec’s collective efforts are yielding results.

The other bit of good news is that as of Thursday, just about all CHSLD residents in Quebec, a total of 37,948 people, have received their first dose of vaccine. Another 125,357 health-care workers have also been inoculated.

“The curfew is paying off,” Legault said at a news conference at the legislature. “There are fewer gatherings after 8 p.m. and less contagion. We’ve been going in the right direction in the last 10 days, but there’s still a long way to go.

“We must be patient and continue our efforts, especially for people over 65.”
For the first time in three months, projections from the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESS) suggest the number of patients in hospital will drop, which will ease lots of pressure on health-care workers.
Clinton County Health Department Grant - Operation Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper
Operation Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (LQC) grant is offering up to $8,000 for your business or community based organization to think outside the box and create a SAFE, FUN, EYE-CATCHING, HEALTHY space for your community.

Applications are due March 9, 2021, the winners will be announced by April 1, 2021.

They encourage you to be creative!
Today's Dose Sponsored By:
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.
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