Thursday, November 19, 2020
The North Country Chamber of Commerce has termed the latest thirty day extension of border crossing restrictions to December 21 "fully expected at this point, unfortunately."

"With increasing COVID-19 numbers on both sides of the border, we have had no reason to expect any relaxation of existing restrictions on non-essential border crossings at this time," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "Indeed, while we continue to advocate for consideration of some modest adjustments for family, property owners and essential business activity, and for a more transparent planning process for eventual transition, we should now anticipate the situation remaining mostly unchanged into the new year."

 "In the meantime, commercial activity continues uninterrupted in both directions and this continues to support our area's manufacturers," he notes. "Interest from Canadian companies in the U.S. market remains strong, setting us up for what could be a good period of investment and growth next year as we come out of this challenge. The Chamber is conducting a virtual session with almost twenty Quebec companies next week in fact."

"As border restrictions continue through the holidays," Douglas adds, "it becomes even more important that North Country residents continue to shop local and dine local, helping our area businesses into the new year and beyond. Actually, people in the area have in fact been doing this, which accounts for why local sales tax receipts are not down as much as once expected, but the holiday season is especially important for many of our small enterprises. More information on the Chamber's #shoplocaldinelocal campaign can be found on the Chamber website at"
Governor Cuomo Announces Updated COVID-19 Micro-Cluster Focus Zones
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday updated COVID-19 micro-cluster focus zones in New York State.

Based on data metrics, the existing yellow zones in Broome and Orange Counties will be removed, and Brooklyn's orange zone will transition to a yellow zone. Part of Erie County's yellow zone will transition to an orange warning zone, and part of Niagara County adjacent to Erie will become a yellow zone. Changes to zones go into effect Friday for business restrictions and Monday for school closures.

As of Tuesday the North Country's infection rate was 1.9% and not in a hot zone.
NYS Pushes Back Start for High-Risk Winter Sports
The tentative start date for high-risk winter sports has been moved again for New York high schools, this time to early January, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday.

Basketball, ice hockey, wrestling and competitive cheer would be able to start Jan. 4, contingent upon authorization from state health officials. 

Dr. Robert Zayas, executive director of NYSPHSAA, said member schools had expressed concerns pertaining to the increase in COVID-19 infection rates.

Low and moderate risk winter sports, which include bowling, gymnastics, indoor track and field, skiing, swimming and diving, are still on schedule to begin Nov. 30.
New Tool to Help New Yorkers Access Critical Benefits
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new web application that will help struggling New Yorkers locate benefits to assist them during their time of need. Developed through a public-private partnership with, the user-friendly social services discovery application will help individuals who are either new to or unfamiliar with the state's social programs network. 

"COVID-19 has caused unprecedented demand for social services in New York, including families and individuals who have never relied on social programs before," Governor Cuomo said. "This new web application, the result of a public-private partnership, will provide New Yorkers with a user-friendly, stigma-free resource to get the assistance and relief they need." 

The "Find Services" web application provides an easy-to-use starting point for first-time users of social programs. The web application prompts each user with a series of simple questions aimed at narrowing the field of possible services to those that are best designed to serve their needs. After answering the questions, the user is provided with a ranked list of potential services along with a description to help residents judge if the service is right for them and provide them with more information about how to apply. 
A Timely Reminder from Assemblyman Billy Jones
"COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and believe me I understand COVID fatigue. However, now more than ever we must be diligent for the sake of our economy, schools and overall health. Please take the necessary precautions to stop the spread. The North Country always comes together in challenging situations, and we must continue to look out for each other during these unprecedented times."

Snowmaking has Begun at Whiteface Mountain
Whiteface Mountain, in Wilmington, N.Y., turned on the snow guns today, Tuesday, November 17.

Crews have begun snowmaking at Mid-Station on Upper Valley, Lower Valley and Fox Trails. Plans are to continue snowmaking efforts through Wednesday evening as temperatures allow.
  • Forward NY: Official State Website for opening procedures and guidelines.

  • 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.
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.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce