Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"COVID-19 is spreading in New York, and the increased number of cases is taking place throughout the state. This is not an Upstate or downstate issue—all New Yorkers, regardless of where they live, have cause for concern," Governor Cuomo said. "We are continuing to use a comprehensive micro-cluster strategy and increase our testing capacity to new heights. However, our success also depends on the vigilance and smart behavior of New Yorkers. Wash your hands, stay socially distanced and wear a mask. Local governments, do the enforcement. We're going to get through this pandemic, but only if we do it together and stay New York Tough."
The Governor noted that the positive testing rate in all focus areas under the state's Micro-Cluster strategy is 4.19 percent, and outside the focus zone areas is 2.50 percent. Within the focus areas, 22,117 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 927 positives. In the remainder of the state, not counting these focus areas, 102,448 test results were reported, yielding 2,563 positives. 

"Our actions today determine our positivity rate tomorrow, so follow the public health law - wear a mask and adhere to gathering limits."
You Can Pay Less in Taxes & Give More to Charity this Year!
As we quickly approach the 2020 holiday season, it is important to not forget about our local non-profits who work so hard to support those in our community in-need. There are many ways to give back – can food drives, gift collection, volunteering, and more – but thanks to a provision in the CARES Act, there has never been a better time to consider making a cash donation to your non-profit of choice.
As you know, on March 27th, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act which allowed taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions from their 2020 taxes. An article from Kiplinger.com summarizes it well, “In short, with the CARES Act, if you donate up to $300 in cash to a qualified organization, your adjusted gross income will be reduced up to $300.”

This applies only to cash contributions to qualified nonprofits, not gifts made through your Donor Advised Fund or business contributions if you are incorporated. The deduction applies only to personal income tax and is capped at $300, regardless of filing status (single or joint). Even if you don't itemize you can still claim that $300 deduction for charitable gifts. 

The IRS maintains a database with every qualified organization, which you can search based on name or location, to make sure your charity of choice qualifies.

Of course, you should seek guidance from a qualified tax professional or use a reputable tax software. Donate up to $300 before 12/31/2020, keep the receipts, help a charitable cause, and pay less in taxes. That’s a win-win!

Martha Pritchard Spear, MBA, is a business consultant specializing in nonprofits and fundraising. She lives in Lake Placid, NY. www.MarthaSpear.com
Governor Says, NY is Ready to Tighten COVID Rules
Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised the possibility Saturday of implementing additional heightened COVID-19 restrictions in New York as new cases, hospitalizations and deaths steadily increase as the pandemic rages with double-digit infection rates in more than 25 U.S. states and territories.

The state Coronavirus Task Force and Cuomo’s top aides consider science and COVID-19 data when establishing new pandemic rules to help curb the expected spread of the virus through the fall and winter.

“If the numbers go up, and they’re increasing, then you have to restrict activity,” Cuomo said Saturday afternoon during a conference call with reporters. “... It’s human behavior, and if those numbers go up, we stand ready to tighten the valve.”

“It’s a pure consequence of actions,” Cuomo said. “Some people offer a false choice — I want no restrictions, but I want to take no precautions. That is not an option in life.”

Out-of-state and international visitors from states and nations with surging COVID-19 infection rates continue to land in New York, increasing the chance for community spread across the state, Cuomo said.

Neighboring Pennsylvania’s coronavirus infection rate increased to about 9.6% Saturday, with 6.8% positive in New Jersey and 4.8% in Connecticut — three states thousands of people commute to and from into New York each day.
New York State Partners with Billy Crystal for 'Mask Up' Campaign
A new baseball-themed “Mask Up America” public service announcement. The PSA features a variety of baseball fans wearing masks imprinted with the logos of their favorite teams. This new PSA, narrated by Billy Crystal, is one in a series launched by the Governor in New York and offered to broadcasters across the nation by the Ad Council to educate the public on the importance of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the series of PSAs has been viewed across the nation more than 15 million times.
The Strand Center for the Arts - Artist Store is open!
Shop local this holiday seasons and choose a locally made handmade gift. Stop in the Strand's Artist Store located inside the Art Center. They have everything from pottery, jewelry, glassware, woodwork, paintings, yarns, handmade masks and more! With every purchase you make you are supporting local community artists and art center. New things coming next week, so be sure to stop in often to check it all out.
  • 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