Thursday September 10, 2020
The North Country Chamber of Commerce is calling for urgent attention to the future of the region's restaurants following a survey showing looming issues.
"As we move into fall, we have taken the pulse of our area restaurants and there are real reasons for concern" states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "74% started or expanded outdoor dining which clearly helped many through the summer, but this will now fade quickly with cold weather. And the reality is that, even with the relief valve of outdoor seating to supplement the 50% restriction on inside seating, 56% indicate they have been hanging on but are not profitable. When the outdoor business disappears, they face devastation with a 50% seating limit."
Only 29% believe they can remain viable at 50% inside occupancy without outdoor seating. 22% believe they need 75% to be viable while 48% need a return to full inside capacity to remain viable.
The Chamber found that federal and other loans have also been especially important to sustaining North Country restaurants, with 64% having used the PPP (Payroll Protection Plan) program with its forgivable loans, 32% having used the SBA EIDL loan program, and 38% having used other borrowing. Many used two or all three of these.
"Federal programs such as PPP definitely have helped a great many North Country businesses survive through the summer," notes Douglas. "Especially restaurants and other hospitality businesses. But with the summer and outdoor service fading, and with capacity limitations remaining in place indoors, it is essential that Congress and the President enact a second round of PPP as soon as possible." According to the Chamber, 64% of area restaurants identify the ability to access a second round of the PPP program as "Extremely Important" to their continuation, while another 16% say it is moderately important.
"Without a return to higher inside capacity, which is not likely soon, we need two things to happen," asserts Douglas. "We need Washington to allow these businesses a second round of PPP access, and we need continued strong support of our restaurants by everyone locally. 84% of area restaurants say they have noted and appreciate increased local support to help them. This will now become even more important through at least the end of the year."
With guidance from area restaurants, the Chamber is developing a renewed "Support Local" campaign as well as new tools it can use to support and promote North Country restaurants, including a dedicated website and social media program. It will also develop future informational and support programs for restaurants, building on the Chamber's actively used safety and advisory webinars which have served more than 5,500 business participants since March.
SUNY Launching Easily Accessible, Real Time COVID-19 Case Tracker Dashboard to Efficiently Monitor, Respond to, and Contain Virus
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced the launch of a SUNY system-wide COVID-19 case tracker dashboard. 

The centralized dashboard will provide real time, up-to-date information on COVID-19 cases, testing, and quarantine and isolation space availability across SUNY's 64 colleges and universities to more efficiently monitor, respond to, and contain the virus.
VIRTUAL RESOURCE SERIES: Workforce Recruitment and Retention Tools
Locating and retaining good employees can be a difficult task, regardless of your business type, size, and industry. Throw a pandemic in the mix and things become even more complicated. The good news is that you are not in this alone, and there are a number of programs and individuals able to help!

  • Date: September 15, 2020
  • Time: 1:00PM-2:00PM
  • Cost: FREE, Registration Required

Join us for a webinar that will feature speakers from the North Country Workforce Development BoardWorkforce Development Institute, and New York State Department of Labor who will provide information on a wide-range of free to low-cost services that can help you:

  • Advertise open positions and be matched with applicants
  • Streamline the hiring process by managing resumes and pre-interviews
  • Retain employees and avoid layoffs with the NYS Shared Work Program
  • Close the skills gap with the apprenticeship model 
Montreal #2 in North America Rebound
Montreal is second only to Phoenix in terms of its economic recovery from COVID-19, an economic briefing of North America’s 20 biggest cities by Montreal International claims.

The economic briefing says sectors that are bouncing back include those most heavily affected by social-distancing measures.
Business After Hours - WE ARE BACK...Safely!
The North Country Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the return of Business After Hours! We are eager to get back to in-person networking in a safe and social environment - we hope you are too! 

Join us on Thursday, October 15th at Northern Insuring Agency, 5:30pm. 

The North Country Chamber of Commerce and Northern Insuring Agency are taking all necessary precautions to ensure a safe environment. Attendance will be limited to follow the NYS regulations, masks are to be worn at all times and social distance will be respected.

Come see what is happening at Northern Insuring and their newly renovated space. Enjoy snacks, a beverage and quality networking! (Outside too, if weather permits.)

  • You must pre-register and pre-pay or be invoiced
  • Masks Required
  • 2 representatives per company (the event is limited to 50 people)

Got questions? Let us know.

Reminder: Business After Hours is open to full members of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and their employees.
North Country Chamber - Energy Alliance Energy Savings Program
The North Country Chamber's EnergyAlliance program gives you the opportunity to lower your energy bills by choosing more competitive rates. There is no cost to sign up, or to participate, however you must be a NYSEG or National Grid Customer. Better yet, EnergyNext, the Chamber's consultant, will handle the entire process, ensuring that you get the best rate and experience.

Through the EnergyAlliance your business will be able to secure fixed-rates from several top-tier suppliers who have been carefully selected by EnergyNext to participate in the program. This gives you peace of mind, options, and the opportunity to manage your energy cost and risk over time. 

Simple to switch, simple to save!

To request more information or a participation authorization form, please reach out to Becky!

  • 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.

  • Now Hiring: Whether you are hiring or looking for work, we have a page dedicated to helping pair potential employees with employers.

  • Webinars: Did you miss one of our webinars, you can find them all here.

  • SCORE: Visit Scores Coronavirus page for webinars and useful articles for small businesses.
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