Friday July 24, 2020
Hello Chamber Members and Partners,

Here are the latest updates and resources for businesses and employees during this uncertain time.

Send us any questions or updates you may have. We are here to help provide information, connect the dots and assure those in the North Country that we will get through this together.

Onward and Be Well!
Chamber Welcomes Restored Access to Trusted Traveler Program for New Yorkers
The North Country Chamber of Commerce is welcoming today's decision by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to restore access to Trusted Traveler programs for New Yorkers. Access to such accelerated border crossing and travel programs as NEXUS and FAST was suspended for New Yorkers needing to apply for initial or renewed status last year in connection with a dispute over DHS access to New York State motor vehicle driver's records as part of security and background checks.

"With all of the continuing extension of restrictions at the U.S.-Canadian border, it's great to finally have some good news," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "While personal travel across the border is currently extremely limited, it is excellent to have these programs fully back in place for New Yorkers for the eventual restoration of freer cross border travel. And it is immediately important for truck drivers who have or need FAST status in order to drive commercial goods across the border. For these New Yorkers, getting or keeping FAST is a requirement for employment by many companies."

"We express special thanks to Assemblyman Billy Jones and Senator Betty Little for securing language in the State budget this year, allowing DHS to access New York driving records specifically for Trusted Traveler application processing, providing the basis for this long awaited federal decision to restore access. And we thank Congresswoman Elise Stefanik who has worked steadily and with determination to obtain such a decision from Homeland security."
Statement from Governor Cuomo:
"After the Department of Homeland Security announced the ban on the Trusted Traveler Program for New York residents in February, I immediately met with President Trump at the White House to discuss what -- to the extent that there were bonafide concerns -- needed to be done to address the issue while still protecting the privacy of all New Yorkers. Subsequently the matter was dealt with in the state budget passed in April. I am glad that this issue has finally been resolved for all New Yorkers."
Whitehall Lock Due to Reopen by August 10th
We have continued to press for the earliest possible completion of work on the Champlain Canal lock at Whitehall, the closure of which has blocked access to Lake Champlain by boat from the south. With the Canadian border closed to boaters and boat owners, cutting off business from the north, the lack of Champlain Canal access this summer has been especially painful.

We have again been assured by Gil Quiniones, President of the New York Power Authority which operates the state canal system, that work is on schedule for a lock opening by August 10. Hopefully, this will lead to some much needed additional boating activity on Lake Champlain from the south for our marinas and other lakeside businesses.

We will continue to monitor progress until re-opening.
State-by-State Analysis of COVID-19 Trials Shown in U.S. Chamber GIPC's New Interactive Map
The U.S. Chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) unveiled its new interactive map, Innovation Enlisted in the Coronavirus Fight: A State-by-State Analysis, which breaks down COVID-19 clinical trials to date by state and congressional district.

With COVID-19 clinical trials being conducted in all 50 states and 85% of congressional districts, this new resource provides an in-depth analysis of the methods scientists, universities and innovative companies are using to identify COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, diagnostics, and cures. 
Locals Issue Challenge to Raise Funds for COVID Assistance
Hardware stores are some of the most essential of businesses, as anyone who’s ever tried living without a hammer and nails — much less a snow shovel — can attest. Now a local hardware store is adding COVID-19 aid to its services.
Coakley Home and Hardware and the Rotary Club of Saranac Lake are each offering $500 in matching grants for donations made to the Adirondack Health Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The $1,000 matching challenge runs through the end of July.

Coakley’s owner Bill Coakley wanted to give back to the community that has long supported his store here, and he thought Adirondack Health’s wide service area matched that of his store, explained Hannah Hanford, director of the Adirondack Health Foundation as well as past president of the Rotary Club. Coakley also owns a hardware store in Canton.

“The Rotary Club board felt like supporting the COVID Response Fund would touch everyone in the community and recognize the work that health care workers have been doing the last few months during extraordinary times,”  Hanford said.

Donations can be dropped off at Coakley Home and Hardware at 622 Lake Flower Ave., via text at  “c-19”  to  “44-321”  or mailed directly to Adirondack Health Foundation, P.O. Box 120, Saranac Lake, NY 12983.
Business Interruption Microloan offerings by Lake Champlain - Lake George Regional Planning Board
Need emergency working capital to keep your doors open? Contact Lake Champlain - Lake George Regional Planning Board help, contact Andrea to learn more!
The Wild Center Announces Drive-In Movie Theater
The Wild Center has converted a portion of the Meadow parking lot into a drive-in movie theater to provide another safe, outdoor experience to visitors. The Wild Center will be showing family-friendly movies and other "edutainment" on Saturday evenings beginning Saturday, July 25 and running through August. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. for the drive-in and movies begin playing around 9:00 p.m. This physically distant program allows families to spread out in a safe manner while enjoying popular films. 

On Saturday, July 25, The Wild Center will be showing "Jurassic Park" on the big screen. The Wild Center is encouraging guests to purchase popcorn from the State Theater, located at 100 Park Street in Tupper Lake. Popcorn orders can be made online at  tupperlakemovies.com  and are available for curbside pickup starting at 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays. In addition, guests to The Wild Center's Drive-In Theater may bring their own food and drinks, and will have access to the on-site drink vending machine.

For more information on reopening, guidelines and reservation information, visit The Wild Center's Visit page:  www.wildcenter.org/visit/ .
QUICK LINKS:

  • 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
518.563.1000