Monday May 18, 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!
SBA Releases Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application 
Businesses and other eligible organizations who have applied for and received a PPP loan will need to apply for forgiveness by completing the application and submitting it to the lender who issued the loan.

Note: Forgiveness of a PPP loan is not automatic, you will need to apply through your lender.
In addition to the application, the SBA and Treasury also released corresponding instructions meant to assist borrowers with completing the form. According to the SBA press-release, the form and instructions include several measures meant to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the loan forgiveness application process for borrowers.

These measures include:
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • The option for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that better aligns with a borrower’s regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period following the loan disbursement
  • A process for borrowers to not have their loan forgiveness reduced when the borrower has made a good-faith, written offer to rehire a worker but that worker declines to return to work. * read more on page 8 of the application.
  •  Implementation of the FTE Reduction Safe Harbor which exempts certain borrowers from the loan forgiveness reduction based on FTE employee levels. * read more on page 8 of the application.
The press-release also states that SBA will soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities. As soon as this guidance is published, the North Country Chamber of Commerce will distribute it promptly via our Daily Dose E-Newsletter and our website.
In the meantime, we encourage borrowers to review the application and to contact their lender directly if they have any questions. Please be patient with your lender as the application was released late last week and lenders are waiting for further guidance from the SBA and Treasury Department.
  • To access the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application with instructions, click here.
  • For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here. 
  • To find an SBA approved local lender, click here.
NY Forward Launches Business Reopen “Lookup Tool”
The state has launched a new "BUSINESS REOPEN LOOKUP TOOL" on the NY Forward website.

Even with expanded lists of business allowed to reopen in Phase One, there are many questions about whether a particular type of business fits the allowed categories. So to make it easier to be certain, a business can now go to this tool on the website and, using their NAICS code, can obtain a quick answer as to whether they may yet reopen or not. If they can, of course, they still would need to go to the relevant category on the site to review and affirm the appropriate Guidelines and then to use the Template to create a Health & Safety Plan.

This new BUSINESS REOPEN LOOKUP TOOL can be visited HERE.  
Whitehall Locks Likely to Not Open Before August 
It is greatly disappointing that maintenance/construction on the state canal system, including the Champlain Canal, was not regarded as "Essential" and therefore stopped in March. On Friday, NYPA and the State Canal Corp. released word that delayed work would resume on sections of the canal system in upstate regions such as the Mohawk Valley which have met the 7 COVID-19 criteria allowing Phase One of re-opening to start, including construction.

Unfortunately the entire Champlain Canal from Waterford to Whitehall lies within the Capital Region which had not yet qualified to begin re-opening as of Friday. Therefore work on the Champlain, including stalled work at the Whitehall lock (C-12) had not yet resumed. However, with word from the Governor that the Capital Region had qualified over the weekend, it is hoped that work can now resume sometime this week. Unfortunately, it is estimated that the Whitehall lock work will now not be completed before early August. Therefore, it appears Lake Champlain will remain cut off from the Champlain Canal and boating access from the south until then. 

We will continue to advocate for the speediest progress possible, and will provide any updates as they become available. We continue to disagree with canal system work statewide not having been regarded as essential work on transportation infrastructure.
Recording of USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Webinar
For those who were unable to attend, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  has posted a recording of their May 14 th webinar for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers interested in applying for direct payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
CFAP will provide direct relief to farmers and ranchers whose operations have been directly impacted and suffered losses during the 2020 marketing year due to COVID-19.
While the USDA has not yet begun accepting applications, interested parties can begin gathering the information necessary to sign-up once the program officially goes live.
More information on the CFAP and what steps you can take now can be found here . The USDA has also released an infographic with more information which can be accessed here .
The North Country Chamber of Commerce will continue to distribute new information on the CFAP via our website and Daily Dose e-newsletter as it is released.
Updated Essential Business Guidance
While much of the current focus is on the clarification of businesses covered by Phase One of Reopening and Phases 2-4 thereafter, businesses defined as Essential remain able to open at anytime. With this in mind Empire State Development has updated its ESSENTIAL BUSINESS GUIDANCE.  

A reminder that even Essential Businesses are required to have a Health & Safety Plan.
GOVERNOR CONFIRMS: Hair Salons and Barber Shops will be able to Open in Phase 2 
Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed today that Hair Salons and Barber Shops will be among professional services which will be able to open once the North Country reaches Phase Two of the re-opening process. We must still await state guidelines for these businesses which we will share as soon as they are available. And each business will then need to certify acceptance of those guidelines and create a Health & Safety Plan for their operation.

Hair salons and barbers in the region can watch for a Hair Salon/Barber Shop Safety Training Webinar for their businesses sometime soon. Check our website regularly.
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Responds to "North Country Reopening"
Feature Heading
We are pleased to share this news from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe as reported by Indian Time.
Co-Hosted By:
RESTAURANT / FOOD & BEVERAGE SERVICES: 
COVID-19 SAFETY RESOURCE OFFICER (CSRO) & HOW TO NAVIGATE THE NEW NORMAL

MAY 21ST - 1PM 

Course Description: Due to Federal Workplace Safety requirements ALL companies must provide training to assure competency to their employees anytime there is a recognized hazard that is causing harm.
 
As the government allows businesses to resume operations following the COVID-19 shutdown there will be requirements within these businesses to assure compliance with these standards! 
 
This program will provide, information on the required safety plan, training and best practices specific to the restaurant industry.
 
Upon completion of the course participants will receive:
  • An Approved COVID-19 Response Plan
  • Training PowerPoint to Use for Future Instructions
  • Access to Training Documents
  • Tracking Forms
  • Ongoing Support as New Protocols are created via Catamount Consulting
  • Certificate of Attendance

Click here  to register for the 1pm webinar 
LODGING & ACCOMMODATIONS
COVID-19 SAFETY RESOURCE OFFICER (CSRO) & HOW TO NAVIGATE THE NEW NORMAL

MAY 22ND - 1PM 

Course Description:  Due to Federal Workplace Safety requirements ALL companies must provide training to assure competency to their employees anytime there is a recognized hazard that is causing serious harm. As the government allows businesses to resume operations following the COVID-19 shutdown there will be oversight within these businesses to assure compliance with these standards! 
 
The program will include information on the required safety plan and training as well as best practices specific to safety in the lodging industry.
 
Upon completion of the course participants will receive:
  • An Approved COVID-19 Response Plan
  • Training PowerPoint to Use for Future Instructions
  • Access to Training Documents
  • Tracking Forms
  • Ongoing Support as New Protocols are created via Catamount Consulting
  • Certificate of Attendance
 
Presenters:
  • Scott McKenna, President, Catamount Safety Consulting
  • Vicki Demarse-Giroux, General Manager, LaQuinta Inn & Suites
**After registering, you will receive a confirmation email
containing information about joining the webinar.
Funding Provided By:
New York State Occupational Safety and Health Hazard
Abatement Board through the OSH T+E Fund
The home page of the Chamber's website is now your go to resource for all things Coronavirus related. From information to help your business, health insurance, employee guidelines, restaurant offerings and CDC resources, our website will hopefully make things a bit easier for you during this challenging time.
QUICK LINKS:
  • 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.

  • How to Help: If you are looking for a way to help the North Country, we have created an ever growing list of needs in our community. And if you are a non-profit, health care organization or a business helping those in need, email us with your needs, contact information and we will be happy to add you to our growing list.

  • SCORE: Visit Scores Coronavirus page for webinars and useful articles for small businesses.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce
518.563.1000