Wednesday April 29, 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!
**Please note that while the Governor is talking about reopening nothing has changed since the last executive order - we are still operating under NY at PAUSE until May 15th. All talks taking place are in the planning stage only.** 

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined additional guidelines for the phased plan to re-open New York on a regional basis. Each region of the state - Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Long Island, Southern Tier and Western New York - must follow these guidelines as part of the re-opening plan.
  • CDC Guidelines: Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate they may begin a phased re-opening.
  • Industries: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk. Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered "less essential" or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
  • Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.
  • Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume.
  • Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a known COVID-positive person, and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate its population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.
  • Tracing System: There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the re-opening plan.
  • Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
  • Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the re-opening of schools, transportation systems, testing and tracing with other surrounding regions.
  • Re-imagining Tele-Medicine
  • Re-imagining Tele-Education
  • Regional Control Rooms: Each region must appoint an oversight institution as its control room to monitor regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate and businesses.
  • Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.
Governor Cuomo also announced the creation of the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board to help guide the state's re-opening strategy. The advisory board will be chaired by Former Secretaries to the Governor Steve Cohen and Bill Mulrow and includes over 100 business, community and civic leaders from industries across the state. A list of the members of the advisory board is available  here .
"We've come up with a phased plan to re-open New York so every region in the state has the same opening template as we begin this process,"  Governor Cuomo said.  "We have to be smart about this - emotions can't drive our re-opening process - and we've come up with factual data points that each region must monitor as they begin to re-open. We've also created a New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board made up of business, academic, community and civic leaders from across the state to help guide this process and ensure businesses are following the necessary guidelines to preserve public health as we work towards a new normal."
Quebec Businesses To Gradually Reopen Throughout May, Premier Legault Announces Here
Yesterday, the Quebec Premier, François Legault spoke to reopening the Quebec Economy gradually throughout the month of May. Full briefing is below, as well as the Premier's official news release.

MONDAY, MAY 4th - 12:00PM-1:00PM

Bringing Employees Back To Work


The North Country Chamber of Commerce will help you and your employees get back to work! Our Lunch & Learn sessions cover topics critical to a successful “restart”.

While you’re learning, support one of the amazing member restaurants who have worked hard to stay open and serve our community during this time. We encourage you to order take-out or delivery! The webinar is free, but lunch is on you.  Choose from our members and show your support.

Learn what you need to know before bringing employees back to work. From the legal aspect to the more emotional point of view, you can put a plan in place for a successful re-entry.

We’ll discuss questions like:

  • What policies and procedures do I need to have in place to bring people back?
  • Do I need to provide PPE for all employees?
  • What about employees who are afraid to return to work?
  • What responsibility does an employer have to its employees and/or its employees’ family?
  • How do we reconnect our teams who have been out of the routine for so long?
*After registering, you will receive webinar login info. Questions may be submitted during registration. We will also take live questions as time permits.
Treasury Issues Updated Paycheck Protection Program Guidance for Seasonal Employers
The United States Department of Treasury has issued a new interim rule which is meant to help ensure seasonal employers can receive equitable financial support when applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Previously, the Treasury required seasonal employers who were applying for the PPP to calculate their maximum loan amount by using their average monthly payroll cost from months when they may not have been in operation - effectively reducing the maximum loan amount for which they were eligible.
The Treasury’s new interim rule states that seasonal employers, when calculating their maximum PPP loan amount, will be able to use average monthly payroll from any 12-week period between May 1, 2019 and September 15, 2019.
The North Country Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Congresswoman Elise Stefanik for working with the Treasury to update this guidance for our local seasonal employers.

FEMA Grants for Fire Service Organizations
Fire service organizations nationwide who are on the frontline in the fight against the this pandemic can apply for a share of $100 million in funding to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies.

The funding is part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act through FEMA Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP).

FEMA began accepting applications for the  Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant - COVID-19 Supplemental Program (AFG-S)  on Tuesday, April 28. 
The deadline for applications is May 15.

AFG-S provides direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations and state fire training academies.
The online AFG-S Grant Program application is available through the AFGP FEMA Grants Outcomes (GO)  application portal.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: General Composite
Please join us in congratulating General Composites, Inc. as they were recently awarded funding through Fuzehub’s COVID-19 Manufacturing Grants Initiative for the production of N95 respirator masks.
Fuzehub launched this initiative to help New York State-based, small to medium-sized manufacturing companies quickly accelerate production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory care equipment.
With this funding, General Composites will work to convert its existing carbon fiber and composite thermoforming processing equipment to manufacture N95 respirator masks.
As we all know, PPE and respiratory care equipment has been in short-supply and high- demand. The North Country Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize General Composites for their willingness to quickly pivot to the production of this life-saving equipment.
For more about the Fuzehub COVID-19 Manufacturing Grants Initiative, and for a full list of awardees, click here.
For more information about General Composites, click here.
Video-Town Hall with Senator Schumer
YOU'RE INVITED to a Video-Town Hall featuring special guest Senator Schumer.
The North Country Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a conversation with Senator Schumer on Friday, May 1st at 11:15AM.

Hear an update and answers to questions regarding the country's response to COVID-19 and plans for economic recovery.⁠

*All registrants will receive login information 24 hours before the Video-Town Hall begins.
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, will hopefully make things a bit easier for you during this challenging time.
  • 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