Friday August 28, 2020
Here are the latest updates and resources for businesses and employees during this uncertain time. - Onward and Be Well!
North Country Chamber of Commerce Receives COVID-19 Support Grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield  
The North Country Chamber of Commerce recently received $30,000 in financial support from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to support the organization in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The North Country Chamber used the funding from Excellus BCBS to provide small business grants of up to $250 for reimbursement for expenses related to PPE, masks, sanitizer, plexiglass barriers, special signs and other costs they had incurred in preparing their business sites for safe re-opening after the COVID-19 shutdown. In total, 119 grants were awarded to local businesses.
"The challenge confronting small businesses in the North Country has never been greater, requiring information, guidance, training, problem solving and direct assistance," said Garry Douglas, president and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "We can't thank our friends and partners at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield enough for directly joining in the effort by working with us to help cover the expenses of dozens of small businesses related to re-opening requirements such as sanitizer, masks, plexiglass barriers and other needs. Every bit of assistance helps, and Excellus' generosity and support has helped to make a difference. Excellus is a committed member of the North Country team as we all continue to work our way through this pandemic."
As part of its community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Excellus BCBS is providing this financial support to chambers across upstate New York to help businesses offset the costs of reopening.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our communities. As a local health care organization, it’s vital that we support them as they reopen and get back on their feet,” said Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Regional President Eve Van de Wal. “Keeping our community healthy is our mission. We’re pleased to support the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce and our local businesses.”  
WEBINAR: Giving and Receiving Feedback
  • Date: September 1, 2020
  • Time: 11:00AM
  • Instructors: Catamount Consulting
  • Cost: FREE!

Giving effective feedback, like all skills, requires practice and patience. Feedback, however, is a two-way street, as we benefit from feedback most when we not only deliver it, but learn to graciously accept it and understand what to do with it. Feedback can highlight the things that we are doing well and should continue doing and also makes us aware of or reminds us of areas where we can improve. In life, as much as in work, it’s important to know how to provide feedback to others, effectively and constructively without causing offense.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand what effective feedback is – what it looks/sounds like
  • How to create a feedback rich environment
  • Understand the importance of, and how to, accept/receive feedback from others
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued guidance for infection rates on college campuses and mitigation actions schools must take when the infection rate rises above certain levels. The guidance comes following reports of students at large gatherings, and experiences in other states with clusters developing with return to in-person classes.
"We've seen troubling reports of students congregating on college campuses, so we are setting a threshold that says if colleges have 100 cases or if the number of cases equal 5 percent of their population or more, they must go to remote learning for two weeks, at which time we will reassess the situation," Governor Cuomo said. "We should anticipate clusters and that's what we're seeing. Be prepared for it, get ahead of it." 
Schools must return to remote learning with limited on-campus activity when that threshold is reached for a two-week period. If after two weeks, the local health department finds the college has demonstrated that it cannot contain the number of cases, then they could continue to require remote learning, or impose other mitigation measures in consultation with the State Department of Health. During that time, athletic activities and other extracurricular activities must be suspended, and dining hall options must move to take-out only.
If clusters of positive cases emerge on particular areas of a campus while still below 5 percent or under 100 students, but strain the college's ability to isolate and contact trace, the college must return to 100 percent distance learning with limited on-campus activity. The local department of health or State Department of Health may order colleges to suspend on-campus activities upon a finding of the college's inability to control the outbreak, even under the metric.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the lowest COVID-19 infection rate in New York State—0.65 percent—since the pandemic began. New York State's infection rate has been less than 1 percent every day for three weeks. The governor also announced that 8 million tests have now been conducted in the state. Governor Cuomo also updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at
"Fighting COVID-19 requires enormous bravery and discipline from New Yorkers and I thank them for today's new record-low infection rate. This is evidence that what each of us does to slow the spread—wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands—makes a real difference," Governor Cuomo said. "We're continuing to expand our ability to test and contact trace as we pursue a phased, data-driven reopening, and that's why we've reached 8 million tests conducted in the state. Yesterday's data also shows that we aren't necessarily finding more positives with more testing, which is a good new development. We aren't out of the woods yet, so keep it up, be safe and stay New York Tough."

WPTZ Stuff the Bus Event
NBC5 News is taking its annual "Stuff the Bus" drive online this summer, partnering with local organizations to help provide students with much-needed school supplies ahead of the new year.
Instead of asking you to show up with supplies, we're asking you to provide funds to purchase supplies that will given to families and in need — and the need is great this year.

Your monetary donations to the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin counties

  • 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