Monday June 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!
The Executive Order establishing New York's travel advisory and quarantine requirements for travelers from or returning from certain states has been modified, clarifying that employees who voluntarily travel to these states will not be eligible for paid leave if they are then subject to a mandatory quarantine, effective June 25. The new provision is as follows:

  • Subdivision 4 of section 1 of chapter 25 of the laws of 2020 is modified to the extent necessary to provide that in addition to any travel to a country for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a level two or three travel health notice, an employee shall not be eligible for paid sick leave benefits or any other paid benefits pursuant to this chapter if such employee voluntarily travels which commences after June 25, 2020 to a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate, over a seven day rolling average, and which the commissioner of the department of health has designated as meeting these conditions as outlined in the advisory issued pursuant to Executive Order 205, and the travel was not taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employee’s employer

In short, employees who voluntarily travel to any of the states designated as having a COVID-19 infection rate that exceeds the established criteria – who then becomes quarantined by a public health official as a result - would not be eligible for NYS emergency paid sick leave.

The law requires employers provide advance notice of the travel advisory, the possibility of quarantine, and the potential loss of paid sick leave benefits if an employee were to become quarantined. Employers should provide a general notice to all employees that this type of travel could result in loss of benefits.

The travel advisory provides exemptions for ‘essential’ workers. For example, anyone employed in an essential business as defined by Empire State Development Corporation. Those employees could avoid quarantine and return to work upon receiving a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their return to NYS and following established protocols regarding face coverings, social distancing, etc.
WEBINAR: Overview & Impact of New York's Travel Advisory
Please join the North Country Chamber of Commerce and our guest, Jaci Kelleher, of Stafford Owens Law Firm for a discussion on the overview and impacts of the travel advisory brought forward from the Governor's office.

  • Date: July 1st
  • Time: 1pm
St. Regis Mohawk Community Begins Reopening
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council said over the course of the next several weeks, community members can expect a gradual lifting of restrictions placed due to the coronavirus.

The following reopening guidelines are effective now for the southern portion of Akwesasne:
  • CURFEW: All individuals must stay home between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., with the exception of anyone performing essential services. The curfew will continue to be reviewed by the Emergency Operations Center and lifted in phases
  • BUSINESS HOURS: All businesses must close one-hour before curfew
  • ALCOHOL SALES: May take place until closing time of business. Bars not permitted to reopen at this time
  • SOCIAL GATHERINGS: Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people or less, maintaining social distancing
  • TRAVEL: Expanded to 100-mile radius of Akwesasne for U.S. travel only. (50-mile radius remains for Canadian travel)
  • VISITORS: Prolonged visits of several hours or more by guests to Akwesasne is not advisable at this time
  • GAMING: The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort is scheduled to reopen on 8/1

Businesses, places of worship or ceremonies, restaurants, offices, daycares, and recreational spaces (like playgrounds) are asked to consult with the Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center on any reopening plans to determine the ability to safely serve the community and protect employees.
Recording of USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Webinar
On Tuesday, June 23 rd , the North Country Chamber of Commerce partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) for a webinar on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

For those who were unable to attend but are interested in learning more about the program, you can view the webinar recording below or access the PowerPoint presentation shown.

CFAP provides direct financial release to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers whose operations have been directly impacted and suffered losses as a result of COVID-19. Producers of eligible commodities may apply for these direct payments through their local FSA Service Center until August 28 th , 2020.

Eligible commodities include, but are not limited to:
  • Livestock (Cattle, Hogs, & Lambs/Yearlings)
  • Dairy
  • Wool
  • Specialty Crops (Apples, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, & More)
  • Non-Specialty Crops (Corn – including silage, Malting Barley, Wheat, & More)

For more information on the CFAP program, including a full list of eligible commodities, click here.

For more information on starting the application process, click here.
Free Webinar | June 30: How Can Restaurants Thrive In Today's New Normal
The restaurant and hospitality industry has been hit hard by COVID-19. As we transition, this industry will have to make massive changes in order to reopen and thrive. What should entrepreneurs do?
To answer this question, we sit down with one of Hawaii's most prominent restaurateurs, Peter Merriman.

Discussions Include:
  • Restaurant reopening strategies
  • Rethinking your business model
  • Resetting diners' expectations
  • Renegotiating leases with landlords
The Wild Center - Opens July 15th
Welcome back to our backyard…
The Wild Center is happy to announce they will be welcoming you back! The Wild Center will begin a phased reopening on Wednesday, July 15, starting with Wild Walk and outdoor experiences. As a continued commitment to the health and safety of visitors, staff and the wider community, The Wild Center has implemented limited capacity, enhanced operational procedures and cleaning protocols.
Ticket reservations are required before visiting and go on sale June 29.
To help the North Country reopen safely and meet the state and local mandates, T he 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.

  • 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.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce