Friday July 17, 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 Governor announced yesterday that all restaurants and bars statewide will be subject to new requirements, which include:

- Restaurants must only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food
- All service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers.

And TODAY, guidelines have been released. Under current law, only establishments that serve food are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages.

New regulations were also announced for bars and restaurants in New York City to ensure they are complying with state social distancing and face covering orders. As part of the 'Three Strikes and You're Closed' initiative, any establishment that receives three violations will be closed for business. Egregious violations can result in immediate loss of liquor license or closure before a third strike. Additionally, any establishment facing disciplinary charges by the State Liquor Authority will have its name and location posted publicly and updated on a weekly basis.

IMPORTANT: If the state is alerted to similar noncompliance in other regions of the state, these restrictions will be extended to those areas immediately.

**Questions should be directed to the State Liquor Authority at .**
Special Enrollment for Uninsured New Yorkers Will Extend for Additional 30 days and Remain Open Through August 15, 2020
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Special Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended for another 30 days, through August 15, 2020, as the State continues to provide supportive services during the COVID-19 public health crisis. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York State's health insurance marketplace, or directly through insurers.

NY State of Health, together with the State Department of Financial Services and New York State insurers, are taking this action in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency so that individuals do not avoid seeking testing or medical care for fear of cost. Individuals who have lost employer coverage must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage and individuals who have lost income may be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus, or subsidized Qualified Health Plans.
Individuals who enroll in Qualified Health Plans through NY State of Health or directly through insurers by August 15, 2020 will have a choice of coverage start date either August 1 or September 1, 2020. Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs - Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus - can enroll year-round. Finally, as directed by Governor Cuomo, all New York insurers have  waived  cost sharing for COVID-19 testing. 

The Chamber's Health Insurance professionals are available to assist with all of your health insurance needs. Contact Lisa Bedard Dupee at 518.563.1000 or email her today at !
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has sent a letter along with her House colleagues requesting administrative action on behalf of the Department of Treasury and SBA in order to allow small businesses to seek an increase in their PPP loan if they are entitled to a greater amount than they received. In some instances, small businesses have received a final PPP loan amount, only to have the amount of assistance they are eligible for an increase from the SBA and Treasury.
“Our North Country small businesses have benefited greatly from PPP funding and other SBA programs,”  said Congresswoman Stefanik.  “I am proud to continue to advocate for changes and flexibility with these programs at the request of many of our seasonal businesses and sole proprietors, who are entitled to more compensation. I will continue to work on their behalf and request that all small businesses are able to access the full funds that they are entitled to.”
Article by: Tim Rowland

Over the past five years, the board brought the Trudeau institute back from the brink. It redoubled its effort not only to keep the legacy alive but to make Trudeau more relevant in the world of infectious disease, partnering with pharmaceutical companies, the government and academia to develop drugs and vaccines.

So when COVID-19 began to spread earlier this year, Trudeau was already familiar to these groups, which were suddenly in desperate need of testing or help in the search for vaccines and treatments. Now, Trudeau is either leading or has been asked to participate in multiple projects specific to coronavirus research. It has responded to the pandemic locally and on a global level and expects to remain an important player, executives say.
The Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual event with Adirondack Health and Trudeau Institute to discuss their unique collaboration during Covid-19 and areas of cooperation for the future. The evening will begin with a special announcement and end with big smiles.

Date: July 20th
Time: 5:00pm
With approval from New York State and the Clinton County Health Department, the City of Plattsburgh and Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, a division of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, are happy to welcome the Bassmaster Elite Series back to Lake Champlain, July 30th to August 2nd. Although this year will look a lot different with no spectators, masks and a whole lot of hand sanitizer, all partners involved in this planning process have gone above and beyond in making sure all New York State guidelines have been followed and the health and safety of our community stays top priority.   

In accordance with the Guidance for Professional Sports Teams traveling between states with significant community spread of COVID-19 and New York State, Bassmaster acknowledges that their anglers and staff will:
  • Seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 at their first tournament stop in Clayton, NY to ensure that they are not positive
  • Monitor themselves for a fever, or any other symptoms of COVID-19, wear a face covering, maintain social distancing, as well as clean and disinfect workspaces, equipment, and competition areas
  • Avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers or anyone not associated with the tournament, as well as avoid large congregate settings, except for the competitive activity for which they are traveling
Additionally, Bassmaster will not be allowing anyone other than staff or Elite anglers in or near the weigh-in area this year per New York State guidelines.  
Business confidence will play an important role in the economy’s recovery. The more confident businesses are that their future sales will improve, the more they will hire, raise workers’ wages, and invest to increase production.

Unsurprisingly,  business confidence as measured by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development  (OECD) has fallen to depths it has not hit since the Great Recession of 2007-2009. However, it has bounced back in recent months, a good sign for the recovery. Although it still lags where it was before COVID-19. The bounce back in the U.S. has been stronger than in the other developed countries that make up the OECD.

Interestingly, business confidence had been declining globally and in the U.S. since its peak in early 2018. This decline was driven in large part by the global trade war that had been going on until early 2020. COVID-19 served to prolong that fall just as the trade war was beginning to wane.
Multiple factors influence business confidence. One of those is policy uncertainty. Businesses hold off on taking action when they are uncertain what policies governments will enact in the near future. Policy uncertainty skyrocketed in March and April in the U.S. and globally as the pandemic accelerated and businesses were unsure how policymakers would react. It has fallen some since then, but not to pre-pandemic levels. It has fallen more in the U.S. than globally.

For confidence to fully rebound policy uncertainty will need to continue to improve. Another round of virus relief from Washington will likely help certainty since businesses and markets expect more legislation before the end of July. 

The recent increases in confidence and certainty are encouraging, but these readings come before the more recent spike of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. That increase could cause both measures to dip in the coming months. That would be a sign that the economic recovery has been slowed by the uptick in cases. As the virus goes, so too does the economy.

—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  • 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