Monday July 6, 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!
Chamber Welcomes Fresh Push by 29 Members of Congress
As the U.S. and Canada move towards July 21st which is the latest date for extension or changes in the bi-national restrictions on non-essential border crossings, the North Country Chamber of Commerce is welcoming a fresh appeal by 29 Members of Congress, led by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Brian Higgins as Co-Chairs of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus.

"Such a strong and collaborative statement by a bi-partisan group of 29 Members of Congress is hopefully not to be ignored by either government," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "They are joined with major stakeholders on both sides of the border, not in calling for a simple reopening but in a strong expression of the urgent need for a plan and process that can show everyone the eventual way forward, while urging consideration of some modest expansions of the essential traveler categories in the interim. For example, an expanded definition of family, a possible allowance of crossings for those who own property within some distance of the border, and some expanded allowance for essential business related travel. These and other aspects of the current situation deserve serious bi-national consultation and discussion before we end up with another simplistic extension. We thank the 29 members and the co-chairs for their leadership and engagement."

Douglas notes that North Country Chamber continues to advocate for such policy discussions through other channels as well, including a planned joint statement by Quebec and New York business organizations.
Northern Border Caucus Co-Chairs Stefanik and Higgins Lead Bipartisan Push for U.S. & Canada to Develop Framework for Phased Reopening of the Border
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Co-Chairs of the Northern Border Caucus, are leading a push for the United States and Canada to develop guidance that prepares for reopening while the border is under its current shutdown.

The Members wrote , “We are asking that the United States and Canada immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border based on objective metrics and accounting for the varied circumstances across border regions. Additionally, we request consideration of any interim measures that may be appropriate to bilaterally ease restrictions on family members and property owners – including those with property on U.S. soil accessible only through cross-border transit - in order to restore the social bond that unites our two nations.” 

Under the current order, “essential travel” includes:
  • US citizens returning to the US
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions or work
  • Individuals traveling for emergency or government response
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g. cargo drivers)
  • Members of the military

The Members point out that the uncertainty that comes with repeated temporary border restrictions creates stress for individuals and the economy. “The continual 30-day extensions without a plan for how restrictions will be modified prolongs uncertainty for both communities and creates unnecessary tension as we approach each new expiration. States and Provinces have created frameworks for reopening that rely on monitoring public health data, the expertise of health officials, and other defined criteria to inform government decisions on how to proceed with each phase of a reopen. This process alleviates uncertainty and allows residents to understand the decision-making and anticipate next steps. Continuing to extend border restrictions at 30-day intervals is untenable for the communities that have been separated from family and unable to tend to their property for over three months.”

The United States and Canada share 5,525 miles of border, the longest land boundary between two countries in the world. When open, more than 400,000 people and over $1.6 billion in goods cross the Northern Border daily through over 120 Ports of Entry. 
Partnership Signing Between NCCC, SUNY EMPIRE and CCC
The North Country Chamber of Commerce hosted the signing of Partnership Agreements between the Chamber and SUNY Empire State College and between Empire and Clinton Community College. All part of strengthening workforce and skills development in the North Country! 

Pictured (l to r): Garry Douglas, Chamber President; James Malatras, SUNY Empire State College President; Ray DiPasquale, Clinton Community College President. Also participating in the event were Senator Betty Little, Assemblyman Billy Jones, Clinton County Legislature Chair Mark Henry and Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman. 
SUNY Canton SBDC Hires New Consultant & Employees through CARES Act Funding
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SUNY Canton will expand its ability to help North Country businesses in St. Lawrence County through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Dale A. Rice, SBDC Director recently announced that relief funds, which were provided to help address the COVID-19 pandemic, would be used to hire new business advisors and consultants.

The SBDC has seen a tremendous increase in the number of businesses requesting consulting sessions following stay-at-home and closure directives and the subsequent announcement of new Coronavirus funding options. Rice said the Center had seen 475 clients since March, up from 150 during a similar time frame in 2019.

The newly hired consultants include:
  • Abrahm DiMarco of DiMarco Consulting Group
  • Richard L. Gottschall
  • Melinda Little
  • Kim Rowe Manion

The newest SBDC Advisors include:
  • Thomas M. DeRosa
  • Chad J. Czelusniak-Serviss
Update on the Global Search for a Coronavirus Vaccine
As coronavirus cases increased in at least  35 U.S. states   and the global number of cases surpassed 10 million, the question at the front of everyone’s minds is: When will a vaccine be ready?

Scientists, industry, and the academic community are moving at unprecedented speed to identify a viable vaccine candidate, and progress is being made every day.
There are currently  17 vaccine candidates  in the clinical stages of development, with another 132 under preclinical evaluation. So who leads the way?
The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca are currently conducting a Phase III trial to test the efficacy of their novel coronavirus candidate. As the number of cases in the UK decreased, the University of Oxford recently embarked on clinical trials in  South Africa and Brazil  to test the vaccine’s efficacy in countries where people have a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus. They are also set to begin a large-scale Phase III trial in the U.S., following a $1.2 billion commitment by the U.S. government to invest in the vaccine as a part of Operation Warp Speed.

The innovative biotech company, Moderna, is close on the heels of the University of Oxford in the race to develop a vaccine. Moderna, which received widespread media coverage following the release of Phase I data in May, will begin Phase III trials for its COVID-19 candidate in 30,000 participants in July. Just last week,  Moderna announced  a partnership with Catalent to prepare an initial 100 million doses of the vaccine, which could be distributed as early as October, should the vaccine receive FDA approval.

Governments, the biopharmaceutical industry, and the academic community recognize that a vaccine can’t come soon enough. The unparalleled level of public-private collaboration will help ensure that at least one – if not multiple – coronavirus vaccines should soon be available, which will place the global community on the path to a return to work, health, and the new normal of life in a COVID-19 world.
YMCA Opens Their Pool Today
YMCA opened their pool today. Their members are happy to see them “partly” open and have received nothing but positive comments. They are looking forward to opening more of the facility as soon as the state allows.
Essential Workers Receive Sunrise Rotary's "Spirit of Ianelli" Mayor's Cup Award
“Frontline Essential Workers” are the collective recipients of this year’s “Spirit of Ianelli” award, associated with annual Mayor’s Cup traditions, which would have been in their 43rd year in 2020, but were canceled due to COVID-19.
Recipients of this year’s honor, exemplifying that “community does matter”, are frontline workers in the following industries, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.6:

  • Essential health care operations
  • Essential infrastructure
  • Essential manufacturing
  • Essential retail
  •  Essential services
  • News media
  • Financial institutions
  •  Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations
  •  Construction
  • Defense
“In general the committee prefers to identify a single individual or individuals that exemplify the ‘community does matter’ spirit,” said Sunrise Rotary Mayor's Cup Regatta & Festival Committee Co-Chair Kjell Dahlen. “However, in times of crisis, as in the case of the Dannemora prison break in 2015, it is difficult to put a face to all the individuals who are risking their lives to protect ours.”
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.

  • 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