Friday May 15, 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!
Essential Businesses Need to Develop Safety Plans Too!
All businesses and organizations who remained open in recent weeks as ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES must still create a Health & Safety Plan for their worksite that uses the state template to outline how they will apply good practices to have a safe environment for their employees and customers. These businesses can access one of our recent BACK TO BUSINESS webinars for the basics to be aware of and to incorporate in their plan (distancing, PPE, sanitizing/cleaning, etc.), along with other resources available at the North Country Chamber website .

As with newly re-opening businesses, these plans must be posted and available at the business location to be reviewed at anytime by county or state officials or by customers and others.
Executive Order Clears North Country to Open
The "NYS at Pause" Executive Order was updated yesterday official identifying the North Country and four other regions for Phase One re-opening beginning today.
Stefanik Cosponsors Legislation to Support Dairy Product Donation Programs
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is cosponsoring the bipartisan Farmers MILK Act, legislation to expand the existing USDA Milk Donation program to help get milk into the hands of those in need. The bill authorizes USDA to act as a matchmaker between dairy producers with excess supply of milk with food banks that can distribute that milk to those in need. It also authorizes an additional $4 million a year for this important program.
 
“Our dairy farmers have faced an unprecedented crisis throughout COVID-19 after issues arose along the supply chain,”  said Congresswoman Stefanik.  “I have spoken with dairy farmers from across the district who have had to dump milk and am working with the USDA and the Trump Administration to provide relief for them. I have also heard from local community leaders that food banks have seen an increase in the number of families they are serving. This bill helps to bridge that gap and get our farmers valuable product back into our communities in need. I will continue to advocate at the federal level for direct relief for our farmers and agriculture businesses who have worked tirelessly to feed their communities, even during this crisis.” 
Governor Cuomo Announced an Extension of Special Health Insurance Enrollment Period
NY State of Health, together with the  New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) , recently announced that New York will make a Special Enrollment Period available. The enrollment date has been extended until  June 15th  to New Yorkers during which eligible individuals will be able to enroll in insurance coverage through NY State of Health and directly through brokers like the  North Country Chamber of Commerce . This step is being taken in light of the Coronavirus pandemic to further protect the public health of New Yorkers.  

NY State of Health, DFS, and New York State health insurers are taking this action 
so that individuals do not avoid seeking testing or medical care for fear of cost. 
Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs (ex. Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus) can enroll year-round.  
FEED OUR FRONTLINE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS - THANK YOU!
The North Country Chamber's Feed our Frontline campaign has come to an end. Thanks to you, our amazing donors, we were able to give over $11,600 to the Alice Hyde Medical Center, Elizabethtown Community Hospital,  The Foundation of CVPH  and to  Adirondack Health  during hospital week! The money will be used to both show support for frontline heroes and bolster our local restaurants.⁠
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Garry Douglas, CEO and President of the North Country Chamber said, "The desire to do this came from our members and we were happy to be a conduit for them, and they and others in the community certainly came through. Across the North Country, organizations, businesses and individuals are pitching in in all sorts of ways, whether through contributions of cash, things such as masks or services and support. This spirit of sharing has always served the North Country well and is doing so again. Onward and upward!"⁠
And a HUGE thanks to the  Press-Republican  and  Hometown Radio Wiry  for helping us spread the word about this campaign!
NY Forward Website has Valuable Reopening Tools Available - Including Plan Templates
The Governor’s office has released guidelines and business safety templates for industries allowed to begin reopening in phase one.

As of Friday, May 15, select industries in regions of the state that have met seven public health metrics will be allowed to start reopening.

Below is a list of industries allowed to open in these regions during phase one, along with their  guidelines   and  business safety templates .
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Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.       Links to all templates are below.

Construction    

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting    

Retail Trade    

Manufacturing    

Wholesale Trade

The State has published a  dashboard   to track the public health data regions must meet to reopen  here .

We expect the same guidance for businesses in phase 2-4 to be out soon.
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: D&D MEATS
We applaud D&D Meats for getting food to struggling families. They have donated about 2,000 pounds of meat ranging from bacon to burgers to JCEO , The Salvation Army , ETC Housing Corp . and The Alliance for Positive Health .

All of it thanks to donations of money and pigs."A local farmer I went to college with he had some pigs that he didn’t want to keep raising and he didn’t have a cellar for them at that point," said Shane Dutil, owner and manager of D&D Meats. "So he wondered if he could donate them to me and I could cut the meat up and allocate it to people that needed the food."

Monetary donation are going towards buying non-perishables. Dutil says it took them about a week to get everything smoked and packaged, but it was all a labor of love.
"We’ve always tried to do as much as we can for everybody," Dutil said. "I think it pays back to you. People remember what you did when times are tough and when tough times come for you, maybe they’ll help you out."

Officials with the organization say this donation couldn't have come at a better time.
NO CONFIRMATION YET OF PHASE TWO BUSINESS INCLUSION
Many assumptions are being made about what types of business will or won't be included in the broad category of "Professional Services" when we reach Phase II of the re-opening process. Please make no assumptions until the state posts further details, which are expected to come out soon. We will distribute such information when it becomes available.

In the meantime, however, all businesses should use the resources available via the NY Forward website and the Chamber's website , along with our continuing Safety Training Webinars to begin the creation of individual safety plans for each business.
QUICK LINKS:
  • 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.
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, our website will hopefully make things a bit easier for you during this challenging time.
Have Questions? We're here to help!

North Country Chamber of Commerce
518.563.1000