Tuesday September 22, 2020
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that five states have been added to New York State's COVID-19 travel advisory. None have been removed.

States added:
  • Arizona
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • Rhode Island
  • Wyoming

The governor also announced that New York State has now conducted 10 million COVID-19 diagnostic tests. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.
"For a clear example of the continuing extent of the COVID crisis in America, look no further than New York's travel advisory list. The virus' spread across the country—new cases have increased more than 15 percent in the last 10 days—makes it all the more urgent that we stay vigilant here at home," Governor Cuomo said. "That's why New Yorkers need to continue wearing masks, socially distancing and washing their hands in conjunction with the careful enforcement of local governments. We can defeat this virus by staying New York Tough, but we have a long way to go."
State Urged to Finalize Reopening Guidelines for Movie Theaters
The North Country Chamber was pleased to join Assemblyman Billy Jones on Monday at a press event, spotlighting the need to finalize and release reopening guidelines for our movie theaters. Held at the Cumberland 12 Cinemas in Plattsburgh, other speakers included Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman and Peter Edelmann, Cumberland 12 owner. Regal Cinemas was also represented.

The speakers, led by Assemblyman Jones, noted that movie theaters have been safely reopened in other states, including neighboring Vermont and including Cumberland 12's sister theater there. Chamber President Garry Douglas also noted the severe impact on several small cinemas across the Adirondacks, including in Tupper Lake, Ausable Forks, Schroon Lake, Lake Placid, Indian Lake and Chestertown, which serve as keys to community downtowns. And there were calls to allow reopening in the North Country first if the state is not ready to allow reopening everywhere, noting the original reopening strategies were region by region.

We will continue to advocate in various ways for remaining "orphan" business categories not provided with reopening guidelines yet, including theaters and arcades/family entertainment centers.
Montreal Upgraded To Orange COVID-19 Alert
Quebec health officials saw a spike in the number of COVID-19 infections and decided on Sunday to move three zones, including the island of Montreal, into “alert.”

The zones, the island of Montreal, part of the Capitale-Nationale region, including Quebec City, and the Chaudière-Appalaches region south of the capital, turned from yellow to orange on the provincial alert system map.

“Unfortunately, the contagion has amplified in three regions. Cases are increasing, outbreaks are multiplying and our ability to treat the sick is diminishing,” said Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé at a rare Sunday evening news conference.
U.S. DOL Clarifies Paid Leave Requirements Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On Sept. 11, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued revisions to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act regulations, which implement paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. FFCRA requires private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and certain public employers to provide covered employees emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.
The revisions clarify workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions after an  Aug. 3 decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York nullified key sections of the regulations.
  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them.
  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that an employee have employer approval to take FFCRA leave intermittently.
  • Revise the definition of “healthcare provider” to include only employees who meet the definition of that term under the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations or who are employed to provide diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care which, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care.
  • Clarify that employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers as soon as practicable.
  • Correct an inconsistency regarding when employees may be required to provide notice of a need to take expanded family and medical leave to their employers.
The revisions to the temporary rule will be effective from Sept. 16, 2020, through the expiration of the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions on Dec. 31, 2020.
FFCRA FAQs are available here.
Recruiting and Managing Your Employees in a Virtual World
Join the US CHAMBER this Wednesday, September 23 at 2:00 pm ET for the ninth episode of our virtual series, an audience-driven discussion designed specifically for the small business community, hosted in partnership with Chase for Business. 

  • Jeanette Mulvey, Content Director at CO—, will welcome experts and small business owners alike to discuss remotely managing your team and even how to onboard new employees. See below for a full list of speakers:
  • Alexander Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, Chief Knowledge Officer, SHRM
  • Anna Greenwald, Founder and CEO, On the Goga
  • Kenny Nguyen, CEO and Co-Founder, ThreeSixtyEight
  • Nick Schacht, SHRM-SCP, Chief Global Development Officer, SHRM
The Cost of Inaction is Too Great: Congress Must Pass A Phase 4 Coronavirus Relief Package
Check out the latest article in the U.S. Chamber's Above the Fold series—titled  The Cost of Inaction is Too Great: Congress Must Pass A Phase 4 Coronavirus Relief Package—which emphasizes the importance of congressional action—and the potential cost of inaction as it pertains to:

  • Airlines
  • Restaurants
  • Retailers
  • School-related closures
  • Working parents
  • Small business owners
  • The Unemployed
  • 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.

  • 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