Monday August 3, 2020
Here are the latest updates and resources for businesses and employees during this uncertain time. - Onward and Be Well!
No business should be left behind. That has been our Chamber's aim from the start of the shutdown in March, and we remain committed to working with every business in our region who we can try to assist through information, guidance, safety training, direct assistance and advocacy.

Most of our business sectors have been allowed to re-open, at least on a limited basis, and they have overwhelmingly demonstrated their commitment to doing things safely and correctly. But a handful of business sectors are now approaching month five of total closure with no indication of a target timeline or the provision of guidelines which would at least allow them to begin preparations. These businesses are in increasing danger of in fact being left behind, and they include gyms, movie theaters, and indoor amusements such as bowling alleys, among a few others.

We continue to communicate regularly with the Governor's office and others, restating the growing hardship to these business owners and what we know to be their readiness to comply with whatever the re-opening standards are. The answer is routinely that there is nothing new to share. 

Last week, in an attempt to query in a different way, I asked if efforts were underway aimed at developing guidelines in anticipation of an intended green light at some point or if, to the contrary, there was a "hard pause" perhaps prompted by what's happening elsewhere. I was assured there was no "hard pause". But the days and weeks continue and what is most frustrating for these businesses is the lack of communication.

We will continue to call for communication and guidelines, as we remain committed to doing all we can to "leave no business behind".

Garry Douglas
North Country Chamber of Commerce
SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND was joined in Plattsburgh on Friday by the County Board Chairs of Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties; the State Association of Counties; Assemblyman Billy Jones; the North Country Chamber of Commerce and a number of local officials in highlighting the importance of including major, flexible funding for counties and local governments in the next federal COVID relief bill, now under active discussion in Congress.

Sen. Gillibrand strongly called for agreement on such funding to preserve vital county and local services and avoid further layoffs, cuts in essential services and/or local tax increases.

The North Country Chamber has been actively communicating with Senator Gillibrand as well as Senator Charles Schumer and Rep. Elise Stefanik on the content of this legislation and the need for major aid for counties and local governments as a priority. We see counties as central to so many services that in turn are keys to the regional economy. Examples include our community colleges and workforce development programs, our health departments, senior services, substance abuse related support, transportation and more.

Also critical is substantial additional aid under the PPP program for businesses still struggling or not yet able to even reopen, allowing a second round for these small businesses.

We will continue to work with Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and Rep. Stefanik in the coming days on these and other important elements as a final bill is hopefully agreed to, and we thank her for her visit.

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Urges Members & Employees to Get COVID-19 Test
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe has entered into COVID-19 mass testing contracts for Akwesasne residents and employees of local businesses.
According to a Tribal press release, arrangements were finalized this week with Massena Hospital and Mountain Medical Urgent Care in Malone. Akwesasne residents may contact them directly to schedule their own testing.

Akwesasne residents on both sides of the border are eligible to receive tests with the local providers. Individuals must bring a tribal identification care or Band Card to the testing site and state you are a resident of Akwesasne. Non-Member residents of Akwesasne are also eligible under the contract and should bring their driver’s license to the testing site.

Any questions regarding accessibility of the Mass Testing contracts should be directed to Saint Regis Mohawk Health Services at 518-358-3141 or the Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center at 518-320-0019.
Essex County Health Department Answers Questions About COVID-19 Testing
COVID testing continues to be a topic that generates lots of questions and concerns for residents. The Essex County Health Department (ECHD) would like to provide community members with some updates regarding the testing landscape in the region, as it has changed quite significantly from the early days of the pandemic.

Question & Answer Article can be found here .

The Essex County Health Department will continue to work with our local healthcare providers to ensure that local residents are able to access COVID testing, as needed, and that they have the most accurate and up-to-date information.
5 Small Business Owners Reveal Their Best Marketing Strategies
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners have had to come up with fresh, new ways to make the presence of their businesses known. From incorporating technology like e-commerce sales and email marketing to pivoting their product or service offerings all together, small business owners have proved themselves creative and resilient in the face of such an unprecedented time.
Here, five small business owners shared with CO— how they've gotten crafty (and successful) with their marketing strategies — not only by identifying and speaking to their customers' needs, but tapping into their hearts, as well.
Two Coronavirus Vaccines Enter Final Stages of Clinical Trials
As communities across the country consider whether to reopen schools and offices this fall, leaders are pinning their hopes to a COVID-19 vaccine that will soon be available.
The Chamber’s  latest interactive map  breaks down where clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics are happening in the United States. There are currently  25 vaccines in the clinical stage of development , and just yesterday two entered the final stages.

Moderna began a Phase 3, 30,000-person trial  for its leading vaccine candidate, developed in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. A day ahead of the beginning of the trial, the U.S. government threw additional support behind Moderna’s vaccine,  committing an additional $472 million  to the Phase 3 trial.
Late Monday afternoon,  Pfizer and BioNTech announced the start  of a global Phase 2/3 30,000-person safety and efficacy clinical trial for their leading mRNA vaccine candidate. If the vaccine candidate proves effective, the companies plan to seek regulatory approval  as early as October 2020 , with a goal of providing up to 100 million doses globally by the end of the year.

The story of these three innovative companies sheds light on the risk required to invest in innovative, life-saving treatments. To date, there has not yet been a successful mRNA vaccine developed. Should either the Moderna or Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine candidates prove successful, it would be an unprecedented breakthrough.

As these companies work at warp speed alongside other biopharmaceutical companies with vaccines in clinical development, the scientific community recognizes that an effective vaccine cannot come quickly enough. 

With our brightest scientific minds, the most innovative companies, and the nation’s leading universities on the task, the Chamber is confident that we will have an effective vaccine to help lead the global community out of this crisis soon. 

–Jonathan Weinberger, Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center

  • 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