Thursday September 24, 2020
Applying for Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness 
As some lenders begin to accept Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness applications, you may have questions about how to apply, when to apply, and the documentation you will need to include with your application.

Luckily, Forbes has put out a timely and insightful article that covers the questions above and also discusses the different forgiveness applications and which one may be the right fit for you and your business.

We encourage you to read the article (link below) and reach out to the financial institution that issued your PPP loan if you have any questions.

To read the full article, click here.

For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, or to download the forgiveness applications, click here.
Extended Unemployment Benefits Explained
In New York State, traditional Unemployment Insurance provides 26 weeks of benefits to those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. For claimants who filed a claim and were approved at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, they may be close to exhausting their 26 weeks of traditional UI benefits so we wanted to take this opportunity to explain what is available and what happens next.
There are currently two programs available that will continue to pay UI benefits after traditional UI has been exhausted - the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC) and the Extended Benefits Program (EB).
PEUC offers 13 weeks of additional benefits after traditional UI has been exhausted. To be eligible for PEUC, one must first exhaust all 26 weeks of their traditional UI benefits and continue to be unemployed. After traditional UI & PEUC have been exhausted, EB offers either 13 or 20 weeks of additional benefits depending on New York States’ current unemployment rates.
Both PEUC and EB pay the same weekly rate that claimants were receiving from traditional unemployment insurance benefits, which are based on recent earnings. Claimants will continue to certify for the additional PEUC or EB benefits the same way they certified for traditional UI benefits.
For a frequently asked question sheet on extended UI benefits, click here.
*It is important to note that under federal law, these extension programs are only available to individuals receiving traditional UI benefits. Those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for PEUC or EB benefits, however, can receive up to 46 weeks of PUA benefits.
Unemployment Continues to Drop in Our Region
August unemployment numbers have been posted by the New York State Labor Dept., showing the state at 12.6% for August.

Our North Country numbers are significantly better in comparison:

  • CLINTON COUNTY: 8.0%, down from a high of 15.2% in April
  • FRANKLIN COUNTY: 8.8%, down from a high of 14.3% in April
  • ESSEX COUNTY: 7.7%, down from a high of 17.1% in April
  • HAMILTON COUNTY: 5.5%, down from a high of 14.2% in April
  • WARREN COUNTY: 8.5%, down from a high of 17.3% in April
UPDATE: Impact on County Sales Tax Receipts
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released the following report on county sales tax receipts for the period of January-August 2020 compared with the same period in 2019:

  • CLINTON: Down 6.3%. $35.3 m. in 2020 compared with $37.6 m. in 2019.
  • ESSEX: Down 4.7%. $18.7 m in 2020 compared with $19.7 m. in 2019.
  • FRANKLIN: Up 1%. $16.0 m. in 2020 compared with $$15.8 m. in 2019.
  • HAMILTON: Down 2.4%. $2.3 m. in 2020 compared with $2.4 m. in 2019.
  • WARREN: Down 7.6%. $33.4 m. in 2020 compared with $36.1 m. in 2019.

Statewide, sales tax receipts for January-August 2020 were down 10.9% compared with the same period in 2019.
COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Loan Program
The Lake Champlain Lake George Regional Planning Board (LCLGRPB) is accepting applications for their COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Loan program. This loan program is available to for-profit businesses in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses can request up to $150,000 in loan funds to cover things like mortgages, utilities, payroll expenses, equipment purchases, facility upgrades, and more.

COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Loan Program Details:
  • Loan amounts of up to $150,000
  • 1.9% fixed interest rate* (final interest rate is pending approval; subject to change)
  • Interest-only payments for first 12 months
  • Terms up to seven years
  • Available to for-profit businesses in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties
  • No application fee
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Minimal closing costs
  • Loan use: working capital, equipment/supply purchase, facility and infrastructure upgrades
  • Sufficient collateral required
  • Personal guarantee require

This loan program was made possible through over $3.2 million in federal funding that was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March, and released this month by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

While final loan details and application are forthcoming, interested businesses can contact Andrea Palmer, LCLGRPB Economic Development Coordinator, at (518) 668-5773 or via email at to start the process.
GOV Cuomo Announces Free Fishing Day Saturday, September 26
Governor Cuomo announced that New York residents can fish for free on Saturday, September 26, which is National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated each year to promote outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and target shooting.
"It's no secret that early autumn offers some of the best fishing opportunities on the calendar, and New York is teeming with some of the best lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams in the Northeast just waiting to be explored," Governor Cuomo said. "Fishing is a tradition in my family and in families across New York State, and I encourage everyone from experienced anglers to those who have never fished before to participate in this Free Fishing Day and spend some time together outdoors."
New York State continues to encourage people to engage in responsible recreation during the State's ongoing response to COVID-19. DEC is placing signage at popular locations reminding anglers to be SMART when fishing this year:
  • Socially distance at least six feet apart
  • Mask - Wear one when you cannot maintain social distancing, especially in parking lots and along footpaths
  • Avoid sharing gear when possible
  • Respect your fellow anglers and the resource by providing space and practicing ethical angling
  • Take out what you bring in or place trash in receptacles
DEC Announces Enforcement of NY's Plastic Bag Ban to Start October 19th
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that DEC will begin enforcement of the State's ban on single-use plastic carryout bags on Oct. 19, 2020.

DEC continues to encourage New Yorkers to use reusable bags wherever and whenever they shop with the #BYOBagNY campaign, launched earlier this year. 
COVID-19 Second Wave 'Very Different': Quebec Health Minister
The second wave of COVID-19 in Quebec will be younger, more spread out across the province, and possibly more challenging for the health network compared to the first wave, Health Minister Christian Dube said Tuesday.

The second wave is also driven mostly by younger people who may be less likely to fall seriously ill but who are more likely to spread the virus in the community, where it is more difficult to trace, Dube said.

Also on Tuesday, the health minister raised the alert level for three more regions. Dube said the Laval region north of Montreal and the Outaouais region in western Quebec will be moving to the orange, or moderate, alert level. The Centre-du-Quebec region in central Quebec will move from green to the yellow, early-warning level, he said.

Orange is the second-highest level in the province’s COVID-19 risk-assessment system, which measures the risk posed by COVID-19 in specific geographic areas.

Laval and Outaouais join Montreal, the Quebec City area as well as the Chaudiere-Appalaches region in the orange list, which involves tighter restrictions on bars and restaurants as well as lower limits on most indoor gatherings.
  • 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