Chamber Corner ◆ July 6, 2020

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As Phase 4 Begins Let’s Focus on Keeping Businesses Open

On Tuesday June 30th, Western New York entered the final phase of the four-stage reopening plan known as New York Forward. Significant steps have been taken in reopening the economy as businesses fight hard to navigate the impact of COVID-19. Yet, this remains a challenging time for most businesses as some remain closed and others are not running at full capacity. Some businesses have experienced a reduction in demand for their products, a result of a slowed economy. In the meantime, we are all still adjusting to a new normal. A portion of the population remains working from home and unfortunately a significant percentage of the population is out of work. So, what lies ahead?

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we can be fairly certain that New York State must remain on its current track for reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in order for businesses to continue to operate. Some states are seeing a, significant increases in COVID-19 cases. This trend is slowing down, and in some cases reversing reopening timelines. Businesses that were previously opened in these states are having to close. New York State has not had to and does not want to head in that direction. Our objective is always to work on behalf of the business community, so to assist in every way possible we will continue to urge people to behave responsibly and follow the rules. Social distancing and wearing a face covering have been demonstrated to help stop the spread of the disease. To support our local businesses and keep our economy open we hope everyone will conduct themselves accordingly.

Phase Four is the final stage of the reopening plan, but it does not include some types of businesses such as shopping malls and gyms. The Governor this week announced new criteria for malls which is centered on air handling systems that have filters with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value to help reduce the presence of the virus in the air. Other specific types of businesses that are high contact or high traffic will likely face similar requirements. We expect that guidance will be issued in the weeks ahead.

This remains a challenging time for all of us. We have been asked to significantly adjust our behavior to protect our family, friends, neighbors, businesses, and community. It is no easy task, but as Americans we have always been able to rise to the challenges before us. On this Fourth of July weekend we urge you to do two things. Support our small local businesses and celebrate safely. Enjoy our beautiful parks, beaches, waterways, and hiking trails. Here in Chautauqua County we are surrounded by scenic beauty and plentiful opportunities to enjoy nature. We wish you a safe, happy, and healthy Independence Day!

Special Note to All Businesses: Check for Updates to State Guidelines

All businesses that have reopened in New York State are required to affirm the state guidelines and maintain a printed copy of their business safety plan on their premises. As part of the state guidance for reopening, the state has reserved the right to change the requirements from time to time and it is the businesses responsibility to stay on top of those changes. There have been some updates to the guidance as language has been strengthened. Additionally, as situations have changed guidance updates have been performed. There are additional new requirements for: Indoor and Outdoor Food Service; Personal Care Services; Office-Based Work; Real Estate Services; Retail, Motor Vehicle Sales; Retail Rental, Repair and Cleaning; Commercial Buildings; Hair Salons and Barber Shops; Dentistry; and Public Transportation. Many of these changes require additional separation policies for employees or customers and maintaining health records for employees. For Child Care and Day Camps groups have been limited to no more than 10 children or campers per staff unit and specifically bars the sharing of food and beverages. All businesses should review, again, the requirements for their respective operation and be sure to adhere to the updated guidance.

Save the Date: Chamber Golf Tournament August 27

In a summer when many things have been canceled, we are proud to be able to bring you the 2020 Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament. This year’s tournament will be held, once again, on the beautiful upper course at Peek’n Peak Resort in Clymer on Thursday, August 27. Details are still being worked out and registration may be limited. The Chamber Golf Tournament is sponsored this year by A Automotive, AW Farrell & Son, Bush Industries, Community Bank, DFT Communications, Insurance Management Company, Koester Associates, Lake Shore Savings Bank, Lawley Insurance, and National Grid. Watch for more information to be announced soon!