Chamber Corner: Week of 5-26-2020

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Phase 1 Businesses Reopening with Optimism and Safety at the Forefront

As businesses begin the process of reopening here in Western New York there is much to consider. This is a time of optimism as people begin to get back to work. Western New York is several days into Phase 1 of the NY Forward plan, which allows for several business sectors to open in a new regulatory environment. These sectors include construction; manufacturing; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; wholesale trade; and retail trade for pickup only.

It is important to note that each business must follow several steps to reopen. Each business must have a plan in place and be able to execute that plan. The state has created detailed guidance by business sector around physical distancing, protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene, communication, and screening. There are both mandatory rules, as well as recommended best practices, for each sector. Each business must read and affirm – through the use of an online form – the detailed guidelines for their specific sector. They must also print and post the safety plan templates on each premises.

These same rules apply to all businesses that have been operating as ‘essential services’ during the pause period. So even if a business has remained open in some form, they will be required to read and affirm the regulations and post the guidelines for all employees.

At this time, only the Phase 1 guidance has been posted on the state’s website. As each Phase nears, additional posts will address the business sectors preparing to open. In the meantime, we continue to urge all local businesses to review the existing materials and the templates posted on the Chamber of Commerce web page to assist in your planning process and to help you acquire any supplies or consider any physical changes that may be required for your business to reopen. Any business can visit our website at www.chautauquachamber.org/restarting-our-economy to learn more.

As businesses open, we all must remain diligent in following safety protocol. The Coronavirus is not gone, and the pandemic is ongoing. As the weather improves and people begin circulating more, we will likely see an increase in confirmed cases. The increased availability of testing will also likely play a role in confirmed new cases. Continuing to be safe in our interactions with others, testing and contact tracing are key components to continuing the reopening of the economy and keeping it open.

We continue to urge everyone to follow all safety precautions by wearing masks as needed and required, washing hands, social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. The success of our economic reopening depends on responsible personal behavior, and our objective now is to keep moving forward. Backsliding will not benefit any of us. Please stay safe and healthy, whether you are going back to work or just going to the grocery store or to pickup a takeout meal. We really are all in this together. Our businesses, and our first responders, are depending on all of us to do the right thing.