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Phase 1 businesses reopening with optimism and safety at the forefront

Chamber Corner

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.

Business weekly webinar to feature a panel discussion on reopening

The next Chamber/MAST Business Weekly Webinar will feature a panel discussion on Restarting Our Economy. Topics will include the state certification process for businesses, developing a reopening plan, training resources, technical help, and more. Our panelists will include: Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development; Holger Ekanger, Vice President of Workforce Readiness at JCC; Ben Rand, Insyte Consulting; and Bradley Walters, Executive Director Builders Exchange of the Southern Tier.

Due to the Memorial Day holiday this coming week, this session has been moved to Tuesday, May 26 at 3:30 p.m.

In addition, we are moving this weekly event to a new platform to provide a better experience for all participants. We will now hold it via GoToWebinar. Participants can register in advance and get an email reminder to join the call, or they can join the webinar just before it begins by visiting: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5611325014018770444. There is still an option to join by telephone at +1 (562) 247-8321 and use the audio pin 996-183-863.

All local businesspeople are welcome to attend this free and informative session.

Chamber County Executive Breakfast Online June 5

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present its annual County Executive Breakfast Online, with County Executive Paul “PJ” Wendel, Friday, June 5 at 8:30 a.m. We encourage all attendees to get up and get out and find your favorite local breakfast or coffee takeout restaurant, and then head home to join us online for this informative event.

Our sponsors for this event are Chautauqua Institution, DFT Communications, Jamestown Mattress Company, Lawley Insurance, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, Phillips Lytle LLP, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress, Southern Tier Environments for Living, University Advancement at the State University of New York at Fredonia, and UPMC Chautauqua. Please support our sponsors and register online for this event at www.chautauquachamber.org. This is free for all to attend, but if you feel inclined the Chamber of Commerce can use your donation at registration at this time to help offset our ongoing expenses.

Questions may be submitted in advance by email to swebster@chautauquachamber.org or during the event by using the Question feature in GoToWebinar.

Chamber and MAST Offer Improved Employee Training Services

The Chamber and MAST have added courses in our new Zywave Learning Management System to help all members during the COVID-19 pandemic. These courses include Safe Work Practices, Respiratory PPE guidance, Safety Training, and more. This is in addition to the existing and required HR Compliance program to meet the ongoing New York State Workplace Harassment mandates. Each existing Zywave client with the Chamber/MAST has either already received, or will shortly be receiving, an email to get them started with this new course material.

The HR360 library of informational resources is also still available at hr360.com for all members. The library includes helpful tips and resources for all human resource professionals.

These services are provided through your membership investment in the Chamber/MAST. If you have questions, please email Sheila Webster at swebster@chautauquachamber.org.

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