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All businesses must affirm reopening requirements

All businesses must affirm that they have read and will adhere to the protocols outlined by New York state as part of the multi-phase reopening process. It is important to note that this includes businesses that remained open from the start of the New York on Pause period. The state’s guidance for business reopening are more than just health and safety protocols, they are also a key component to thinking through how to keep your employees and customers safe. The guidance also helps inform the types of training your businesses needs to conduct with your employees. Employee training is an important factor in mitigating both risk and liability going forward. It is important that all businesses read the requirements, affirm online that they have done so, develop a plan, train employees as needed, and stay up to date and in compliance with the current rules and any future changes in the guidance.

Our key objective as a business association, at this time, is to work with local businesses to make sure they reopen and remain open. The eight to 10 weeks of New York on Pause, so far, have been painful for business owners, managers, and employees. The very last thing anyone wants is to have our region slip backwards and we are forced into a situation where we have to start putting businesses on pause again.

It is in your best interest as a business operator to follow the plans outlined and AFFIRM that you are doing so. It’s in everyone’s best interest. For all of the guidance by business sector for Phases 1 and 2, please visit https://forward.ny.gov/ny-forward. If you need specific assistance with your business plan the Chamber and MAST are available to help.

Be a tourist here at home this summer

Memorial Day is normally the unofficial start of our summer season. That holiday is now in our rearview mirror and 2020. Whereas summer tends to start with a plethora of activities, it was certainly a low-key kickoff this year. This will be a summer without many of the events and activities we have grown to know and love here in Chautauqua County. Your normal summer itinerary abundant with festivals, major concerts, summer lecture series, fairs, and parades will be different this year.

But there will be plenty of summer, and there are still ways to enjoy it right here in our own beautiful corner of New York state. We are fortunate to live in a region with beautiful lakes and parks. We can stay socially distant while we enjoy all these great amenities that we normally take for granted.

There may not be the usual influx of tourists in our region, but if your summer plans include a staycation, we urge you to support our treasure trove of small, local businesses this summer. You can rent a boat and get out on the water. You can go fishing and support a local tackle or bait shop. You can get takeout or delivery from your favorite local restaurants, and now can find a spot with safe and appropriate outdoor dining. You can play golf. You can enjoy an ice cream cone from a local stand. Visit your local farmers market for the finest locally grown produce. Browse your local nursery and take home some beautiful plants and flowers. Take a hike and enjoy a picnic on our local state and county park lands. Visit our local beaches along our beautiful lakes. Visit some of the local shops and spend your tourist dollars right here at home. Get away from your home and spend a night or two at a local hotel. The Chautauqua County Visitor’s Bureau has provided some links to information about things you can do in Chautauqua County this summer. Check it out at tourchautauqua.com/covid-19.

Now, more than ever, it is a time to enjoy what we have right here in Chautauqua County. So even without the trappings that we normally take for granted, we can appreciate the natural beauty right here in our own backyard and boost our local business community that has been hard hit this year. Shop safe, shop small, and shop local this summer.

Businesses talk reopening at Business Weekly Webinar

The next Chamber/MAST Business Weekly Webinar will feature compelling stories from local businesses that have already reopened. Whether you’re still waiting for the next Phase under the NY Forward plan or have already taken steps towards reopening, you can learn from those who have gone before you. One of the region’s larger manufacturers will join us as we hear from Jim Stitt, Jr. of CUTCO in Olean.

The Chamber and MAST hold these events online each Monday at 3:30pm. You can register in advance or join just prior to the call. Please use this link for GoToWebinar:https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/8683224162938372623. Attendees can use their computer audio or call in at +1 (631) 992-3221. The Business Weekly Webinar is sponsored by Digitell, FORECON, and the Law Offices of Sheila Starky Hahn. All local businesspeople are welcome to attend this free and informative session.

Vote for Chautauqua in USA Today Best Poll

Chautauqua has been nominated for USA Today’s Best Small Town Cultural Scene, and all local people are encouraged to vote. You can vote daily through June 29 by visiting vote.chq.org. You can also sign up for daily reminders to vote.

We have had some tremendous successes this year for local communities and attractions at Fredonia won the Season 5 vote in The Small Business Revolution, and the National Comedy Center won the USA Today Best New Museum poll. Let’s all work together to make this just as successful. Vote each day.

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