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Hochul shares state plan for economic recovery

Todd J. Tranum, president and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, welcomes Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to the groups’ annual meeting.

New York’s second-in-command has hope for Chautauqua County, as well as the rest of New York, in its rebounding from COVID-19.

On Friday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was a guest speaker at the joint annual meeting of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturer’s Association of the Southern Tier.

“By and large, we are open. There’s still some areas that are hot spots and orange zones but we’re doing really, really well,” she said during the meeting, which was on Zoom.

Hochul noted that Western New York has a 6% infection rate. “A few months ago we would have thought was ‘oh my gosh – 6%’ at a time when our state average was 40 straight days of under 1% but our expectations have been tempered with reality, considering that our area was going up in Chautauqua County, with parts of it at 8, 9, 10%, just a few weeks ago,” she said.

Hochul noted how she has been in constant contact with Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and County Executive PJ Wendel, sometimes seven days a week, with the Control Room calls. She has also regularly hears from other officials, including Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas and state Sen. George Borrello, about their concerns in the restaurant and entertainment industries.

Hochul shared the success testing was for the Buffalo Bills to get people in the stands. She hopes that model that can work elsewhere. “That is something we can think about with Chautauqua Institution, think about with the Reg Lenna theater in Jamestown or other facilities and entertainment that goes on at SUNY Fredonia,” she said.

She noted how people may be able to get a rapid test and have the results available on their cell phone.

“People, before they go out to dinner, go out to eat or go to a movie, they can get tested in 15 minutes. I think that’s going to be a game changer for us,” she said.

Ever since the pandemic began, the key solution has been getting people vaccinated and that hasn’t changed. Hochul noted, though, there aren’t enough companies that are producing the vaccine worldwide. “Pfizer and Moderna are the only two authorized right now. They’re not cranking out enough; they’re just not able to,” she said.

Hochul has hope in the federal government’s plan to add more competitors and increase production but recognizes that won’t happen immediately. “That being said, we cannot wait any longer to supercharge our economy, getting it going again,” she said.

Todd Tranum, county chamber president and MAST executive director, thanked Hochul for being Friday’s guest speaker at the annual meeting. “We greatly appreciate your time, your hard work, your effort and of course your passion for Western New York,” he said.

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