As we safely reopen Watkins Glen and all of the Finger Lakes, we look forward to safely welcoming you to our communities. Please remember to call ahead: our restaurants, wineries/breweries/distilleries, and attractions have developed location-specific procedures and protocols to ensure that our community, visitors, and employees remain safe and healthy.

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helping keep our communities safe with timely, accurate information

Updated 6/15/2021

Landmarks across the state will be lit blue and gold on June 15 in celebration of reaching 70 percent of New York adults receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to these lightings, firework displays will be held at ten sites across the state beginning at 9:15pm. This announcement comes with the additional good news that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted immediately as 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. The State's health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing—are now optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services, among other commercial settings. 

Unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance. Consistent with the State's implementation of the recent CDC guidance, masks are still required for unvaccinated individuals. Further, the State's health guidelines continue to be in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings per CDC guidelines.

$26 million in grant funding is now available (as of 6/14) to promote affordable homeownership across the state. Local governments and nonprofit organizations may apply for grants through the Affordable Home Ownership Development Program to help low- and moderate-income homeowners make repairs, to acquire and rehabilitate existing owner-occupied homes, and to construct new owner-occupied homes.

Applications are now open (6/10/21) for the $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program. Reimburses NY small businesses with grants of up to $50,000 for COVID-related expenses incurred between 3/1/20 and 4/1/21. Details here:

The Small Business Administration has released details for the Small Business Recovery Grant Program. More info here:

Updates for requirements for Pre-K to grade 12 were released on June 8:



Community Update: Zoom Meetings Organized by SCOPED
June 3, 2021

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 811 9632 6743; Passcode: 931473

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Highlights from May
As of May 31, the Governor has lifted the midnight curfew on indoor dining for bars and restaurants across New York.

Schuyler County Department of Health has announced a list of upcoming vaccinations. Please see below (under Vaccine Clinics).

Governor Cuomo announced (5/27) that any necessary recovery period from the COVID-19 vaccine is covered under the state's Paid Sick Leave Law. 

Governor Cuomo announced (on 5/26) the Get a Shot to Make Your Future incentive for 12- to 17-year-olds to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Participants can enter into a random prize drawing and potentially receive a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY college beginning May 27. Winners receive a full scholarship to any public college or university, including tuition and room and board. New York State will administer the random drawing and select 10 winners a week over five weeks for a total of 50 winners. Federal COVID-19 relief and outreach funds will be used to cover the cost of this vaccination incentive program.

Governor  Cuomo announced (on 5/24) that every person who gets vaccinated with either a first dose, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson, anywhere in New York State between May 24 and 31 is eligible to receive a free two-day pass to any New York State Park, valid through September 30, 2021. Passes can be picked up at any New York State Park, including the Watkins Glen State Park, which is the State's number 1 ranked park according to Conde Nast Travel.

The American Rescue Plan extends the availability of the Employee Retention Credit for small businesses through December 2021 and allows businesses to offset their current payroll tax liabilities by up to $7,000 per employee per quarter. This credit of up to $28,000 per employee for 2021 is available to small businesses who have seen their revenues decline, or even been temporarily shuttered, due to COVID. More info.

Governor Cuomo announced that beginning May 19, New York State will adopt the CDC's "Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People" for most business and public settings. Review the Reopening New York - Implementing CDC Guidance, released on May 19, here.

Governor Cuomo has announced that beaches and pools will operate with 6' social distancing in anticipation of Memorial Day. His goal is to reopen them to 100% by July 4.


Possible Funding Sources

New York Forward Loan Fund

When the NYFLF launched in May, the federal Small Business Administration had just issued rules regarding companies' eligibility for federal assistance. The goal of the NYFLF was to help New York-based small businesses that did not receive PPP or EIDL funding with flexible working capital to reopen and adapt to post-COVID needs. Effective immediately, small businesses and non-profits that received a PPP loan of $500,000 or less or EIDL loans of $150,000 or less can be eligible for a NYFLF loan.

REDEC has secured funding from Steuben County and Chemung County to provide emergency relief funds to assist small businesses with employee and operational expenses. For additional information contact REDEC at (607) 962-3021.

Empire State Development (ESD) recently announced the more than $3 million "Raising the Bar" Restaurant Recovery Fund to assist restaurants in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic. The "Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund" will help eligible restaurants adjust their operations to the impacts of COVID-19 and adherence to New York State's public health and safety measures during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited. Eligible restaurants can receive up to $5,000 to assist with COVID-19 safety measures.

"Raising the Bar" grant funding can be used for COVID-19-related improvements and equipment that will allow the business to comply with social distancing guidelines, expand take-out/delivery operations, or accommodate outdoor dining such as plexiglass barriers/partitions, signage promoting social distancing and hygiene protocols, heaters, heat lamps, weatherization upgrades and insulated delivery bags; improvements that will allow the business to continue operating through the winter months such as filtration system upgrades and food heaters to maintain temperature for to-go orders and purchasing PPE and sanitation supplies necessitated by the pandemic; and COVID-19 related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology. Qualifying purchases and expenditures must be from September 1, 2020 onwards to be eligible. Initial round of grants are up to $5,000. Applications now being accepted through the Grant Portal.


Vaccine Clinics

Specific dates for Schuyler county Department of Health opportunities:

Interested in tracking vaccine results? Bookmark this page: For the latest updates on news and regulations, bookmark the New York Forward webpages.

Anyone who works or lives in New York State and is 16 years old or older can now get the COVID vaccine. NOTE: Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 and 17 years old.



Tools and Resources to address COVID-19 issues and challenges:

These updates, documents, tool, links and resources are for the public, members of the chamber and visitors as needed and we will do our best to post information as we receive it. 

For the most up-to-date guidance visit the Schuyler County website here

Information from Schuyler County Public Health can be found on their website here.


Archived info

News released in May 2021

News released in April 2021

News released in March 2021

News released prior to March 2021