The Pandemic and Covid-19 Preparedness necessitates this reminder be prioritized here. For the latest updates and information from New York State and Schuyler County, continue reading.

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COVID-19 UPDATES AND RESOURCES

helping keep our communities safe with timely, accurate information

Updated 5/7/2021

Significant easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on businesses, gatherings, and venues announced today [5/3/21]. 

Social Distance-based Business Capacities
Effective May 19, most business capacities—which are currently based upon percentage of maximum occupancy—will be removed in New York and New Jersey. Businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet. This new distance-based maximum capacity will apply across commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings. It will also apply in houses of worship.

Increase in Social and Residential Gathering Limits
In New York beginning May 10, the outdoor social gathering limit will increase from 200 to 500 people. Beginning May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people. Also, the outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people will be removed, reverting to the social gathering limit of 500 people with space for appropriate social distancing, and the indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people. In New York, any event gatherings in excess of the social gathering limits may only occur if all individuals present proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result.

Event Venues
Congregate commercial and social events in New York—such as those at venues that host sports competitions, performing arts and live entertainment, and catered receptions—can exceed the social gathering limits of 500 people outdoors or 250 people indoors if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing can be accommodated. 

Starting May 19, large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30% capacity, which is an increase from the current 10% capacity limit. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33%. Social distancing, masks, and other applicable health protocols will still apply, including the requirement of attendee proof of full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result.

Industry Reopening Requirements
While most industry capacity restrictions will be lifted, industry-specific requirements will remain in effect for a longer period of time, including state or local health authority event notification, health screening, contact information for tracing, enhanced air handling and building system standards, hand hygiene, and environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols. The State will continue to provide additional guidance on these provisions as they apply to each industry.

Today's announcement [released on May 3, 2021] builds on Governor Cuomo's recent measures to further reopen the economy amid a steady decline in New York's COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates. On April 30, Governor Cuomo announced that New York City indoor dining will expand to 75% capacity beginning May 7, bringing New York City in line with the rest of New York. The Governor also announced that hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services will expand to 75% capacity beginning May 7. New York City gyms and fitness centers will expand to 50% capacity beginning May 15. On April 28, Governor Cuomo announced that the food and beverage service, and catered event, curfews would end this month.

Statements regarding Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine (released 4/24):

From Governor Cuomo: "World-renowned public health experts from the federal government and our own independent state task force have reviewed the data and reaffirmed that the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can resume. The state of New York will resume administration of this vaccine at all of our state-run sites effective immediately. The vaccine is the weapon that will win the war against COVID and allow everyone to resume normalcy, and we have three proven vaccines at our disposal. I urge every New Yorker to take whichever one is available to them first. The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can put the long COVID nightmare behind us once and for all."

From State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker: "Yesterday evening, following a thorough safety review, the CDC and FDA lifted the recommended pause on the COVID-19 Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said that the United States can resume the use of the vaccine for adults, 18 years of age and older. Following discussions with New York State's Clinical Advisory Task Force and Governor Cuomo, I recommend that New York State accept the federal recommendations and resume Johnson & Johnson vaccinations effective immediately.

"The data has shown the vaccine's known benefits far outweigh the potential and extremely rare risks, but we urge anyone with questions about the COVID-19 vaccines to speak with their healthcare provider. We will continue to communicate regular updates and guidance from the federal government to providers and the general public about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and all vaccines on the market.

"We encourage all New Yorker's to get whichever vaccine is available to them, as quickly as possible, so we can finally defeat this virus and continue our path towards fully reopening our communities and economy."

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.

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.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) - announced 4/17/21

  • Learn about the program. ​
  • Applications: The SBA is not accepting applications at the moment, but now is a good time to prepare: Sample Application; Program Guide; Cross-Program Eligibility Chart. You will be able to apply through SBA-recognized Point of Sale Restaurant Partners or directly via SBA in a forthcoming online application portal. Registration with SAM.gov is not required. DUNS or CAGE identifiers are also not required.
  • Launch Date: The official application launch date will be announced shortly. Ahead of the application launch and over the next two weeks, the SBA will establish a seven-day pilot period for the RRF application portal and conduct extensive outreach and training on how to apply, application requirements and where to apply. Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public. Following the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public. For the first 21 days that the program is open, the SBA will prioritize reviewing applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Following the 21-day period, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications. 

Vaccine Clinics

Interested in tracking vaccine results? Bookmark this page: ny.gov/vaccinetracker. 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.

News from Local Organizations in March

Community Updates: Zoom Meetings Organized by SCOPED
May 6, 2021

Join Zoom Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81196326743?fbclid=IwAR3aIU1vUyChYrR7ns33AedgHgK50qsnXBmgOTRNVqTcFrG1Gc2Xukwa7Rk#success

Meeting ID: 811 9632 6743; Passcode: 931473

One tap mobile

+19292056099,,81196326743#,,,,,,0#,,931473# US (New York)

+13126266799,,81196326743#,,,,,,0#,,931473# US (Chicago)

Mark your calendar for future meetings:

  • Jun 3, 2021 03:00 PM

 

News from the SBA

The U.S. SBA has posted info for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal in anticipation of opening applications for the much-anticipated critical economic relief program on Thursday, April 8, 2021. Details here: https://www.svograntportal.sba.gov/s

 

News from the State (Released in May and highlights from April):

Governor Cuomo announced on 4/28 the following:  

  • the 12 a.m. food and beverage service curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining areas beginning May 17 and for indoor dining areas beginning May 31.
  • the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17
  • the curfew for all catered events is set to be lifted May 31 

Additionally, the Governor announced, also on 4/28, that catered events can resume at residences beginning May 3 above the State's residential gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, as long as the events are staffed by a professional, licensed caterer, permitted by the respective locality or municipality, and strictly adhere to health and safety guidance, including social and event gathering limits, masks, and social distancing. Also on May 3, the guidance for dancing among attendees at catered events will be aligned with neighboring states, replacing fixed dance zones for each table with social distancing and masks.

On 4/27, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State will adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidance on mask use for fully vaccinated people. The guidelines state that fully vaccinated people, defined as two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, no longer need to wear masks outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues. However, masks should still be worn indoors and should still be worn by people who are not fully vaccinated. This guidance reemphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated and closely adhering to public health guidance, particularly if you are not yet vaccinated. Fully vaccinated individuals with immunocompromising conditions should consult with their healthcare provider first.

Governor Cuomo announced on 4/26 that the online learner permit test for Class D (passenger vehicles) and Class M (motorcycles) is now available to New Yorkers statewide. The announcement comes after the launch of an online permit application pilot program last year. This new service allows New Yorkers to begin the permit application process and take the test from the comfort of their home, saving the customer significant time in the DMV office.

Governor Cuomo announced on April 21 that beginning Friday, April 23, 16 mass vaccination sites will accept walk-in appointments for individuals age 60 and older. New York State will set aside a vaccine allocation to facilitate this expanded vaccination access. There may be a wait for those opting to walk-in at some sites depending on demand. Additionally, all proof of identity and insurance information, if applicable, will be needed.

Capacity caps increased as follows:

  • Movie Theater capacity increases to 33% on April 26.
  • Museums, aquariums, zoos and botanical garden capacity increases to 50% on April 26.
  • Large-scale arenas and event venue capacity increases to 25% beginning May 19. This includes professional and collegiate sports and major performances.

Social distancing, masks, health screenings and all other health and safety protocols remain in effect. Governor Cuomo makes frequent announcements about the state of the virus in New York. To register for emails or to follow the news, please visit the web

On April 13, Governor Cuomo announced a new targeted effort to vaccinate workers at New York State farms and food production facilities. The state will coordinate with local health departments and Federally Qualified Health Centers to bring pop-up vaccination sites to workers, including migrant workers, at their places of employment.

On April 12, Governor Cuomo today announced that New York State will provide a new, separate allocation of 35,000 vaccines to address the college student population at SUNY schools and private colleges. This initial allocation will include 21,000 vaccines to be administered to SUNY students and 14,000 vaccines to be administered at private colleges. The vaccines will be administered to residential and non-commuter students who are leaving for the summer.

On April 7, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Financial Services to extend the emergency regulation requiring all health insurers to waive co-pays for the COVID-19 vaccine until April 30. The extension of this regulation and guidance will help to ensure there are no barriers to New Yorkers accessing the vaccine as the State continues to implement its vaccine administration plan and get every New Yorker vaccinated.

Governor Cuomo announced on April 2 that performing arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity beginning today. Venues can host up to 100 people indoors or up to 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of completed vaccination or recent negative test result prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors or up to 500 people outdoors. Social distancing, face coverings, health screening and other health protocols will be required by all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable Department of Health guidance, which is available here.

Mental health resources are available for New Yorkers who need them. Now that it's officially spring, we are slowly getting outside again and enjoying the warmer weather but we still recognize the mental and emotional strain many are feeling during the pandemic. New Yorkers can visit headspace.com/ny for free mindfulness resources or call the support hotline at 1-844-863-9314.

On April 1, the New York Mets and New York Yankees can resume playing with spectators in stadiums. Professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing, and health screenings. Vaccination efforts at both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will still continue during the MLB season.

 

Selected Guidelines released by the State prior to 3/18/2021:

New legislation grants employees time off to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Under this new law, public and private employees will be granted up to four hours of excused leave per shot that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued. This legislation is in effect now. The 'Am I Eligible' screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. New Yorkers can use the following to show they are eligible:    

  • Doctor's letter, or
  • Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or
  • Signed certification  

 

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 April 2021

News released in March 2021

News released prior to March 2021