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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Pandemic Updates

On November 8, 2021, the United States government re-opened our borders to international travelers who are fully vaccinated.

On November 8, 2021, Governor Hochul announced a comprehensive $450 million "Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs" inclusive recovery package to support New York State's hardest-hit tourism sector workers, revitalize the state's tourism industry, and support businesses started just prior to or during the pandemic. The package includes the following components.
     
$100 Million Tourism Worker Recovery Fund    
The first part of this package supports New Yorkers in the most impacted tourism and hospitality industry sectors who were on extended federal unemployment insurance the last week before those benefits ended and have yet to see their earnings fully recover. The New York State Department of Labor will issue one-time payments of $2,750 to as many as 36,000 qualified workers in tourism sector industries. New Yorkers who are eligible will be contacted directly via text or email.  
    
$100 Million Tourism Return-to-Work Grant Program    
The second piece of this package is designed to encourage tourism businesses that suffered job and revenue losses to rehire workers, while providing financial relief. Qualifying tourism businesses will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000 per net new full-time employee, or $2,500 per net new part-time employee, hired to offset their labor costs. To receive full benefit, employers will have to maintain employment increases over six months. Employment increases will be based on total employment rather than specific individual employees, and businesses that can demonstrate the greatest workforce losses resulting from COVID-19 will be a priority. More information, including a sign-up for program-related email alerts, is available here. 
    
$25 Million Meet in New York Grant Program    
This program focuses on venues and events to generate and support new business-focused travel. This holistic approach to visitation recognizes the spending habits of business and convention travelers for overnight stays, food and activities. The Meet in New York program will provide grants to help convention centers and conference spaces bring more events, traveler spending and jobs back to New York State. Qualifying venues and their partnering event hotels can offer meeting organizers discounts on booking fees or room blocks to entice business, with grants reimbursing a portion of such discounts. More information on qualifying businesses and events can be found here.   
    
$25 Million I LOVE NY Global Marketing Campaign    
This consumer-facing global tourism promotion campaign extends a new invitation to domestic and international visitors, allowing I LOVE NY to expand its current marketing efforts into additional domestic and international markets. The campaign will include broadcast and digital elements that promote New York State as the world's premier travel destination, where visitors are encouraged to come be a part of it and find what they love. 
 
$200 Million Program for Businesses Started Just Prior to or During the Pandemic    
To further New York State's commitment to small businesses, Governor Hochul announced plans to introduce legislation in January 2022 at the start of New York State's legislative session to create a $200 million program designed to support businesses started just prior to or during the pandemic. This forward-looking initiative would utilize existing funding in the state's $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program to support younger businesses that were otherwise ineligible for relief through existing state and federal programs to ensure greater inclusivity among small and micro-businesses.