COVID-19 Updates and Resources

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The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its virtual, inaugural B2B Meet Up event this Wednesday, April 1, 2020, from
2 pm-3:15 pm, enabling businesses from Schuyler County and the Finger Lakes Region to share ideas and opportunities, and to work together finding innovative ways to thrive. This meeting will be hosted on Zoom. For more information, or to register, visit the event page here.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources
Your Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is working hard to keep you up-to-date during this challenging time. Below is a catalog of resources we believe will be helpful to you and your business/organization. If you’re looking for something you don’t find here, please contact Executive Director Rebekah Carroll at 607-703-9711 or via email at


New York State Updates
For the latest from New York State, click here. For the latest from Governor Cuomo’s list of Executive Orders related to COVID-19, visit this page. For a summary of “New York State on Pause,” click here.

Empire State Development
Empire State Development has issued its guidance implementing NYS Executive Order 202.6, restrictions on non-essential business, and Executive Order 202.7, which increases the required staff reduction for non-essential business to 75%. Guidance is available here. The request for waiver form is available here. The guidance lists 66 categories of business that are designed “essential.”  ESD has set up a web portal and FAQ for individuals and businesses with business-related COVID-19 issues and questions on this website with all COVID-19 info.

Small Business Association
Apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) online here. Learn more from this Fact Sheet . For local help preparing loan applications, click here. The New York State Business Development Center network recommends submitting a request for assistance online here.  

Federal Legislative Update
The Senate has passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  This bill provides, among other things, provisions to address Paid Sick Leave, Paid Family and Medical Leave, and Unemployment Insurance for workers displaced by the ongoing outbreak.  Furthermore, it includes provisions to provide diagnostic testing for coronavirus, and bolsters Medicaid and nutrition programs for at risk populations.  Click here to see the U.S. Chamber’s summary.  

Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes
Mini-grants are available to help regional non-profits cover costs associated with employees shifting to telecommuting. Click here for more information.

Schuyler County Economic Recovery Cabinet
A collaborative of business and economic development leaders has been formed to coordinate area efforts to support businesses through this period. Area businesses are asked to respond to a survey here.

Internal Revenue Service Updates
For information about changes in the way the federal government is handling tax payments, returns, refunds, etc., as well as new waivers and actions being taken in response to COVID-19, click here.

Human Resources/Staffing
For information and guidance on workplace safety, unemployment insurance flexibilities, wages/hours/leave, support for dislocated workers, and more, click here. 

The U.S. Department of Labor is making regular updates to its guidelines for Unemployment Benefits. Read about this and all DOL news here.

The DOL is also reminding businesses of its Shared Work Program that can provide an alternative to laying off employees during business downturns by allowing workers to work a reduced schedule and collect partial unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you are able to reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group. Learn more here.

NYS Liquor Authority
For information and guidance on restrictions for liquor license-holders and to-go/delivery sales in response to COVID-19, click here.

Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau
For a regional list of wineries and their responses/offerings re: COVID-19, click here.

Seneca Lake Wine Trail
For a list of Seneca Lake wineries and their responses/offerings re: to COVID-19, click here.

To Help
Businesses able to/interested in helping support the pandemic response with needed supplies or products should send an email here.


Centers for Disease Control
For the latest information and guidance from the federal government on COVID-19, click here. For guidance on coping with COVID-19 from a mental health perspective, click here.

Local Healthcare Services
Schuyler Hospital

Cayuga Medical Center
Arnot Health

Department of Labor/Unemployment Benefits
To file a claim for unemployment benefits, click here. For information about employee leave policies and protections/legislation, click here.

Child Care Resources
For information about childcare availability and closures, click here.

New York State Parks
For the most up-to-date information on New York State Park facilities, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions
This list was last updated 3/26/20, and will likely be updated often. We have heard several frequently asked questions from our business
community and we wanted to share those questions and the appropriate answers with you:
Q: Are self-employed and independent contractors eligible for unemployment benefits?

A: Currently, the self-employed and independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, discussions are currently happening in Congress to temporarily expand benefits to these individuals. (Source - Congressman Reed’s office)

Q: How can I sign up for Coronavirus Updates from Governor Cuomo’s office?

A: Sign up for email updates from New York State with critical information on the Coronavirus Pandemic:

Q: Where do I ask business-related questions that the Chamber team can’t assist with?

A: Empire State Development has a new, easy to use online form for COVID-19-Related Business questions.

Q: Are there seminars/conference calls that I can take part in to educate myself on my personal and business needs?

A: Yes, please like the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page for that information.