Policies, Regulations, and Emergency Support Measures

Chamber staff are hard at work to provide the most up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impacts to the Saranac Lake Area community. This page will offer information, as recent as we can source, regarding new policies, regulations, and emergency support measures. businesses and community updates. This page will get routine updates so be sure to check back in with the Chamber.
If you see any information here that needs altering or if you have an update to provide, please send an email to director@slareachamber.org.

Last updated March 21st, 2020 10:30am

The North Country Is Ready to Reopen!

The Governor announced that the North Country was ready to start the phased reopening process Saturday, May 16th. Phase 1 of that process starts with the following industries. Provided below is each industry and the guidelines for each sector.


Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting

Retail Trade


Wholesale Trade

Creating your Required Plan:

Each business will be required to have a Plan for COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness and Response upon reopening. Below is a sample action plan and other resources to help guide your business through this process:

  • Covid Policy Action Plan
  • Job Site Checklist
  • CDC How to Protect Yourself
  • CDC Jobsite Poster

Face Masks for the Public and for Employees

Face Masks or Coverings for ALL

  • Effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.

Face Masks or Coverings for Employees

  • For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law. This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.

Guidance from NYS Department of Health on Face Coverings for Businesses:

  • Essential businesses, as well as state and local government agencies and authorities, must procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain face coverings and provide such coverings to employees who directly interact with the public during the course of their work at no-cost to the employee. Click Here For the Complete Guidance

Need Help Sourcing a Reusable Cloth Face Mask for Your Business?

    New York State is on PAUSE: Policies that Allow Uniform Safety for Everyone

    • Effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will close
    • Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time
    • Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced
    • When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet
    • Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet
    • Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people
    • Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders
    • Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a tele-health visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health
    • Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations
    • Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes.

    Are You an Essential Business?

    Gov. Cuomo instituted a 100% work from home order for all non-essential businesses. However, ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES are not subject to the in-person restriction. Remember, Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health. For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Business,” means:

    • Essential health care operations
    • Essential infrastructure
    • Essential manufacturing
    • Essential retail
    • Essential services
    • News media
    • Financial Institutions
    • Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations
    • Construction
    • Defense
    • Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses
    • Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public
    • A detailed list of exempt businesses
    • Request exemption for your business
    • Ask NYS questions re: your business

    Unemployment Insurance

    • NYS is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines.
    • If you are filing a new unemployment insurance claim, the day you should file is based on the first letter of your last name. If your last name starts with A - F, file your claim on Monday. For last names starting with G - N, file your claim on Tuesday. For last names starting with O - Z, file your claim on Wednesday. If you missed your filing day, file your claim on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim, since all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.
    • Step-by-step process to file a claim online
    • File a Claim NOW

    NY Paid Sick and Family Leave

    • The NYS response to paid sick and family leave is similar to the Federal response and by statute the benefit package that is more advantageous for the employee is the program they utilize. Some aspects of the Federal law offer more wage compensation than the State law and thus would take precedence.
    • The major difference between the two laws is that the NYS law is only for individuals under a public health mandated quarantine or isolation. The Federal law allows for coverage of leave to take care of children due to school or childcare closures regardless of health status.
    • More information regarding the State law

    New York State Sales Tax

    • Sales tax was due March 20th but NYS Department of Taxation and Finance has agreed to waive late fines and penalties.

    Other New York Actions

    • All non-essential New York State court proceedings have halted including a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.
    • All barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services and related personal care services are closed
    • Casinos, gyms, theaters, retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
    • 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers includes: waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship, no negative reporting to credit bureaus, grace period for loan modification, no late payment fees or online payment fees and, postponing or suspending foreclosures.
    • State chartered banks to waive ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and fees for credits cards

    Summary of Federal Activities

    Federal Paid Sick and Family Leave

    • Up to 80 hrs of paid sick time because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis or because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine or to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable
    • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable
    • This applies to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.
    • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption
    • Employers will receive a credit against their payroll taxes for payments made to employees
    • All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child.
    • Self-employed individuals are offered a tax credit equivalent to the sick leave amount
    • More information on Federal Paid Sick and Family Leave
    • Additional Information on Federal Paid Sick and Family Leave

    Federal Income Tax

    • From the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service's website, "the filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return."
    • More Information on Income Tax

    SBA Disaster Loans

    • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and non-profit organizations suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • Our partner Chamber, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and SCORE will be hosting a webinar/call on Tuesday, March 24th from 11:00am-12:00pm. SBA staff will be on the call to provide information to our business community and chamber members on eligibility, loan terms/restrictions, and best practices when applying.
    • Disaster Loan Fact Sheet
    • Sign Up for the March 24th webinar

    Major Disaster Declaration

    • President Trump declared New York State the nation's first "major disaster" in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration allows access to the Disaster Relief Fund, opening up access to billions of dollars in emergency funding.
    • The funding supports areas that were included in Governor Cuomo's request for a major disaster declaration. It is reported that NYS requested assistance for emergency protection costs, housing needs, and unemployment benefits.
    • Major Disaster Declaration Fact Sheet
    • FEMA website with declaration funding updates

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