Tag: Columbia Comeback

Columbia Comeback: Governor Announces Schools Will Open in Fall 

Columbia Comeback: Governor Announces New York Schools Will Open in Fall 

(WRGB) – New York schools have been given the go ahead to open in the fall.

“They are all authorized to open,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a conference call today.

Districts are planning how to adapt to new safety guidelines. That includes classroom learning, virtual learning as well as transportation on school buses.

“If any state can do it, this state can do it because we’ve been smart since day one,” Cuomo said. “We can bring the same level of intelligence that we brought to the economic reopening.”

Of the 800+ school districts in New York state, 127 districts have not submitted reopening plans to the New York State Department of Education. Fifty districts’ plans are incomplete. The department will continue to review plans over the weekend and notify districts if they need to resubmit their plans with more detail.

Cuomo said districts will be asked to more specifically address three elements of their plans: remote learning, COVID-19 testing for both students and teachers, and contact tracing. Those expanded plans will be submitted to the state and posted on the district websites.

“Different school districts have different theories,” Cuomo said. “But that question of testing for students an teachers is a high level of concerns.”

Cuomo stressed districts need to have discussions with the parents in their districts, a continuing theme in his conference calls and news conferences this week when talking about school reopening plans for the fall.

The governor is also asking each district to hold three online discussions with parents to answer questions that they have about the plans to return to learning in the fall. Those discussions need to be completed by August 21. For the big districts in New York – New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers, Albany, Mount Vernon, and Utica – five online discussions with parents will be held.

School districts will also be required to set up at least one discussion with teachers only to review plans and bring up any questions they want to have.



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Hudson Tourism Board Launches “Project Hudson,” to Promote Hudson


The Hudson Tourism Board has launched “Project Hudson,” a program to promote Hudson as an attractive destination while strengthening our local communities and economy. The Hudson Tourism Board is welcoming proposals for short, and long-term projects that promote Hudson as an attractive destination and strengthen our local businesses, business associations, and cultural organizations

Businesses and organizations, based in the city of Hudson, are invited to fill out the application online or by hand. The board will consider applications that:

  • Take place in the City of Hudson.
  • Enliven Hudson’s city life.
  • Illuminate or create a unique experience of Hudson’s communities and businesses.
  • Create local opportunities for recreation and/or promotion, and/or seek to advance walkability.
  • Create local opportunities for climate resiliency, where applicable.
  • Are accessible to all audiences and ADA compliant, where applicable.
  • Use “tactical urbanism,” which encourages low cost, impermanent, and DIY projects, where applicable.

The Tourism Board is tasked with using its funds to promote our city. With Project Hudson, the board hopes to take small steps toward supporting the creativity, ingenuity, and civic-mindedness of Hudsonians to create a more vibrant, healthy, equitable, and safe place to live and to be.

This grant program is being administered with the help and support of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation.



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Columbia Comeback Shop Local Campaign


Exciting news for Columbia County as we officially enter Phase 2 of the State’s Reopening plan.

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and Columbia County Tourism have joined forces to assist in the Columbia Comeback/Buy Local crusade.

NEW to this combined effort is a “Columbia County Retail List.” Please shop local and let’s all advocate for a successful Columbia County Comeback!

To see the spreadsheet with category specific tabs of open businesses, click/tap on the following image or visit: docs.google.com/spreadsheets

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 3.40.02 PM

For the list of food and drink businesses with take-out and delivery options, visit:



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Columbia Comeback Committee Schedules First Meeting for Monday, May 11


The Columbia County Comeback Committee was formed last week by Columbia County Board of Supervisors to assist Columbia County businesses as the county looks ahead to the re-start of business activities.  The Committee has been tasked to serve as a resource for county businesses to navigate the new normal and develop initiatives to help business owners adapt and respond. Although we can’t be certain when the state will allow for business to be conducted, we can plan to be prepared with Columbia Comeback in a major support role.

The meeting is open to the public and can be accessed via a link to YouTube on the Columbia Economic Development Corporation website (https://www.columbiaedc.com)

DATE/TIME: Monday, May 11, 2020 / 1pm – 2pm

LOCATION: Columbia County Board of Supervisors YouTube Channel 



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Latest CDC Guidelines, About “Columbia Comeback”, EIDL Update & COVID19 Foundation Fund

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce released the following letter with some great info on Columbia County’s reopening, plus information on some of the programs and funds for local businesses.

Following is the letter in it’s entirety:

Dear Valued Chamber Members:

We are stronger together as we await to re-open and are poised for Columbia County’s Comeback.  Please see the following guidelines as laid out by Governor Cuomo.  It is our job at the Columbia County Chamber to bring the most reliable and up to date information at this time.  We hope you find this information useful.

CDC Guidelines

  1. Based on CDC recommendations, regions must experience a 14-day decline in hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. Regions with few COVID cases cannot exceed 15 new total cases or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. A region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day.

  2. Priority Industries for Re-opening: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases.

Phase One

  • Construction

  • Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain

  • Select retail using curbside pickup only

Phase Two

  • Professional services

  • Finance and insurance

  • Retail

  • Administrative support

  • Real estate and rental leasing

Phase Three

  • Restaurants and food service

  • Hotels and accommodations

Phase Four

  • Arts, entertainment and recreation

  • Education

3. Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace

  • Enact social distancing protocols

  • Restrict non-essential travel for employees

  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others

  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards

  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace

  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases

  • Develop liability processes

4. Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent total hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume. This is coupled with the new requirement that hospitals have at least 90 days of PPE stockpiled

5. Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a symptomatic person, and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Each region must have the capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate its population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.

6. Tracing System: Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the re-opening plan.

7.  Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate

8. Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the re-opening of schools, transportation systems, testing and tracing with other surrounding regions

9. Re-imagining Tele-Medicine

10. Re-imagining Tele-Education

11. Regional Control Rooms: Each region must monitor businesses and regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection and PPE burn rate.

12. Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.

Map of the 10 regions of the state and a list of counties within each region.

Capital Region: Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Warren, Washington

Columbia County’s ability to re-open is tied to the above mentioned regional area and coordination.

Columbia Comeback

Chairman Matt Murell named a Columbia Comeback Taskforce to assist the County in developing a plan to re-open based on the Governor’s 12 point guidelines.  I as your Chamber President along with the President and CEO of the Columbia County Economic Development Corporation, F. Michael Tucker have been selected to Co-Chair the Committee of Business Leaders and Community stakeholders to draft the County’s plan.  Please remember we are still under strict shelter in place orders until May 15th. Please see press release below:

Columbia Comeback to Assist Return of Businesses

“I’m pleased to announce the formation of Columbia Comeback and looking forward to seeing the committee become a great resource for Columbia County businesses as we look ahead to the time when we can resume business activities,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell on Friday.

Columbia Comeback has been tasked by Chairman Murell to serve as a resource for county businesses to “navigate the new normal and develop initiatives to help business owners adapt and respond. Although we can’t be certain when the state will allow for business to be conducted, we can plan to be prepared with Columbia Comeback in a major support role.”

Named by Chairman Murell to serve as committee co-chairs are Jeff Hunt, President of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, and Columbia Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Michael Tucker.

Columbia Comeback committee members comprise county supervisors Robert Beaury (Germantown), Rob Lagonia (Austerlitz), and Tristya Houghtling (New Lebanon); County Clerk Holly Tanner, County Treasurer PJ Keeler, and City of Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson; and select county representatives Ann Cooper (Tourism), Bill Black (Emergency Management), and Jack Mabb (Department of Health Director).

From the business community:

Rita Birmingham, Mount Merino Manor; Bruce Bohnsack, gTel; Annie Brody, The Crandell Theatre; John Brusie, Ginsberg’s Foods; Jay Cahalan, Columbia Memorial Health; Tom Crowell, Chatham Brewing; Carlee Drummer, Columbia-Greene Community College; and Joe Gilbert, the Berry Farm.

Also, Derick LaTorre, MetzWood Insurance; Neil Howard, Taconic Hills Central School District; Bob Lucke, The Cascades; John Lee, Saturn Industries, Inc.; Marie Chambers, LookHudson; Elena Mosely, Operation Unite; and Robert Rasner, Elijah Slocum, Inc. and Inn at 34.                                                                                                                         
Chairman Murell said that in its initial phases, Columbia Comeback will look to guide the implementation of the Governor’s Guidelines for the Phased Re-Opening, facilitate communication to ensure the safe reopening of businesses, and provide resources, guidance, and assistance to businesses as they work to ramp up to full operation.

“Local health officials will be critical in this process as we look to them for their expertise on best practices,” added Murell. “We must continue to prioritize public health as we look to help restore our business community.”

Chairman Murell expects that increased testing and tracing, with business participation, will play a large role, and that businesses should prepare to operate at lower capacities as they keep employees and customers six feet apart. Businesses should plan to implement enhanced sanitation practices and utilize protective equipment such as masks and gloves, while ensuring employees do not go to work if ill, and should continue to encourage telework where possible.

“I think that understanding state regulations and how they will be implemented will be a big part of Columbia Comeback’s work in the early stages,” Chairman Murell said. “At the same time, what business sectors will be allowed to open and to what capacity will undoubtedly change on a rolling basis, based on reduced spread of the virus.”

There will be a major adjustment period to the new normal, Chairman Murell pointed out. In the early part of the reopening stage, business owners should consider how their business will change based on what they will need to do to minimize risk.

“Different industries will have very different circumstances – a true return to normal is unlikely until breakthrough treatments or a vaccine are widely available, followed by a recovery period to get back to full employment. Businesses may want to revisit their business model to evaluate what new revenue sources they may be able to create,” he said.

Chairman Murell envisions a number of potential Columbia Comeback activities, which include – but are not limited to — developing an online portal for businesses to stay up-to-date with key industry training, resource materials and other best practices in limiting community spread; providing guidance and resources to individual businesses to help them develop strategies to remain profitable; and providing business resources or hosting training sessions for future planning.

Columbia Comeback is currently setting the date of its first meeting. It will be open to the public via an online medium, as will all its future meetings.

EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) UPDATE

The EIDL portal will temporarily re-open this afternoon to allow previously ineligible agricultural businesses to apply for the EIDL Loan and Advance. Non-agriculture businesses MAY NOT apply, EXCEPT for any business that completed an EIDL application prior to March, 29th, received a confirmation # starting with “2”, but has not yet reapplied through the streamlined portal. These businesses may re-apply to complete their original application. Visit www.sba.gov/disaster to apply.

The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Agricultural businesses includes those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).

  • SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.

PPP Round 2 Update:

NY PPP Approvals: 164,271 – $17,607,925,411

TOTAL PPP Approvals: 2,211,791 – $175,743,247,908

Average Loan size: $79,000

Columbia County Chamber Foundation COVID 19 Fund

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce through the Columbia County Chamber Foundation has launched a COVID-19 Fund to support local businesses by purchasing gift cards and gift certificates from locally owned restaurants to be distributed to first responders, rescue squads and hospital front line employees.

Individuals and businesses are able to donate money for this purpose by writing a check payable to the Columbia County Chamber Foundation COVID 19 Fund or via PayPal Columbia County Chamber Foundation COVID 19 Fund.

Thank you for your membership.  We remain Columbia County Strong!


Jeffrey C. Hunt, CCE
President and CEO
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce



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