Pressure to reopen the U.S.-Canadian border increased late this week, as Rep. Brian Higgins suggested loosening current restrictions slightly and a group of cross-border business interests laid out detailed principals for how the reopening should proceed.
Manufacturing and construction in Western New York can resume Tuesday. Stores can reopen, but only for pickup or delivery. More farming can restart, as well as forestry, fishing, hunting and wholesale trade.
Speaking to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Monday morning, Western New York “control center” head, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “We are in a very good place. What it requires is simply a four-hour training course. We went after all five counties, asked them to identify current government workers; it doesn’t have to be in the public health realm – social services, law enforcement, building inspectors – anybody who will do this. And we now are approaching those numbers, and I’m feeling really good about where we are today. Very good.”
In a conference call Monday morning with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul offered additional details on what phase one of “New York Forward” entails. She is head of the “control room” monitoring when Western New York can begin to exit Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” shutdown.
Saying that the local business community is struggling is an understatement of magnanimous proportions. Therefore, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership (BNP) has set up the BNP Business Link, which is in place to help business owners at this significant time of need. Business owners are invited to reach out to the BNP, to not only access a repository of curated information, but also to ask questions about their current state of affairs.
Most small businesses in Buffalo are bars and restaurants, and the service industry has been among the hardest hit by lockdowns. A Buffalo Niagara Partnership study of 1,800 businesses in the area found 93% had seen revenues fall. The smallest businesses reported the biggest impact. Two out of three businesses were reducing positions or wages, and 60% were implementing hiring freezes.
A survey of more than 1,800 Western New York businesses released this week by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership found that more than 40% of those companies had cut staff, while another 40% had either cut wages or reduced hours. Nearly half have imposed a hiring freeze.
A study conducted by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership shows a deep economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most local businesses say they are taking a financial hit due to the pandemic. A new survey of more than 1,800 companies across Western New York finds 93% of respondents are experiencing a decline in revenue.
Casale also mentioned some of the results of the Western New York Business Impact Survey, which was initiated through the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.