Nearly eight weeks have passed since Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ‘New York State on PAUSE’ executive order went into effect on March 20. As residents of Allegany County have been caught between feelings of uncertainty and yearning to return to the normalcy of public life, Allegany County officials have been at work considering strategies of economic recovery.
On April 22, as new cases of COVID-19 appeared to level-off throughout the state, Legislative Board Chairman Curt Crandall charged the Allegany County Economic Development Steering Committee (ACEDSC), an advisory body made up of local business, government, and higher education leaders, to develop a plan for the economic re-opening of Allegany County. The ACEDSC will represent Allegany County’s interests as they interface with the other counties within the Western New York Economic Development Region to develop a regional plan for re-opening under the direction of Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.
The collaborative efforts of the ACEDSC seek to address the short-term and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to create strategies to provide for the economic recovery of our County. The group has received input from federal, state, and local government officials, County departments, industry associations, higher education administration, and economic development organizations in crafting a strategy that is all-encompassing and fits within the four phases of the Governor’s re-opening plan.
“Allegany County’s legacy has been our dedicated, locally-owned, family businesses. So many of our successful businesses have originated and grown right in the County, and their goods and services are often some of the best in the state, region, and nation,” said Allegany County Economic Developer and Executive Director of the IDA Dr. Craig Clark. “We know that this pandemic and the corresponding NYS on PAUSE executive order has been especially hard on these same businesses so we want to plan the best strategy, and enact it as best we can in order to help these businesses recover when it’s time to re-open.”
“Additionally, Allegany County’s three, nationally-ranked colleges (Alfred State College, Alfred University, and Houghton College) have also been hard hit by this physiological and economic crisis. These institutions are anchors of our local economy, both as the largest employment sector in the County and as the driver behind much of our local economic activity,” continued Clark. “Though education is a Phase 4 sector, the ACEDSC is proactively looking at the unique challenges that face higher education in the post-COVID world and working very closely with these institutions to anticipate the challenges that they will face when it’s time for them to re-open.”
In recent weeks, the ACEDSC has developed reopening plans for industries within Phase 1 of the Governor’s reopening plan, including: construction, manufacturing, and select retail. The group continues to develop plans for each business sector in Phases 2 through 4 of the Governor’s re-opening plan – including industries like professional and financial services, real estate, restaurants and hospitality/accommodations, arts and entertainment, and education.
“Allegany County’s strengths are in the entrepreneurial and hard-working spirit of our residents; the rural nature of our community has, thankfully, kept incidences of the virus low in our County compared with the rest of the state,” said Legislative Chairman Curt Crandall. “As we plan for re-opening, the ACEDSC will continue to collaborate across industries and business sectors to safely and effectively implement a plan that will set Allegany County on a path towards economic recovery. The more residents and businesses follow each phase of the Plan carefully, the more we as a community will stay on track, and the faster we will get back to business and public life safely.”
In accordance with the Governor’s guidelines for re-opening, 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. For local businesses who require assistance crafting plans for their own re-opening or are interested in being a part of the ongoing planning discussion, please contact Dr. Craig Clark directly, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (607) 968-0214.
Business owners can also visit Allegany County’s webpage dedicated to COVID-19 Business Resources for the latest updates on economic re-opening strategies, at https://www.alleganyco.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-resources-for-businesses-and-individuals/.