Niagara County is looking to get its economy back up and running, even within the restrictions of social distancing. Legislature Chair Becky Wydysh told her daily briefing the county's economic development workers are assisting companies dealing with the complex rules for new phases of the state's reopening.
"Staff at the Center for Economic Development is always available for you, of course," she said. "They can help answer any questions that you might have about those guidelines and state mandates. They can help you if you have questions about how to meet those safety protocols. I know some businesses are having concerns with finding that PPE, the personal protective equipment that they need, things like gloves, face shields, hand sanitizers, masks."
Wydysh acknowledged there is some confusion about what is open and what has not opened yet, citing the State Department of Motor Vehicles.
"The state continues to keep the Department of Motor Vehicles offices closed. Limited transactions are being done through the mail, online, dropboxes and so on, depending on the type of transaction that you are looking to do," she said. "Many people assumed DMVs were open when we hit Phase Two yesterday and just began showing up. Unfortunately, they were disappointed to find the doors still closed."
She also reminded the public that not every business or agency is taking immediate action to open.
"Some businesses were not ready to meet their safety plan, yet. Maybe it didn't make economic sense for them to open, when they have to limit capacity and houses and things like that. Maybe it's for health reasons they've decided not to move forward," Wydysh said. "My point is, I highly recommend if you're going to head out to one of these businesses that you believe has reopened in Phase Two, check out their website, maybe give them a call."
Wydysh said she is part of a cross-border virtual meeting Friday, as governments on both sides of the Niagara River push for the reopening of the U.S.-Canada border for more than essential traffic.
There were no new deaths to report Wednesday and only six new cases, but the county's COVID-19 totals continue to rise, although slowly, with cases bumping 1,100 and the death toll holding at 70. The big problem is a Newfane nursing home with many deaths.
Wydysh also said nearly 15,000 Niagara County residents have been tested for the virus and only about 7% of tests are coming back positive, which is half the state average of 14.5%.