WBFO Business & Economy Desk

The Business and Economy News Desk is funded by The M&T Charitable Foundation.

The Western New York Region may be reopening one phase at a time, but the local economy is a long way from recovering from its pandemic-forced shutdown. Inside that gloomy picture, however, Jim Fink of Business First is finding some positive signs. As Western New York begins Phase Four Tuesday, he discusses the millions being invested in local projects by developers from outside the area for this month's appearance on WBFO's Press Pass. 

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A popular family-oriented Canalside attraction is getting ready to reopen as Western New York enters Phase Four of economic reopening Tuesday. But it will be a slower reopening process for Explore & More Children's Museum, whose leaders say is being done in order to do it properly and safely in an environment where touching is encouraged.


There was sharp criticism from Ontario Premier Doug Ford of the United States' handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Ford describing some states' quick reopening as "reckless."

Buffalo-Niagara Partnership

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership — the regional chamber of commerce — sent a survey to over 12,000 local private and public-sector businesses to assess how workplaces across the region are fostering diversity and inclusion.

Phase Four of the New York State's gradual economic reopening strategy got underway Friday in three counties east of Buffalo. But plans to leave out some popular institutions have renewed complaints and calls to the Cuomo Administration to reconsider.

WBFO/Michael Mroziak

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in the Village of Lancaster Thursday morning, marking the beginning of construction to restore a main thoroughfare that was severed decades ago to make way for a big box plaza and parking space. Those lifting the golden shovels hail the event as the start of a plan discussed for decades.

Aurora Theatre

New York state's malls, gyms and movie theaters are not cleared to reopen, a devastating blow to those industries, which were preparing to reopen in Phase Four. 

Flickr user danielmoyle

When COVID-19 first hit the U.S. back in March, the stock market dropped, and people panicked. That meant sellers taking their houses off the market, while buyers swooped in to take advantage of low interest rates.



Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning businesses not to jump ahead on the state's methodical reopening plan.

Island Kids Childcare Center

Island Kids Childcare Center closed its south location on Grand Island March 21 after 255 of its 285 children – nearly a 90% – started staying home with their parents. This decrease came as New York State went on PAUSE amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Google Maps

Regal Cinemas has announced plans for the reopening of their theaters starting Friday, July 10.

Google Maps

The owner of a North Buffalo strip mall wants to split the property into three pieces, perhaps to sell off the properties individually.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

If you looked carefully Monday at the casually dressed people sitting at a bright yellow table outside Tappo restaurant on Chandler Street in Buffalo, you may have recognized the woman in the red blazer and sunglasses. It was Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and husband Bill enjoying the outdoor dining on the last day before Phase Three begins.

Niagara County

The total number of COVID-19 cases is dropping across New York State and in Niagara County, where there are only nine new cases reported Wednesday.

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency board has created what it is calling HELP, or the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program. It is designed to offer short-term, low-interest loans to hotels in Niagara Falls and across Niagara County that have been impacted by a loss of business, especially tourist-related, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jenny Gold / Kaiser Health News

New York State has unveiled guidelines for the pending Phase Three of reopening the economy.

Athena Kouimanis / Curly's Restaurant

Along with the predicted summer weather, Thursday brings another example of New York opening up from the long COVID-19 quarantine. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given the go-ahead to restaurants to serve meals outdoors, under social distancing rules. 

Genetlemen's Prestige Barbershop

Self-haircuts and “quarantine bangs” are now a thing of the past as local barbershops and hair salons opened their doors on Wednesday. This came as Western New York entered Phase Two of New York’s plan to gradually reopen.

Niagara County

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.


Nick Lippa/WBFO News

Western New York officially began Phase Two of reopening Tuesday, although the announcement was somewhat clouded by growing unrest and new curfews due to the killing of George Floyd.

Is a new casino on Buffalo's horizon?

May 29, 2020
WBFO file photo

The new owner of Statler City admits he has “no plan” for the former hotel in downtown Buffalo. But as WBFO’s Chris Caya reports, the Washington based developer may end up rolling the dice and giving the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino a run for its money.  

Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO file photo

A local group of companies and foundations has launched a new initiative to help small businesses and nonprofits across the region survive the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

With the possibility of bars and restaurants being allowed to open in three weeks, the City of Buffalo is rushing to help those establishments get ready, perhaps even to allow sidewalk and street closings to help.


The future of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo is apparently bleak. It is not clear whether a hotel will reopen in the building attached to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center when the coronavirus pandemic breaks.

Darren McGee / Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he believes New York has finally “turned the page” on the COVID-19 pandemic, for now at least, and that it’s time to refocus on “supercharging” the economy.




Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The Buffalo Common Council wants to give a break to many local bars and restaurants by changing the rules for outdoor eating and drinking.

Erie County Department of Social Services

The New York State Child Care Availability Task Force was established 18 months ago to dive into what officials call the child care "crisis" afflicting the state. After just a couple of months of pandemic, however, words like "devastation" and "decimation" are being used. Here are their interim findings and recommendations.

New York State

The first day of Western New York's restart went well, according to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Seneca Nation

The Seneca Nation has been hit by the COVID virus, not just in illness and death but also in the fiscal resources which support Nation members.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The local construction industry has not been shut down in the last two months, but more than half of the work stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic. That changes Tuesday, with the sector part of Phase 1 of the state's reopening strategy.