COVID-19 Guidance for Employers

As we all work through the COVID-19 situation, we will provide the most up to date information as it becomes available to us through New York State, the NYS Economic Development Council and Lewis County Public Health.

New York State & Federal Information

100% Workforce Reduction: Governor Cuomo has issued an order mandating that employers reduce their workforce by 100%.

Am I an essential business?  Guidance can be found here:

Produce Needed Supplies:  Can you convert your operation to produce the needed supplies, such as PPE, hand sanitzier, etc.?  For more information:

Business Support Organizations

Lewis County Chamber of Commerce

Please check out the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page for up to date details on what our local businesses are offering during this time! 

The Lewis County Workplace

For assistance with filing for Unemployment Insurance, please call 315-376-5800 to make an appointment. Due to overload, the UI system has been crashing. Please be patient & try to apply during off hours (early mornings or late night). 

Watertown Small Business Development Center

If you need small business guidance, please contact our Watertown Small Business Development Center

Relief Funding Options


  • SBA Disaster Relief Funding
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Grant and/or Loan:  On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which provided additional assistance for small business owners and non-profits, including the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This Advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.  If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.
  • SBA Paycheck Protection Program: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is part of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion federal stimulus package passed on March 27. The PPP provides loans of up to $10 million to support small businesses and other eligible entities to pay workers, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, insurance, paid sick or medical leave, utilities, and payroll related costs incurred from Feb. 15, 2020 – June 30, 2020. 


Unemployment Benefits: Employees can apply for uneployment benefits here.  The 7 day wait period has been waived.  

  • CARES Act Unemployment Insurace Flow Chart
  • Unemployment Insurance Claims: The State is working to alleviate the significant pressure the influx of unemployment claims has created on the workforce system. Therefore, the New York State Department of Labor has just released a new schedule for individuals filing new Unemployment Insurance Claim by phone or web. As a reminder the 7 day waiting period has been waived.

    The day you file is based on the first letter of your last name, and filing later in the week will not delay payments or affect the date of your claim. Claims are effective on the Monday of the week of filing:  A-F: Monday |  G-N: Tuesday | O-Z: Wednesday

  • Instructions on How to File for Unemployment here.
  • Shared Work Program: Consider the Shared Work program as you manage business cycles and seasonal adjustments. Shared Work lets you keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible:
  • NY Attorney General COVID-19 Application For Suspension Of Debt Collection Activity:  If you owe debt (non-medical and non-student loan), and have been affected financially by COVID-19, you can apply to be considered for various types of financial relief here. 
  • New Paid Leave for COVID-19
  • New York State Paid Emergency Sick Leave: For a process flow chart on how this program works, provided by the North Country Chamber of Commerce, click here. 


Other Resources

Fidelis Care

Fidelis is able to offer assistance to those in need of health insurance.  We are continually taking phone applications and can be of immediate assistance to you.  Contact: Chelsea Rowsam | Health Benefit Representative | 315.383.9686 |

United Way of NNY

United Way of NNY is working to address critical concerns to North Country families, such as a shortage of supplies to meet the basic health and safety needs, children's access to breakfast and lunch and the immediate economic impact for many workers.  If you wish to donate to the United Way of NNY Crisis fund, please click for more information. 

Please feel free to call Lewis County Economic Development at 315-376-3014, or the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, at 315-376-2213 with any questions or concerns!

Stay safe, and healthy! We will get through this together. #naturallylewis #naturallytogether

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