WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 19, 2020

Businesses that rely on in-office personnel in New York state are coming to terms with the governor's latest order concerning staffing in the midst of the corona virus outbreak.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he is requiring many businesses in New York to decrease their in-office workforce by 50%, the latest in a series of restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. The exexcutive order will go into effect Friday.  Certain businesses, thought to be key to maintaining the economy and fighting the virus are exempt: shipping firms, media ,warehousing businesses, grocery and food production companies, pharmacies, health care providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions... and other industries critical to the supply chain.  The governor acknowledged the challenge it presents to business owners.  There's no indication as to how long the rule would be in place.

Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic have already left their mark on businesses across the United States, including Chautauqua County.

County Executive P-J Wendel says he supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order to close gyms, casinos, movie theaters and restrict restaurants to offer only take-out and delivery services in response to the virus. However, Wendel says what's 'most challenging' is the lack of follow-up for County Government Officials when community businesses look to them for guidance.

The County Executive reiterated that he supports the Governor  and, the measures taken to keep the public safe and healthy. With that, Wendel says he would like to see more guidance from Governor Cuomo's office in a time manner so that legislators can offer more support to these businesses that are struggling during the outbreak. He says this is a concern with multiple counties across New York State. 

Chautauqua County government has released a plan to reduce its on-site staff by 50 percent in an effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

County Executive PJ Wendel has announced the plan is in response to an executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday.  Next Wednesday's County Legislature meeting will be live-streamed on the County's Facebook page.  Wendel says, In lieu of making a statement in person, any and all comments to the Legislature that would be presented by the public, should be emailed prior to the meeting to the Legislature's clerk.  

In addition, CARTS will be adjusting public transportation services starting March 19th and,  All Saturday City Route Service will be suspended until further notice.   CARTS Demand Response will be operating but in a limited capacity for essential transportation only. Contact CARTS for more information by calling 665-6466.  The Chauauqua Adult Day Care program has also been cancelled through April 6th.  Additional information in regards to the workforce reduction plan can be found at CHQgov.com or the Chautauqua County Facebook Page. 

Seeds planted with community organizations for the Jamestown schools' summer literacy program have blossomed in a new way, helping with childcare in the current shutdown.  

School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says the YWCA, YMCA, A Children's Place and Chautauqua Opportunities are working with the district to provide childcare at Ring and Fletcher Schools for students age three through 5th grade.  Registrations were being taken Wednesday at those schools.  More information is available at the district's website, jpsny.org.  Regarding the new 'learning at home' component of student education, the superintendent recommends young people send daily, written message to relatives.  Apthorpe says it will bring light to older relatives, and help the students with their reading and writing skills.  For relatives who are most vulnerable to the corona virus, he says that may be the best way to stay in touch.