We Must Continue To Operate Safely
Randy Wolken, President & CEO 

We are now in a critical phase of our battle with COVID-19 here in Central New York. As a member of the CNY Control Group, I can confidently say that we have met the earlier challenge and are poised to address the coming uncertainty. This is encouraging. However, we will soon be entering the holiday season as we are experiencing the second wave of the virus – which will be the most challenging part of dealing with the virus while maintaining economic activity. If this phase goes well, we can truly begin to recover from the financial toll this virus is now taking.

We now know many things about this crisis. First, it has taken a heavy toll, and we have lost many New Yorkers to COVID-19. Together we took action that significantly reduced the health consequences and limited the virus’s spread. This has put us in place to remain open safely. We have done so by being smart about social distancing, wearing face coverings, sanitizing, washing hands frequently, identifying symptomatic individuals, contact tracing, and, when appropriate, quarantining sick individuals. It has worked. We still are leading the nation in containing this threat. Now comes the most challenging part – keeping the gains we have achieved.

We know that larger, indoor gatherings for prolonged periods, including close personal contact without masks, are exceptionally infectious events. How do we minimize the risks of rapidly spreading COVID-19? We will need to limit the gathering of people. This will not be easy.

This is where other states have stumbled. As of this week, most states are seeing large increases in the number of COVID-19 cases. Texas and California have each exceeded one million cases. In some instances, social distancing, mask-wearing, and proper sanitization have not been well maintained. An increasing number of individuals have contracted the disease and then have spread it, typically unknowingly, to others. This can lead to overwhelmed health care systems and loss of life. We must do all we can to prevent this.

Each of us must continue to do our part to stay safe. As business leaders, we can use NY Forward as a resource. As business and community leaders, we must work hard to maintain safety protocols and enforce them. Manufacturers have done this well. Essential manufacturers have been open since the beginning – safely. (For more about how manufacturers are doing this well, Together we can keep our economy open and our community safe.

We absolutely must continue to operate safely. We can ill afford another lockdown. If we see an increase in cases, we will need to work to determine the cause and take action. We must keep people safe and businesses open safely. We will need the entire community to accomplish this outcome. Seeing what I have seen so far, I know we can do this well.

Finally, thank you, all of our members, who have led the region and state in safe business reopening. We owe you a considerable deal of gratitude and thanks. You inspire us all to be calm, stay safe, and carry on.