Our Blog

COVID 19 Update 75

Post: Jun. 1, 2020

Phase Two Reopening On Track – COVID Takes A Back Seat to George Floyd Protests

Saturday, five regions began phase two of reopening: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier. The industries allowed to reopen as a part of phase two include all office-based jobs, real estate services and certain retail. There are limits and specific guidelines that must be adhered to.

The Capital Region and Western New York are eligible to begin phase two next week. The State will determine if these regions move to phase two based on the public heath data being monitored by the Regional Control Rooms. The Capital Region includes Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Warren, and Washington counties. Western New York includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties. 

Both Saturday and Sunday’s press briefings by Governor Cuomo focused more on the ongoing protests of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer than the pandemic.

The Mid-Hudson region should follow closely behind.

More information on phase two industries and guidelines can be found here. 

The most up-to-date public health data on all the regions is available on the Regional Metrics Dashboard.

Child Care Providers Face New Challenges

As the region started the first of four reopening phases, more parents are seeking child care while preparing to get back to work. However, the coronavirus pandemic has recast the industry, and child care providers face new challenges with precautions and restrictions in place.

Although nearly 40 more centers have reopened in Orange County over the past months and seven are planning to reopen in June, many centers chose to wait until more of the region move into the reopening plan, said Linda Martini, director of the Child Care Council of Orange County.

“Things are in flux right now, so the child care providers are not sure what to do,” Martini said. “They can’t financially open a center if they have only a handful of children in a room.”

Read more at the Times Herald Record

Manufacturing in the Eurozone and China

Manufacturing in the euro zone recovered slightly in May compared with the previous month, but still remains weak. The latest purchasing managers’ index, a gauge of the sector, rose from 33.4 in April to 39.4. Anything below 50 indicates a contraction. Germany recorded the worst score in the bloc, while Italian manufacturing shrank by less than many economists expected.

Read more at The Financial Times

Restarting the world’s biggest manufacturing sector amid the pandemic was a tremendous challenge. Impressively, 99% of major industrial enterprises had resumed production by mid-April. But a survey published on Sunday, the purchasing managers’ index for May, showed that finding enough work to stay busy is proving harder. The PMI was 50.6, barely in expansionary territory (any figure over 50 suggests growth) and particularly weak for this point in a recovery. And business, such as it is, is almost entirely domestic. A gauge for export orders pointed to a deep contraction in global demand, declining for the fifth consecutive month. Given this external weakness, China’s government will face more pressure to stimulate the economy at home. If it cannot, newly reopened factories may shut their doors again.

Read more at CNBC

Masks Probably Slow the Spread of COVID-19, But Wearing One is Mainly An Act of Altruism

…elsewhere in the world, by contrast, there is increasing acceptance that mask-wearing is a good thing. On May 5th, for example, the Royal Society, Britain’s top science academy, concluded that masks “could be an important tool for managing community transmission”. This is not so much because they protect the wearer—the normal reason people may put them on in times of pestilence—but rather because they stop the wearer infecting others.

In this context covid-19’s particular peculiarity—that people who test positive for it often do not have symptoms—is important. Research published last month in Nature Medicine, by Xi He of Guangzhou Medical University and Eric Lau of Hong Kong University, suggests that 44% of cases are caused by transmission from people without symptoms at the time of transmission.

Read more at The Economist

Plexiglass Is the New Hot Commodity as Businesses Try to Reopen

Manufacturers are racing to crank out the hand sanitizer, masks and clear plastic dividers that are emerging as integral elements for reopening the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stepped-up production has sent prices for materials soaring: The alcohol used in sanitizer has tripled in price since January. Wait times for plexiglass-style sheeting are now measured in months rather than weeks. Scores of companies are hunting for fabrics that block virus-laden particles to supply their employees with masks. All told, the $5 billion U.S. market for personal-protection equipment is expected to grow nearly 15% this year from 2019, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm.

Read more in the WSJ

Zoom Planning Stronger Security for Paying Customers

Zoom will strengthen encryption protections for paying customers, an official with the video conferencing provider told Reuters Friday.

Security consultant Alex Stamos confirmed the move Friday after the company initially broached the subject Thursday during a call with civil liberties advocates and anti-sex abuse activists.

Stamos told Reuters the plan was still being finalized and that the company has not reached an ultimate decision on whether anyone beyond paying clients, such as nonprofits or political dissidents, would qualify for the more encrypted accounts.

Read more at The Hill

Zoom Networking – Council of Industry Will Bring Its Networks together Online In June 

The Council of Industry has spent much of the last few month trying to keep our members informed on the latest changes in regulations, guidelines, programs and laws. We hope we have provided you with the information you have needed to keep your businesses safe and, if not profitable than at least functioning. 

The week of June 15th we will be hosting Zoom meetings for our EHS and HR networks.  We will facilitate discussions where you can learn from each other, share experiences, ideas and best practices, and give us some ideas on topics and programs for future meetings.  the strength of the Council of Industry is its members.  Let’s share that strength.

June 16 8:30 – 10:00 EHS NetworkLearn More and Register

June 18 1:00 – 2:30 HR NetworkLearn More and Register

Coronavirus Anxiety is Real, But Schools Have to Try to Reopen: Q&A Randi Weingarten, Head of the American Federation of Teachers. 

This week, as U.S. coronavirus deaths topped 100,000 and President Donald Trump tweeted that “schools in our country should be opened ASAP,” the USA TODAY Editorial Board spoke with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. The teachers’ union has issued detailed guidelines for reopening schools.

Read more or listen at USA Today