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Molinaro reassures county businesses that county will rebound

DUCHESS COUNTY — Already well aware of the number of Dutchess County businesses struggling to stay afloat throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, in cooperation with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce (DCRCOC), reassured area business owners and leaders during an hour-long Virtual Contact Breakfast and Telephone Town Hall on Wednesday, April 15, that the county is working with the business community to respond to the pandemic’s devastating impact on the economy.

Beginning at 8 a.m., the DCRCOC and the county set up a couple different communication platforms to integrate everyone into the conversation, including Zoom, Facebook Live and a Teleconference Town Hall. Sponsored by Greystone Programs, Inc., and KeyBank, the conversation featured Molinaro as a panelist along with representatives from the breakfast’s sponsors and from the DCRCOC, all of whom took a moment to introduce themselves and discuss their organization’s work in advocating and offering relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. 

After assuring his listeners that the county has organized “as best a response as we can,” Molinaro delivered a comprehensive update regarding COVID-19, reminding everyone to continue practicing social distancing and take the steps necessary for slowing the rate of transmission and flattening the curve in Dutchess County. In addition to reminding listeners of the county’s current resources for combating COVID-19, Molinaro announced that with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the 12 Think Dutchess Alliance for Business Partners, the county launched the Dutchess County Business Notification Network  to distribute daily information to business owners through a single point of contact.

“None of us will know the challenges or the burdens that the small business community now faces,” Molinaro said, “and, yes, we are working every day to ensure that you get the assistance you deserve and have right to.”

He announced that the county is currently working in partnership with the business community, and that Dutchess County Assistant County Executive for Strategic Planning and Economic Development Ron Hicks is assembling a team to help reignite the Dutchess County economy.

“The pain and the devastation is real,” Molinaro said. “We recognize that there will be businesses that have already chosen that they won’t be able to open their doors again. This is the kind of devastation in our business community and we have to prepare for it.”

Molinaro also highlighted the county’s efforts in working with Ulster and Orange Counties in a three-county approach to restarting the economy and returning to a new normal, and he encouraged local business owners and nonprofits to take a look at how they provide services and consider how they can make their businesses more virtual and allow more people to work from home.

“I am absolutely convinced that this community and Dutchess County is resilient,” Molinaro said. “We have all of the tools necessary to get back on our feet but we do know that the challenge is going to be overwhelming and for some, this is going to look a lot like the Great Depression.

“This disease is real,” he went on, “but so to is the capacity and resilience of everyone involved… and I promise you, the business community and the residents of Dutchess, this county government is going to do everything in our power to fight for you, to stand with you and summon the courage and the capacity to overcome what is an unprecedented challenge.”

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