WXXI AM News

small business

James Brown / WXXI News

New York state has decided to allow all bars and restaurants in orange zones statewide to resume indoor dining at 50% capacity. That decision is in reaction to a court ruling, allowing nearly 100 establishments in Buffalo to do that.


New York State is getting ready to raise the minimum wage to $12.50 per hour. That increase will take effect at the end of this year. Business groups are asking the state to delay the minimum wage increase. They argue that the pandemic is a bad time to increase costs for businesses. Workers respond that the increase is long overdue.

Our guests debate it:

A local business owner says the pandemic's impact on small businesses could be much worse than many people think unless the government steps in. Kevin McCann owns McCann's Local Meats. He's warning the community that many businesses will likely close for good if they don't receive immediate support from the government.

McCann joins us to discuss the state of local small businesses and the kind of relief owners want to see. Our guest:

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that parts of Monroe County have reached Orange Zone status. The designation comes with restrictions that go into effect on Wednesday. Businesses deemed high-risk and non-essential -- such as personal care salons, barber shops, and gyms -- must close. Restaurants will be limited to outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout. Schools will close to in-person instruction until they meet testing requirements.

This hour, our guests help us understand the new restrictions and the impact they will have on communities. Our guests:

  • Bob Duffy, Finger Lakes reopening advisor to Governor Cuomo, and president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
  • Dave Seeley, Irondequoit Town Supervisor
  • Bill Moehle, Brighton Town Supervisor
  • Willie Lightfoot, president of the United Professional Barbers and Cosmetologists Association (UPBCA), Inc., and vice president of Rochester City Council

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This week, as the coronavirus infection rate climbed higher in New York state new microcluster zones were announced in New York, and some existing ones were intensified.

A business group is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stick to that approach of limited closures, saying they won’t survive a complete economic shutdown.

COVID-19 transmission is up across the country and hospitalizations for people suffering from the virus are at an all-time high. Could we see a second economic shutdown? How are local small businesses adapting to the rise in cases and the winter months?

We talk with three local small business owners. Our guests: 

On Wednesday, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced a new set of grants to help small businesses during the pandemic. The county will use $15 million in federal relief funding to provide support for personal services businesses, including retail and dining.

We talk about the program, who is eligible, and we take questions from business owners who want to apply. Our guests:

  • Rachel Barnhart, Monroe County Legislator
  • Ana Liss, director of the Monroe County Department of Planning and Development, and executive director of the Monroe County IDA and IDC
  • Kristen Flores-Fratto, chef and owner of the Gate House

Local small business owners have spent months finding creative solutions to stay going during the pandemic. As we head into the winter months, they face new challenges.

Our guests share their paths so far and what they anticipate for the months ahead. We also discuss what they'd like to see in terms of government support at a number of levels. Our guests:

In this WXXI Business Report:

-We hear from Bob Duffy, the president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce about the reaction of the business community to the death of Daniel Prude.

-A top Paychex official talks about the company’s latest employment index which shows job growth flattening, but wages were up at small and medium sized businesses.

-And changes in the executive ranks at Xerox and Frontier Communications.

Dozens of small business owners held a news conference this week to call on New York State to allow for further reopening. The owners represented gyms, fitness centers, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and more. They argue that New York State has handled the pandemic well, but has not been consistent with reopening plans.

Is it time to open the gyms? Is there a case for comedy clubs or movie theaters? Our guests weigh in:

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