PUTNAM POSTING: Continuing an Unprecedented Business Journey

Jennifer Maher | April 2020

Jennifer Maher

Five weeks ago, I shut down our real estate and law offices to traffic, and we began working from home a week later. Courts have been closed, showings are not permitted on houses, but we have enough in the pipeline to survive and move forward once this is all over. We have shifted our models, adapted to Zoom and communicate electronically. We pray the New York State Bar Association adopts a remote business model to match the “new normal.” This would reduce wait times and crowded meeting rooms and courtrooms.

The Putnam County Business Council has been doing its best to keep businesses in the loop. We are working closely with EDC, IDA, Tourism and Economic Development Chair Bill Gouldman to keep information flowing, and with United Way and 211 to bring food and support to the county. We have been in touch with every level of government weekly to get the latest COVID-19 information out, an overwhelming task as it changes rapidly. Webinars/town hall style meetings are hosted every Friday at 4 p.m. to bring all the latest information including updates on SBA Loans and EIDL disaster relief money. You can get the info to register at Putnamcountybusinesscouncil.com or it will be played afterwards on our website as well as on our Facebook page @putnambiz.

Restaurants and delis are continuing take-out and delivery although the number that are still in operation is dwindling as fear of the virus spreads and people actually get sick. Staff are reduced to skeleton crews and it is hard to keep up with demand. Shoppers at grocery stores seem to avoid eye contact and have a look of terror on their faces. Too many are still going out without gloves and masks.

However, our community supports those in need. Kei Reing of the “Mask Makers Guild,” a group formed recently in Putnam County, said, “In the past two weeks we have donated over 2,000 masks to first responders, healthcare providers, and other essential workers in Putnam County and beyond. Our farthest donation went to the New York City Department of Corrections Central Booking in the Bronx whose officers didn’t have any masks. We are currently working on putting together a 2,000-mask donation for FDNY EMS.” Kei is moved by the support received from the community, and relies on donations of materials and funds to make masks. “It has been overwhelming seeing this community come together to create and donate masks to those serving on the frontlines against this virus,” says Kei. These kinds of uplifting stories bring hope for the future.

We at the Business Council know that many will struggle and some will be devastated. We are committed to being there for all. I continue working from home on a schedule, exercising, meditating, and end many days reading to my six-week old granddaughter from outside her window. Stay safe, stay productive.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is chairwoman, the Putnam County Business Council and currently serves as the president of the Putnam/Westchester Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.