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Coronavirus fallout could have major impact on CNY economy

WRVO News (file photo)
The Port of Oswego

When the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) gathered for its first-ever summit on cyber security last week, participants found a new item on their agenda that addressed a different type threat that's currently facing the private sector. 

"It's a huge issue for so many companies across the spectrum - are you prepared for a cyber attack, are you prepared to deal with the fallout of a cyber attack, but now also we are also dealing with COVID [19] and that is also a crisis and also requires being prepared for business disruption and having a plan," said MACNY President Randy Wolken. 

Wolken said their members were advised to address things like developing ways for employees to work remotely and finding replacement suppliers in the event their orders go unfilled. Even so, he said the risks posed by the coronavirus are especially challenging for the manufacturing industry.

Credit Payne Horning / WRVO News
MACNY President Randy Wolken

"Manufacturers have supply chains that are often times outside the country - if they’re from China or other parts of the world, they could be impacted by this," He said. "Also, they often run on continuous operations, so making sure they don’t have an outbreak in the facility and making sure they are protecting their employees becomes very critical, and they can’t all work from home. So, you have to figure out how you’re going to do shift work, how you’re going to maintain operations to run the equipment."

The potential loss of foreign supply chains could also have a major impact on the Port of Oswego. Port Director Bill Scriber says no orders have been canceled yet but that could change. The Port has already lost some revenue from the two-week delay of the shipping season on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway that was caused by high water levels.

"It’s going to take a bite out of the number of people we employ, which is directly related to the community economically and that is one of those issues that I think is eventually going to have to be addressed by the federal government," Scriber said. "As far as the impact to the port, yeah we are going to suffer a revenue loss."

The ripple effects are touching other businesses as well. The Landmark Theater and Syracuse Stage this week announced that they are postponing shows under a directive from the governor to suspend gatherings of 500 or more people.