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Local Businesses Share Video Diaries Documenting Operation Struggles During COVID-19

WPBS, in conjunction with the Watertown Daily Times, is pleased to announce the release of a powerful 50-minute documentary titled: “More to the Story: COVID Business Diaries.” This special edition episode follows four North Country businesses through personal video diaries they kept beginning in March until now. The videos delve into their struggles and their wins (both personal and business related) as they navigated mandatory closures that deeply affected their businesses.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issued an executive order on March 20th 2020, mandating sweeping restrictions on businesses and social life across New York State due to the expanding spread of the virus. He dubbed the order PAUSE (Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone) and announced it would go into effect on Sunday, March 22nd 2020.

Reopening of businesses occurred gradually and in phases, beginning in May. Some businesses faced significant and costly restrictions even after being allowed to reopen. Federal funding to support small businesses, particularly the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) were made available in April but access was uneven. The impacts have been significant and even businesses that navigated the pandemic remain concerned and wary of the impact of a possible fall/winter “second wave.”

This “More to the Story” episode will premiere on WPBS on Sunday, October 18th at 7:00pm EST, and again on Sunday, October 28th at 7:00pm EST. The episode will also be available on the WPBS Facebook page to view at those same times. The program will be available to watch anytime online at The accompanying in-depth news story will appear in the Watertown Daily Times on Sunday, October 18th.

Featured in the episode are:

  • Todd Laisdell of Laisdell Dairy Systems (Jefferson County)
  • Nick Kilionski and Dawn Roggie of PB&J Café (Lewis County)
  • Christoper Durand of 3 Bears Gluten Free Bakery (St. Lawrence County)
  • Kate Gonzales of United Friends of Homeless Animals (Oswego County)

Told with honesty and heartfelt emotion, this powerful episode is raw in its execution because of the honesty of the home videos created by each business owner. Their stories will help North Country and Eastern Ontario viewers better understand the pitfalls and struggles that a small, independent business goes through with or without government aid.

More to the Story: COVID Business Diaries continues a long standing WPBS focus on small local businesses. For over 50 years WPBS has actively promoted and celebrated the products and services of many of these businesses across our region, in keeping with an organizational mandate to support economic growth and vibrancy in Northern New York.