*NEWEST INFORMATION WILL BE AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE*
RG&E, NYSEG have COVID-19 relief money available for businesses
Business customers of Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) may be eligible for funding through the COVID-19 Economic Relief Program from each company.
Eligible larges businesses with costs related to the pandemic after March 15, 2020, can apply for up to $50,000 in grant assistance. Small businesses are eligible for up to $15,000 in assistance.
NYSEG and RGE websites provide information for businesses to determine if they meeting billing criteria to be eligible for funding. Examples of eligible costs include workforce training and development, retention and recruitment costs, electric and/or heating inspections by contractors, enhanced energy efficiency assistance or additional electric infrastructure projects.
Applicants must be RG&E or NYSEG electric service customers, or leaseholders of a landlord that is a customer. Funding is first-come, first-served.
For more information, businesses may contact RG&E/NYSEG by phone (855-846-2982) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The current increase in COVID-19 cases statewide caused Governor Hochul to announce today that masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. This determination is based on the state's weekly seven-day case rate as well as increasing hospitalizations.
The new business and venue requirements extend to both patrons and staff. This measure is effective Dec. 13, 2021 until Jan. 15, 2022, after which time the state will re-evaluate based on current conditions.
A violation of any provision of this measure is subject to all civil and criminal penalties, including a maximum fine of $1,000 for each violation. Businesses and venues that implement a mask requirement must ensure all patrons two years and older wear a mask at all times while indoors or risk facing a penalty.
Businesses and venues who implement a proof of vaccination requirement can accept Excelsior Pass, Excelsior Pass Plus, SMART Health Cards issued outside of New York State, or a CDC Vaccination Card. In accordance with CDC's definition of fully vaccinated, full-course vaccination is defined as 14 days past an individual's last vaccination dose in their initial vaccine series (14 days past the second shot of a two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine; 14 days past the one-shot Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine). The state also accepts WHO-approved vaccines for these purposes. Parents and guardians can retrieve and store an Excelsior Pass and/or Excelsior Pass Plus for children or minors under legal guardianship.
NYS COVID-19 Small Business Pandemic Recovery Grant eligibility requirements expanded for businesses with revenues up to $2.5M and PPP loans up to $250K. Grants $5K-$50K are available at www.nysmallbusinessrecovery.com.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to better serve and support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels. The SBA is ready to receive new applications immediately from small businesses looking to take advantage of these new policy changes.
Key changes being announced by the SBA include:
· Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
· Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period. The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
· Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure Main Street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
· Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
· Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply. Visit www.sba.gov/eidl to learn more about eligibility and application requirements. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.
NYS HERO Act
On Sep. 6, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Commissioner of Health has designated COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health” under the New York State HERO Act. This will require all employers to implement the workplace safety plans required under the HERO Act. Under the law, all employers were required to adopt a workplace safety plan by August 5, with the plan to be implemented when such a designation is made by the Commissioner of Health.
Additional guidance regarding the designation has not been provided by the Department of Health. Until more specific guidance is provided, employers would be best served by adopting provisions of the NY Forward plans – specifically masks for all workers, social distancing, and monitoring the health of employees. While daily health assessments are not yet required by the DOH, employers should remind workers not to come to work if exhibiting symptoms of COVID.
The Business Council of New York has scheduled a special webinar on this designation and what it means for employees for this Thursday, September 9, 12:00 – 1:00 PM. Registration information is available here.
For Immediate Release: 8/31/2021
GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL
GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL ANNOUNCES $89 MILLION IN CHILD CARE PROVIDER STABILIZATION GRANT FUNDS DISBURSED WITHIN FIRST MONTH OF LAUNCH
10,600 Applications Have Been Approved
Grant Application Takes 10 Minutes to Complete
Additional CARES Funding Allocated to Essential Worker Scholarship Grant
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that - less than one month since applications opened - $89 million in child care provider stabilization grant funds have been disbursed. More than 10,600 of New York State's 18,000 eligible child care providers have applied for Child Care Stabilization Grant funding. To date, child care providers have requested $585 million of the available $1.1 billion in federal funding. The grants directly benefit child care providers and will help to stabilize an industry that was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services is administering the funds.
"A key part of our efforts to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic is getting New Yorkers back to work, but to do that, we must ensure they have access to quality, affordable child care," Governor Hochul said. "This is the single largest investment we have ever made in child care, and we are disbursing funds as quickly as possible to stabilize our state's child care industry so parents can return to the workplace. We have already had tremendous success in getting funds out the door, and I encourage all eligible providers who have not done so already to apply for this funding."
Since the grant was announced on August 4, child care providers statewide have received $89 million of the requested funding. Payments are made directly to providers whose simple online applications have been approved. Child care programs may use the funding for personnel costs, rent or mortgage, utilities, facility maintenance or improvements, personal protective equipment, supplies needed to respond to COVID-19, goods and services needed to maintain or resume child care services, mental health supports for children and employees, health and safety training for staff, and other uses as outlined in the grant.
Approximately 18,000 providers statewide are eligible and include OCFS-licensed or registered programs, permitted New York City day care centers and legally exempt group programs that are enrolled with an enrollment agency. To be eligible, the programs must have been open and serving children in person as of March 11, 2021, and open and available to provide in-person services on the date they apply for the grant. This includes child care providers that are "open" and staffed to provide in-person care even if there are no children currently enrolled. Programs that are not providing services on the date of application may also be eligible for this grant if the program closed temporarily due to public health, financial hardship, or other reasons relating to the COVID-19, and attest that they will begin serving children within a specified timeframe.
OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "The overwhelmingly positive response to the launch of the stabilization grants affirms what we already know - child care providers need direct support with as little administrative burden as possible. Our application is an online, streamlined process that takes approximately ten minutes to complete and gets money in providers' hands quickly. We have a dedicated help line and statewide child care resource and referral programs to assist child care programs who need help applying for or accessing and implementing the stabilization grants. We are so pleased with the tremendous success of the launch and encourage all eligible providers to apply right away."
Applications are available here.
OCFS is also pleased to announce that an additional $61.4 million of available CARES funds has been added to the Essential Worker Scholarship grant opportunity that launched in late June. This additional funding more than doubled the amount of the original funding allocated and is now supporting approximately 36,000 children with full child care scholarships for 12 weeks.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced changes to New York State's $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program that will enable more small businesses to apply for funding. Starting today, businesses with revenues up to $2.5 million can apply for grants, up from the previous threshold of $500,000. Additionally, the limitation for businesses that received Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans has been increased from $100,000 to $250,000.
Launched in June, the program initially focused on small and micro-businesses across New York State, which were largely left out of federal business recovery initiatives. Empire State Development and its partners have worked hard ensure that these businesses have the technical assistance - including guidance during the application process and support to overcome language barriers - they need to be first in line for this program. To date, more than $48 million has been awarded to over 2,380 small and micro-businesses in all ten regions of the state. The modifications announced today ensure additional small businesses can more quickly access funding through the program.
ESD and Lendistry, the minority-led Community Development Financial Institution that was selected to administer the program, will continue to accept and review applications. All current applicants - those who have not finished their applications, have not uploaded documents or have incomplete documentation - are encouraged to finalize their applications as soon as possible. Previously ineligible small businesses may start applying today, and those applications will start being processed on Wednesday, September 8. More information, including program guidelines and the grant application, can be found here.
Please read if you applied for a NYS Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant:
If you applied for New York State's $800 million Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, Empire State Development may need additional information or documentation about your business to complete the application and get your business funding. Please call their call center at 877-721-0097 to make sure your application is complete. Please share to help spread the word to other small businesses.
For Immediate Release: 7/30/2021
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES HISTORIC NEARLY $1.1 BILLION IN GRANTS TO SUPPORT CHILD CARE PROVIDERS AND ENABLE MORE NEW YORKERS TO RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE
Represents Largest Single Investment in Child Care in New York State History
American Rescue Plan Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act Funding Will Directly Support Child Care Provider Stabilization Grants - Applications Open Next Week
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will administer nearly $1.1 billion in federal funding directly to child care providers to help stabilize the industry and enable more parents to return to the workplace fulltime. The funding - available through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act - represents the largest single investment in child care in New York State history. It will provide direct support to child care programs and help replenish losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services will manage the grant funding. Funding applications will open Wednesday, August 4. Today's announcement gives child care providers time to prepare and gather relevant materials needed for their application.
"Stabilizing the child care industry is critical to New York's economic rebirth," Governor Cuomo said. "Many child care providers struggled to stay open throughout the pandemic as parents stayed home with their children. This monumental investment - the largest single investment in child care in our state's history - will allow these programs to continue providing essential services and enable more parents to return to the workplace full time."
Lt. Governor and Child Care Availability Task Force Co-Chair Kathy Hochul said, "We can't have a full economic recovery without boosting affordable and quality child care services for New York families, particularly working women who have been disproportionately set back by the pandemic. This funding provides critical support for child care providers who have suffered during the pandemic. Child care workers have courageously showed up to allow frontline workers to go to work, and we need to have their back now more than ever."
Eligible providers include OCFS-licensed or registered programs, permitted New York City day care centers and legally exempt group programs that are enrolled with an enrollment agency. To be eligible, the programs must have been open and serving children in person as of March 11, 2021 and open and available to provide in-person services on the date they apply for the grant. This includes child care providers that are open and staffed to provide in-person care even if there are no children currently enrolled. Programs that are not providing services on the date of application may also be eligible for this grant if the program closed temporarily due to public health, financial hardship, or other reasons relating to the COVID-19, and attest that they will begin serving children within a specified timeframe.
OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the critical role child care plays in supporting children, families and businesses. Throughout the pandemic, some child care programs remained open to serve the families of essential workers who could not stay home. As more people return to work, child care is foundational to reopening our state's economy."
OCFS will award more than $10 million in technical assistance funds to 35 child care resource and referral agencies and other key stakeholders to support child care providers in accessing and implementing the stabilization grants.
OCFS understands that child care providers need direct support with as little administrative burden as possible. The agency has developed technical solutions to determine eligibility and facilitate direct payment to child care programs using an online, streamlined application. Additionally, child care resource and referral programs are available to assist child care programs looking for aid in applying for or otherwise accessing and implementing the stabilization grants.
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF $35 MILLION RESTAURANT RETURN-TO-WORK TAX CREDIT PROGRAM
Initiative Will Provide Financial Relief to Restaurants That Rapidly Hire Workers; Restaurants May Qualify for Up To $50,000 in Tax Credits
"Fast Track" Option Allows Restaurants to Claim Credits Ahead of 2021 Tax Filing
More Information and Application Portal Available Here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of New York State's $35 million Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit program, designed to help expand employment opportunities for workers and provide relief to COVID-impacted restaurants. Created as part of the New York State FY 2022 Budget, the program offers a tax credit for the rapid hiring of restaurant workers to reduce the restaurant industry's pandemic-induced economic difficulties. Qualifying restaurants could receive a $5,000 tax credit per net new hire, totaling up to $50,000 in tax credits per business.
"New York's restaurants are not only the best in the world, they are vital to the state's economy, employing thousands of people and showcasing cuisines that reflect our great diversity. Restaurants also serve as an entrepreneurial outlet and are often families' gateways to the American Dream," Governor Cuomo said. "The restaurant industry was among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, as public health and safety concerns restricted many of its service operations. With the state's COVID-19 restrictions lifted, restaurants opening to full capacity, and tables filling up, this will support the much-needed hiring of workers by these establishments to meet their increased demand."
The Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit is available to small, independently-owned restaurants in New York City, or in areas that were designated as an Orange Zone or Red Zone for at least 30 consecutive days by the New York State Department of Health during the state of emergency related to COVID-19. Eligible restaurants will need to demonstrate COVID-related losses and show proof of hiring at least one full-time worker at the restaurant.
Recognizing the need for restaurants to receive this assistance quickly in the economic wake of COVID-19, a "Fast Track" option will allow restaurants to claim the tax credit as an advance payment ahead of filing their 2021 tax returns. Under this option, restaurants will be evaluated based on their net new job growth during a truncated period, from April 1 to August 31, 2021.
More information on the program, including the application and details about the Fast Track option, is available here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline.
For Immediate Release: 6/10/2021
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR $800 MILLION COVID-19 PANDEMIC SMALL BUSINESS RECOVERY GRANT PROGRAM
Small Businesses Experiencing Financial Hardship Due to COVID-19 Can Now Apply for Grants of Up to $50,000
Governor Proposed Legislation Waiving Taxes on Grants
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that applications are now open for the $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program. The program reimburses New York small businesses with grants of up to $50,000 for COVID-related expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021. Grants will be awarded to small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations, with priority being given to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses, and businesses located in economically distressed communities.
"Small businesses are one of the most critical components of New York's economy and were disproportionately impacted by the economic devastation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic," Governor Cuomo said. "As we build New York back better than it was before, this program will help these small businesses -particularly those with socially or economically disadvantaged owners -regain an economic foothold so they can forge ahead toward a brighter, more prosperous future."
More than 330,000 small and micro businesses are potentially eligible for this program, including 57 percent of the state's certified MWBEs. The application site for the program will be powered by , a minority-led Community Development Financial Institution. The state will also be launching an ad campaign to promote this program to small businesses, as well as an array of other pandemic recovery programs.
Grants will be for a minimum award of $5,000 and a maximum award of $50,000 and will be calculated based on a New York State business' annual gross receipts for 2019. Reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses must have been incurred between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021 and can include:
· Payroll costs
· Commercial rent or mortgage payments for NYS-based property
· Payment of local property or school taxes
· Insurance costs
· Utility costs
· Costs of personal protection equipment necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety
· Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning cost
· Other machinery or equipment costs
· Supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols
On June 8, Governor Cuomo proposed legislation to waive taxes on grants from the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program. ESD has created a website —NYSBusinessRecovery.ny.gov —to highlight the various resources available to support small businesses seeking pandemic relief. The website will be continuously updated as more details and funding information become available.
The Empire State Development Board of Directors approved $10 million in technical assistance grants for New York's statewide entrepreneurship assistance centers, small business development centers, and 26 additional community organizations and chambers of commerce to help small businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations secure COVID-related financial assistance and grants available through existing state and federal programs.
This network of service providers will work directly with small businesses, guiding them through available funding sources and helping them navigate the application process. Recognizing that pandemic-induced economic hardship has disproportionately affected micro and small businesses, and that application processes can be difficult to navigate -especially due to a language barrier -the partners will use these funds to hire or contract more staff for one-on-one, direct counseling services.
Education materials and applications will be offered in 12 languages in addition to English. This support, along with increased technical assistance staffing, will position these providers to better assist businesses and organizations in applying for funding through the New York State's COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or any other available federal economic recovery program, catalyzing our state and local economies as more businesses and communities reopen.
For Immediate Release: 5/17/2021
GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES NEW YORK STATE TO ADOPT NEW CDC GUIDANCE ON MASK USE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING FOR FULLY VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS
Effective May 19, New York Adopts CDC's "Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People" for Most Businesses and Public Settings
Pre-K to 12 Schools, Public Transit, Homeless Shelters, Correctional Facilities, Nursing Homes, and Healthcare Settings will be Exempt Until More New Yorkers are Fully Vaccinated
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that beginning May 19, New York State will adopt the CDC's "Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People" for most business and public settings. Consistent with the CDC guidance, Pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings will continue to follow State's existing COVID-19 health guidelines until more New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.
"New Yorkers have worked hard over the last year to prevent the spread of COVID and keep each other safe," Governor Cuomo said. "That work has paid off and we are ecstatic to take this next step in the reopening of our beautiful state. The people of New York and visitors alike should take solace in the lifting of mask requirements, but be respectful of those who may still feel safest wearing their mask in public and business owners who may still ask patrons to don their mask. We are ever closer to our better, safer New York. We are New York tough and we have proven it."
To implement the CDC's guidance, New York State will be revising the following reopening guidelines to take effect on May 19:
Business Mask Rules
Given that the CDC has advised that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks and over 52 percent of New Yorkers over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated, the State will authorize businesses to continue to require masks for all in their establishments, consistent with the CDC guidance. In most settings, vaccinated individuals will not be required to wear a mask. Unvaccinated individuals, under both CDC and state guidance must wear masks in all public settings.
The Department of Health strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown. Mask requirements by businesses must adhere to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.
This recommendation will apply across commercial settings, including retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings.
Business Capacity Rules
As previously announced, most business capacities — which are currently based upon percentage of maximum occupancy — will be removed on May 19. Businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet.
However, given that the CDC has advised that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to maintain social distance, businesses may eliminate the 6 feet of required social distancing, and therefore increase capacity, only if all patrons within the establishment -- or a separate designated part of the establishment -- present proof of full vaccination status. Proof of full vaccination status can be provided by patrons through paper form, digital application, or the State's Excelsior Pass.
For areas where vaccination status of individuals is unknown and for patrons who do not present proof of full vaccination status, the required social distance of 6 feet still applies until more New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. This change will apply across all commercial settings, except the exempt settings outlined by the CDC.
Small- and Large-Scale Event Rules
Small-scale events will be able to apply the revised business mask and capacity rules. Specifically, for events below the State's social gathering limit of 250 indoors or 500 outdoors, event venues will be able to require masks for all patrons -- and DOH strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status is unknown -- and social distancing of 6 feet will be required between parties of attendees, unless all attendees present proof of full vaccination status. Unvaccinated people should still wear masks.
For large-scale events that exceed the State's social gathering limits, event venues will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required distance, as follows:
- Unvaccinated attendees and attendees who have an unknown vaccination status must be spaced 6 feet apart in assigned sections. Masks will be required in indoor event settings, except while seated and eating or drinking.
- Fully vaccinated attendees may be spaced directly next to one another at 100 percent capacity instead of 6 feet apart in assigned sections that are designated solely for fully vaccinated individuals. Masks are optional. Venues must verify vaccination status to take advantage of reduced social distancing requirements.
- Children under the age of 12 who are not yet vaccine eligible, and under the age of 16 who have not yet been able to be vaccinated, may accompany and be seated with a vaccinated adult in a fully vaccinated section.
- Proof of full vaccination status can be provided by attendees through paper form, digital application, or the State's Excelsior Pass.
- Children under the age of 12 who are not yet vaccine eligible, and under the age of 16 who have not yet been able to be vaccinated, may accompany and be seated with a vaccinated adult in a fully vaccinated section.
For large-scale events, proof of recent negative COVID-19 test result for attendees who are over the age of four remains required for unvaccinated attendees in indoor event settings above the State's social gathering limit but will become optional in outdoor event settings.
Today's announcement builds on Governor Cuomo's recent measures to further reopen the economy given significant progress in vaccinations and sustained reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. As of yesterday, 62 percent of New York's adults had received at least one vaccine dose and 52 percent had completed their vaccine series.
Additional details on the State's New York Forward reopening guidance updates will be available here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline.
Social Distance-based Business Capacities
Effective May 19, 2021 most business capacities—which are currently based upon percentage of maximum occupancy—will be removed in New York and New Jersey. Businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet. This new distance-based maximum capacity will apply across commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings. It will also apply in houses of worship.
Increase in Social and Residential Gathering Limits
In New York beginning May 10, 2021 the outdoor social gathering limit will increase from 200 to 500 people. Beginning May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people. Also, the outdoor residential gathering limit of 25 people will be removed, reverting to the social gathering limit of 500 people with space for appropriate social distancing, and the indoor residential gathering limit will increase from 10 to 50 people. In New York, any event gatherings in excess of the social gathering limits may only occur if all individuals present proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result.
Congregate commercial and social events in New York—such as those at venues that host sports competitions, performing arts and live entertainment, and catered receptions—can exceed the social gathering limits of 500 people outdoors or 250 people indoors if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing can be accommodated.
Starting May 19, 2021 large-scale indoor event venues will operate at 30 percent capacity, which is an increase from the current 10 percent capacity limit. Large-scale outdoor event venues will operate at 33 percent. Social distancing, masks, and other applicable health protocols will still apply, including the requirement of attendee proof of full vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result.
Industry Reopening Requirements
While most industry capacity restrictions will be lifted, industry-specific requirements will remain in effect for a longer period of time, including state or local health authority event notification, health screening, contact information for tracing, enhanced air handling and building system standards, hand hygiene, and environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols. The State will continue to provide additional guidance on these provisions as they apply to each industry.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
This program provides emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
o Restaurant Revitalization Fund sample application (SBA Form 3172)
Get help with your application
For assistance preparing your application, you can access the following:
o Call center support: 1-844-279-8898
Who can apply
Eligible entities who have experienced pandemic-related revenue loss include:
o Food stands, food trucks, food carts
o Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
o Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
o Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
o Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
o Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
o Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
o Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
o Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
How to apply
You can apply through SBA-recognized Point of Sale Restaurant Partners or directly via SBA in a forthcoming online application portal.
Registration with SAM.gov is not required. DUNS or CAGE identifiers are also not required.
If you would like to prepare your application, view the sample application form. You will be able to complete this form online. Please do not submit RRF forms to SBA at this time.
Additional documentation required:
o Verification for Tax Information: IRS Form 4506-T, completed and signed by Applicant. Completion of this form digitally on the SBA platform will satisfy this requirement.
o Gross Receipts Documentation: Any of the following documents demonstrating gross receipts and, if applicable, eligible expenses
o Business tax returns (IRS Form 1120 or IRS 1120-S)
o IRS Forms 1040 Schedule C; IRS Forms 1040 Schedule F
o For a partnership: partnership’s IRS Form 1065 (including K-1s)
o Bank statements
o Externally or internally prepared financial statements such as Income Statements or Profit and Loss Statements
o Point of sale report(s), including IRS Form 1099-K
For applicants that are a brewpub, tasting room, taproom, brewery, winery, distillery, or bakery:
o Documents evidencing that onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33.00% of gross receipts for 2019, which may include Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Forms 5130.9 or TTB. For businesses who opened in 2020, the Applicant’s original business model should have contemplated at least 33.00% of gross receipts in onsite sales to the public.
For applicants that are an inn:
o Documents evidencing that onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33.00% of gross receipts for 2019. For businesses who opened in 2020, the Applicant’s original business model should have contemplated at least 33.00% of gross receipts in onsite sales to the public.
When to apply
Days 1 through 21
SBA will accept applications from all eligible applicants, but only process and fund priority group applications. See “Priority groups” below.
During this period, SBA will fund applications where the applicant has self-certified that it meets the eligibility requirements for a small business owned by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
See “Set asides” below.
Open to all applicants
Days 22 through funds exhaustion
SBA will accept applications from all eligible applicants and process applications in the order in which they are approved by SBA.
o A small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are:
o Women, or
o Veterans, or
o Socially and economically disadvantaged (see below).
o Applicants must self-certify on the application that they meet eligibility requirements
o Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.
o Economically disadvantaged individuals are those socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.
1. $5 billion is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $500,000
2. An additional $4 billion is set-aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts from $500,001 to $1,500,000
3. An additional $500 million is set-aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of not more than $50,000
*SBA reserves the right to reallocate these funds at the discretion of the Administrator.
Calculation 1: for applicants in operation prior to or on January 1, 2019:
o 2019 gross receipts minus 2020 gross receipts minus PPP loan amounts
Calculation 2: for applicants that began operations partially through 2019:
o (Average 2019 monthly gross receipts x 12) minus 2020 gross receipts minus PPP loan amounts
Calculation 3: for applicants that began operations on or between January 1, 2020 and March 10, 2021 and applicants not yet opened but have incurred eligible expenses:
o Amount spent on eligible expenses between February 15, 2020 and March 11, 2021 minus 2020 gross receipts minus 2021 gross receipts (through March 11, 2021) minus PPP loan amounts
For those entities who began operations partially through 2019, you may elect (at your own discretion) to use either calculation 2 or calculation 3.
Maximum and minimum amounts
SBA may provide funding up to $5 million per location, not to exceed $10 million total for the applicant and any affiliated businesses. The minimum award is $1,000.
For the purposes of this program, gross receipts does not include:
o Amounts received from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans (First Draw or Second Draw)
o Amounts received from Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
o Advances on EIDL (EIDL Advance and Targeted EIDL Advance)
o State and local grants (via CARES Act or otherwise)
o SBA Section 1112 payments
Allowable use of funds
Funds may be used for specific expenses including:
o Business payroll costs (including sick leave)
o Payments on any business mortgage obligation
o Business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent)
o Business debt service (both principal and interest; note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest)
o Business utility payments
o Business maintenance expenses
o Construction of outdoor seating
o Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials)
o Business food and beverage expenses (including raw materials)
o Covered supplier costs
o Business operating expenses
Eligibility and Information Sessions
Join these webinars to learn about eligibility and information for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. There are two sessions over the next two days.
The same presentation will be given each day, so you only need to attend one. Registration is not required. The links below will provide you access to the webinars.
Wednesday, April 21st from 8:30am – 9:30am
Thursday, April 22nd from 9:30am – 10:30am
Stimulus updates (as of 4/9/21)
· Paycheck Protection Program: Deadline extended to May 31, 2021. PPP is open to sole proprietors and subcontractors, as well as those who have employees. If you file a Schedule C with your tax returns, contact your local SBDC or SBA lender to learn more
· Shuttered Venue Operators Grant: The U.S. Small Business Administration plans to start accepting applications on April 8, 2021. Businesses can now apply for both a PPP loan after Dec. 27, 2020, and the SVOG
· Economic Injury Disaster Loan: Those who received a partial EIDL Advance and who live in a low-income community may have received an invitation to apply for the Targeted EIDL Advance. Search your email for TargetedAdvance@sba.gov
· Restaurant Revitalization Fund: After we receive official guidance from the SBA, our SBDC Business Advisors will be prepared to help restaurants determine eligibility and assemble the necessary documentation to apply for this upcoming grant program
SBA to Open Shuttered Venue Operators Grants for Applications on April 8 at 12 p.m. EDT
The U.S. Small Business Administration will officially open the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal tomorrow, April 8, 2021 at 12 p.m. EDT for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives to apply for critical economic relief, as those eligible entities are some of the first that had to shutter their doors a year ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SVOG program was appropriated more than $16.2 billion for grants via the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Of these funds, at least $2 billion is reserved for eligible SVOG applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue up to a maximum amount of $10 million for a single grant.
The SBA is accepting SVOG applications on a first-in, first-out basis and allocating applicants to respective priority periods as it receives applications. The first 14 days of SVOG awards, which are expected to begin in late April, will be dedicated to entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second 14 days (days 15-28) will include entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020. Following those periods, SVOG awards will include entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.
In addition, SBA’s resource partners, including SCORE Mentors, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers, are available to provide entities with individual guidance on their applications. Applicants can find a local resource partner via SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/local-assistance or via a zip code at www.sba.gov/localassistance.
CDBG CARES Act Application materials are available now: https://hcr.ny.gov/community-development-block-grant#cdbg-cares-funding.
Only Counties, Towns, Villages, and Cities may apply.
CDBG-CV General Activity Areas An applicant may request funding for one or more activities. Applicants must document need and demand for proposed activities and present clear proposal for timely expenditure of funds.
• Supporting Small Business o Examples: Point of sale improvements, new equipment or fixtures to guide social distancing, working capital to resume operations, etc.
• Improving Air Quality in Public Facilities
Examples: Assist municipal public facilities, nursing homes, supportive and public housing developments and other critical institutions with reconfiguration and physical adjustments to comply with social distancing, reduced occupancy and other requirements
• Environmental Improvements in Housing for Safe Shelter
Examples: Lead remediation, rental and single-family homeowner repairs, reconfiguration of communal spaces, down payment assistance to increase homeownership and reduce density in housing, etc.
• Conversion of Underutilized Buildings for Affordable Housing
Examples: Conversion or of vacant and abandoned residential and commercial properties for housing and to better respond to COVID-19.
• Public Services o Example: Vaccine Outreach and awareness, Support for mental health services, wi-fi connectivity for underserved communities
2020 CDBG-CV Funding Limits
. Minimum Maximum
Towns, Cities and Villages: $100,000 $ 500,000
Counties and New York City: $100,000 $1,000,000
All Municipalities - Combined Activities $100,000 $2,000,000
· Effective immediately – Wedding receptions and catered events can resume statewide at 50% capacity, with no more than 150 attendees per event. More information can be found here.
· March 19 – Indoor dining will expand to 75% capacity. Any location with a State Liquor Authority license can remain open until 11 pm.
· March 22 – Indoor fitness classes can begin statewide at 33% capacity.
· April 5 – The 11 pm curfew for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls, gyms, and fitness centers will be lifted. The 11 p.m. curfew for food and beverage establishments and the 12 a.m. curfew for catered events will remain in effect.
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES QUARANTINE FOR DOMESTIC TRAVEL WILL NO LONGER BE REQUIRED STARTING APRIL 1ST
While No Longer Required, Quarantine After Domestic Travel is Still Advised as Added Precaution
Mandatory Quarantine Remains in Effect for International Travelers
All Travelers Covered Must Continue to Fill Out Traveler Health Form Upon Arrival Into New York State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory starting April 1st. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Individuals should continue strict adherence to all safety guidelines to stop the spread - wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.
"New Yorkers have shown strength and perseverance throughout this entire pandemic, and it shows through the numbers that continue to decrease every day," Governor Cuomo said. "As we work to build our vaccination infrastructure even further and get more shots in arms, we're making significant progress in winning the footrace between the infection rate and the vaccination rate, allowing us to open new sectors of our economy and start our transition to a new normal in a post-pandemic world. As part of that transition, quarantine for domestic travelers is no longer required, but it is still being advised as an added precaution. This is great news, but it is not an all-clear for New Yorkers to let their guard down. To beat this virus once and for all we all must continue doing what we know works to stop the spread, including wearing masks, washing our hands and practicing social distancing."
Regardless of quarantine status, all individuals exposed to COVID-19 or returning from travel must:
· Continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14;
· Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through Day 14 (even if fully vaccinated);
· Must immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.
Updated PPP Sole Proprietor, Independent Contractor and Self-Employed
· Revised loan calculations for Sole Proprietors, Independent Contractors, and Self-Employed individuals:
· Use of funds for Schedule C filers with loans calculated on the gross profit have been expanded to include proprietor expenses as a forgivable expense.
· Maximum owner's compensation is capped at $20,833 except:
Here is what we know:
- Instituting a 14-day period, starting Wednesday, during which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief through the Program.
- Helping sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals receive more financial support.
- Consistent with a bipartisan bill, eliminating an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions from obtaining relief through the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Eliminating an exclusionary restriction that prevents small business owners who are delinquent on their federal student loans from obtaining relief through the Paycheck Protection Program.
- Ensuring access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to apply for relief.
- Addressing waste, fraud, and abuse across all federal programs. Unlike the previous round of the PPP, loan guaranty approval is now contingent on passing SBA fraud checks, Treasury's Do Not Pay database, and public records.
- Promoting transparency and accountability by improving the PPP loan application.
- Improving the Emergency Relief Digital Front Door.
- Continuing to conduct extensive stakeholder outreach to learn more about challenges and opportunities in the implementation of current emergency relief programs.
- Enhancing the current lender engagement model.
Find more information in the White House's press release
An important updates for Small Businesses regarding the NYFLF
Empire State Development has now opened the application portal for the “Raising the Bar” Restaurant Recovery Fund to assist restaurants in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic. A presentation on the fund can be found here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline.
Please take note that the log in and eligibility takes approximately 3-5 minutes. Emails have begun flowing back to eligible applicants typically within minutes. For the applicants that have already received eligibility emails, they are able to log in and complete their applications.
Please visit https://esd.ny.gov/raising-nys-bar-restaurant-recovery-fund for more information.
Paycheck Protection Program Opens Jan. 11, 2021
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.
Key PPP updates include:
- PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
- PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
- The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, direct marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
- The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
- Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
- Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:
- Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
- Has no more than 300 employees; and
- Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
The new guidance released includes:
- PPP Guidance from SBA Administrator Carranza on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran, and Women-owned Business Concerns;
- Interim Final Rule on Paycheck Protection Program as Amended by Economic Aid Act; and
- Interim Final Rule on Second Draw PPP Loans.
The COVID-19 Relief Bill has been passed.
The SBA has ten days to issue regulations to carry out the act.
New funding opportunities will soon be available for you to apply.
Some important things to note...
- If you already received a PPP or EIDL, you will still be eligible for the second round of PPP funding.
- The EIDL application deadline has been extended through December 31, 2021.
- The new law no longer requires the EIDL Advance to be deducted from your PPP forgiveness application.
- The EIDL Advance is no longer based on your # of employees. If you received less than a $10,000 advance, you will be able to apply for the difference (up to $10K).
The new law allows expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans are deductible.
A second COVID stimulus bill to provide additional support for individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic. Outlined below are highlights of the bill that may impact your business.
Payroll Protection Program
• Program extended through March 31.
• Clarifies that businesses expenses paid for with forgiven PPP funds remain deductible.
• Loan forgiveness process is simplified for borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less.
• Forgivable expenses are expanded to include supplier costs and investments in facility modifications and personal protective equipment to operate safely.
• Enhances borrower flexibility by allowing borrowers to select their loan forgiveness covered period between 8 weeks and 24 weeks.
• Allows forgiveness for PPP loans and EIDL emergency advance grants, preventing small business owners being left with unexpected PPP loan balances.
• Second round of PPP for businesses with 300 or fewer employees and a 25% revenue loss.
• Maximum loan of 2.5X average monthly payroll up to $2 million.
• Accommodations and Food Services (NAICS codes beginning with 72) may receive a loan up to 3.5X average monthly payroll.
• Set asides
• $15 billion for PPP loans (initial and second draw) issued by community financial institutions, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository intuitions (MDIs);
• $15 billion for PPP loans (initial and second draw) issued by certain small depository institutions.
• $35 billion for first-time borrowers, $15 billion of which is for borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, or loans less than $250,000 in low-income areas;
• $25 billion for second draw PPP loans for borrowers with 10 or fewer employees, or loans less than $250,000 in low-income areas.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Additional $20 billion for the SBA’s EIDL advance program
Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators
The program will be administered by the Small Business Administration. Once the necessary infrastructure is in place, the SBA will make grants to;
• live venue operators or promoters,
• theatrical producers,
• live performing arts organization operators,
• museum operators,
• motion picture theatre operators, or
• talent representatives
To be eligible, the entity must have been fully operational on February 29, 2020, and must demonstrate a 25% reduction in gross revenue. During the initial 14-day period of implementation of the program, grants shall only be awarded to eligible entities that have faced 90% or greater revenue loss. In the next 14-day period, grants shall only be awarded to eligible entities that have faced 70% or greater revenue loss. After these two periods, grants shall be awarded to all other eligible entities.
The SBA may make an initial grant of 45% of the entity’s gross earned revenue during 2019. Entities may be eligible for a supplemental grant that is equal to 50% of the initial grant, with on overall cap on both grants combined of $10 million.
The grant money must be spent on specific expenses:
• payroll costs,
• debt payments,
• worker protection expenses,
• payments made to independent contractors, and
• other ordinary and necessary business expenses (such as maintenance expenses).
Employee Retention Tax Credit extended through June 30, 2021
• Refundable and advanceable payroll tax credit to cover a portion of wages paid to employees to qualify a business must have faced a full or partial suspension of business due to a COVID-19 government order or suffered a significant decline in gross receipts
• The credit rate has been increased from 50% to 70% of qualified wages, and the limit on per-employee creditable wages is increased from $10,000 per year to $10,000 per quarter.
• Definition of “significant decline in gross receipts” has been reduced from 50% to 20%.
• To further assist with liquidity, businesses with 500 or fewer employees may advance the credit at any point during the quarter based on wages paid in the same quarter in a previous year.
• Provides that employers who receive PPP loans may still qualify for the ERTC with respect to wages that are not paid for with forgiven PPP proceeds.
Paid Leave Tax Credits extended through March 31, 2021
• Businesses with fewer than 500 employees may receive a refundable tax credit in order to provide employees with paid sick and family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19.
• Workers may receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for their own health needs or to care for others and up to an additional ten weeks of paid family leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
NYS recently launched the second phase of New York's Empire State Digital initiative to support the state's restaurants and food service industry affected by COVID-19. Through April 2021, e-commerce company Ritual will offer its commission-free digital ordering platform Ritual ONE to New York's restaurants and food service businesses at no cost for pickup and delivery.
Restaurants and food service businesses that join Ritual through the Empire State Digital initiative will be able to accept touch-free payments from customers using their PayPal and Venmo apps and will not be subject to Ritual processing fees for a limited time. As part of this initiative, Ritual will waive its set-up, monthly subscription and credit-card processing fees. More information is available here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline.
To help support food service establishments further, PayPal and Ritual have committed to invest $1 million to encourage customers to support their favorite local restaurants and eateries. Beginning in February, businesses enrolled in Ritual One can offer customers a discount on eligible purchases at up to three different store locations during the promotional period.
To further support retail businesses impacted by COVID, Shopify has partnered with the state to conduct a Retail Roundtable on Friday, December 18th from 11am to 12pm. They will be instructing retail businesses on how they can start selling on Shopify, how Shopify can assist them in making the most of their online store and answer questions. Retail businesses interested in attending this roundtable session can register here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline.
The state also recently announced the Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership. Recognizing the economic impact of COVID-19, this program will provide small businesses and their landlords with informational resources and pro bono assistance to help both parties reach mutually beneficial lease workout agreements. This service is available to all New York State small businesses and landlords, and participation is voluntary. To initiate a lease renegotiation, please visit: New York Forward Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership | Empire State Development (ny.gov).
Small business owners can check if they are eligible for New York State support programs or incentives. There are a number of business incentives that small business owners may be able to take advantage of. To get started, simply answer questions about your business and New York's Business Express Incentive Wizard will provide a list of New York State programs and services that could help your business get off the ground.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and residential gatherings in New York State.
Effective Nov. 13, 2020 at 10 p.m., bars, restaurants and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m., but will not be permitted to serve alcohol to go. The State Liquor Authority will issue further guidance for licensees as to what sales are continued to be permitted.
The Governor also announced that indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences will be limited to no more than 10 people. The limit will be implemented due to the recent prevalence of COVID spread resulting from small indoor gatherings including Halloween parties. These gatherings have become a major cause of cluster activity across the state. Further, this public health measure brings New York State in line with neighboring states including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This new rule is also effective Friday at 10 p.m.
Governor Cuomo today announced Empire State Digital, a new initiative accelerating New York State-based small businesses' ability to grow their online presence through a first-in-the-nation program with leading global e-commerce enablers, including Shopify, Square, Clearbanc, and Etsy. The partners selected by Empire State Development to participate will offer specialized solutions such as education, free resources, marketing support, and discounted pricing that is unique to the needs of New York's small businesses.
Empire State Digital is an invitation for businesses to explore the benefits of expanding beyond physical brick and mortar location to an online marketplace through the program partners.
Partners benefits Include:
- First 90 days free for new brick and mortar merchants registering before November 30, 2020
- Free access to Shopify Point-of Sale (POS) Pro features until October 31, 2020
- Free* contactless payment Shopify Tap & Chip Reader for new POS retailers (*limited supplies)
- $500 in Shopify app store credits for new Shopify POS brick-and-mortar retailers
- 24/7 support, including access to online educational resources and possible eligibility for Shopify Capital
- Educational workshops for small businesses, including restaurants and retailers, interested in going online and dedicated office hours in English and Spanish
- Build a free website with Square Online
- Free processing on up to $1,000 in credit card transactions for the first 180 days after joining Square
- Educational content on improving the financial health of your business
- Discounted rates on funding
- Free company valuation and track growth week-over-week
- Educational content on how to start a successful online business
- Free listing credits for new sellers
Details on the program can be found at Empire State Digital's website which includes additional services available to small businesses from Empire State Development's statewide resource partners, including hands-on assistance, training and counseling.
On Oct. 1, 2020, New York launched COVID Alert NY – the official Exposure Notification App created by the New York State Department of Health in partnership with Google and Apple. Now you can use your phone in the fight against COVID-19 and get exposure alerts, without compromising your privacy or personal information.
What is COVID Alert NY?
COVID Alert NY is New York State’s official Exposure Notification App. This is a free smartphone app for anyone 18+ that lives and/or works in New York available for download in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store starting October 1st. The COVID Alert NY app notifies users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Upon receiving an exposure notification, the app will encourage users to contact their physician or the State Health Department hotline (1-833-227-5045) to get more information about quarantining and testing.
Anyone who downloads the app does not have to worry about being tracked, identified or having their personal information shared. The app is completely anonymous and does not track your location or movement. No personal data is collected. COVID Alert NY uses Bluetooth proximity-enabled exposure notification technology provided by Apple and Google which is safe and secure.
What can you do?
The COVID Alert NY app puts the power in the hands of New Yorkers to protect their neighbors, friends, family and community at large. Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19. The more New Yorkers using the COVID Alert NY app, the more effective it will be as a tool to fight against COVID-19.
On 9/24/2020, Empire State Development (ESD) announced that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recipients are now eligible to receive low-interest loans from the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF). This conditional change will provide the Fund's network of lenders and financial institutions with greater flexibility and enable them to provide more small businesses with working capital to cover expenses associated with reopening. This change makes additional resources available to small businesses who received $50,000 or less in PPP assistance. Small businesses who did not receive any federal assistance are still eligible and encouraged to apply as well.
Eligible small businesses and small residential landlords can apply for a 60-month, no-fee loan with a 3% fixed interest rate. Eligible non-profits can apply for a 60-month, no-fee loan at 2% fixed interest. The maximum loan amount is $100,000. Loan funds can be used for working capital including payroll, operating and emergency maintenance, property taxes, utilities and costs associated with refitting physical space to follow social distancing guidelines. More information is available online at nyloanfund.com.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today, 9/14/20, announced $88.6 million in federal CARES Act funding is available to assist child care providers through NY Forward grants as they adjust their programs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is in addition to $30 million made available in the spring and $48.3 million recently awarded to assist child care providers with reopening or restructuring their physical plans to meet new social distancing requirements. The $88.6 million in grant funds will be used as follows:
Twenty million will support child care scholarships for children of essential workers. Essential workers include first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others who are needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care costs will be covered for families of essential workers whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level - or $78,600 for a family of four - and will be paid up to market rate for each region statewide. The funding will support 5,400 children in child care for 14 weeks.
Another $20 million is being made available for rental assistance for school-based child care programs that have been displaced by the pandemic. It will support 2,300 school-age child care programs with $2,000 in monthly rental assistance for four months. Programs may also use the funding for transporting children to the new location.
Twenty million would support grants for closed child care programs to reopen or restructure under new guidelines for social distancing. This may cover partitions, short-term rental space, supplies or broadband access.
The remaining $28.6 million will provide grants for child care providers to pay for half of the cost (up to $6,000) to open a new classroom. Temporary funds would be phased out in the second and third months as parents enroll more children in child care.
Child care providers may apply for the funding at https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/. Applications will be posted later this month and will be accepted on a rolling basis until December 31, 2020.
August 4, 2020 - Today the Governor announced that Rhode Island has been added to the 14-day travel quarantine list and that Delaware and Washington DC have been removed from the list. The full, updated travel advisory list is below:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
The travel advisory quarantine applies to any person that arrives from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.
People caught violating the advisory risk civil penalties ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, Gov. Cuomo said last month.
There are exceptions to the travel advisory for essential businesses. Guidance on travel to these states for essential employees can be found at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory.
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $2.3 MILLION AWARDED THROUGH NEW YORK FORWARD LOAN FUND
Program Offers Funding to Businesses, Non-Profits and Landlords That Did Not Receive Federal COVID-19 Assistance
Applications Still Being Accepted at nyloanfund.com
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that more than $2.3 million has been awarded to support 61 businesses and residential landlords with COVID-19 related costs and expenses through the New York Forward Loan Fund. Applications are still being accepted and businesses from qualifying industries, including agriculture, construction, food services, retail, education services, manufacturing and transportation, are encouraged to apply.
"The pandemic's impact on small businesses was especially damaging and we're not going to leave them behind - they are the backbone of New York's economy and central to our recovery." Governor Cuomo said. "The New York Forward Loan Fund is providing critical assistance to alleviate lost revenue and offset reopening-related expenses, getting these businesses back on their feet and contributing to New Yorkers' efforts to build back our state and local economies even stronger than before."
The New York Forward Loan Fund was created to provide working capital loans to small businesses—focusing on MWBEs—small residential landlords and non-profit organizations that did not receive funding from the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The fund continues to accept and process applications; to date, more than 9,300 eligible applications have been received.
Eligible small businesses and small residential landlords can apply for a 60-month, no-fee loan with a 3% fixed interest rate; while eligible non-profits can apply for a 60-month, no-fee loan at 2% fixed interest. The maximum loan amount is $100,000. Loan funds can be used for working capital including payroll, operating and emergency maintenance, property taxes, utilities and costs associated with refitting physical space to follow social distancing guidelines. More information is available online at nyloanfund.com.
Seven banks have pledged support for the New York Forward Loan Fund: Apple Bank, BNB Bank, Evans Bank, HSBC, M&T Bank, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. Additionally, the fund has received philanthropic commitments from the BlackRock Charitable Fund, Citi Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The New York Forward Loan Fund was established with support from Calvert Impact Capital. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is administering the fund, and Connect2Capital is hosting applications.
The Department of Health has issued an emergency rule, which was effective as of July 9, addressing the enforcement of social distancing measures. The rule imposes requirements on businesses, employees, and customers regarding the wearing of face coverings:
- Any person who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or face-covering.
- Any employee who is present in the workplace will be provided and shall wear a mask or face covering when in direct contact with customers or members of the public, or when unable to maintain social distance. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees.
- Business operators and building owners and those authorized on their behalf must deny admittance to any person who fails to comply with this section and must require or compel such persons’ removal.
The entire emergency rule can be viewed here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline.
On July 4, 2020, President Trump signed into law an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program. The program was set to expire on June 30, but the law extends it through August 8. Roughly $130 billion is still available to small businesses and non-profits. Visit the Small Business Administration’s web site for more information at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program
The NY Business Council announced that late Friday Governor Cuomo issued an executive order clarifying whether employees quarantined as a result of the travel advisory described below would qualify for NYS emergency paid sick leave. In short, employees who voluntarily travel to any of the states designated as having a COVID-19 infection rate that exceeds the established criteria - who then becomes quarantined by a public health official as a result - would not be eligible for NYS emergency paid sick leave.
The order requires employers to provide advance notice of the travel advisory, the possibility of quarantine, and the potential loss of paid sick leave benefits if an employee were to become quarantined. Employers should provide a general notice to all employees that this type of travel could result in loss of benefits.
A sample notice could read:
To all employees:
By order of the Governor, anyone traveling to a state (after June 25th) with positive test rates higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% positive test rate, over a seven day rolling average, and which the commissioner of the department of health has designated as meeting these conditions is required to quarantine for 14 days. On Friday, the Governor issued an Executive Order clarifying that employees who travel voluntarily to any of these states shall not be eligible for benefits under the New York State emergency paid sick leave law. Employees should be aware that voluntary travel to any of these states could result in loss of pay during the required quarantine.
The list of impacted states will be updated frequently and can be found on the Department of Health website.
The Department of Health Guidance provides exemptions for ’essential’ workers, such as anyone employed in an essential business as defined by Empire State Development Corporation. Those employees could avoid quarantine and return to work upon receiving a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their return to NYS and following established protocols regarding face coverings, social distancing, etc.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020. In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:
- Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
- Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
- Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form. Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period. These changes will result in a more efficient process and make it easier for businesses to realize full forgiveness of their PPP loan.
Congress has passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which has meaningful impact on the loan forgiveness aspect of the program. If a business originally turned away funds or did not apply for PPP because they did not anticipate meeting the forgiveness requirements, they may now have a better opportunity to apply and take advantage of the program.
Key changes to the program include:
- The forgiveness period is now 24 weeks (originally 8 weeks)
- The minimum amount that must be spent on payroll is now 60% (originally 75%). This means that business owners can spend up to 40% on non-payroll costs, such as rent, utilities and mortgage interest (1% interest on loan amount remaining after forgiveness)
- The loan maturity is now 5 years (originally 2 years)
- The deferral period has been extended so that payments are not required until loan forgiveness has been determined.
Outdoor Dining Guidance
General guidance can be found at https://forward.ny.gov/phase-two-industries under “Outdoor and Take-Out/Delivery Food Services.”
Please find the detailed guidance at:
The guidance for Phase II businesses continues to be updated in anticipation of a formal announcement by the state that they can officially reopen.
Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders, the following businesses will remain closed during Phase II:
- Malls, specifically, any indoor common portions of retail shopping malls with 100,000 or more square feet of retail space available for lease; however, any stores located within shopping malls, which have their own external entrances open to the public, separate from the general mall entrance (e.g. strip malls), may open;
- Dine-in and on-premise restaurant or bar service, excluding take-out or delivery for off-premise consumption;
- Large gathering/event venues, including but not limited to establishments that host concerts, conferences, or other in-person performances or presentations in front of an in-person audience;
- Gyms, fitness centers, and exercise classes, except for remote or streaming services;
- Video lottery and casino gaming facilities;
- Movie theaters, except drive-ins; and
- Places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, family and children’s attractions.
Specifics guidelines, business plan templates, and attestations for these industries can be found at https://forward.ny.gov/phase-two-industries.
Businesses now being allowed to reopen and having posted guidelines include:
- All Office-Based Jobs
- Real Estate Services
- Essential and Phase II Retail - In-Store Shopping
- Vehicle Sales, Leases, and Rentals
- Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning
- Commercial Building Management
- Barbershop and Hair Salon Services
Specifics guidelines, business plan templates and attestations for these industries can be found at https://forward.ny.gov/phase-two-industries and should be reviewed and completed prior to reopening your business. This includes the affirmation that you are following the state guidance.
The Finger Lakes Region has now begun to undertake the process of Phase 1 reopening. The recently launched New York Forward website forward.ny.gov is live and provides detailed information and updates on the metrics for reopening as well as business resources and guidance.
Businesses and individuals reopening in Phase 1 must read the State’s detailed industry-specific reopening guidance and provide affirmation of business compliance with those guidelines. Each re-opening business must also develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A Safety Plan Template and complete industry-specific reopening guidance with attestation form can be found here: https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase
For help determining whether or not your business is eligible to reopen, use the reopen lookup tool. You can also scroll down to findthe detailed industry business guidance for each phase.
COVID-19 Test Sites in Ontario County
Ontario County Public Health advises all businesses to call the test center prior to going to the site. This information is current as of 5/11/2020, but it is constantly changing and each site has different guidelines to follow.
The Ontario County Office of Economic Development continues to monitor the ever-changing environment we face as we work through the complexities presented as a result of COVID-19. We continue to engage with local, state, and federal leaders, as well as local partners, to provide you with the most accurate and current information available.
ESD has set up a web portal for individuals with business-related COVID-19 issues and questions. We encourage you to take advantage of this system on the ESD website which is updated with the latest available guidance and information regarding COVID-19.
The Ontario County Economic Development Corp. is offering to defer principal payments for six months on its existing loans. If your business would like to participate, please Email Sue Vary.
We are updating our website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts daily.
A new link has step-by-step instructions for self-employed individuals to file a UI claim:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.8 of March 20, 2020 required non-essential businesses in New York State to reduce their onsite workforce by 100%. Only organizations and entities that were deemed essential by the Executive Order are exempt from these restrictions. Empire State Development (ESD) has updated its formal guidelines regarding essential businesses as of April 9, 2020. Please note that ESD’s guidance is subject to change as the State adapts its response to combating COVID-19.
Be advised that any previous designation or determination by ESD that a firm is an essential business that is inconsistent with the revised guidance is no longer valid.
Any business with a pending essential designation request must refer to the updated guidelines for a determination. If your business is included in the list of essential businesses, you do not need to request a designation. If your business is still not captured by the updated guidelines, you may resubmit a designation request to ESD through the agency’s online process here Version OptionsCOVID-19 ResourcesHeadline.
ESD’s complete guidelines can be found on ESD’s website and below. Updated guidance is underlined.
GUIDANCE – as of April 9, 2020
State and local governments, including municipalities, authorities, and school districts, are exempt from these essential business reductions, but are subject to other provisions that restrict non-essential, in-person workforce and other operations under Executive Order 202.
For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Business,” shall mean businesses operating in or as:
1. Essential health care operations including
2. Essential infrastructure including
3. Essential manufacturing including
4. Essential retail including
5. Essential services including
6. News media
7. Financial Institutions including
8. Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations including
All non-essential construction must safely shut down, except emergency construction, (e.g. a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone, but only to the point that it is safe to suspend work).
Essential construction may proceed, to the extent that:
At every site, it is required that the personnel working on the site maintain an appropriate social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exits. Sites that cannot maintain appropriate social distancing, as well as cleaning/disinfecting protocols must close. Enforcement will be conducted by state and local governments, including fines up to $10,000 per violation.
Construction may continue solely with respect to those employees that must be present at the business location/construction site in support of essential business activities. No other employees/personnel shall be permitted to work in-person at the business location/construction site. Any other business activities being completed that are not essential are still subject to the restrictions provided by Executive Order 202.
As noted above, local governments, including municipalities and school districts, are allowed to continue construction projects at this time as government entities are exempt from these essential business restrictions. However, to the greatest extent possible, local governments should postpone any non-essential projects and only proceed with essential projects when they can implement appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols. Essential projects should be considered those that have a nexus to health and safety of the building occupants or to support the broader essential services that are required to fulfill the critical operations of government or the emergency response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
11. Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other businesses including
12. Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services including but not limited to:
14. Professional services with extensive restrictions
Pursuant to Executive Order 202.10, all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reasons (e.g. worship services, parties, celebrations, or other social events) are canceled or postponed. Congregate services within houses of worship are prohibited. Houses of worship may only be used by individuals and only where appropriate social distancing of, at least, six feet between people can be maintained. Further, individuals should not gather in houses of worship, homes, or other locations for religious services until the end of this public health emergency. If possible, religious leaders should consider alternative forms of worship, replacing in-person gatherings with virtual services, such as phone or conference calls, videoconference calls, or online streaming.
Restrictions on requesting designation as an essential business:
Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders, the following businesses are specifically enumerated as non-essential and are, therefore, unable to request a designation:
For more information on New York’s response to COVID-19 and guidance on cleaning and disinfection of facilities, please refer to the New York State Department of Health’s webpage.
Additional information can be found on the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.