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COVID-19/Reopening Business Assistance & Resources

Last Updated 8/29/21

Links to assistance programs and resources to help businesses cope during the crisis

Find resources for residents here

Reopening Resources

NYC Department of Small Business Services COVID-19 Assistance and Guidance for Businesses

COVID-19 restrictions lifted in New York City on June 15

Information on Key to NYC program requiring vaccinations for indoor dining, gyms, and entertainment

Guide to Reopening Retail on SoHo Broadway

NYC Open Restaurants: Temporary Outdoor Dining Seating to Allow Social Distancing During COVID-19 Recovery. Currently in the process of becoming a permanent program.

NYC Open Storefronts: Program to assist existing ground-floor storefront businesses who want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis

Landmarks Preservation Commission Fact Sheet on Emergency Repairs and Survey

CDC Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation

National Retail Federation Open Doors Checklist

Health & Safety Protocols by Brookfield and Simon

Here is some information to help your business combat the spread of germs and tips to address changing behavior

Here is guidance on handling COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

Here is an informational flyer for your business or public space

Tips for Signage and Wayfinding in a Post-COVID-19 World by architectural firm Gensler

In-Store Signage by FedEx based on CDC Templates

Shopper/Public/Employee Facing Safety Messaging by Simon

Customer-facing messaging from Nordstrom here and here

Social Distancing In-Store Signage by Walmart

Social Distancing Stickers

Hand Sanitizer Totems (can be branded)

PPE & Reopening Supplies Marketplace

Cleaning and disinfecting tips for businesses by ServiceMaster

Business Reopening Hotline – Business owners and employers can now call 888-SBS-4NYC (727-4692) to ask questions or find assistance 

Plain Language Industry Guides – Find clear guidelines about when and how to reopen your business, based on sector and industry. 

“MEND NYC” Program for Hospitality Industry Mediation

Safe Open Streets checklist

Open Restaurants brochure in multiple languages can be found here

New York Forward Loan Fund

NYC Restaurant Reopening Guide (SBS) 

Restaurant Reopening Packet (printable PDF version of information from website) 

“What to Expect When You’re Inspected” checklist 

Directory of Equipment Rental for Safe Outdoor Dining

OSHA Resources/Requirements for Workers

Open Restaurants Virtual Compliance Consultations

Reopening Gyms and Fitness Facilities: What Operators Need to Know

Relief Programs for Businesses

The Small Business Administration’s second Paycheck Protection Program authorizes up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. Under the new COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill, a small business can receive a second PPP loan of up to $2 million if they have less than 300 employees and can demonstrate a revenue reduction of 25%. Program resumed January 11, 2021. Open only to businesses with 20 or fewer employees until March 9, 2021. Learn more:

Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. (NOTE 7/11: SBA announced that it would discontinue making (EIDL) Advances to new applicants) Learn More:

SBA Debt Relief: The Small Business Administration debt relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis. Under this program the SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020. The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program: This SBA program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Learn more:

Employee Retention Credit: This IRS refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

New York Forward Loan Fund: New York State is providing working capital loans of up to $100,000 to NYS small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords that suffered a direct economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. The $100+ million program supports businesses and organizations as they proceed with upfront expenses to comply with guidelines (e.g., inventory, marketing, refitting for new social distancing guidelines) as they reopen based on New York Forward guidelines. Learn more:

Small Business Continuity Loans: The City of New York Department of Small Business Services announced assistance is available to small businesses to help them weather changing customer behavior. To read more check out SBS’s Assistance for Businesses​ page. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more are eligible to apply for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help ensure business continuity (NOTE 4/17: Due to overwhelming interest in the NYC Business Continuity Loan Fund, SBS has paused application intake) Learn more:

NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund for Nonprofits: This Fund was created by the New York Community Trust to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus. It will give grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits that are trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city. Priority will be given to nonprofits addressing essential healthcare and food insecurity as well as arts and culture (NOTE 7/29: Grant and loan recipients have been announced) Learn more::

Business Assistance Survey: SBS has developed a COVID-19 Business Assistance Survey in order to collect data on business-related impacts due to the virus in a standardized way. Please consider spending a few minutes to participate in this survey – SBS is committed to helping small businesses in New York City navigate changes and get needed resources:

NYCEDC: Support for NYC Businesses

Restaurant Support: We are excited to announce an exciting new initiative that connects restaurants to pro bono design services to help improve their outdoor dining space. In collaboration with NYCxDESIGNAIA New York, and Design Advocates, we’ve launched the Design Corps: Small Business Recovery Network  to help restaurants adapt to safety guidelines and ensure compliance. The Design Corps website connects restaurant owners to volunteer design professionals to help maximize their use of space and create a safe dining experience. Restaurant owners and design professionals who are interested in participating can go to nycxdesign.com/design-corps to register and then self-connect to discuss the specific needs of the space. Attached is the flyer in English, Chinese, and Spanish

Small Business Resource Network: NYCEDC announced a collaboration with SBS, Partnership for NY, Peterson Foundation and Five Borough Chambers of Commerce. Please help us spread these resources as you deem appropriate.

Return to Work – Occupancy Survey Request:  NYCEDC, and other City agencies, are interested in more deeply understanding post-COVID return to office patterns to gauge the pace and health of New York City’s economic recovery and implications for long-term planning. We may issue this survey again in the future to track changes in office occupancy over time. Would love your support getting this message to employers: 

1. NYCEDC has developed a two-minute survey for businesses to share the number of employees that were in in the office, working remotely, or a mix both pre-COVID and over the last week. The survey will be shared every couple of weeks to capture data and changes to occupancy over time. Data will be aggregated and anonymized when reported. No information on individual companies will be released. 

2. If you have any questions about the survey, please reach out to cyoder@edc.nyc. Thank you in advance for your help with this effort.

Resources for NYC Businesses during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Below is some information to help you and your business stay safe and prevent the spread of germs. This is a rapidly changing situation, visit the NYC Health website for more up-to-date information, including FAQs for employers.

The NYC Department of Small Business Services and NYC Economic Development Corporation have launched the Neighborhood Challenge: Connect & Recover program as an open innovation platform to surface common business challenges and crowdsource solutions from technologists.

The NYC Council passed several bills to aid small businesses on May 14

FAQ for Essential Retail Businesses and Their Customers

The Department of Small Business Services is holding a series of webinars to assist small businesses during the COVID crisis

The SoHo Broadway Initiative issued a set of best practices for securing storefronts (updated 5/31/20)

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce is holding weekly Small Business Updates and many other webinars and virtual town halls. See the schedule and register here.

Restaurants are still advised to follow NYC Health Code requirements for food preparation. More information here 

The State Liquor Authority released additional guidance for business owners, see here

The Mayor’s Office of Nightlife created a printable poster to display in businesses to remind patrons to take out, not hang out

Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to individuals not wearing masks or face-coverings

When adopting policies related to face coverings and social distancing, bars and restaurants must offer reasonable accommodations to customers with disabilities and should follow the guidance of the New York City Commission on Human Rights for “Public Accommodations Protections,” found here

Business Continuity Planning Checklist

Business Planning Checklist for Pandemics

Some City agencies have adjusted their operations during this time. Please see here for updates

The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) has moved and trials, hearings, and sessions online

The NYC Comptroller’s office has compiled a COVID-19 Resource Center for small businesses

“Coping with COVID-19: A Conversation for Small Businesses”: A recording of the 4/16 panel the Initiative co-presented with NoHo BID can be viewed here. Use password: h0%?^O8=

“Coping with COVID-19: A Conversation about Commercial Leases”: A recording of the 5/12 panel the Initiative co-presented with NoHo BID can be viewed here. Use password: 7x^^3G2Q

Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph LLP – are offering free 10 minute consultations. (212) 349-3000

Pace Small Business Development Center: Fill out the intake form to schedule a consultation here. Pace SBDC Resources Page & Crowdfunding Guide 

Cooper Square Committee, a community-based partner with SBS’s Commercial Lease Assistance Program, is offering free legal assistance. Any commercial tenant who would like to have a lawyer review their lease for free and think through the negotiation process can contact abigaile@coopersquare.org for more info. 

NYS Tenant Safe Harbor Act – This new legislation would strengthen Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 90-day moratorium on evictions by prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent that accrued during the current State of Emergency and for six months after its eventual end.

Senate Bill S8125A – Sponsored by State Senator Michael Gianaris, this bill relates to suspending rent payments for certain residential tenants and small business commercial tenants and certain mortgage payments for ninety days in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

#SMALLBIZSOS Coalition – Each borough’s Chamber of Commerce, Hospitality Alliance, NYC BID Association, REBNY and others sent a letter to elected officials earlier advocating for policies linked here; to lend your support, contact your elected officials.

NYC Share Your Space Survey: The NYC Share your Space survey is critical to helping the City prepare for emergencies and outreach to all of the city’s communities. Registering community spaces is just one way you can help support NYC during this time. The Share Your Space Survey identifies spaces in your community that could potentially support the City’s emergency operations or be used for community outreach events. 

More Ways Businesses Can Help

NYCEDC is seeking businesses with the ability to quickly source and/or make needed medical supplies (e.g. face shields, gowns, ventilators, masks, and other products as needed) to support the City’s COVID-19 response. Learn more and complete the info form here

Suppliers or distributors with access to a stock of ready-made supplies to sell or donate (medical or otherwise) should visit nyc.gov/covidsuppliers.

Companies or individuals looking to volunteer and/or donate funds, food, and goods to those in need should visit nyc.gov/donate

Find resources for residents here

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