Updates on Covid-19
March 16, 2020
Though certain parts of New York State started to reopen on Friday, May 15, New York State on PAUSE has been extended for New York City and other areas until May 28, 2020. This is based on the State and City reopening metrics. Read the transcript from Mayor de Blasio’s press conference on Monday here. You can also check out the state’s progress in the Regional Monitoring Dashboard. You can learn more about NY Forward, Governor Cuomo’s reopening plan, in NY Forward: A Guide to Reopening New York and Building Back Better.
Meatpacking BID Executive Director
Staying Informed (Updated 05/15)
In an effort to provide New Yorkers with more space to practice physical distancing, the city is working with neighborhoods, BIDs, and community groups to open streets safely for pedestrians. In the Meatpacking District, we’re working with the city to identify a network of streets throughout the district to create more space for people to use when going to work, traveling to the supermarket, or exercising.
In the Meatpacking District, approximately 80% of outdoor space is dedicated to cars, providing little opportunity to support adequate physical distancing without changes to street utilization. This program will be a critical step to opening up additional public space to people, and potentially businesses once allowed to reopen. Reimagining our streets as places for people to safely move from one destination to another will be a critical component of bringing business back to the neighborhood successfully. This program will allow us to explore other uses for space such as, extending restaurant sidewalk cafes, and think through how retail can benefit from creating more safe space outside.
Apply for an Absentee Ballot
Under the Governor’s Executive Order 202.15 to prevent the community spread of COVID-19, all registered voters may apply for an Absentee Ballot to vote in the upcoming
June 23, 2020 elections. If you are affected by COVID-19, please check the box for “Temporary Illness” on the application. The definition has been temporarily expanded to include those affected by COVID-19 and/or the potential of contracting the virus.
This website can be used only by registered New York City voters to apply for an Absentee Ballot for the June 23, 2020 Elections. Please enter your information exactly as it appears in your voter record. Failure to do so may result in a “Record Not Found”. This does not mean you are not eligible. For further assistance please email AbsenteeJune2020@boe.nyc or call 1-866-VOTE-NYC
NYPD Small Business Safety Tips
The NYPD has issued guidance for small businesses can better secure their businesses during New York State on PAUSE. To get in contact with the NYPD for a non-emergency please use the following contact information. Businesses south of 14th Street should contact the 6th Precinct at (212) 741-4811, and businesses north of 14th Street should contact the 10th Precinct at(212) 741-8211. For all emergencies please dial 911.
SBA Paycheck Protection Program Applications Re-Opened
New federal legislation has added additional funds to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Applications reopened yesterday and additional information can be found here
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan offered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will FORGIVE these loans if employees remain on the payroll for eight (8) weeks, and if loan funds are spent on payroll, rent or mortgage interest, or utilities.
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Small Business Helpdesk
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce has started a small business help desk program, targeted at supporting small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions and concerns regarding your small business reach out to them at email@example.com or call 212-473-7875
Westside Small Business Grants
To help Manhattan’s West Side small businesses experiencing financial distress due to the impact of COVID-19, the West Side Community Fund (WSCF) has launched the West Side Small Business Grants (WSSBG). Citizens Committee for New York City, a longtime partner of the WSCF, will be administering the grants.
WSSBG will fill gaps in funding for small businesses of up to 10 employees, with special consideration for minority and/or immigrant-owned businesses. Examples of small businesses eligible for a $5,000 to $10,000 grant include barber shops, restaurants, food carts, vegetable stands, and more. Unlike many financial opportunities currently available to small businesses, this program provides grants rather than loans.
The application deadline is rolling and I encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Applications can be found at citizensnyc.org/grants/west-side-small-business-grants.
The West Side Small Business Grants are made possible with seed funding from Google, and additional support from Jamestown, Related/Oxford Hudson Yards, WarnerMedia, and the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Shop in NYC
New York & Company is encouraging consumers to support the City’s retailers during this challenging time, and announcing the launch of the Shop in NYC digital initiative. Shop in NYC showcases local shops, grocers, cultural institutions and more that are selling gift cards and online merchandise, including only-in-NYC clothing, local brews and wine, specialty grocery items, and housewares from the comfort of their homes. Filters allow for users to sort by categories such as apparel, accessories, books, decor and gift cards.
The Comptroller’s COVID-19 Resource Center & Webinar Series
Scott Stringer, Comptroller of the City of New York has published a comprehensive resource site with information for all New Yorkers. The website contains critical information on the many government programs available to assist New Yorkers in need, recent policy changes regarding health and safety, options for financial support for residents and businesses alike, and organizations to reach out to for additional assistance.
In addition, the Comptroller has organized a webinar series titled “Resources for Small Businesses and M/WBEs Impacted by COVID-19” which will provide presentations via Zoom on a range of topics including financial resources from the federal, state, and City government as well as the private sector, and current business opportunities within City and State procurement.
Webinar sessions for small businesses and M/WBEs impacted by COVID-19 will be held every Tuesday and Thursday starting Thursday, April 16 through Thursday, May 14.
For more information and to RSVP, please visit Eventbrite at: https://comptrollermwbecovid19webinars.eventbrite.com
Guidance for Businesses Impacted Due to Novel Coronavirus
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has published a new website for small businesses impacted by the Novel Coronavirus. This website includes information related to City programs for small business as well as other federally funded programs including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans. If you operate a small business please consider applying to these programs.
DCA Licensing Extensions
The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is extending certain license expiration dates and renewal application deadlines. Details on these extensions and new dates can be found here. For more information about COVID-19 and its effect on licenses and license renewals please visit the DCA website.
SBA Paycheck Protection Program Applications Open TODAY!
Applications for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opened today!
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan offered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will FORGIVE these loans if employees remain on the payroll for eight (8) weeks, and if loan funds are spent on payroll, rent or mortgage interest, or utilities. Find out more about the program here.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Included in the New York State Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides payment to workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency. To check if you may be covered please find the comprehensive coverage list here.
New York State on Pause
Governor Cuomo announced NYS on Pause extended for the next two weeks, through April 15th.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Currently, the federal government has authorized the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to issue Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19. These loans will be reviewed on a first-come-first-serve basis for eligible businesses in New York State.
For more information, please visit the SBA COVID-19 Resource website.
COVID-19 Emergency Supply Sourcing & Manufacturing
The New York City Economic Development Corporation 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. If you operate a business that can assist the City by supplying vital medical supplies please consider doing so. Additional information for manufacturers, suppliers, or others looking to contribute can be found here.
CB2 Hosts NYC Small Business Services Presentation for Business Owners
CB2 will be hosting a representative from NYC Small Business Services who will make an informational presentation regarding grants and other services available for small businesses at 6:30 PM on April 1st. Register in advance to participate: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_E_9OyePcQquLI0vAqJmbAQ
WE Connect Event: Coronavirus Economic Relief Programs
Women Entrepreneurs NYC is hosting a virtual fireside chat on April 2. This event will focus on economic relief programs for small businesses related to the impact of COVID-19. Learn more and RSVP.
City Agency Service Updates
Some City Agencies have adjusted their hours and operations as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. See the full list of Agency updates here.
NYCHA Rental Hardship Assistance
NYCHA residents that experience a loss of income may qualify for a rent reduction. Households that have experienced a complete income loss may qualify for the Zero Income Policy. For more information contact the Human Resources Administration at (718) 557-1399 Monday – Friday, 8AM – 5PM.
The Office of Nightlife at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is gathering information on the impacts for workers, performers, contractors, and businesses from COVID-19-related business closures and event cancellations. If you are a worker, performer, independent contractor, or business owner in New York City nightlife please fill out this survey and have your voice heard.
Have a spare 15 minutes and need something to do? How about filling out your 2020 Census!
The Census can be accessed and completed online at https://my2020census.gov/ Many should have received a unique 12-digit Census ID by mail, if you have not, then just enter your address to get counted.
Small Business Services
Are you a small business owner? If so click here. The Department of Small Business Services has announced two programs to provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. These programs include:
- NYC Employee Retention Grant Program – which offers small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.
- NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund– which allows eligible businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more, to apply for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help ensure business continuity.
This week the Federal Government enacted a 2 trillion dollar stimulus package to address the economic impact of the coronavirus. It contains a number of measures aimed directly at helping workers, including $1,200 per person (check your mailboxes!), and expanded unemployment benefits. It also has various programs for small businesses including zero interest loans, tax breaks and other subsidies. As these programs are stood up over the next few months, we will be sure to provide information on those resources. For more information please click here.
New York State on Pause
- As of 8 PM, Sunday, March, 22nd all non-essential businesses were ordered closed by the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Only businesses deemed essential are allowed to operate during the New York State on PAUSE. The following link includes information on all business types determined to be an essential service, allowing for continued operation. https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026.
If your business is not included under any of the outlined industries, but you believe you provide an essential service you may request designation as an essential business by clicking here. (All fields of this form must be completed to be considered for exempt designation.)
- Empire State Development (ESD) continues to update a FAQ page for businesses in New York State. Please find answers to frequently asked questions here: https://esd.ny.gov/novel-coronavirus-faq-businesses. If you have additional questions not answered on the FAQ page please reach out to ESD utilizing the following form: https://esd.ny.gov/covid-19-help
- Producing COVID-19 Products for NYS – Governor Cuomo has called on businesses to produce needed supplies related to COVID-19. If your business is interested contact Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) at the following email address: COVID19supplies@esd.ny.govBusinesses with the ability to source and/or make products to support the City’s COVID-19 response can also fill out this survey by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) for more information regarding how to shift production to critical supplies.
Financial and Tax Support
- Business Tax Filing Extensions and the COVID-19 Outbreak – The New York City Department of Finance (DOF) recognizes that taxpayers and return preparers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak may be unable to meet certain New York City filing and payment deadlines. Therefore the City of New York will allow for a waiver of penalties for DOF-administered business and excise taxes due between March 16, 2020, and April 25, 2020. Additional information can be found here.
- U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to New York small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent.Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
- The Federal government is currently working to pass a comprehensive national economic support package which hopefully provides substantial economic relief to small businesses and workers. The Meatpacking BID will continue to monitor this process and provide relevant information on these economic aid programs.
For a complete list of essential services outlined by the state, click here. The list of essential ranges from healthcare and public transit workers to neighborhood grocery workers, restaurant delivery people, animal service providers (vets + pet stores), and hardware stores. Thank a worker when you see one helping out at this difficult time.
A critical note is that the food supply chain will not be disrupted during this time and it is encouraged to only purchase what you need; stockpiling is discouraged.
Recommendations from the Department of Health:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Social distancing: it’s recommended people stay 6’ apart from each other, avoid hand holding; and to change your clothes when you get home from outside.
- Find more recommendations here.
Check here for the most update to date info from the State of New York.
The CDC has provided recommendations for staying healthy, protecting others, and more. You can find that here.
Group sports and gatherings are prohibited. The High Line is closed. Is your neighborhood park open? Check here to see.
And yes, the subways and buses are running. But walk, ride a bike, or travel at off-peak times if you can.
Small Business Support
The City will open applications for grants and loans for businesses adversely affected by the shutdown. Click on the link above to complete the interest form and you will be notified when applications open. As part of the applications, you will be required to demonstrate a revenue decrease by providing documentation such as: point-of-sales reports, bank statements, quarterly sales tax filings, 2019 tax returns, or CPA-certified profit & loss statements. You should begin to gather these documents in preparation.
The following links are also helpful:
- For small businesses who wish to stay up to date on industry-specific information, please fill out this form
- For the CDC Business Planning Checklist for Pandemics, click here
In addition to these programs from the City of New York, we anticipate the Federal and State Governments to introduce additional economic support programs for affected businesses. As these programs are announced the Meatpacking District will work to inform small businesses of these programs and connect businesses to appropriate resources.
The Shared Work Program gives you an alternative to laying off workers during business downturns by allowing them to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial Unemployment Insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you can reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group of employees.
New York State is waiving the 7-day waiting period for unemployment insurance for persons who are out of work due to the coronavirus, quarantine, and any associated policies. Please visit the NY State Unemployment Insurance website where you can apply for unemployment insurance. Further to support them during this trying time please provide them with a letter explaining the coronavirus was the cause for their termination.
If you are a bartender or hospitality worker, you may also be eligible for a grant through the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. Visit the website of the USBG National Charity Foundation for more information.