Recently, we debuted a new I “Love” Jamaica Ave storefront icon to express our fondness for the diverse businesses and many cultural organizations located in our Jamaica Avenue Business Improvement District. As I write this today, that little phrase “I Love Jamaica Ave” takes on new meaning and inspiration. During this tough time, when the community is trying to stay healthy, and businesses are trying to stay vibrant with significantly reduced customer traffic, it is important more than ever for us to love and support our Jamaica community and neighbors during this time.
For the past few days, our BID has been calling, writing, and visiting hundreds of our businesses to ensure that they are aware of the support materials that the Department of Small Business Services has prepared to help the City’s business community weather this challenge. We are tracking and sorting through the latest legislative developments, financial support instruments and NYC Department of Health and NYC Office of Emergency Management directives and compiling that info on our new “Covid-19 Info for Businesses” page on our website, Jamaica.nyc. We are passing along reliable and accurate information from City government and the CDC to our broader community of residents and shoppers via our social media channels and e-newsletter. And we are collaborating with our neighboring BIDs and other economic development organizations in Queens and City-wide to ensure that we are sharing ideas for assistance and solutions to address today’s challenges as thoughtfully as possible. We have already fielded several calls from our business community, and we are working on issuing a special COVID-19 dedicated support number for those businesses who wish to speak to a “real person” because they may not feel comfortable using a computer to explore our new Covid-19 Business Page on our website or the many excellent City of New York online resources.
This is all to say that it has always been our job to look out for Jamaica Ave (see our boundaries here). We Love Jamaica Ave and more than ever, our Jamaica Center BID team is working hard to ensure that our community gets through this.
A large number of our restaurants and bodegas on Jamaica Avenue offer delivery and takeout options. Please take a look at the below document we have compiled. How lucky we are that 29 eateries offer takeout and 22 offer delivery. We will continue to update this document as circumstances change. Please make an effort to keep these businesses open and their staff employed by supporting them.
Application Open: Small Business Employee Retention Grant
The Mayor’s Office recently announced two new financial assistance programs to support our small businesses being impacted by COVID-19: Employee retention grants and a no-interest loans.
Employee Retention Grants: Available to New York City businesses with one to four employees that can demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19. Eligible businesses will receive a grant covering up to 40% of their payroll for two months. Businesses can access up to $27,000.
Loan Program: Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who are seeing a decrease in revenue of 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.
The application for the Employee Retention Grants is now live: Apply here.
COVID-19 Business Resource Page Debuts on Jamaica.nyc
Businesses–There is a lot of information to digest right now. To help you keep up, our BID is diligently combing through the news, attending (remotely!) City information meetings and tracking new legislation to help keep track of all that our business community needs to know during this time. Today we added a new page on our website serving as a convenient “one-stop-shop” for loans, grants, links to helpful workplace health and safety tips and more.
Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch is now available at the entrance of every New York City Department of Education school building from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM. ANY student can pick up breakfast and lunch at ANY school building.
Per New York State Attorney General Letitia James, please use the ‘Learn More’ link to the right to submit complaints about sudden price increases of essential goods and services (like water, ice, food, generators, batteries, flashlights, lodging, home repair materials and services, and snow and tree removal services). If a merchant took advantage of you or others by charging unconscionably high prices for essential goods or services during a major weather event, natural disaster or other emergency situation, please submit the form to the right.
Families that may have children at home because of COVID-19 that are participating in homeschooling can take a break and download a free coloring book from the NYC Department of Sanitation below here.
Helpful COVID-19 Information for the General Public
NYC’s Health Department is regularly updating information about the Coronavirus here.
Remember that you can call 311 to have many of your novel Coronavirus questions answered as well. 311 can also help you locate a health care provider.
If you feel that you, or someone you know, needs counseling to help cope during this time, 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) is a free, confidential help line for New York City residents. You can call 24 hours per day/7 days a week. The staff of trained mental health professionals help callers find mental health services. NYC Well is multilingual and multicultural. More information about this program can be accessed here.
If you would like to receive regular text alerts from City government regarding the novel Coronavirus, you can sign up by texting COVID to 692-692.
NYC Department of Sanitation Special Waste Update
Due to concerns over public gatherings, ALL Special Waste Drop-Off Sites are closed until further notice. Additionally, DSNY SAFE Disposal Events scheduled to take place in April have been cancelled and the DSNY Curbside E-Waste program has been suspended until further notice
About Business and Event Promotions in this Newsletter: Businesses and organizations located in the Jamaica Avenue Commercial District between Sutphin Blvd and 169th Street are invited to submit promotional information for possible inclusion in our newsletter. Events happening near or immediately adjacent to the Jamaica Avenue Commercial District may also be considered for inclusion on a case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to reject or edit materials for length, style, timeliness, and appropriateness. This newsletter serves to inform our community about events, opportunities and commercial activity in Downtown Jamaica, within specifically the Jamaica Center BID boundaries.