COVID-19 UPDATES 

*Jamaica Avenue Businesses: NYC is not fully open for non-essential businesses per Governor Andrew Cuomo. NYC is still on pause for phase 1 or reopening. Please refer to the Regional Monitoring Dashboard for guidance of when NYC businesses can begin phase 1 of reopening.* 

*Information changes regularly. Please be sure to skim the full page on a periodic basis to ensure you are not missing new information, such as our recently added “reopening” section.*

Our BID is committed to ensuring that our local business community receives the latest resources necessary to help them weather the current coronavirus situation. We will be updating this page regularly with information we receive from City, State, Federal agencies and other respected economic development and business support institutions. Please bookmark this page and check back often.    

Know something we are missing? See something inaccurate? Please email us at  jfurioli@jamaica.nyc.  

This page was last updated on 5/26/20. Items subject to change and we cannot guarantee up to the minute updates. It is your responsibility as a business to follow government directives and stay abreast of the news and changing regulations.  

Start Here (Empieza aqui*)   

  • NYC Department of Small Business Services “SBS”: nyc.gov/sbs.  SBS is an official City agency with a comprehensive home page with many resources about business continuity, workforce support and more. The run a comprehensive Assistance and Information Page for Businesses regarding Novel Coronavirus here. To receive regular updates pertinent to  NYC businesses and coronavirus sign up here. SBS continues to present its small business/Covid-19 webinar weekly. Find a time to enroll here. *Si le resulta más fácil leer la información COVID-19 del NYC departamento de servicios para pequeñas empresas en español,  el departamento tiene una herramienta de traducción en la esquina superior derecha de su sitio web. También puede encontrar información de la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas aquí. Finalmente, nuestros amigos a 82nd Street BID tiene mas informacion utiles en espanol aquí. 
  • Get regular text alerts from City government regarding the novel coronavirus, by texting COVID to 692-692.   

Financial Support for Businesses (Loans, Grants, Capital Raising Platforms) 

City of New York Loans and Grants for Small Businesses   

To help businesses affected by COVID-19, the City of New York launched employee retention grants as well as a Small Business Continuity Loan Fund in March. Both of these programs have closed.  We will update if either of these vehicles reopen.  

Federal Government Loans (Small Business Administration Loans)    

  • Paycheck Protection Program “PPP”: PPP incentivizes businesses to keep workers on payroll with loans up to $10 million. If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable and is being administered through SBA’s network of 1800+ local lenders. PPP opened again on Monday, April 27. Loan Info & Lender List Here.
  • PPP Alternatives to Banks: One of the common complaints about the initial PPP funding round was that many small businesses were not able to access the funds through traditional lending methods. The current round of PPP is designed to help solve this problem by allocating some funds to be distributed through Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFI’s, in addition to regular banks.  CDFI’s are organizations that ensure that under-represented communities get a fair chance at accessing loans. Jamaica, Queens qualifies as the type of neighborhood where businesses can receive loans from a CDFI. The nationwide nonprofit National Development Council (NDC), is a CDFI that has stated its preference for PPP applications coming from low and moderate-income districts (LMI’s), of which Jamaica is one. Consider reaching out to NDC hereAdditionally, the nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation “LISC” is looking to issue PPP loans to MWBE’s and Veterans-owned businesses: More info here. Search for other CDFI’s (click on the “Certified CDFI” icon at the bottom of this page.). 
  • PPP Loan Forgiveness: SBA and Treasury Dept. released the PPP loan forgiveness guidelines and application on May 15. The following page by national payroll provider ADP may be helpful to read as it contains a section on loan forgiveness FAQ’s and a Loan Forgiveness Estimator Tool. This page also has helpful forgiveness info for private contractors and sole proprietors.  
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan “EIDL” Program: Provides low-interest loans of up to $2 million with interest rate not to exceed 3.75% to provide working capital for businesses affected by the coronavirus. For now this program is now closed to all businesses except agricultural entities. 

Private Grants   

  • LISC Rapid Relief Resiliency FundLISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) a national community development intermediary, launched the Rapid Relief Resiliency Fund to assist small businesses to stay afloat. LISC Grant application cycles open and close rapidly. Grant amounts are in range of 5-10K. Info here. 
  • Fed Ex “Support Small” $5K Grants (Application opening 5/25) 
  • Go Fund Me Matching Grant program: Go Fund Me has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative for businesses facing financial loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Initiative, the Small Business Relief Fund will be issuing $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.
  • Thryv Foundation is no longer accepting grant applications, but we think their blog filled with ideas for small businesses on how to survive during the COVID-19 crisis could be helpful.
  • Hello Alice is offering $10,000 grants being distributed immediately to small business owners impacted by the coronavirus. For Alice Emergency Grants, visit here.
  • Business For All is offering grants up to $50,000 to support business growth, including $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants to help small businesses in crisis. Apply here
  • The CND x BCL Nail Professional Relief Grant: Provides a $1,000 grant to nail professionals. Apply here. 
  • Dime Community Bank:  Dime has created the Small Business Grant Program (SBG Program) for those small businesses that may not qualify for government programs. Learn more and apply here.
  • TruFund Financial ServicesGrants up to 10K for minority and women-owned businesses.  
  • New York Forward Loan Fund: On May 22, Governor Cuomo announced the New York Forward Loan Fund (“NYFLF”), a new loan program that will make loans of up to $100,000 to small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords impacted by COVID-19 who did not receive a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.⁠ The pre-application is now open and will be reviewed on a rolling basis as regions and industries reopen. Apply here.

Private Loans 

For Restaurant-specific Grants/Loans, see restaurant section below.  

Organizations with Business Counselors that Can Help Businesses with Loan/Grant Applications (and more):    

  • Free assistance with reconstructing financial records, preparing financial statements and submitting  SBA loan applications is available from SBA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) here.
  • Queens Economic Development Corporation: book appointments here.   
  • NYC Department of Business Services Business Solutions Centers can also assist with these applications. Currently offering services remotely. Contact them here.  
  • Legal Counsel for Businesses: Free Covid-19 Small Business Law Clinic run by the City Bar Justice Center
  • Greater Jamaica Development Corporation's one-to-one business appointments with their business services staff, book here or email: BSG@gjdc.org.

Financial Support for Business (Utility Support)  

  • New York State Department of Public Service has suspended utility rate increases that were to go into effect on 4/1.  
  • Con Edison will not shut off electric, natural gas or steam service due to payment difficulties resulting from the health crisis. They are also waiving new late-payment charges for all customers. Learn more here about all the measures Con-Ed is taking during the pandemic here
  • National Grid: Collections activities & disconnections – National Grid has temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These policies will remain in effect at least until the end of April when National Grid will evaluate their continued need. Customers looking for more information on payment assistance programs, in general, can click here. 
  • Verizon details their efforts to support their small business customers. Learn more.
  • AT&T: Small businesses that use AT&T can find solutions here.  

Financial Support for Business (Business Tax Support)   

  • NYC Department of Finance announces business tax filing extensions: memo here.  
  • NY State Tax Department is updating its page as needed to respond to changes related to novel coronavirus. Link to request relief for quarterly and annual filers sales tax vendors. 
  • IRS provides Small and Mid-sized businesses payroll tax credit information here and here.  

Financial Support for Business (Commercial Rent Relief)   

  • The Governor announced a 90-day moratorium on any residential or commercial evictions, which was extended to August 20. Late payment fees are banned for missed payments during the moratorium and renters facing hardship due to COVID-19 can use their security deposit to pay rent.We will update if other measures are taken.   
  • Need legal help regarding commercial lease issues? Contact the City’s Commercial Lease Assistance Program.   

Financial Support for Businesses (Insurance Relief)   

Per Gov. Cuomo’s announcement 3/27: Small businesses experiencing coronavirus-related financial hardship may defer paying premiums for property and casualty insurance for a 60-day period. This includes auto, homeowners, renters and other kinds of insurance. (No late fees will be assessed and there will be no negative impact to your credit.)   

NY State’s page on understanding Commercial Business Interruption Insurance.   

Logistical/Admin/Legal Support for Businesses   

  • Square Payment Systems: Square is waiving March/April subscription fees. Learn more here. 
  • Panda Doc launched free e-sign signature software.  
  • USPS offers the free “Informed Delivery” service allowing business owners to learn via email what pieces of mail have been delivered to their business that particular day. Info here.
  • Scheduling software to set in-store appointments: Time TradeOpen Table (which can now be used by other businesses for shopping appointments besides restaurants).
  • Small Business Legal Relief Alliance Covid-19 probono support webpage and City Bar Justice Center’s webpage.

Workplace Health and Safety 

Below are updated resources to help you and your business stay safe and prevent the spread of germs.    

Re-opening Guidelines/Models/Support: NEW! 

We’ve consolidated the many reopening guides floating out there into one space to provide Jamaica businesses food for thought as they prepare to re-open. Please be mindful that these recommendations come from private entities and even other states; businesses should do their own due diligence to ensure any ideas adopted are in compliance with NY State regulations. 

Important AnnouncementAll Essential Businesses and Nonessential businesses that aren’t yet open, must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how their workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. The state has provided this linked template to fulfill this requirement, or businesses may develop their own Safety Plans. Plans are not required to be submitted to a state agency for approval, but the plan must be retained on the premises of the business and must be made available to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection. 

Additional Reopening Support 
Our BID has designed several templates you can insert in your window to alert customers of your COVID-19 opening hours, purchasing/ordering procedures and to remind shoppers of social distancing courtesies towards your employees. Download the packet here.

  • Scheduling software to set in-store appointments: Time TradeOpen Table (which can now be used by other businesses for shopping appointments besides restaurants) 
  • QEDC is doing a series of free Reboot & Restart webinars through June focused on reopening logistics and thriving while working through the staged reopening process. 

Business Closures & Employee Reductions/Layoffs   

  • Executive Order 202.6 mandated closures of non-essential businesses. Guidance was updated May 16th: read here.  Form for businesses to request designation as an essential business here*. Non-essential retail establishments (as defined by the Empire State Development Corporation) are permitted to fulfill delivery orders placed remotely via phone or online. Please note that only one employee may be physically present at the business location to fulfill orders. We encourage you to let your neighbors and enforcement officials know that you’re operating under these guidelines by posting a sign on the door or front window like this one.
  • NYS Department of Labor Information provides information about the Shared Work program to avoid layoffs and the WARN Act responsibilities for businesses with over 50 full-time workers that need to conduct layoffs. 
  • Burglary Prevention During Closures: NYPD’s tips for businesses to ensure your site stays secure while you are closed for extended durations. Also, check out this link for additional information. If you’re temporarily closed and need us to walk past your place of business to ensure there has been no tampering with the storefront, please send us an e-mail at info@jamaicacenter.org. *Note: we will do our best, and can’t guarantee this service daily or repeatedly. Also, currently offered for businesses within our BID boundaries only.) 
  • Restaurant Closure Checklist (recently published on the NYC Hospitality Alliance site—thenycalliance.org.
  • If you decide to close your business permanently, here are some initial steps you should take according to a local lawyer.  

Resources to Provide Laid Off Employees   

  • NY State Department of Labor Unemployment website.
  • NYC’s Department of Small Business Services Online Guide for Jobseekers Impacted by COVID-19.
  • New Yorkers without health insurance can apply for a health plan through NY State of Health. Those who have recently lost employer coverage must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan or Child Health Plus.
  • Bartender Emergency Assistance Program: Bartenders who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 can click here to learn about an assistance program to help. 
  • Service worker Emergency Fund.
  • State of NY’s Mental Health line for free emotional support, consultation and referral to a provider: 1-844-863-9314 

Workplace Cleaning and Sanitation   

  • Queens Chamber of Commerce has several Queens-based companies that offer professional cleaning and sanitizing services. Please contact the chamber to be connected to a local company if your workplace needs professional disinfection/deep cleaning services.  
  • NY State Department of Health most recent Interim Guidance for Cleaning/Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities.
  • On March 3, the EPA released a list of registered disinfectant products that have qualified under its emerging viral pathogen program for use again SARS-CoV-2 >> here.

 Industry-Specific News (Restaurants) 

  • NYC Hospitality Alliance now has a restaurant-specific COVID-19 page with regular updates.
  • View updated OSHA guidelines for restaurant and employee hygiene and customer interactions here.
  • View list of EPA of approved SARS-coV-2 disinfectants here.
  • COVID-19 Reopening Tips For New York City Restaurants 
  • National Restaurant Association also has a Covid-19 dedicated webpage and provides regular state by state updates of changing regulations here {NY State and NYC regions are extensively detailed.} 
  • Restaurant Workers Community Foundation: Restaurant Workers Community Foundation is raising funds to provide 50% for direct relief to individual restaurant workers and 25% for zero-interest loans for restaurants to get back up and running. Sign up for the organization’s newsletter to be notified when these funds are available. 
  • SupportRestaurants.org DiningBonds Initiative: Free platform allowing restaurants to sell gift certificates at a price lower than face value (how much lower is decided by each individual restaurant), but redeemable at face value upon dining at the restaurant. The goal is to sell them for the next 30 days to bring needed income to the restaurants and have them redeemable typically 30-60 days after purchase.
  • Restaurant Closure Checklist (recently published on the NYC Hospitality Alliance site—thenycalliance.org.
  • Bartender Emergency Assistance Program: Bartenders who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 can click here to learn about an assistance program to help.  
  • Rethink Food’s Restaurant Response Grant Program: Grants up to $40K to stay open, eligible to all NYC restaurants. Grant currently closed, but expected to reopen. 
  • State Liquor Authority Guidance on Restrictions for Licensees and To-Go & Delivery Sales in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak here.  
  • Delivery app fees are now prohibited from charging restaurants fees in excess of 20%. This breaks down to 15% for delivery and 5% for the actual order. This goes into effect immediately (May 15) and will remain in place for 90 days following the end of the state of emergency.  Delivery apps are now prohibited from charging restaurants for phone calls that do not result in a food order, with fines of up to $1,000 for violating this rule. This has also gone into effect and will remain in place for 90 days following the end of the state of emergency. City Council documentation here.
  • Sidewalk café fees will be waived through February 28, 2021. City Council documentation here.

Industry Specific News (Other)  

NYC EDC (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. Please visit here for more information.  

Industry Specific News (Freelancers)   

Freelancers Union has a rolling list of resources and advice for 1099 workers and is regularly updating its membership on efforts to include freelancers in the various relief plans.   

Freelancers/1099 workers are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans Grants (Advance) and Loans.   

Promotional Support   

Yelp is offering a variety of temporary free resources to businesses, including $100 in free advertising for restaurants offering takeout/delivery as detailed here.  

Our organization, Jamaica Center BID, can help your business pass on important information to our 15,000 social media followers and 2,000 e-newsletter subscribers. If you offer delivery, takeout or curbside pick-up, let us know and we will promote it. If you sell gift cards, let us know and we will encourage our followers to purchase them so that you can have a continued cash flow. If you offer online shopping, facetime shopping or other innovative methods that customers can utilize to keep spending money at your establishment, let us know. Email Trey Jenkins at tjenkins@jamaicacenter.org and we will help promote.  

Have an update your business would like to share with the Queens eco-system? Queens Chamber is accepting business updates on its rolling COVID-19 announcement list. Please email your details to info@queenschamber.org with the subject line – QUEENS BUSINESS CORONAVIRUS UPDATES.  

NYC +Co, the City of New York’s official tourism body, is gathering and publicizing info on local businesses, cultural organizations and more for citywide promotional purposes. Make sure your business is covered.  Museums, theaters, performing arts organizations can submit a virtual experience for consideration here, Restaurants open for business can get listed here. 

TOP