Jamaica Center BID
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September 24, 2020

COVID-19 Info for Businesses

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. *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.*   

Know something we are missing? See something inaccurate? Please email us at  [email protected].      

This page was last updated on 9/24/20. 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. They run a comprehensive Covid-19 Assistance and Information Page for Businesses here, a new business reopening hotline (888-SBS-4NYC | 888-727-4692), and virtual interagency reopening resource fairs (learn more and register here nycsmallbizcourses.eventbrite.com) To receive regular updates pertinent to  NYC businesses and coronavirus sign up here. SBS continues to present its small business/Covid-19 webinars 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 espanolaquí.     
  • Get regular text alerts from City government regarding the novel coronavirus, by texting COVID to 692-692.       


  • City of New York’s Department of Small Business Service’s Comprehensive Reopening Guide   
  • NY Forward:  The State’s official page for reopening guidelines for all industries in NY State. In addition to clear guidance documents for all industries, this page contains a tool businesses can use to determine whether they are eligible for reopening, and templates for the required safety plans that all businesses/organizations must create. (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.)     
  • Center for Disease Control’s Reopening Guidelines.    
  • City of New York’s Restaurant Reopening Guide: Contains all restaurant guidelines and rules for opening in NYC, including the application for any restaurants that wish to participate in outdoor dining through the DOT’sOpen Restaurant Program.   
  • Streetsense.com’sPandemic Relaunch kit for Restaurants + Bars.    
  • National Retail Federation’s Reopening Checklist.    
  • International Council of Shopping Center’s “ICSC” Covid-19 Reopening Best Practices.      
  • Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY)’s Facilities Re-opening guidelines.     
  • Mind Body Online’sSalon, Spa, Wellness Business Reopening Guide.    
  • Target’s plans here(includes helpful retail signage templates)    
  • Various articles/presentations regarding informative, effective customer-friendly COVID-19 wayfinding + signage here,here,  plus useful flyer and floor decal templates from FedEx  here, social distancing workplace stickers here, and custom-branded hand sanitizer stations here.    
  • Footwear News’ interesting customer comfort survey regarding demographic perceptions of safety in visiting apparel companies during COVID-19.     

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 Trade, Open Table (which can now be used by other businesses for shopping appointments besides restaurants)     

FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (Loans, Grants, Capital Raising Platforms)     

City of New York Loans and Grants for Small Businesses       

  • Restaurant Revitalization Program:  Established by theDepts. Of  HRA, Opportunity, and Mayor’s Fund. Grants up to $30K to cover a minimum of six weeks payroll for five or more employees. Reimbursable grant (with 25% advance). Recipient restaurants must commit to certain wage increases within five years of returning to normal business. Full description here.     

State Loans    

Federal Government Loans (Small Business Administration Loans)         

  • 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. Thisprogram has reopened to small businesses.    
  • Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program: When operational will provide loans to small and mid-sized businesses in the amounts of 250K-300 million. Loans are not forgivable, but also do not come with hiring requirements, etc.  Keep up to date here.    

Private Grants    

  • LISC Rapid Relief Resiliency Fund:LISC NYC recently announced a new round of Small Business Relief and Recovery Grants to New York City Minority-Owned Small Businesses. Applicants who have been affected by COVID-19 have the opportunity to receive up to $10,000, which can be used to meet payroll expenses, rent, marketing, and technology upgrades. 
    • Round 1 is open from Monday, September 14th at 9 a.m. EST through Friday, October 2nd at 11:59 p.m. 
    • Round 2 is open from Monday, October 19th at 9 a.m. EST through Friday, November 6th at 11:59 p.m. 
    • To learn more about this opportunity visit LISC's website here
  • 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 Fundwill 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.    
  • 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.     
  • Citizens Committee Neighborhood Business Grantwill provide grants of $5,000 - $10,000 to help small businesses maintain payroll and operations and will prioritize businesses owned by people of color, immigrants, and women and proposals that focus on adapting businesses to the challenges of COVID-19.  
  • Red Backpack Fund (Spanx) will provide 1000, $5000 grants, at least 200 each month, May-September. Applicants should be majority women-owned businesses and nonprofits with less than $5m revenues and fewer than 50 employees (but at least one additional non-paid employee on staff). Applications are open through September 15.  
  • The Zakat Fund is offering support to 501(c)(3) organizations working to support residents of the NYC metropolitan area.  
  • Clover is launching a Back2Business Grant Program offering $10,000 grants to businesses to support our small business recovery work across Brooklyn. The program is accepting initial registration from applicants at this time. Learn more here

Private Loans   

  • Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s bridge loan: Provides short-term bridge loan capital for businesses waiting on loans for Covid-19. The Pre-application here.    
  • KIVA is offering up to $15,000 in zero-interest loans for small businesses. Apply here.     
  • Hebrew Free Loan Society Financial Impact (interest-free) Loan: $2-$5K Loans .   
  • The Hispanic Federation is offering grants of $10,000-25,000 to member agencies and Hispanic non-profits .
  • CovidCap, launched by Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, provides a centralized listing of Covid-related loans and grants for small business and nonprofits. Registration is required.  

**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). Book an appointment here.       
  • NYC Department of Business Services Business Solutions Centers can also assist with these applications. Currently offering services remotely. Contact them here.    
  • Greater Jamaica Development Corporation's one-to-one business appointments with their business services staff, book here or email: [email protected].     
  • Legal Counsel for Businesses: Free Covid-19 Small Business Law Clinicrun by the City Bar Justice Center.     

Additional Financial Support for Business (Commercial Rent Relief)       

Financial Support for Businesses (Insurance Relief)       

Per Gov. Cuomo’s March 27 announcement: 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.       


  • 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 Trade, Open 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.    


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


  • 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.      
  • 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.    


Property Owners/Facilities Management   


  • Indoor dining returns to 25% capacity on Wednesday, September 30. The City of New York’s Restaurant Reopening Guide: Contains all restaurant guidelines and rules for opening in NYC, including the application for any restaurants that wish to participate in outdoor dining through the DOT’s Open Restaurant Program. This webinar explains the City’s Open Restaurant plan in more detail.    
  • If you operate a restaurant, be sure to get caught up on the City’s new COVID surcharge bill and regulations around the transition to indoor dining within city limits. 
    • COVID surcharge bill: Now restaurants can use a surcharge from the law's effective date until they may operate at maximum indoor capacity and 90 days thereafter. Restaurants must call it a "COVID-19 Recovery Charge" and clearly disclose the amount of such surcharge to the consumer before any item is ordered by placing it at the bottom of each menu page supplied to the consumer. The surcharge may not exceed 10% of a consumer's total bill and the written disclosure must be explicit that it is not a gratuity for employees. If you are one of the restaurants/bars interested in using a "COVID-19 Recovery Charge" please visit here to read and understand all the provisions and requirements of this legislation.
    • Indoor Dining: Additionally, with COVID-19 positivity rates hovering at or below 1% for over a month, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio announced that restaurants will be able to offer limited indoor dining beginning on September 30. Some requirements for restaurants include: 
      • Serve customers at a maximum of 25% capacity  
      • Conduct temperature checks at every front door  
      • Collect Test & Trace data from at least one customer at each table  
      • Close bar tops for seating  
      • Offer COVID-19 protections like PPE for employees  
      • Space tables six feet apart  
  • If you don’t already, we also recommend following the New York City Hospitality Alliance, which 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 webpageand 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 newsletterto be notified when these funds are available.     
  • 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.        
  • State Liquor Authority Guidanceon Restrictions for Licensees and To-Go & Delivery Sales in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.         
  • One Fair Wage’s High Road Kitchensprogram is offering flexible funding that can be used for food, safety supplies and more to restaurants committing to a living wage and equitable employment treatment.     
  • Sidewalk café fees will be waived through February 28, 2021. City Council documentation here.    


Freelancers Unionhas 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.       


On August 24, gyms were allowed to open but to a third of their total capacity, and people are required to wear masks at all times. The state also requires air filters that help prevent airborne transmission of viral particles and sign-in forms to assist with contact-tracing efforts. Local governments will also need to inspect gyms to make sure they meet the state’s requirements before they open or within two weeks of their opening. For up-to-date information for businesses and gyms visit the NYC Department of Health sitehere.   


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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]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. 

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