Jamaica Center BID
Back to News
January 14, 2021

COVID-19 Info for Businesses

*Effective Friday 11/13 at 10 p.m., all bars, restaurants and gyms must close at 10 p.m. statewide. Learn more here.*

*To stop the spread, New Yorkers need to do their part. Participate in the new contact tracing app COVID Alert NY to help keep yourself and your community safe. COVID Alert NY is a* voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification app that notifies you if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested, and reduce the potential exposure risk to others. The app is available to anyone 18+ who lives, works, or attends school in New York or New Jersey, and it's available in seven languages. Download the app for iPhone or Android here. Read the FAQ on privacy and more here.*

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 1/14/21. 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.       


  • Reopening Resources for All Businesses: SBS has launched a number of resources to help businesses prepare to reopen and begin operating safely and legally. Visit nyc.gov/covid19biz for current guidance and resources. 
  • NEW! Small Business Resource Network Launched: NYCEDC, The Peterson Foundation and The Partnership For NY, NYC SBS, and the Five Borough Chambers of Commerce joined forces to launch a one-stop-shop to accelerate the recovery of small businesses. The Resource Network is a newly-established team of 22 dedicated Small Business Specialists who will be embedded within the five chambers of commerce to help small businesses navigate a range of challenges including technology, real estate, legal and accounting services, procurement opportunities, marketing, and sources of loans and grants. There will also be assistance for navigating the complex new regulatory environment established to contain the pandemic. Business owners can access those resources by contacting a Recovery Specialist in their borough here. Assistance will be available in multiple languages. 
  • Columbia University CovidWatcher Survey: Columbia University and its community partners (including NYC Hospitality Alliance, ABNY, NYC Department of City Planning, and Partnership for New York City) are conducting an online, anonymous survey to collect data on the state of small businesses in NYC affected by COVID-19 and what can be done to help in the short and long term to survive this crisis. The CovidWatcher Small Business Survey is a research, advocacy, and policy tool. A report will be released providing analysis of the data and recommendations for support, which will then be shared with survey participants, BIDs, other advocates, and policymakers. Any small business with fewer than 100 employees is encouraged to fill out this anonymous survey. CBOs & BIDs – please share with your stakeholders. 
  • Plain Language Industry Guides:Find clear guidelines about when and how to reopen your business, based on sector and industry. 
  • Webinars: Sign up for webinars to help you navigate each phase of reopening. These webinars will review State guidelines and best practices for reopening across sectors, assistance available for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, and more. 
  • Free Face Coverings: Find free non-medical PPE for you and your employees from a distribution partner located near you. You should contact partner organizations in advance, as most organizations have varying hours for pick-up. 
  • Find supplies: Check out the PPE + Reopening Supplies Marketplace.
  • NYC Business Solutions Centers are available to provide consultations for small businesses in need of financing assistance and support connecting to lenders and financing products. You can contact an account manager here. 
  • Employer Contact Log: Customer Template
  • Employer Contact Log: Employee-Vendor Template
  • 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.   

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       

State Loans    

  • Fair Share NYC: Commissioner Doris from the NYC Department of Small Business Services announced Fair Share NYC, a targeted campaign to connect small business owners to federal relief funds including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance.  Learn more and get the assistance you need by visiting nyc.gov/ppp.  
  • New York Forward Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership: Recognizing the economic impact of COVID-19, this program will provide small businesses and their landlords with informational resources and pro bono assistance to help both parties reach mutually-beneficial lease workout agreements. This service is available to all New York State small businesses and landlords, and participation is voluntary. Over the next year, the partnership has the capacity to serve thousands of small businesses statewide. Learn more here.  
  • NYC LMI Storefront Loan: The NYC LMI Storefront Loan is an interest-free loan up to $100,000 to help storefront businesses located in low-to-moderate income (LMI) areas of New York City restart or continue operations after experiencing challenges from COVID-19. The NYC Department of Small Business Services is partnering withPursuit to service these loans. Jamaica is one of the elgiblie zip codes for this loan. Learn more here.
  • The $100M  New York Forward Loan Fund will provide loans to small businesses, focusing on minority and women-owned small businesses, that did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance (i.e., PPP, EIDL).  Complete a pre-application form to match with a participating lender.    
  • Governor Cuomo Announces $18 Million Initiative to Train Workers and Support Entrepreneurs During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a new initiative to train residents for in-demand jobs, support entrepreneurs, and help small businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus. The $18 million initiative is from a federal grant, which will be implemented through programs by the New York State Department of Labor, who will partner with the Office of Workforce Development, Empire State Development, New York's ten Regional Economic Development Councils, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York. You can read more about the grant and where future opportunities may be for you and your business on the New York State website.

Federal Government Loans (Small Business Administration Loans)         

  • Second Draw PPP Loans: Notice: Paycheck Protection Program resumed January 11, 2021 at 9am ET. Find out more and apply here.
  • The New Stimulus Act: 15 Big Changes That Will Impact Your Small Business: A new coronavirus relief bill was passed by Congress and has been signed into law. If you run a small business, here are 15 things you need to know about it. You can read about it here.
  • Extended through December 31, 20201! 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    

  • Interest Rate Reduction Grant: The Interest Rate Reduction Grant will help reduce the interest expense owed on an existing loan with select Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). CDFIs focus on serving businesses that cannot easily access capital and creating opportunities that positively impact the communities they serve. SBS has partnered with 11 CDFIs who work primarily with Asian, Black, Latinx, and immigrant business owners. Learn more here.
  • Caleb Brown – The Urban Excellence Community Grant: Caleb Brown is a Venture Capital and Consulting, LLC. Their mission is to fund, promote, and nurture young urban entrepreneurs with the vision to understand small business creation as one of the key components required to rebuild local blocks, neighborhoods, and communities. The Urban Excellence Community Grant awards new community businesses with a monetary gift of up to $1,000 and 500 hours of complementary business consulting from Caleb Brown for one (1) year. Learn more here.
  • WomensNet – The Amber Grant: WomensNet is an entrepreneurial community of women who create unique content and special reports to help women business owners. Grants are given away at least every month with a monetary gift of $4,000 and a year-end gift of $25,000. Applications are due monthly at the end of the month. The application cutoff for the next $10,000 Amber Grant is November 30, 2020. For more information on how to apply, please visit here and apply by January 31.
  • Citizens Committee for New York City – Neighborhood Business Grant: To help New York City’s small businesses experiencing financial distress due to the impact of Covid-19, Citizens Committee has launched the Neighborhood Business Grants. Grants of between $5,000 to $10,000 will fill gaps in funding. Learn more here.
  • NAACP and BeyGOOD – Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund: BeyGOOD is on a mission to spread hope. The goal is to provide a lifeline for small businesses at the epicenter of dual pandemics. BeyGood has teamed up with the NAACP to expand economic opportunity by awarding grants of $10,000 to Black-owned small businesses in New York City. Grants will be awarded on the 15th of each month through the end of 2020. For more information, please visit here.
  • Robin Hood – Covid-19 Relief Fund: Robin Hood anticipates making grants to 501(c)(3) organizations in New York City that are well-positioned to serve low-income communities. The initial grants, expected to last three months in duration, will average $45,000. The purpose of these grants is to provide resources to support nonprofits that are on the front line of this work and can move swiftly to serve affected communities. Learn more here.
  • PowerUp Program for LatinX Businesses, funded by a $3 million grant from Google, will directly support hundreds of Latino-owned small businesses across California, New York, and Texas with access to capital and the training they need to overcome the economic downturn and continue to grow.  
  • Grow with Google “Paso a Paso” provides free tools and training to help any Latino-owned businesses adapt and grow their business. Businesses can sign up for workshops (in English or Spanish), and continue their digital marketing training with Primer app mini-courses in Spanish. 
  • 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.    
  • 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 .   
  • 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.       


  • NYC DOT's Off-Hour Deliveries (OHD) Program: This program encourages goods delivery during the off hours from 7pm-6am to decrease daytime congestion and truck emissions, while offering fewer parking tickets, cost savings, greater scheduling flexibility, and reductions in delivery times. Overnight deliveries reduce person-to-person contact, achieving responsible social distancing measures. Unattended deliveries can also reduce any contact between drivers and customers. Please visit the OHD website at www.ohdnyc.com or email o[email protected] to learn more and connect with DOT to make the switch to late-night deliveries.  
  • 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   


  • Extended Through September 30, 2021! Open Storefronts - Reimagining Outdoor Space for New Yorkers & Small Businesses: Building from the success of the Open Restaurants program, we’re thrilled to announce Open Storefronts! This reimagining of outdoor space will allow ground-floor storefront businesses to use a portion of the sidewalk to conduct business. If you’re a ground floor level storefront business, learn more about this program and sign up to participate: nyc.gov/openstorefronts
  • Doordash and Hello Alice Local Restaurant Grant Progam: The NYC Hospitality Alliance is proud to join DoorDash and Hello Alice in their grant program, part of their Main Street Strong initiative. This program is made to help restaurants recover amidst COVID-19 related challenges by providing local NYC restaurants $5,000 grants to help small businesses prepare for the cooler weather. Learn more and apply here.
  • Design Corps: Small Business Reopening Network: In response to the COVID-19 crisis, NYCxDESIGN has launched a program to connect pro bono designers and architects with restaurants to help provide design technical assistance. This directory encourages designers to self-connect with restaurants by browsing the profiles listed on the site. For additional information on the Design Corps program, please review the detailed guidelines. Restaurants can add themselves to the website to access assistance here.
  • Indoor dining returned 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.
  • General Food Services Guidance.
  • NYC Restaurant Reopening Guide (SBS).
  • NYC Indoor Dining FAQ.
  • What Food Service Establishments Need to Know About Indoor Dining.
  • Reopening NYC: Checklist for Food Service Establishments Offering Indoor Food Service.
  • Directory of Equipment Rental for Safe Outdoor Dining: BIDs and CBOs may be able to negotiate reduced prices if purchased or rented in bulk. 
  • 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.    
  • EAT NOM is looking to add local restaurants to their subscription model. You can learn more here.

Virtual Compliance Consultations: Open Restaurants Program The NYC Department of Small Business Services offers one-on-one free virtual compliance consultations to help you understand how to comply with key City rules. Their virtual consultations will help you understand key City rules and common compliance challenges related to the Open Restaurants Program - they will not issue violations or fines. Business owners are encouraged to request a consultation if they have recently applied to Open Restaurants and are getting ready to provide food service, are actively participating in Open Restaurants but continue to have questions/concerns, are interested in applying to Open Restaurants but have not yet done so. Request a consultation here.

Details on Year-round Outdoor Dining

Outdoor Restaurants Made Permanent & Heater Guidance Released – Mayor de Blasio recently announced that the City’s Open Restaurants and Open Streets: Restaurants programs will be extended year-round and made permanent. Plans for additional expansions of the program and winter guidance were also announced, including the use of adjacent spaces, outdoor heating, and tent requirements. Detailed guidance regarding heaters was also released, and links can be found below and in this press release.  

  • Electric radiant heaters will be allowed in sidewalk and roadway seating setups. For full guidance from the Department of Buildings, click here.   
  • Natural gas radiant heaters will be allowed on the sidewalk only. For full guidance from the Department of Buildings, click here. Natural gas radiant heaters must also comply with the Fire Code.   
  • Portable heaters fueled by propane will be allowed on the sidewalk only. Propane heating will be regulated by the Fire Department, with requirements for safe handling, use, and storage. For full guidance from the Fire Department, click here.   
  • Weighted Guidelines DOB Outdoor Structure Guidance.
  • Weather Advisory Subscription.


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, 2020, 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. 

Back to News

Subscribe to our Newsletter

© 2020 Jamaica Center All Rights Reserved // Website by Spectrum Media Solutions