Jamaica Center BID
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March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Updates (3/24/20)

COVID-19 UPDATES (3/24/20)

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 3/24/20. 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 regulation. 

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. Sign up to receive email updates about COVID-19 and NYC SBS programs to help businesses: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N336ZYB 
  • On March 24th, the NYC Department of Small Business Services will be hosting a webinar on preparing for disruptions. You can find more information here. 
  • Get regular text alerts from City government regarding the novel Coronavirus, by texting COVID to 692-692. 
  • 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. 

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

City of New York Loans and Grants for Small Businesses 

Mayor DeBlasio announced that there will be assistance to small businesses to help them adapt to changing customer behavior. Businesses may qualify for low-interest loans and employee retention grants. 

  • Businesses with fewer than 100 employees, seeing a decrease in sales up to 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.  A preloan application is Now LIVE.
  • The City is also offering eligible small businesses with fewer than five employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.  Grant is Now LIVEAccess here. 

NoteTo take advantage of these programs, please keep in mind that it is very important for you to keep track of your business finances, along with how Coronavirus has affected you. While we don’t have the details yet of exactly what will be required, we recommend that everyone gathers: 

  • 2019 tax returns 
  • Bank Statements (2019 & 2020) 
  • Quarterly sales tax filings 
  • Point-of-sales reports 
  • Certified profit & loss statements 
  • Receipts for virus-related expenditures 

Small Business Administration Low-Interest Loans: 

The Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan programProvides low-interest loans of up to $2 million to provide working capital for businesses affected by the CoronavirusApplication is NOW OPEN: 

Gift Cards for Small Businesses:

Visit the Kabbage site which helps small businesses create and sell gift cards.

Facebook Small Business Grant Program:  

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. The grant application is not yet available. Interested businesses should sign up at the link here. 

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation:  

See the restaurant section below. 

SupportRestaurants.org DiningBonds Initiative:  

See the restaurant section below.   

Organizations with Business Counselors that Can Help Businesses with Loan/Grant Applications:  

  • 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.  

Financial Support for Business (Utility Support)

  • 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 – We have 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. 

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. 

Financial Support for Business (Commercial Rent Relief) 

  • The Governor announced a 90-day moratorium on any residential or commercial evictions. 
  • We will update if other measures are taken. 

Workplace Health and Safety: 

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

Business Closures Employee Reductions/Layoffs 

  • Executive Order 202.6 mandating closures of non-essential businesses. List of “essential” businesses here.  Form for businesses to request designation as an essential business here*. *If you know your business is not essential and are just trying to get a waiver to see if you can, DO NOT do this. You will waste our overburdened government’s time and your time and pull resources away from businesses that do have legitimate exemption requests. 
  • 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. f you’re temporary closing due to lack of foot traffic, please send us an e-mail at [email protected]so we can help keep an extra eye on your storefront while you’re out. 
  • 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 [email protected] **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 

Resources to Provide Laid Off Employees: 

Industry-Specific News (Restaurants) 

  • NYC Hospitality Alliance now has a restaurant-specific covid-19 page with regular updates.  
  • 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. 
  • State Liquor Authority Guidance on Restrictions for Licensees and To-Go & Delivery Sales in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak here. Additionally, our office heard in a webinar that the State Liquor Authority is allowing restaurants and bars to sell back their unused/unopened inventory back to their wholeseller if their wholeseller is willing to take it. We cannot find the original source material for this claim. For now, please contact the State Liquor Authority or your wholeseller to confirm. 

Industry Specific News (Tailors/Manufacturers) 

New York State is seeking help from businesses as they are in critical need of basic medical supplies such as gloves, gowns and masks. The state is paying a premium and offering funding to have these supplies made. For information call 212-803-3100 or email [email protected]. 

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. 

Promotional Support 

Our organization 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 listPlease email your details to [email protected].org with the subject line - QUEENS BUSINESS CORONAVIRUS UPDATES. 

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