Jamaica Center BID
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March 30, 2020

COVID-19 Updates - 3/30/20


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 3/30/20. 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 
  • Visit SBS’s New Coronavirus business FAQ’s 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 

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.  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. SBS has already awarded over $1.14 million in grants averaging $9,000, and they anticipate being able to award another $8.7 million to businesses.  Grant is Now LIVEAccess here.

Federal Government Loans (Small Business Administration Loans)  

  • (Coming Soon!)Paycheck Protection Program “PPP”: This brand new loan program incentivizes businesses to keep workers on payroll. 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.  Will be administered through SBA’s network of 1800+ local lenders. Loans not yet available. Start to prepare paperwork now with this Small Business Guide and Checklist prepared by the US Chamber of Commerce.  
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan “EIDL programProvides 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. Application is NOW OPEN (SBA prefers online applications, but hard copy is here. *When filling this out, be sure that you also apply for the EIDL Grant/Advance (detailed below) 
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan “EIDL” Grant/Advance: The EIDL Advance is a $10,000 grant that small businesses can receive three days after submitting an EIDL application. To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance.  The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments.  
  • Here is a helpful article by Forbes breaking down the soon-to-come PPP Loan and the existing EIDL loan (and accompanying advance/grant), as well as some application tips.

Private Grants 

  • LISC Rapid Relief Resiliency Fund: LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) a national community development intermediary, is launching the Rapid Relief Resiliency Fund to assist small businesses to stay afloat and to support community organizations to meet unprecedented client demand, the LISC Fund will provide grants and patient, flexible loan capital to meet the following expenses: Rent and utilities; Payroll; Outstanding debt to vendors; Upgrade technology infrastructure for remote delivery of services; Emergency cash assistance for clients most in need; and other immediate operational costs. Application is not yet available. Sign up for updates here.  

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. 

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. 

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:  

  • Free assistance with reconstructing financial records, preparing financial statements and submitting  SBA loan applications is available from SBA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC): http://nysbdc.org/appointment.html 
  • 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. 
  • New York State Department of Public Service has suspended utility rate increases that were to go into effect on 4/1. 

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) 

  • IRS provides Small and Mid-sized businesses payroll tax credit information here and here. 
  • The Governor announced a 90-day moratorium on any residential or commercial evictions. 
  • We will update if other measures are taken. 

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.) 

Logistical/Admin Support for Businesses 

Workplace Health and Safety: 

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

  • NYC Department of Health: Up-to-date information for businesses. 
  • Federal Center for Disease Control “CDC”. The CDC has created a special portion on their website for businesses with interim information for business and employers and special workplace cleaning and disinfection tips.  
  • Governor Cuomo’s Covid-19 Daily Updates Provide Information on Executive Orders Pertaining to Worker Health and Safety, including allowable numbers of on-site employees. 
  • NY State Department of Labor: Has information about the latest paid sick leave laws 
  • United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration “OSHA” Office: OSHA has just published Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19Their homepage, osha.gov has other helpful resources. 
  • The United States Department of Labor has published a notice of employee rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) that all covered employers must post and make available to employees.To access the employee rights notice, click here. 
  • Notify your employees that they can get help finding a physician by dialing the City’s 311 line. 
  • If you or your employees require mental health support during this time, 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) is a free, confidential helpline 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.  

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: 

  • 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.  
  • 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. 
  • State Liquor Authority Guidance on Restrictions for Licensees and To-Go & Delivery Sales in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak 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 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] with the subject line - QUEENS BUSINESS CORONAVIRUS UPDATES. 

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