Jamaica Center BID
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May 9, 2020

COVID-19 Updates 5/8/20

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  [email protected]. 

This page was last updated on 5/8/20. 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. 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.  *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.
  • 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. Apply here
    • 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. What is a CDFI? 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 here.
  • 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. This application is now closed but you can learn more here as funding replenishment is coming soon.

Private Grants  

  • LISC Rapid Relief Resiliency FundLISC (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. LISC is opening and closing application periods—the best way to know when the next round opens for applications is to sign up here. The third application round opens on May 14! 
  • 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 application is now open with a deadline of May 8! Apply 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. 
  • 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.
  • KIVA is offering up to $15,000 in zero-interest loans for small businesses. Apply 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.
  • 1010 WINS Small Business $10K Challenge: Enter now for your chance to win $10,000 towards your small business of up to 100 employees. The deadline to apply is May 17Apply here.

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 Clinicrun by the City Bar Justice Center. 

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 pageas 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. 
  • 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’spage on understanding Commercial Business Interruption Insurance.  

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.   

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*. 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 layoffsand 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 businessesto 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 [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.
  • 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. 
  • Information about the NYC Directive requiring employers to provide face coverings to employees can be found here. 

Industry-Specific News (Restaurants)

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. 

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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