Jamaica Center BID
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March 19, 2020

COVID-19 Updates


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.

Start Here:  

  • 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. 

Financial Support for Businesses (Loans and Grants): 

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. Fill out this survey to be notified when the loans are available:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N336ZYB 
  • 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. 

The GRANT Note: To 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 will be giving out low-interest loans for businesses affected by the Coronavirus, as part of their disaster assistance program. Learn more here.  

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. 

Loan/Grant Application Support with Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC):  

QEDC will provide resources to help businesses apply for these important business survival loan and grant programs. They are working on their strategy to deliver these services now. More info to come. You can also check in on their website: https://www.queensny.org/coronavirus-info/ 

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. 

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 website: Up-to-date information for businesses, including FAQs for employers.  
  • 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.  
  • 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. 
  • 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 

  • 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. 
  • Restaurant Closure Checklist (recently published on the NYC Hospitality Alliance site—thenycalliance.org 

Resources to Provide Laid Off Employees: 

  • Bartender Emergency Assistance Program: Bartenders who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 can click here to learn about an assistance program to help. 
  • NY State Department of Labor Unemployment website. 

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. 

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 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. Note that we are NOT promoting events at this time, as we are trying to support our local and federal government’s directives to encourage social distancing. 

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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