COVID-19: Resources for Businesses

Requirements for Businesses

Effective starting Sunday, March 22nd, Governor Cuomo has mandated a 100% workforce reduction for non-essential businesses. To see if your business qualifies as essential, click HERE. Due to government mandates, this may allow eligibility to file business interruption claims with your insurance provider. For tips on making an insurance claim, click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page. 

Information and resources for businesses:

CARES Act:

For information on the CARES Act, click HERE.

Updated 5/18: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) & U.S Department of the Treasury released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and related instructions. These documents will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans. The form and instructions include:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

Click here to view the application and instructions.  

Questions about Small Business Administration loans — For specific questions about the various SBA loan programs, email diastercustomerservice@sba.gov or call 1 (800) 659-2955. The line is open 24/7  

OTHER GRANTS, LOANS, AND RESOURCES:

Interest-free loan opportunity, announced 5/17!! Assemblymember Robert Carroll and Councilman Brad Lander are partnering with the Hebrew Free Loan Society to offer these loans which are made possible by a generous donation from Greg Perlman and Michael Clark of The Change Reaction. The Small Business Angel Fund will offer two types of interest free loans to Brooklyn Businesses: 
0% interest loans up to $25,000 for small businesses in the area which are currently operating and need support to get through this time of reduced revenue 
Loans of $3,000-$7,500 for independent contractors and small business owners who have been required to close or cease operating due to the State’s PAUSE order.
Small businesses located in Brooklyn’s City Council District 39 will be eligible to apply for the loans, which will be repayable in equal installments over the course of 24-36 months after a grace period of 3 months. Businesses must have normal revenues of of $1M or less and 15 or less employees to qualify. No guarantors or collateral are required. Click HERE to apply! 

Click HERE to apply for a solidarity fund to support small business owners and workers in our Prospect Heights neighborhood.

DoNYC is offering FREE Ad Campaigns support to small businesses! DoNYC is proud to announce the DoStuff Amplification Project – awarding $1 million in promotional media to the DO’ers who are not able to make a living through their normal businesses right now. Including but not limited to – the bartenders hosting virtual cocktail hours with virtual tip jars, the yoga studios with online classes, the restaurant scraping by on takeout and delivery, the music venue live streaming and anyone else who is making, building, creating, and needs a platform for reaching more people inside their homes. DoNYC is nothing without our city’s creators and they are where we want to put our support. When we are not all quarantined inside, DoNYC’s mission is to drive people out to events in the real world to have great experiences with their loved ones. That isn’t possible right now. DoNYC wants to help the local community continue to raise awareness for their business and earn a much needed income, by putting our promotional powerhouse to use for them. Those looking for this media support need to apply through a very simple application process. If granted, DoNYC will promote their business endeavors through their website, daily email, and social channels. Click HERE to read more and apply. 

Sara Blakely, the CEO and founder of Spanx, is giving $5 million to support women-owned small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Red Backpack Fund will be making 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. The application is managed by GlobalGiving, which is currently open HERE.

Hello Alice COVID-19 Business for All Grant Program offers grants of $10,000 plus further support for businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19. A link to the application can be found HERE or contact alice@helloalice.com with any questions.

YELP is offering waived advertising fees, free products, and services until May 25th to independent, local restaurant and nightlife businesses. To learn more about features and upgrades for small businesses with or without an existing Yelp account, please visit here.

Salesforce is offering some of their tools for free for the next 90 days — info HERE.

Up and Running Accelerator helps retailers without an online presence transition to selling online. With this program, eBay will provide new businesses with three months of waived selling fees through June 30th for up to 500 items. To get started, click HERE.

Thryv has a resource kit for small businesses — check it out HERE.

Street Sense has created a Small Business Resource Kit — check it out HERE. 

Coronavirus Financial Impact Loan – Hebrew Free Loan Society (HFLS) | Hebrew Free Loan Society (HFLS). Click HERE for more info.

The Federal Reserve’s new Main Street Lending Program offers four-year loans to businesses that meet specific criteria and were in good financial standing before the coronavirus crisis hit. Businesses that have taken advantage of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program may also take out loans under this new program. Principal and interest payments under this new program will be deferred for one year. For more info, click HERE.

Free Legal Services

The Small Business Legal Relief Alliance (SBLRA) consists of some of the City’s leading law firms and legal services organizations. The Alliance was created in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting devastation to New York’s small business community. They have experience advising small businesses and nonprofits on various legal issues, including leases, employment, contracts, insurance and tax. Click HERE to fill out their form to be matched with an experience legal expert for FREE legal advice. 

NFBID is launching a partnership with Start Small Think Big to offer FREE legal and marketing resources and consultation of our businesses. For more info, click HERE. 

If your business needs help with a commercial lease issue in New York City, you may be eligible for free legal services. Visit nyc.gov/commlease to learn more. 

WE NYC is offering one on one consultations with female entrepreneurs. Click HERE.

FOR BARS AND RESTAURANTS: 

SLA Guidance:

Alcohol pickup and delivery: SLA has issued new guidance that allows bars and restaurants to sell alcohol to customers for pickup or delivery, under the following conditions:

  • The alcohol must either be in its original container (e.g., a sealed bottle of wine) or in a sealed container (e.g., a mixed cocktail poured into a to-go cup with a tight fitting lid). 
  • Wine and spirits must be sold together with food.  Beer and cider does not need to be sold alongside food.  So a customer must make a food order in order to buy wine or spirits, but does not need to make a food order to buy beer or cider.  The food must be consistent with the menu that you originally submitted to SLA.
  • If you are a bar or restaurant delivering alcohol yourself (i.e., not via a third-party service) it can be done on foot, by bicycle, or in any vehicle owned, leased, or rented by your business or an employee, as long as you have a copy of your liquor license in the vehicle. 
  • Safekeeping.  If you do make the decision to temporarily close your doors, you are not required to place your license in safekeeping with SLA, even though under normal circumstances you would be required to.  This suspension of the safekeeping requirement will last for 90 days, unless it gets extended in the future.
  • Returns.  Alcohol purchased by a bar or restaurant between 3/1/20 and 3/17/20 may be returned to the wholesaler or manufacturer who you purchased the alcohol from in return for credit, at the option of the wholesaler or manufacturer.  Wholesalers and manufacturers are not required to accept returns for credit, but if they do, they are required to do so for everyone. In other words, wholesalers and manufacturers are not allowed to pick and choose which bars and restaurants they accept returns for credit from, and which they do not.

 SLA Guidance on restrictions, to-go, and delivery HERE

 Guidelines on returning liquor HERE

Street Sense has created a Pandemic relaunch kit specifically for bars and restaurants. Check it out HERE. 

Resources for Bars and Restaurants:

Restaurant Response Program: Rethink Food is offering up to $40,000 to 30 NYC restaurants that partner to extend the nonprofit’s mission. Learn more here.

ROC Relief: Restaurant Opportunities Center is offering financial assistance to restaurant workers. Application here.

RWCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund: Financial assistance will go to both affected restaurants and affected staff. Applications will be available soon. Learn more here.

James Beard Foundation Relief Fund: Applications are coming out soon, but restaurants under 100 employees will be eligible. You can get more info here

Resources from Private Companies:Yelp COVID-19 Response: Yelp is giving away $25 million for small businesses, primarily in the form of advertising credit. Learn more here.

Mainstreet and Kabbage are two platforms where businesses can set up and sell giftcards for freee. Selling giftcards is a great way to let loyal customers support you while you’re unable to remain open.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance’s 9-Point Mitigation and Support Plan HERE

If you need legal help the NYC Bar Association can give legal assistance. Click on this link to call or sign up for help. For info about the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, click HERE. 

Need Advice, Free?

Many business owners just don’t know what to do — Lay off employees? Hang in there or wait for maybe insurance help? You can get one to one advice from the SBDC – Small Business Development Centers. They are funding through the Federal Small Business Administration and have access to lots of resources. Give them a call. 

Brooklyn SBDC – Website 
Pace Uni SBDC – Website

Don’t forget, you can also reach out to the North Flatbush BID with any questions at info@northflatbushbid.nyc.

Recorded Webinars to help with loans and rents

  • Manhattan Chamber Webinar 14/4 Focus on loans for sole proprietors here
  • Commercial Tenant Rent Seminar, useful info for tenants struggling to pay rent here
  • Manhattan Chamber of Commerce webinar 4/7 on PPP here
  • Start Small Think Big provides financial and business assistance here
    Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Help Desk will connect you with experts to find solutions that can help your business. Just email helpdesk@manhattancc.org or call (212) 473-7875
    City Bar Justice Center – Free legal advice with a volunteer attorney for 45 mins. Fill out contact form here
  • SCORE – one to one mentorship from business expert volunteers and online resources.
    Brooklyn Small Business Development Center – one to one small business mentoring, training and support
    Women NYCÂ – starting and running a business, finding finance and more

 Sales Tax, Evictions, and Rent Deferment

The New York State budget director says New York State will forgive interest and penalties for late payment of sales tax due March 20 (official statement HERE). 

A federal bailout package is in-formation and will likely pin any individual payouts to 2018 Federal tax filings- so, please encourage any staff, family, individual to check that they filed for last year.


There is currently a 90-day moratorium in place on evictions for commercial and residential tenants. We have heard of successful negotiations that are happening with business/ landlord rent arrangements. NFBID recommends reaching out to your property agent to discuss, as soon as possible, and keep a record of when you called, emailed and wrote. HERE is a template letter you can use. Also call your insurance and your credit card company and see what they are offering and keep a record of that, as well. 

Con Edison has stopped shutoffs of electric, natural gas or steam service due to non-payment resulting from the health crisis, and is waiving new late-payment charges for all customers. https://www.nationalgridus.com/covid-19 

You can pay your Mortgage and NYS taxes late, up to 90 days. The announcement does have some catches so you can learn more from the Governor’s Press Release.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that tax day will be delayed from April 15 to July 15. Read more here.

Disinfection guidance for commercial or residential buildings: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/disinfection-guidance-for-commercial-residential-covid19.pdf

Unemployment and Alternatives:

Filing for unemployment: For employees who experience reduced hours (by 50% or more for full-time personnel) or layoffs due to COVID-19, they may be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits from New York State. Note that the standard seven day waiting period has been lifted and affected employees can begin to apply for and draw benefits immediately.

Click HERE to file for unemployment. NYS is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines.

If you are filing a new unemployment insurance claim, the day you should file is based on the first letter of your last name. If your last name starts with A – F, file your claim on Monday. For last names starting with G – N, file your claim Tuesday. For last names starting with O – Z, file your claim on Wednesday. If you missed your filing day, file your claim on Thursday or Friday. 

HERE is a step by step process to file a claim online. 

Shared Work: New York State’s Shared Work Program provides an alternative to laying off workers during business downturns by allowing them to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial Unemployment Insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you can reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group. Learn more by clicking HERE.