COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Individuals
Last updated on June 21, 2022 10:48 am
New York State has lifted restrictions, leaving businesses free to choose to lift restrictions in place or continue to adhere to them. Some restrictions are left in place for certain settings. Guidance is available below. Unvaccinated individuals should still wear masks and practice social distancing in public situations.
The $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program provides grant funding to small and micro businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations impacted by the pandemic.
Grants are for New York State-based small businesses, microbusinesses, and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations. They must be currently viable and have begun operation on or before March 1, 2019 and continue to be in operation as of the date of application.
Go to https://nysmallbusinessrecovery.com/ for information on:
- Eligibility requirements
- Grant amounts
- Documentation requirements
- How grant funds must be spent
- How to apply
New Information as of January 13, 2022:
From Treasury for your review. Please see all below/attached as it will be helpful to you. As always, do not hesitate to let us know if we can be a resource to you.
Last week, the Department of the Treasury issued the Final Rule for the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, enacted as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which delivers $350 billion to state, local, and tribal governments to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Final Rule – which takes effect on April 1, 2022 – provides state and local governments with increased flexibility to pursue a wider range of uses, as well as greater simplicity so governments can focus on responding to the crisis in their communities and maximizing the impact of their funds.
Here are some resources for the Final Rule:
- The Final Rule provides the rule text and supplemental information.
- The Overview of the Final Rule (attached) provides a summary of major rule provisions for informational purposes and is intended as a brief, simplified user guide for recipients and stakeholders.
- The Statement Regarding Compliance with the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Interim Final Rule and Final Rule provides guidance on the transition from compliance with the Interim Final Rule to compliance with the Final Rule.
- The Tool for Determining Low and Moderate Income (LMI) Households provides a spreadsheet to assist recipients in determining income thresholds for the Final Rule’s definition of LMI in their jurisdiction and assist with administering the public health and economic response provisions of the Final Rule.
- The Final Rule webinar and slide presentation (attached) provide an introduction and summary of the Final Rule.
These materials, as well as additional information and resources, can be found on the program website.
The information below is what we had been provided prior in 2020 and 2021:
Empire State Digital
New York State has launched Empire State Digital to help small businesses compete in the digital economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative accelerates NY Small Business’ ability to grow their online presence through a first-in-the-nation program with leading global e-commerce enablers, including Shopify, Square, Clearbanc, and Etsy, in order to help them compete with large online retailers. Learn more here: https://esd.ny.gov/empire-state-digital
Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund
Empire State Development (ESD) is now offering more than $3 Million in grant funding to assist New York State restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Raising the Bar Restaurant Recover Fund” will help eligible restaurants adjust their operations to the impacts of COVID-19 and assist in facilitating adherence to New York State’s public health and safety measures during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited. Grant funds can be used for COVID-19 related improvements and equipment that will allow the business to:
- comply with social distancing guidelines
- expand take-out/delivery operations
- accommodate outdoor dining using plexiglass barriers/partitions
- provide signage promoting social distancing and hygiene protocols
- provide outdoor patio heaters, heat lamps, weatherization upgrades, and insulated delivery bags
- provide improvements that will allow business to continue operating through winter months, such as filtration system upgrades, food heaters, PPE and sanitation supplies
- provide other COVID-19 related business improvements, like contactless technology
Qualifying purchases and expenditures must be from September 1, 2020 onwards to be eligible; initial round of grants are up to $5,000.
Eligible businesses consist of New York State restaurants that have no more than $3 million in 2019 revenue and are engaged in providing food services and meals prepared on-premises to patrons who traditionally order and are served while seated, including certain on-premises food and drinking establishments licensed through the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and which need funding to adjust to COVID-related impacts and protocols. Establishments providing take out or grab and go food services due to COVID-19 restrictions are also eligible to receive the grant from NDC. Additionally, these establishments must have been in operation on or before March 1, 2019 and certify and demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. All businesses must continue to comply with the New York Forward reopening guidance and Cluster Action Initiative guidance, as applicable. Restaurants can apply to the “Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund” starting Monday, January 11, 2021. For more information visit the ESD website at https://esd.ny.gov/raising-bar-restaurant-recovery-fund. Applications will begin to be accepted on Jan. 11, 2021.
New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF)
The New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF) is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. The NYFLF targets the state’s small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income. The NYFLF is specifically timed to support businesses and organizations as they proceed to reopen and have upfront expenses to comply with guidelines (e.g., inventory, marketing, refitting for new social distancing guidelines) under the New York Forward Plan.
Pre-application for the New York Forward Loan Fund will be open on May 26, 2020 at Noon Eastern Daylight Time. Priority will be given to industries that have been reopened. This is not a first-come, first-served loan program. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as regions and industries reopen.
- Small businesses and nonprofits must employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees;
- Small businesses must have gross revenues of less than $3 million per year;
- Nonprofits must provide direct services and have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million per year; and
- Have not received a loan from either SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020.
- Learn more about how to apply at the following link: https://esd.ny.gov/nyforwardloans-info
Small Business Administration Loans
The SBA works directly with Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Extended through March 31, 2021. Requirements for self-employed individuals, the most up-to-date information can be found here.
- As of October 8, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action will streamline the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Click here to view the simpler PPP loan forgiveness application. Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler application.
- More Information and How to Apply: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program
- Receive support from ACCORD and find a list of online lenders: https://www.accordcorp.org/covid-19-small-business
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: An additional $20 billion in funding was approved December 30, 2020. For more information please visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
- Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators: This program is still in development; once necessary infrastructure is in place, the SBA will make grants to:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Museum operators
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Extended through March 31, 2021. Requirements for self-employed individuals, the most up-to-date information can be found here.
To be eligible, the entity must have been fully operational on February 29, 2020, and must demonstrate a 25% reduction in gross revenue. During the initial 14-day period of implementation of the program, grants shall only be awarded to eligible entities that have faced 90% or greater revenue loss. In the next 14-day period, grants shall only be awarded to eligible entities that have faced 70% or greater revenue loss. After this period, grants shall be awarded to all other eligible entities. Grant money must be spent on specific expenses, including:
- Payroll costs
- Debt payments
- Worker protection expenses
- Payments made to independent contractors
- Other ordinary and necessary business expenses (such as maintenance expenses)
- Business Mentor COVID-19 Task Force: New York State has partnered with business leaders to create a dedicated group of volunteers across different NYS industries – from law firms to financial professionals – to assist business owners with questions related to the impact of COVID-19 and to provide guidance on the SBA loan applications. https://esd.ny.gov/business-mentor-ny-covid-19-assistance.
- Covid-19 dedicated SBA webpage: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
- SBA Disaster Loan webpage: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
- SBA Express Bridge Loans: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/sba-express-bridge-loans
- Small Businesses Development Centers: https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/?type=Small%20Business%20Development%20Center&pageNumber=1
- SBA Size Standards: https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/
- Small Business Assistance from ESD: https://esd.ny.gov/resource-guide-covid-19-sba-disaster-loans
COVID-19 Resources for Agriculture
We realize that farms are struggling to continue working during this pandemic and have found some resources available to them as well. Industry-specific thresholds have been lifted on many of the programs available, making agricultural businesses eligible for things they previously may not have qualified for. Resources are shown below, in addition to these Frequently Asked Questions.
- Department of Agriculture Resources –
- COVID-19 Specific: https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus
- Service Centers: https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus
- Rural Development info: https://rd.usda.gov/coronavirus
- H-2A Visas: https://www.farmers.gov/manage/h2a
- Food and Nutrition Services: https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19
- Small Business Loan Administration –
- COVID-19 Specific: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19
- Guidance and Loan Resources: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
- Internal Revenue Service –
- COVID-19 Specific: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
- Economic Impact Payments: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know
- Department of Labor –
- COVID-19 Specific: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus
- Employee Paid Leave Rights: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave
Internal Revenue Service/Department of Treasury
- The IRS has delayed filing and payment deadlines, now postponed until July 15 for approximately 300 different filing, payment, and administrative deadlines, in order to provide flexibility to individuals and businesses.
- 90 day deferral for tax payments, up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations, with no interest and no penalties.
- IRS Notice: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-17.pdf
- On March 17, the IRS also alerted its employees that effective immediately, the IRS will stop some enforcement actions, including certain levies and collection notices, until further notice.
- Covid-19 dedicated IRS webpage: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
Resources for Individuals
Unemployment Benefits – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”)
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) provides nearly $2 trillion of support to families and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- CARES expands unemployment insurance benefits (“UI benefits”) through the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act.
- Please note that some of these UI benefits also extend to the self-employed and independent contractors, two types of worker not typically covered by UI benefits.
- These benefits are not available to those who can work remotely or already are receiving paid leave benefits, including those benefits available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
- Expansion of Benefits:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – $600 Additional Weekly Benefit:
- CARES provides an addition $600 per week benefit to certain employees receiving UI benefits through the end of July. Under this expansion, individuals who ordinarily would qualify for unemployment compensation benefits under State law are entitled to both: (1) the regular amount of compensation available under State law, as well as (2) an additional flat-fee amount of $600 per week, which is referred as “Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.”
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – Up to 13 Additional Weeks of Unemployment Compensation:
- New Yorkers are eligible for 26 weeks of UI benefits under State law. CARES provides an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – $600 Additional Weekly Benefit:
- NY State DOL Unemployment Benefits Application: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm
COVID-19 Employee Leave Policies
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date on April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
Eligible Employees: All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19.
Notice: Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave to the employer as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time.
Qualifying Reasons for Leave:
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:
- is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
- is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
- is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family and medical leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
Duration of Leave:
For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.
For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family & medical leave) at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.
Calculation of Pay:
For leave reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
For leave reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
For leave reason (5): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period).
 Certain provisions may not apply to certain employers with fewer than 50 employees. See Department FFCRA regulations (expected April 2020).
 Under the Act, special rules apply for Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders.
 Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carryover from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.
 An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section.
Tax Credits: Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage. For more information, please see the Department of the Treasury’s website.
Employer Notice: Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements. Download and print a copy of the poster that will satisfy the FFCRA notice requirements here: https://www.agcnys.org/wp-content/uploads/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf 
Prohibitions: Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who takes expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA and files a complaint or institutes a proceeding under or related to the FFCRA.
Penalties and Enforcement: Employers in violation of the first two weeks’ expanded family and medical leave or unlawful termination provisions of the FFCRA will be subject to the penalties and enforcement described in Sections 16 and 17 of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 29 U.S.C. 216; 217. Employers in violation of the provisions providing for up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) are subject to the enforcement provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Department will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days after the Act takes effect, so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act. For purposes of this non-enforcement position, “good faith” exists when violations are remedied and the employee is made whole as soon as practicable by the employer, the violations were not willful, and the Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future.
- An equivalent tax credit is available for self-employed persons
- The Department of Labor has authority to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees if paid sick leave requirements “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
- Both the federal government and New York State are requiring certain employers to provide paid sick and family leave to their employees: to the extent that the two requirements overlap, the federal tax credit will cover the costs imposed by the state requirements. Where the state requirements go beyond the federal requirements (whether in time of leave of wage amount covered), however, the federal tax credit will not cover those expenses.
For more information on COVID-19 and the Workplace, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hours Division Website: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
- For a complete list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Answers regarding FFCRA, please visit the following webpage: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
Family & Medical Leave
- 12 weeks of family leave to provide for children due to school closure or lack of childcare because of a public health emergency.
- Applicable to companies with 500 or fewer employees
- First 10 days of leave are unpaid
- Employers would be required to pay employees two-thirds of their wages starting on day 11 (pro-rata rules would apply to part-time employees) and would receive a refundable tax credit for wages required to be paid, capped at $200 per day, and $10,000 altogether.
- The Department of Labor has authority to:
- Issue regulations for businesses with fewer than 50 employees if paid sick leave requirements “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern”
- Exclude health care providers and emergency responders from the requirements
COVID-19 NYS Mandates for Employees and Employers
Unemployment Insurance Waiting Period Waived
- Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order on March 14, 2020 that waives the 7-day waiting period for workers in shared work programs to claim unemployment insurance for those that have been put out of work by COVID-19.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) has instituted new rules that include extended hours and restrictions about when to file based on your last name: https://labor.ny.gov/pressreleases/2020/march-17-2020-1.shtm
Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave
- The Emergency Paid Sick Leave law guarantees workers job protection and provide financial compensation while they are on a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to the Coronavirus.
- New York State will guarantee two full weeks of paid leave for all state workers who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine as a result of the novel coronavirus.
- Employees will not have to charge accruals during the time taken off work for quarantine. This will apply to all state employees, regardless of civil service classification, bargaining unit, and regardless of part time or accrual status.
DOL Shared Work Program
- The DOL is reminding businesses of its Shared Work Program that can provide an alternative to laying off employees during business downturns by allowing workers to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you able to reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group: https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm
Empire State Development (ESD) Offers COVID-19 Related Guidance
- Empire State Development (ESD) is providing up-to-date guidance for the agency’s partners and other stakeholders impacted by the virus.
- Empire State Development (ESD) COVID-19 Related Guidance: https://esd.ny.gov/esd-covid-19-related-resources
- For individuals and businesses to relay business-related COVID-19 questions and concerns, please submit any information or issue through the Empire State Development (ESD) Online Intake Portal:
- Empire State Development (ESD) Online Intake Portal: https://esd.ny.gov/covid-19-help
Stop the Spread of COVID-19: Get Involved
- New York State is doing all it can to keep New Yorkers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. Governor Cuomo is calling on health care professionals, schools of public health or medicine and PPE products providers and manufacturers to come forward to support the state’s response. Learn more here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help