Resources & Information For Businesses Impacted By COVID-19

With the rapidly changing COVID-19 developments, Support smAlbany is working to assist local businesses and help them access resources to weather this pandemic and prepare to emerge from this event.

New York Forward Reopening Plan 


Governor Cuomo released the NY Forward reopening plan including a detailed list of industries and types of businesses that will be able to operate in each phase throughout New York's four-phase reopening effort as soon as the regions in which they are located meet the threshold requirements in testing, tracking, and hospital admission rates/ICU availability. As of June 3, the Capital Region is in phase-two reopening, which as of June 4 allows for outdoor dining.

Below are links to currently issued detailed guidelines and business safety templates. Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document. A Safety Plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.

 

Click here to view required forms, guidelines and business safety templates for phase-one reopening industries

Click here to view required forms, guidelines and business safety templates for phase-two reopening industries

Click here to view required forms, guidelines and business safety templates for phase-three reopening industries

Click here to view required forms, guidelines and business safety templates for phase-four reopening industries

This tool will help you determine whether or not your business is eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which your business must comply.

Other Key Resources:


 

Additional Reopening Guidance And Resources

  • The CDC has released guidance for small businesses about steps that can be taken to prepare to protect employees’ health and safety in the workplace. With re-opening on the horizon, it is critical for businesses to start to plan now so they can re-open as quickly and safely as possible. Read the CDC's issued guidance here.

  • Additional reopening information is available in the Capital Region Froward, plan, available on Albany County's website. More local reopening information and guidance is forthcoming. Please check back for updates.

  • The National Restaurant Association's ServSafe team has released guidance to help restaurants restart when the nation begins reopening its businesses. Read this issued guidance here.

  • The National Retail Federation has issued guidance for reopening stores that business owners may consider adopting, Explore its Operation Open Doors Checklist, an outline of key topics to consider as retailers seek to reopen operations. The checklist and select other NRF Operation Open Doors resources will be available to the public for a limited time before they become members-only resources.

Capital Region Face-mask, Face Shield & Hand Sanitizer Manufacturers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued executive orders that require employees of essential businesses and members of the publicto wear face coverings under certain circumstances. People interested in acquiring face-masks and face shields from local companies, many of which are manufacturing them, can refer to this list, compiled by CEG. Also listed are local hand sanitizer manufacturers. Some manufacturers may only be taking special orders.

Financial Resources

 
 
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We know that the impact right now on businesses and sales is real and significant. Grant money at the moment for businesses is very limited and often available for small geographic areas. We will continue to post grants we find available here for you. Continue to check back to find more.

We recommend you talk to your local lender from your current bank about options for lending. Banks are eager to support their clients right now, and this is likely the quickest way to access capital. Even if you do not need the capital now, it is not a bad idea to secure a line of credit in the event that you may need it in the future. We recommend you talk with an advisor about planning for your cash flow needs and be sure that you’ll be able to afford a loan payment. If you currently have a loan and are concerned about meeting the payment terms and dates please reach out to your bank to discuss options during this unprecedented time.

Grants

 

Community Loan Fund of the Greater Capital Region COVID-19 Emergency Grants: Local banks and community organizations have banded together to launch a new grant program in order to stabilize Capital Region small businesses. The program will award small businesses up to $20,000 to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. Small businesses can use the grant funds to make payroll, pay bills, and keep their operations going.

The Central Avenue BID Grant program: For Information about the Central Avenue BID programs, contact Ronda Shayne at 518.462.4300 or Email Grants@Centralbid.com. Announced June 23, $100,000, has been established with the funding support of the Carl E. Touhey Foundation. The Central Avenue BID will dispense the funds to dozens of minority-owned businesses recently damaged and or impacted by recent events. The funds will be combined with an ongoing fundraising effort to continue the work and support of the Touhey Foundation. The Central Avenue BID's Go Fund Me page can be found here, donations will continue to be accepted to support this program. 

The Downtown Albany BID’s Business Stabilization Grant: $250,000 is available from non-assessment revenue raised through ad sales and sponsorships over the course of several years. The program will provide funds of up to $3,000 to small businesses and non-profit organizations located in the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District. Coming in the form of one-time forgivable loans, funds will be awarded based on a combination of factors including program eligibility, program priorities, availability of funds, and number of employees. Eligible uses for funds awarded include technology upgrades; implementation of delivery services, contactless payment, or online sales; new marketing strategies; PPE; replacement of perishable goods; interior fit up to meet New York State reopening guidelines; and repairs caused by vandalism. Click here for more information.

Capital Region Small Business COVID-19 Stabilization Fund: A $150,000 small business stabilization fund provided by the KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program powered by JumpStart is administered by the Center for Economic Growth, the Capital Region Urban Core MWBE Emergency Relief Fund will support MWBE small business in the Capital Region’s urban cities of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Troy. This contribution is part of a plan to deploy $500,000 in relief funds to small business communities throughout the state of New York in response to the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Restaurant Employees Relief Fund: Through the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, $500 grants will be provided to restaurant industry employees who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 financially, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment that results in a lack of resources to pay for essential expenses.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Save Small Business Fund: The application process is currently closed as of 4/21 due to the overwhelming response, the link will be left here for information for if the process reopens.

 

This initiative will provide grants of up to $5,000 to qualified small employers. To be eligible, you must: Employ between 3 and 20 people, be located in an economically vulnerable community (much of the Capital Region is eligible), and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application will take about 10 minutes to complete and you will need is your business's W-9 form. Grants will be awarded on a weekly basis, but you only need to apply once. For more information, click here

'Unfinished Business' program by Hennessy: Hennessy launched Unfinished Business, a program that will provide urgent funding and access to vital resources for black, asian or latinx owned small businesses. Please see the application, and all eligibility requirements and accepted business expenses here. Only completed applications received during the application open dates will be considered. Application open dates are from 9:00am EST on June 22, 2020, to 11:59pm EST on July 1, 2020.

 

Grant awards are based on need, the program's community partners include One Hundred Black Men (OHBM), Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC), and the Hispanic Federation (HF). These partners review applications and make all determination of applicant need and appropriate remittance. 

Grants up to $10,000 from LISC: A fourth round is now open, applications for the fourth round process are due on June 17. Funds are being provided through companies including Verizon and Sam's Club, the program is being administered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to offer support to small businesses facing immediate financial threat because of the COVID-19 pandemic. LISC is using the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19. LISC has launched an online process for small businesses to submit applications for grants. Applications will be reviewed and then entered into a lottery. More information is available here. Any businesses that applied in the first round that were not selected may reapply - applications will not roll into this fourth round.

Creative Impact: Capital Region Artist Fund: Launched April 9, this fund was created to help alleviate some of the financial stress artists are enduring. Payments to artists will be in the form of $100 Visa Gift Cards and will continue to be distributed to artists until funds have been depleted. At this time, there is a limit of one payment per artist to ensure fair opportunity for the magnitude of artists in the region. The more that is raised, the more that can be given to artists.

Samuel Adams 'Restaurant Strong' Grants: The Boston-based company announced the initiative in March, due to its success it has expanded to 20 states including New York. To qualify for the grant, an individual must have worked at a restaurant, bar, cafe or nightclub located in one of the 20 states, been a full-time employee, and employed for three months or longer at the same location.

For Community Based Organizations: Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund: A coalition of philanthropy, government, and business partners has joined together to create a COVID-19 Response Fund that will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak in the Greater Capital Region of New York.

Facebook Small Business Grants: Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries.

The Creator Fund: ConvertKit has established a $154,000 fund to help creators in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be advised, however, that some 6,000 people - and counting - have already applied. Though they are encouraging people to write in, they want to be transparent about their ability to help at this time. 

Yelp, $25 million in relief: Yelp announced funding, primarily focused on supporting independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products and services. 

National Grid Foundation: A grant program that existed prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Its major focus ares are education and the environment. 

National Grid Manufacturing Productivity Program/Fast Track COVID-19: Provides matching funds of up to $40,000, or 60% of costs incurred when companies commit to productivity improvement and growth targeted activities that will result in the increased utilization of manufacturing capacity. These grants are available for companies looking to adjust their operations to produce critical items to assist in the COVID-19 response. National Grid is teaming up with CEG to help manufacturers redesign workflow, get certified by regulatory/industry bodies (FDA, OSHA/NIOSH, ISO), address supply chain, and implement programs to sustain these changes.

One Fair Wage Emergency Fund: This fund is being established to help service workers struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis and will be making temporary cash gifts to workers as funding becomes available. Fill out a form on the website, and someone will contact you, though they are urging people to "be patient" as they are "inundated with requests." 

USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program: You do NOT need to be a USBG member to apply for a philanthropic grant, but you must be a bartender or the spouse or child of a bartender to qualify. 

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation: RWCF is collecting resources and relief fund information that will help restaurants and workers deal most effectively with the COVID-19 emergency.

Loans, Support & Other Initiatives

 

SBA Loans

New York Forward Loan Fund

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.

SEFCU Programs

Understanding that its members may be adversely impacted by an interruption of income or other circumstances, SEFCU is offering special options for those experiencing challenges due to this crisis.

CAPCOM FCU Programs

CAP COM Federal Credit Union is continuing to monitor developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Its primary focus is on the health and well-being of members, employees and local communities. The credit union knows that access to your funds and accounts are critical at this time, and will continue to provide high-quality “service with a smile” as the situation unfolds.

Quickbooks Small Business Relief Initiative: Some QuickBooks customers may be eligible for loans through QuickBooks Capital. Qualifying businesses may receive funding between $5,000 and $100,000, with terms up to 12 months. 

The Opportunity Fund: It specializes in money lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants and people of color. It's working to support existing and new small business customers who are financially struggling due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kabbage's Help Small Business initiative: Allows small businesses to offer online gift certificates and connects them with consumers across the country. 

Kiva, loans for small businesses: Kiva is a non-profit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world. It provides loans of up to $15,000 with 0 percent interest and a six-month grace period for qualified small businesses.

 

MainVest (The Main Street Initiative): If you have an existing brick & mortar business that has been negatively effected by the COVID-19 outbreak and you launch a capital raise on Mainvest, you may be eligible to receive a $2,000 zero-interest loan immediately. Then through your capital raise, you can receive over $100,000 of investment from your community. 

Office of Attorney General, application for suspension of debt collection: This application is for persons or businesses that owe (non-medical and non-student) debts to the State of New York that have been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection and litigation. Any such business that have been financially impacted by COVID-19, or the international, national, and state responses designed to prevent its spread, may complete and submit this application to be considered for certain forms of relief, including relief from collection activity, interest accrual, and the assessment of collection fees.

Faire.com has created a financial impact calculator: Created for retailers and other businesses to help business owners get a better understanding of COVID-19's impact on their business. 

CARES Act
 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act:


Scam Alerts Related To SBA Disaster Programs

The Small Business Development Center at UAlbany has reported there has been an uptick in potential scams associated with the EIDL and PPP programs. All official communications from the SBA will come from an SBA.gov e-mail address. When in doubt, ask before responding. You can contact the SBDC to help verify any questionable communications, the SBDC can forward the communication to its SBA contacts for authenticity verification. Visit www.nysbdc.org for information.

Local/State/Federal Agencies

 

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans

 

A disaster declaration for New York State has been approved, the disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the entire state of New York. Eligible small businesses may now apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) online
at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. 

SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program
Click Here For Details

 

This program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 more quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

 

Related Resources:

 

New York State Small Business Development Centers

 
 
 

An SBA-funded program that has existed for more than 40 years is here to help. Its services are paid with your tax dollars and offered at no charge to you. They offer one on one online and phone sessions during this time as well as many group webinars. Find SBDC support here.

View the many Albany SBDC support webinars for assistance on a range of topics from the Paycheck Protection Program, to reopening guidance. Click here to access the SBDC's online webinar portal.

Key Resources, Guidance Issued And Best Practices

 

Industry Specific

Artists

Commercial Property Owners

Construction

Hospitality & Travel

Real Estate

  • Guidance Update While Under "New York State On PAUSE: Empire State Development clarified that residential and commercial showings along with back office real estate work, appraisal services and home inspections are essential real estate functions effective immediately. Further clarification was released on April 2 from ESD making it clear that agents can't show properties in person:

    "Brokers can only transact business in their offices or show properties virtually, and anything else is off limits."

Restaurants & Food Establishments

  • The National Restaurant Association's ServSafe team has released guidance to help restaurants restart when the nation begins reopening its businesses. Read this issued guidance here.

Retail

  • The National Retail Federation has issued guidance for reopening stores that business owners may consider adopting, Explore its Operation Open Doors Checklist, an outline of key topics to consider as retailers seek to reopen operations. The checklist and select other NRF Operation Open Doors resources will be available to the public for a limited time before they become members-only resources.
     

  • Watch: The Capital Region BID's discussion on reopening retail and spas.

 
 

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