Check out our regularly updated roundup of resources for small businesses navigating the coronavirus pandemic!
LAST UPDATE: 10-21-20
Federal, State + City Operations
- According to a NYS mandate, all bars and restaurants must provide, and their employees must wear, a face covering when in direct contact with customers or members of the public, except where doing so would inhibit or otherwise impair the employee’s health. Bars and restaurants can adopt a policy that prohibits customers from entering your restaurant or being served without a face covering. More about face covering requirements for restaurants and other essential businesses can be found here. If you need masks for your employees, email FAB FULTON at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about the Phases of Reopening NYC? Contact the city hotline for reopening questions: 888-727-4692.
- Questions about what is allowed in outdoor seating? Check here for all the DOT updates and guidelines.
- All businesses reopening MUST complete a Business Safety Plan. Access it online, print it, and fill it out. Keep it in your business at all times of operation. Find it here.
- All businesses MUST read and affirm (sign) the reopening guidelines as noted by the State. Find your industry and read, print, and sign your guidelines here.
- There have been a number of violations issued to restaurants doing outdoor dining. Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of rules you should follow to avoid receiving fines:
- Provide Safety Plan on site. Do you have yours? Use this template.
- Have signage up to remind use of PPE, social distancing measures & cleaning/disinfecting. Need PPE? Contact your local BID or tell the Chamber via email: email@example.com
- Provide replacement PPE to employees
- Conduct health screening process for employees
- Require all employees to wear face coverings
- Install physical markings to indicate 6 feet distancing
- Bathrooms must have soap and paper towels OR hand sanitizer
- Create a designated pickup and deliveries area
- Keep a daily log of cleanings
- Create an outdoor streetside barrier that is minimum 18” wide. See the latest criteria and barriers guidelines here.
- In case you missed it, there was an update to the dates for the Outdoor Dining program; per Mayor de Blasio, the program was extended to year-round.
UPDATE: Indoor food service may resume, starting Sep. 30, at 25% of capacity. Read the State guidelines here.
- Need to know the guidelines and requirements for reopened fitness facilities? See a complete list here.
- The cap on exorbitant delivery fees charged by third party apps has been extended until after we have returned to full indoor dining, thanks to the NYC City Council.
- It is expected that soon Mayor de Blasio will sign a COVID surcharge bill into law. Advocated by the NYC Alliance, the law would require: restaurants can use a surcharge from the law’s effective date until they may operate at maximum indoor capacity and 90 days thereafter; it must be called a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge” and the amount of such surcharge be clearly disclosed to the consumer before any item is ordered by placing it at the bottom of each menu page supplied to the consumer, etc.; surcharge may not exceed 10% of a consumer’s total bill; and, the written disclosure must be explicit that it is not a gratuity for employees. Stay tuned for more details to come.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin enforcement of the State’s ban on single-use plastic carryout bags on Oct. 19, 2020. The plastic bag ban, which went into effect on March 1, was not enforced per an agreement between the parties in a lawsuit brought by Poly-Pak Industries, Inc., et al, in New York State Supreme Court. The Court issued its decision in the case on Aug. 20, 2020, upholding the law and most of the Part 351 regulations. DEC will begin enforcing the law and the regulations, in accordance with the Court’s decision, on October 19, 2020. As of October 19, 2020, any “person required to collect tax” must not distribute any plastic carryout bags to its customers unless such bags are exempt bags as provided for in the Bag Waste Reduction Law. For additional info, go here.
- Restaurants and Bars: you may continue to offer takeout and delivery of beer, wine, and alcohol to your customers through November 3, 2020.
- UPDATE: For winter heating options for outdoor restaurants, read Comfort Heating Guidelines from the FDNY here and information on Propane Fueled Heaters here. Updated DOB permit application details are here.
- UPDATE: As of October 17, 2020, restaurants can temporarily require customers to pay a “COVID-19 Recovery Charge,” but they must follow certain requirements. Learn about disclosure requirements, limits, and more by reading these FAQs here.
- UPDATE: Governor Cuomo again extended the eviction and foreclosure moratorium for commercial tenants and property owners across New York state amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ban, which runs through Jan. 1, 2021, prohibits landlords from seeking court-authorized removal of any tenant behind on their rent payments, including retail establishments and restaurants.
Grants + Loans
- Looking for grants? Check out this round-up (and apply!) from iFundWomen.com
- Another source of grants for female-founded small businesses in need! The next My Founder Story $500 grant winner will be announced on November 1; apply here.
- Microlender Kiva has expanded their U.S. loan program for small businesses. They offer 0% interest, no-fee loans. Apply at Kiva.
- Women entrepreneurs! Spanx founder Sara Blakely has started the Red Backpack Fund with $5 million to assist female business owners in the wake of the covid-19 crisis. Global Giving will oversee the fund distribution and has been fielding applications for the $5,000 grants; check back regularly for the next round deadlines, here.
To help the city’s small businesses after the impact of COVID-19, Citizens Committee has launched the Neighborhood Business Grants program. Grants of between $5,000 to $10,000 will fill gaps in funding by prioritizing businesses owned by people of color and immigrants. Grants may be made to barber shops, restaurants, food carts, vegetable stands, and other small businesses. Unlike many financial opportunities currently available to small businesses, this program will provide grants rather than loans. The application is intended to be accessible and short, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org APPLY TODAY using this link here.
GRANT OPENING! Announcing the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theaters. Grants will be in amounts between $2,500 – $5,000. Applicants DO NOT need to be members of A.R.T./New York to apply for the relief fund. APPLY TODAY, here.
- Brooklyn Donates is administering grants of between $100 – $3,000 (depending on businesses outdoor sq. footage) to purchase outdoor heaters and/or plexiglass dividers for the coming fall and winter months. Submit your application today, here.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce can provide the following essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for your business through a grant from the Bring Back Brooklyn Fund: Contactless thermometers, safety goggles, gloves, masks, sanitizer, and deep cleaning services via a vetted list of Brooklyn cleaning companies. Apply here for a grant to use for PPE.
- The PBA (Professional Beauty Asociation) COVID-19 Relief Fund will provide $500 to licensed beauty professionals who are unable to work due to COVID-19. Get more info and apply here.
- Hello Alice, Doordash and the NYC Alliance have announced a $5,000 grant program for local restaurants. The grants are part of DoorDash’s Main Street Strong initiative to help restaurants recover and succeed amidst COVID-19 related challenges. Apply here through Nov. 6.
Legal + Financial Assistance
- The Small Business Legal Relief Alliance (SBLRA) serves small businesses, nonprofits and self-employed individuals in with free consultations in practice areas including: loan & grant, tax, commercial lease, contracts, employment, insurance, and intellectual property, among others. Click to request a consultation.
- Free legal assistance for small businesses via City Bar Justice Center, here.
Small Business Resources
- The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has compiled a number of resources for businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Access assistance here.
- Women business owners: the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping small businesses who are suffering substantial economic hardships as a result of the Coronavirus. Complete this form for assistance.
- SBS offers free business courses to guide NYC entrepreneurs through each step to start, operate, and grow a business. See and sign up for all their FREE workshops and seminars (now online), here.
- The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is supporting small businesses by providing local business resources such as loan assistance, sales tax measures, and other relief information. Download The Brooklyn App to tune into their ‘Brooklyn’s Small Business Hotline’ Channel, so your business can communicate with the Chamber seamlessly. Learn more here.
- Need equipment for your Open Restaurant set up? Check out the Directory of Equipment Rentals for Safe Outdoor Dining to find materials for rent or purchase! Learn more here.
- The Mayor announced the launch of MEND NYC, a program to provide mediation to New Yorkers and hospitality businesses across the city who are in disputes over quality-of-life issues. This is a free, innovative alternative that can bring lasting solutions to longstanding local issues that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 crisis, which has caused an increase in complaints to 311. Learn more here.
- Small businesses need rent relief! The Small Business Recovery Lease program, proposed by Councilmembers Brad Lander and Keith Powers, Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, would encourage landlords to renegotiate leases and offer long-term, affordable rents to small businesses as they struggle to recover from this crisis. Sign to support Small Business Recovery Leases and share your story, here.
- SBS held a webinar back in September featuring city agency representatives who shared guidelines, mandates, and best practices information regarding the return of indoor seating. You can view the recorded event on YouTube, here.
- The FAB Fulton Annual Meeting will be held virtually this year, due to gathering capacity regulations. RSVP here to receive the link for the Zoom presentation on Thu., Oct. 22 from 10-11a, which will include a review of the finance report, election of board executives, and a presentation by the Executive Director, Christina Chavez. The meeting is open to the public.
- The Brooklyn Chamber Annual Meeting is set for Nov. 5, from 5:30-7:30p. During the virtual meeting, they plan to recap the year and set the agenda for the new year, outlining how the organization will continue to support, promote, and advocate for Brooklyn’s small business community. Register here.
- The NYC Office of Nightlife Multi-Agency Town Call is back on, Tue., Oct. 20 from 12-1:30p. Get info and ask questions about new indoor and outdoor dining rules and changes. Many city agencies will be on hand for the webinar, including DOT, DOB, FDNY, SBS and others. RSVP here.
- Join NYC SBS partners at the Minority Merchant Council for their Black Businesses Matter virtual town hall, happening Thu., Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. Panelists will discuss solutions to strengthen black businesses during and after COVID-19. RSVP here.
Marketing + Business Operations
- FAB FULTON delis, bodegas and small grocery stores: register your business on the My Bodega Online app for free; let your customers order from you online! Their orders can be ready for pickup for a fast, contactless experience. Fill out the short form here.
- Potential customers will now be able to browse and buy products directly from a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile. Learn more about how to turn your profile into a storefront here.
- If you need to order PPE in bulk, check here. Get a 3% discount if you use the code at checkout: NYCSAVE
- The NYC BID Association has created a proposal for elected officials to act and save our small businesses. Read the full nine point plan here.
- The NYC BID Association is teaming up with OATH and NYC Department of Small Business Services to provide resources to businesses who receive violations during COVID-19. The Help Center can answer information related to how to correct violating conditions, and other queries, seen here. Email them at:
email@example.com or call (212) 436-0845.
- You can protect yourself and others from COVID-19. To prevent further widespread community transmission, use and share these tips from NYC Health + Hospitals on what do to stop the spread of Coronavirus, including prevention, symptoms, and when to get tested. Also, for businesses there are links to download posters and guidance sheets for customers and employees alike. And be sure to check out the list of other helpful government resources in areas of education, transportation and more. Read more here.
- Text COVID to 692-692 to receive regular updates via text message from NYC Health (text COVIDESP to 692-692 for Spanish).