Check out our regularly updated roundup of resources for small businesses navigating the coronavirus pandemic!
LAST UPDATE: 11-30-20
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 email@example.com
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Open Storefronts is now live and available from NYC DOT! The program assists existing ground-floor storefront businesses who want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis, Oct. 30 to Dec. 31, 2020. Learn more and apply here.
- Governor Cuomo announced new COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and residential gatherings in New York State. Starting Fri., Nov. 13, bars, restaurants and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Delivery and curbside food pick-up without alcohol may continue after 10 p.m. Additionally, gyms are required to close daily at 10 p.m. Also, indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences will be limited to 10 people. Read details of the restrictions here.
- The City of New York has important updates on the Open Restaurants Program to make all roadway seating areas as safe as possible. These safety enhancements will help structures better withstand the stresses that winter may bring – such as slippery roads, snow removal operations, and snow piles pushing against barricades. Because these have not been published anywhere online yet, please see all details below:ROADWAY BARRIERSAdjustments required by December 15, 2020
Sandbags, reflector tape, snow sticks, and plastic barriers will be available to all participants, free of charge. Limited deliveries of plastic barriers will be made to the “high priority” restaurants; those restaurants will be contacted separately. All other distribution and pickup details to follow.ENCLOSURES
- Barriers must have a fully built interior wall and bottom to hold filler material.
- All 18-inch roadway barriers must be completely filled with soil or sand.
- Continuous reflector tape must be added along the top outside edges, and snow sticks must be added to the corners of the two barriers facing traffic.
- A plastic water-filled barrier in front of the roadway barrier facing oncoming traffic will be required for a majority of restaurants; “high priority” restaurants for whom a water-filled barrier will be required will be identified based on the street’s crash rates and traffic volumes, as well as if it’s a truck route. These restaurants will be contacted separately to confirm this requirement applies to them. For all other restaurants, similarly placed water-filled barriers are highly recommended.
- New York State outdoor dining guidelines permit installing a temporary or fixed cover (e.g. awning, roof or tent) so long as it has at least two open sides for airflow. Of the two sides that need to be open, one must be parallel to the roadway. If at least the two sides are completely open, you may exceed 25% capacity as long as existing outdoor dining guidelines are followed, (e.g., 6′ between tables, no more than 10 people seated at one table). If fewer than the two sides are completely open, the occupancy limit will be capped at 25% capacity, and all indoor dining guidelines must be followed.
- Enclosed structures, such as plastic domes, will be allowed for individual parties and must have adequate ventilation to allow for air circulation.
- For restaurants with roof structures, the city will be releasing tips and guidance on how to make them secure, as well as quick action to remove snow from roofs, awnings, and tents.
- Only electrical heaters are allowed within the roadway setups.
- Additional restrictions apply to restaurants in New York State Hot Spot Zones [https://forward.ny.gov/
- During an active snow alert:
- Diners may not sit in roadway setups. Please remove or secure any tables and chairs.
- All electrical heaters in roadway set ups must be removed.
- If possible, remove any overhead coverings or regularly remove the snow until the snow alert ends.
- If 12″ or more of snow is forecast:
- Remove or consolidate your roadway setups to have as small a footprint as possible along the curb.
- If you’re unable to remove or consolidate your roadway setup, you are encouraged to take steps to protect your asset from damage due to snow removal operations. The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has conducted training exercises that included simulated snow removal operations on narrow streets with roadway setups on both sides. DSNY will conduct targeted outreach to restaurants to ensure setups meet DOT siting criteria and that roads can be efficiently plowed and remain passable.
- Use your snow sticks to increase visibility of your setup components if they are moved.
The Governor’s Executive Order 202.74 established new restrictions for gyms, restaurants, bars, and more. Check out this FAQ here for guidance on those updated restrictions.
- As of this week, all e-bikes (Class 1-3) are allowed in NYC. E-Bike riders may use BikeNYC lanes and should wear helmets. Helmets are also required for delivery cyclists. More details from NYC DOT here.
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 December 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.
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 email@example.com APPLY TODAY using this link 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.
- Discover is committed to giving $5 million to Black-owned restaurants, granting awards of $25K each to 200 businesses. (One of our area restaurants, Likkle Jamaican Dumpling House, already won!) Find out how you can be considered for an #EatItForward award here.
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.
- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process can be confusing. Pace Small Business Development Center can help! Check out the PPP forgiveness page on their website for the latest updates on the program, or make an appointment for one-to-one guidance at no cost.
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.
- We have more masks available for FAB-area businesses and their staff; please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to receive some!
- Join Commissioner Lorelei Salas for a conversation about the new amendments to NYC’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Act, what they mean for employers, and when they take effect. It’s a virtual roundtable, scheduled for Fri., Dec. 11 from 10-11am.
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.
- The NYC Hospitality Alliance released results of a wide survey they conducted to measure the impact of COVID-19 and governmental restrictions on the restaurant industry. A staggering 88 percent of more than 400 respondents said they could not pay full rent this past month. Read more facts and figures here.
- Interested in a Holiday Market? We’re polling FAB FULTON businesses (and other local bizs) to see if a market at Putnam Triangle is feasible. Complete our survey if you’d want to participate!
- 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)