Check out our regularly updated roundup of resources for small businesses navigating the coronavirus pandemic!
LAST UPDATE: 1-20-21
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 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.
- 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.
- 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: Governor Cuomo signed new legislation to again extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium for commercial and tenants and property owners. The new ban, runs through Jan. 31, 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 fall, 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.
- DSNY has been working closely with agency and community partners to develop additional tips and guidance for restaurant operators as the Open Restaurant program moves into the winter season. Head here for safety protocols that will be rolled out for roadway and sidewalk restaurants in the event of snowfall.
- Based on contact tracing data and the current (rising) hospitalization rates citywide, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that all indoor dining in NYC will stop on Monday, December 14. All restaurants with outdoor seating, takeout, and delivery services can continue serving.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- Gusto and IFundWomen have teamed up to support four (4) early-stage women-owned small businesses, each with a $2,500 grant to help them jumpstart a year of growth in 2021. Hurry and apply here; deadline is Dec. 30.
- Robin Hood and ROAR have partnered to offer cash assistance grants to restaurant workers and food service workers who have lost employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including recent indoor dining shutdowns. Cash assistance is available for qualified applicants on a first come, first serve basis, in the amount of $500 per individual, until funds are exhausted. Go here to get more details and apply.
- Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund, a partnership between New York State, Diageo Wine & Spirits, Southern Glazer Wines & Spirits and The National Development Council (NDC) is intended to support full-service restaurants – the industry hit hardest by the pandemic – during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited and as restaurants adjust to New York State’s COVID-19 safety restrictions and new mandates. Restaurants can apply to the Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund for reimbursement grants up to $5,000 starting Monday, January 11, 2021. Details here.
- Apply to the James Beard Foundation Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans! The fund will provide $15K grants to Black and Indigenous food and beverage businesses. Read the criteria here and gather materials to submit the application on January 11 at 3 pm ET.
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.
- NEW: The New York Forward Small Business Lease Assistance Partnership (LAP) is a public-private partnership between Empire State Development, the nonprofit Start Small Think Big, and the New York Bar Association, to help avoid business evictions. The initiative provides commercial tenants and small business landlords with pro bono legal services, and the information needed to reach a mutually agreeable lease renegotiation. Learn more and sign up for assistance here.
- SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS! If you are interested in PPP Part 2, applications open soon: 1st draw applications open on Jan. 11; 2nd draw applications open Jan. 13. NOW is the time to get your paperwork in order and contact your lender!
- NYC Office of Nightlife: Town Call for Hospitality Businesses takes place on Thu., Jan. 21 from 1-2:30p. Get the latest information about: new federal stimulus benefits; re-launch of PPP and EIDL loans; Save Our Stages (aka Shuttered Venues) grants; and Commercial Lease Assistance program + other City resources. Register to attend this online event here.
- Have questions about accessing federal funds including the PPP and EIDL? NYC SBS is here to help! Visit here to find info about daily webinars, 1-on-1 assistance, connections to PPP lenders, and more.
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.
- We still have masks available for FAB-area businesses and their staff; please reach out to us at email@example.com if you’d like to receive some!
- How does a business survive the pandemic? Should you grow, pivot, hunker down and ride it out or even consider closing down? In this Brooklyn Library workshop on Tue., Jan. 19, from 6-7:30p, you will learn how to assess your options and choose the best path for your business. Sign up now, 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.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
- Get updates about vaccination eligibility and vaccination locations at nyc.gov/vaccinelocations