COVID-19 News

May 22, 2020 – NY Forward Loan Fund Announced

Governor Cuomo announced The New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), 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 revenue or rental income as a result of COVID-19 related social distancing policies and stay-at-home order that have materially impacted their operations.
These loans are available to small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords that did not receive a loan from either the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020. The loans are not forgivable in part or whole. The loans will need to be paid back over a 5-year term with interest.
Pre-application for the New York Forward Loan Fund will be open on May 26, 2020 at Noon. 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.

For more information on the NYFLF click HERE.

May 18, 2020 – NY Forward Business Reopening Tool

A new tool is now available to help companies determine whether or not a business is eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which a business must comply. This tool uses information about the company, County, and NAICS code.
Access the Reopening Lookup Tool HERE.
Essential businesses will need to read and affirm guidance and utilize the state’s safety plan template to continue operating. They can use the lookup tool to find their template and affirmation links.

May 15, 2020 – SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Guidance and Application

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans. The SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications. Click HERE to view the application and instructions. It is also available at www.sba.gov/ppp in the Loan Details and Forgiveness section of the webpage.

May 11, 2020 – NY Forward – Southern Tier on Track to Begin Phased Reopening

Southern Tier Phased Reopening 

Governor Cuomo announced the Southern Tier, which includes Tompkins County, is on track to begin a regional, phased reopening. Starting on May 15th, the Southern Tier can begin a phased re-opening as follows:

  • Phase 1 – Construction, Manufacturing and wholesale supply chain, Curbside pick-up service for Retail, and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting
  • Phase 2 – Professional Services, Finance and Insurance, Retail, Administrative Support and Real Estate/Rental Leasing
  • Phase 3 – Restaurants/Food services and Hotels/Accommodations
  • Phase 4 – Arts/Entertainment/Recreation, Education
It is anticipated that at least 14 days will follow each phase.
Industry Guidelines
Industry Guidelines for Phase One Reopening  are now available HERE.
The site includes a link for businesses to read and affirm detailed guidelines, and a printable business safety plan template (links provided below to businesses included in phase one). More details on the four phases and specific types of businesses can also be found at the above link.

Essential Businesses

 (UPDATE May 18,2020: Essential businesses will need to read and affirm guidance and utilize the state’s safety plan template to continue operating. Use the Reopening Lookup Tool HERE, to find templates and affirmation links.

Business owners must read the “Detailed Guidelines” for their industries and provide their digital signature affirming they have read and understand the document.

Construction
Agriculture, forestry, Fishing & Hunting
Retail Trade
Manufacturing
Wholesale Trade
NY Forward Reopening Plan

A guide to the State’s “NY Forward Reopening” Plan is available HERE.

Regional Monitoring Dashboard
The Governor also launched the regional monitoring dashboard, which is available HERE. The dashboard monitors hospitalization rates, death rates, number of new hospitalizations, hospital bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, testing and contact tracing capacity. Regional Control Rooms have been established to monitor the dashboard metrics within each region during reopening, alert the State if the region’s metrics no longer meet the reopening guidelines, and adjust the regional reopening plan accordingly. Members of each regional control room can be found HERE.

Business Reopening Plans

Businesses will need to self-certify through a portal (not yet available), and will be required to have a plan in place in each location, identifying safety measures that have been taken to protect employees and consumers, make the physical workspace safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business. The State’s guidance so far is as follows:
Employees and Customers
  • Adjustments to workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace
  • Enacting social distancing protocols
  • Restricting non-essential travel for employees.
Physical Workspace
  • Requiring all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent close contact with others
  • Implementing strict cleaning and sanitation standards.
Processes
  • Continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace
  • Continuous tracing, tracking and reporting of cases
  • Develop liability processes
There are many industry associations that have been distributing best practices for re-opening and we recognize that each business will need to develop their own plans that work for them.

Resources for Reopening:

The Tompkins County Health Department launched a new website – Tompkins Moving Forward Toward Reopening with additional resources.
PPE for Essential Workers – Cloth masks are available for essential workers from the Tompkins County Emergency Operations Center. Read more here
Access to COVID-19 testing is available to all essential workers.
Testing for COVID-19 is available for essential workers at the Cayuga Health Sampling Site. Register / More Information

May 6, 2020

Alternatives Federal Credit Union (AFCU) has approved a historic, $1.4 million 0% interest rate, repayable, “Alternatives Federal Credit Union Community Assistance Loan Fund.” The funds will be available individuals, businesses, organizations, and nonprofits who have suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are open to both current members and non-members of the credit union. Press Release

May 4, 2020

Today Governor Cuomo outlined additional guidelines for when regions can re-open. The State will monitor four core factors to determine if a region may re-open. Find out more HERE.  Watch the press conference.

May 1, 2020

Governor Cuomo announced schools in NYS will remain closed through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

April 27, 2020

NYS Plans for Re-opening
In yesterday’s briefing, Governor Cuomo began to talk about plans for reopening the state in phases, with a regional analysis and determination. The first phase will be to reopen construction and manufacturing with low risk. The second phase will add more business re-openings and most likely include schools. There will be at least 14 days between phases to monitor and correct if necessary. During both phases no attractions or openings that draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area will be allowed. To learn more about Governor Cuomo’s plan click HERE

 

TCAD is working with the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council to provide guidance on regional planning for re-opening. We will share additional information as it becomes available.

 

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Act
The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications today at 10:30 AM EDT from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation.
On April 23rd, the federal government approved the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Act, a smaller bill that we are referring to as CARES 3.5. The act authorized additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program as follows:
Paycheck Protection Program – For information on the PPP
  • Additional $310 billion in funding
  • $30 billion carve-out for lenders with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion
  • $30 billion carve-out for small lenders with less than $10 billion in assets
  • Additional $50 billion for SBA Disaster Loan Program
Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program – For information on Disaster Assistance
  • Additional $10 billion in funding (on top of $10 billion in CARES Act)
  • Expands eligibility to agricultural enterprises with less than 500 employees

April 23, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Act – The federal government has approved the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Act, a smaller bill, which authorizes additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program.

Cloth Masks Available for Immediate Distribution to Essential Businesses from the Tompkins County Emergency Operations Center –  Essential businesses that need cloth masks for their employees are encouraged to make requests through this form. Guidance on what businesses and organizations are essential is given by Empire State Development.

Learn more on how to request masks for essential workers

TOMPKINS COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT – Your Partner for a Healthy Community Frank Kruppa – Public Health Director FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 22, 2020 For media inquiries: Samantha Hillson, 607-274-6600, shillson@tompkins-co.org For general inquiries: Call 2-1-1 or 877-211-8667

Cloth Masks Available for Immediate Distribution to Essential Businesses from the Tompkins County Emergency Operations Center (Ithaca, NY – April 22, 2020) – Essential businesses that need cloth masks for their employees are encouraged to make requests through this form. Guidance on what businesses and organizations are essential is given by Empire State Development. New York State Executive Order 202.16 states: For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law. This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.

The form to request cloth masks for your essential business was made in partnership with the Tompkins Chamber and other local mask-making efforts. Please fill out the form to make a request. You can also request hand sanitizer through the form. A Tompkins County official will follow up with you on where and when to pick up your designated masks.

Guidance on the use of masks can be found here. Frank Kruppa, Public Health Director said “It has been incredible to see the outpouring of support from our community to help provide masks to essential workers. The emergency operations center has been able to coordinate the collection and production of masks that we are able to make available for immediate distribution.” Kruppa continued “It’s important that people remember that masks protect others from the wearer – essentially my mask protects you and your mask protects me.” Guidance continues to be that individuals should stay home unless absolutely necessary, including if you are an essential worker, have a medical need, or need groceries. More information and updates available on the Tompkins County Health Department website. Find us on Facebook @TompkinsPublicHealth and Twitter@TompkinsHealth. -end-

April 22, 2020

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or “PUA,” is a federal program that was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program provides support for Americans who are unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic, but do not qualify for traditional unemployment insurance (UI).

April 21, 2020

Governor Cuomo announced the state will take a regional approach to reopening and will make decisions on which counties and regions to open and when to open them based on the facts and data specific to that area. Read more

April 14, 2020

Main Street Lending Program: Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF):(April 9, 2020) The Federal Reserve released details on the $600 billion Main Street Lending Program which is intended to support small and mid-sized businesses by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion (note the 500-employee floor for mid-sized companies was omitted). Some program highlights include:

  • Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year.
  • Eligible banks may originate new Main Street loans or use Main Street loans to increase the size of existing loans to businesses.
  • Firms that have taken advantage of the PPP may also take out Main Street loans.
  • The minimum loan amount for both programs is $1 million and the MSNLF max loan is $25 million and the MSELF max loan is $$150 million

Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF)
Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF)

Guidance on safe workplace practices from Tompkins County Health Director, Frank Kruppa.

Per the Governor’s Executive Order  202.16, “For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law.  This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.”

 

April 10, 2020

Empire State Development (ESD) Update on Essential Services Designations

Deferral of the Payroll Tax Payments for Employers: Employers can delay the payment of their 2020 payroll taxes (6.2% of FICA taxes) until 2021 and 2022, leading to approximately $300 billion of extra cash flow for businesses. The IRS recently released a FAQ on  the deferral, clarifying that there is no penalty or interest on the deferral, and that self-employed individuals may defer the payment of 50% of the social security tax on self-employment income.

April 9, 2020

Employee Retention Tax Credit

Eligible employers can claim the employee retention credit, a refundable tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in qualified wages (including health plan expenses), paid after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021.  Eligible employers are those businesses with operations that have been partially or fully suspended due to governmental orders due to COVID-19, or businesses that have a significant decline in gross receipts compared to 2019.

The refundable credit is capped at $5,000 per employee and applies against certain employment taxes on wages paid to all employees.  Eligible employers can reduce federal employment tax deposits in anticipation of the credit.  They can also request an advance of the employee retention credit for any amounts not covered by the reduction in deposits.

April 8, 2020

Governor Cuomo directed the State Department of Labor to make $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits available to all New Yorkers. This extends the period covered by unemployment benefits for another 13 Weeks, for a total of 39 Weeks.

New York seeks private sector partners to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to scale and accelerate testing capacity. Businesses interested in working with the state to manufacture these rapid tests on a large scale should contact Empire State Development through their online portal at  https://esd.ny.gov/sourcing-covid-19-products-nys

The State is partnering with the company Headspace to provide New Yorkers with free meditation and mindfulness resources to address mental health during this public health crisis. New Yorkers can access a collection of free guided meditations, along with at-home mindfulness exercises and additional resources to help address rising stress and anxiety. Visit www.headspace.com/ny.

For food  manufacturing and farm constituencies who are experiencing disruption based on COVID-19, or have questions about employee health and safety, Cornell has a number of resources, particularly to support the  food manufacturing and processing industries.  While the university is largely closed and operating remotely, they are still  supporting food manufacturing  in NYS and will be offering their normal regulatory required “food process authority” validation services to food manufacturers – particularly if they have to change an ingredient or a sanitation practice due to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions.
More information can be found at the links below:

April 6, 2020

  • New York on Pause extended – All non-essential workers must continue to work from home and schools will be closed through April 29th.
  • United States Bartenders Guild’s (USBG’s) National Charity Foundation has created a Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (BEAP) to assist bartenders experiencing catastrophic events and emergency hardships. More information can be found on the USBG NCF website HERE
  • Find a message from NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Ball to the agricultural community with resources found HERE
  • The NYS Department of Tax and Finance has issued information for businesses about abatement of penalties and interest for sales and use taxes. If you are a quarterly or annual sales tax vendor, and you were unable to file or pay your March 20, 2020, sales tax return due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply to have penalty and interest waived. Visit the NYS Tax and Finance website to learn more and apply HERE
  • The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) has issued guidance for VC firms and portfolio companies to provide resources that will support and are usable for VC-backed companies. More information is available on the NVCA’s COVID-19 Resource Webpage HERE
  • The NYS Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection is urging New Yorkers to call 1-800-697-1220 to report unfair price increases of products such as household cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus outbreak.

 

April 3, 2020

UPDATE FROM THE SBA: Small businesses can now apply for the Paycheck Protection Program. The program is designed to keep small business workers employed & provide small businesses with capital through the nation’s banks & other lending institutions.

Which SBA loan program is best for your small business? Join NYSBDC Binghamton’s advisors at a virtual lunch & learn on Tuesday, April 7th at 12:00pm and have your questions about SBA loans answered. Register for free HERE.

NYPA yesterday announced that it was waiving applicable energy and demand rate increases for its economic development power customers that participate in its ReCharge New York, Replacement Power, Expansion Power, and Preservation Power programs for the July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021 rate year. In addition, customers participating in those NYPA power programs are now able to suspend payment to NYPA for up to six months beginning with their April 2020 electric bill. Customers that opt-in to the new relief program can make payment installments over the following 18-months, free from any interest or penalties. For more information, visit NYPA’s website.

 

April 2, 2020

Business Loan Assistance in the Southern Tier – The Agency (Broome County IDA/LDC) is offering loan assistance to businesses in eight counties including Tompkins County. The Agency has modified existing loan funds to be responsive to the immediate needs for cash flow that many businesses are experiencing. Loans will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and there is approximately $1,000,000 in funds available for lending. Click HERE for information.

 

April 1, 2020

Tompkins County has developed “Workforce ReDirect,” the local Job Board to help newly available workers connect to opportunities in essential industries serving the County at this time.

March 30, 2020

SBA Paycheck Protection Program – The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is part of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion federal stimulus package passed on March 27. The PPP provides loans of up to $10 million to support small businesses and other eligible entities to pay workers, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, insurance, paid sick or medical leave, utilities, and payroll related costs incurred from Feb. 15, 2020 – June 30, 2020. For full details of the PPP Program, see the FAQ attached.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program – The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program provides small businesses and non-profits with low-interest 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 due COVID-19. For full details of the EIDL Program, see the FAQ attached.

For guidance, you can contact the Binghamton Small Business Development Center (SBDC):
Phone: (607) 777-4024
Fax: (607) 777-4029
Email Address: sbdc@binghamton.edu
Website: http://sbdc.binghamton.edu/

On Friday, guidance was revised related to essential construction businesses. Current guidance per the Executive Order states that essential construction may continue and includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.

March 26, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 National Emergency, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Express Bridge Loan (EBL) Pilot Program has been modified and the term extended. The EBL Pilot Program is designed to supplement the Agency’s direct disaster loan capabilities and authorizes SBA Express Lenders to provide expedited SBA-guaranteed bridge loan financing on an emergency basis in amounts up to $25,000 for disaster-related purposes to small businesses located in communities affected by Presidentially-declared disasters while those small businesses apply for and await long-term financing (including through SBA’s direct Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, if eligible).

  • The general eligibility requirements for the EBL are as follows:
    Small businesses must have an existing banking relationship with a Lender that is an SBA Express Lender.
  • EBL loans for the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration can be approved through March 13, 2021.
  • The Lender must have an existing banking relationship with the EBL applicant as of the date of the applicable disaster in order to help mitigate the risks associated with the streamlined underwriting process under the EBL Pilot Program.
  • The small business must have been operational when the declared disaster commenced and must meet all other 7(a) loan eligibility requirements (credit elsewhere, size, etc.)

Contact your local Lender to inquire about this program.

March 23, 2020

If you are an employee and believe your employer is in violation of either existing labor laws or recently issued Executive Orders. The Attorney General has established a hotline and an email you can now direct those concerns to:


March 22, 2020

New York State on PAUSE

March 20, 2020

Businesses that rely on in-office personnel MUST decrease their in-office workforce by 100% by Sunday evening. Executive Order 202.8

For guidance on determining whether a business is subject to a workforce reduction under EO 202.6 click HERE

March 19, 2020

Governor Cuomo called for businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent. This follows the Governor’s directive yesterday that all businesses implement work-from-home policies. Exemptions will be made for essential service industries, including shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, and other industries critical to the supply chain.

March 18, 2020

Governor Cuomo mandated that employers reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 50% no later than March 20 at 8 p.m. Any essential business or entity providing essential services or functions shall not be subject to the in-person restrictions. Essential businesses are listed in Executive Order 202.6 posted 3/18.

ESD has set up a web portal for individuals and businesses with business-related COVID-19 issues and questions.  The portal, staffed by ESD colleagues, has already responded to dozens of inquires that have come in from residents and companies across New York State.

ESD’s Business-FAQ, found on their website, has been updated with the latest available guidance and information regarding COVID-19, and other links will continue to be added and resources that are of interest to the state’s business community.

Many businesses and organizations have expressed a desire to support New York State as it responds to the virus outbreak.  Individuals or groups looking to volunteer or contribute to the State’s effort should contact the Governor’s Office at covid19assistance@exec.ny.gov.