TCAD unveils coronavirus resource portal at TCAD.org, works with businesses and community leaders on economic recovery strategies

Coronavirus has upended business as we know it, creating a “new normal” from which the world hopes to soon emerge from. At Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD), the economic development group for Ithaca and Tompkins County, N.Y., it is incumbent upon us to provide valuable information to area business owners as quickly as possible. We’ve become a go-to source for the community, pointing those impacted by COVID-19 toward federal, state and local resources that can help them outlast the economic effects of this viral illness and mitigate the impact on individuals and families. Our homepage at tcad.org has become the first stop for many seeking assistance, and we’ll continue to avail ourselves to the community, identify applicable business resources and strategies, and work to maintain Tompkins County’s uniquely strong economy.

With coronavirus cases approaching 230,000 in the U.S., including nearly 100,000 in New York State alone, the uncertainty associated with this pandemic has only heightened in recent weeks, especially among small businesses as they attempt to retain staff and/or continue essential operations. Within the medical community, New York has become coronavirus’ global epicenter, especially its downstate metro area. While efforts are being made to “flatten the curve,” medical professionals expect social distancing measures to last for months.

In the meantime, , we’ll continue to work tirelessly with our diverse business roster and local organizations. We want our community to know: We understand the fear and uncertainty – the anxiety about both the near- and long-term health of not only our businesses but of each and every member of our community.

Health & Community First

As this situation unfolds, TCAD will work to ease the financial strain of our loan fund clients, and we continue to partner with civic leaders to share information and make plans for a robust economic recovery. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that many area businesses and organizations continue to provide valuable services to our economy. Here are two:

Ithaca-based Rheonix, a developer of fully automated molecular testing solutions, is looking to streamline COVID-19 testing processes by creating an efficient, portable testing method that can boost sample analysis exponentially. While the method is pending FDA approval, Rheonix is hopeful that its testing can become a useful medical resource for central and western New York. At TCAD, we are proud to have Rheonix’s quick thinking and innovation in our community.

Another Ithaca business, Collegetown Bagels, recently announced that its East State Street location will become a community kitchen, assisting those who may have trouble paying for food. Collegetown is making pre-packaged soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees available on a “pay-what-you-can” basis.

Homepage Portal

As mentioned, TCAD has transformed its homepage into a critical resource platform. We’ve segmented the page into key areas we believe may provide immediate assistance to those affected by COVID-19. This includes news from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, volunteer opportunities, as well as business and health resources. TCAD has centralized crucial information from various state and federal agencies.

For example, TCAD notes that Tompkins County (and all of New York State) has officially been approved for Economic Injury Disaster (EID) Recovery Loans from the Small Business Administration. What’s more, we note that New York State’s Business Development Center (SBDC), included on the site, can guide applicants through the entire process of applying for EID loans, including help with document collection, conducting the pro forma and assisting with the application. You can contact Ithaca’s SBDC Business Advisor, Lindsay Wolf, for immediate assistance.

At TCAD, we’re also pointing community members to key insight from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective April 1, 2020, which requires certain employers with less than 500 employees to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

Included amongst updated health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), is contact information for the Tompkins County Health Department, along with the New York Department of Health – and its helplines for medical information and emotional support. You’ll find this and more at tcad.org.

In Closing…

The community spirit remains strong in Ithaca. Residents are helping residents; businesses are pooling resources and medical professionals continue to wage a silent war on their own “frontlines.” Let’s not forget that our community is resilient and strong,

comprised of hard-working, caring individuals. The key to outlasting the COVID-19 spread is to do so together, utilizing various resources, listening to the medical community, creating innovative approaches and encouraging one another.

For all business matters, TCAD will continue to be here, ready to work with you. We’re confident that Ithaca will reemerge from this challenging moment stronger than ever.