These times of uncertainty are when a sense of community is needed the most.
We stand by each other now with encouragement, armed with resilience and adaptability.
With preparedness and positivity, we face the future.
New York Travel Advisory
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced new guidelines allowing out-of-state travelers to New York to "test out" of the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York will continue to be exempt from the travel advisory; however, covered travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Essential workers will continue to be exempt as well. The new protocol is effective Wednesday, November 4.
Please also note that Vermont has also instituted a policy that requires those coming from areas with certain COVID caseloads quarantine upon entry to the state for “leisure” travel. Find the advisory and details of requirements here: accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/
Free Signage Downloads
Each sign features text with all three reminders, so businesses can display all three or just one.
Download a print ready .pdf using the links beneath each image. There are two size options for each image: 8.5x11 and 11x17
Click here to download the signs to use at your business!
As New York State continues to reopen in phases, businesses will need to make sure they are compliant with rules, regulations and policies on informing staff of safety measures. The Business Council has created signs that can be downloaded and used at your businesses. Click the links below for more informaiton.
Social Distancing Signs
'Do Not Enter' Sign
New Requirements for Restaurants
On July 16, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all restaurants and bars statewide will be subject to new requirements that they must only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food and that all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers. Under current law, only establishments that serve food are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages. Click here for more information.In addition the National Restaurant Association released a blueprint for revival document. Click here to view the Blueprint.
Update on Unemployment Insurance
While the extra $600 benefit has not been extended, the amount of time to claim unemployment has been extended. This means if people exhaust their 26 weeks of unemployment, there are extended benefits for additional weeks but at a lower rate of pay without the added $600.
Click here for an FAQ on Unemployment Insurance.
Mask/ Social Distancing Enforcement
The NYS Department of Health has issued an emergency rule, effective Thursday July 9, 2020 (available here) that addresses the enforcement of several “social distancing” measures.
Perhaps most significant, the rule (Section 66-3.2) imposes an explicit, enforceable requirement on all building owners and operators:
• Business operators and building owners, and those authorized on their behalf shall deny admittance to any person who fails to comply with this section [requiring face-coverings] and shall require or compel such persons’ removal. Provided, however, that this regulation shall be applied in a manner consistent with the federal American with Disabilities Act, New York State or New York City Human Rights Law, and any other applicable provision of law.
The rule does specify that any individual violating any provision of this rule is subject to civil penalty up to $1,000 per violation, while businesses are subject to civil penalties specified in statute, up to $2,000 per day of violation.
Click here for more information.
Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel
New York State joined with New Jersey and Connecticut in jointly issuing a travel advisory for anyone returning from travel to states that have a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19.
All travelers entering New York who have recently traveled within a state with either:
• a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average; or
• a testing positivity rate of higher than a 10% over a seven-day rolling average, will be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days consistent with the Department of Health (DOH) regulations for quarantine. Data used to construct the metrics that determine the designated states from which individuals must quarantine is detailed in the tables posted publicly by all 50 states. Analysis of the metrics will be conducted weekly to determine if travelers from other states qualify. The designated states with significant community spread will be conspicuously posted on the DOH website and will be updated weekly.
Guidelines and links from New York State related to reopening
(Update 7/1) — The Capital Region is now in Phase 4 as expected. Click here for more information.
(Update 6/24) — Phase 4 Guidance is now available. Click here for more information. Gatherings of 50 people or less will be permitted in Phase 4. Indoor religious gatherings at 33% room capacity will be allowed.
Sports & Recreation Guidelines — NYS has issued Sports & Recreation Guidelines categorizing low to high risk sports. Click here to view the summary guideance.
(Update 6/17) — The Capital Region entered Phase Three on Wednesday, June 17, a few days after the North Country. Click here for more information.
(Update 6/14) — Governor Andrew Cuomo Announces Low-Risk Youth Sports for Regions in Phase Three Can Begin on July 6thGovernor Cuomo Announces Low-Risk Youth Sports for Regions in Phase Three Can Begin on July 6th
(Update 6/4) — Private pools at campgrouns and lodging businesses are now allowed with restrictions in Phase Two.
Each region will reopen businesses in phases, with at least two weeks in between each phase. This allows state and local leaders to monitor the effects of the reopening and ensure hospitalization and infection rates are not increasing before moving to the next phase and permitting more economic activity.
The phase-in plan prioritizes businesses considered to have a greater economic impact and inherently low risks of infection for the workers and customers, followed by other businesses considered to have less economic impact, and those that present a higher risk of infection spread.
Additionally, when phasing-in reopenings, regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
Regions must meet seven metrics to reopen.
- Retail - Curbside Pickup
- Wholesale Trade (Newly Added)
- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (Newly Added)
- Professional Services
- Administrative Support
- Real Estate / Rental & Leasing
- Restaurants / Food Services
- Personal Care
- Arts / Entertainment / Recreation
Supplies & Resources
Please review these resources for best practices and cleaning standards in the hospitality industry:
- Operating Guidelines & Best Practices for the New York State Hospitality Industry
- Enhanced industry-wide hotel cleaning standards
UPDATED 4/22: The Office of the NYS Comptroller has produced a COVID-19 Financial Survival Toolkit for New Yorkers. Click here to view it.
Loans & Economic Disaster Funding
The Warren County Local Development Corp. has created a new loan program to help small businesses recover from economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $200,000 has been allocated for loans of up to $15,000 each with a 4% interest rate. Repayment of a loan must be within 4 years, with loan payments deferred for the first two months. There is no prepayment penalty.Eligibility requirements include:
No application cost, though a closing fee of up to $125 may be required.
- Applicants must be either sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed, or an LLC operating within Warren County. Cannot previously have received Payroll Protection Plan or other loans.
- Businesses must have 20 or fewer full/part time employees.
- Loans may be used for working capital, payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage and monthly expenses.
- Adirondack Economic Development Corporation (AEDC): Disaster loans for working capital. (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Oneida, Oswego, Lewis, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren, Washington counties)
- North Country Alliance COVID-19 Emergency Business Relief Program (Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton Counties)
- Lake Champlain – Lake George Regional Planning Board COVID-19 Business Interruption Micro-Loan Program (Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Warren and Washington Counties)
The Post-Star has launched a Local Marketing Grant program. This program offers matching marketing funds to local businesses whose livelihood has been impacted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Click here to read more.
GRANT FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR RESTAURANTS – Restaurant Strong Fund. Samuel Adams is offering a $1,000 grant to restaurant workers now in 20 states. Samuel Adams and The Greg Hill Foundation are bringing the successful Restaurant Strong Fund to 20 total states to aid the restaurant workers impacted by the Covid-19 closures. Following the success of the Massachusetts launch in mid-March, Samuel Adams is donating over $2,000,000 to kickstart funding in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont.Applications available up until Friday April 24th:Form:REQUIREMENTS:
- Full-time restaurant employee (Min. 30 hours/week, can be multiple restaurants)
- Employed for 3 months or longer at the same location
- Worked in a restaurant, bar, cafe or nightclub
- Submit the last two pay stubs received
- Non-profits can apply for funds through the Tri-County United Way! They are getting these dollars into our local community quickly, by funding nonprofit partners and service providers working directly with those disproportionately impacted by this challenging landscape. Generous donations from residents continue to grow the fund, as the need for community support is expected to increase. So far, we’ve raised more than $20,000 thanks to generous philanthropic, individual and community gifts. They worked quickly to form a Response Fund Allocations Committee tasked with guiding and overseeing the Fund and created an online application process through which community-based organizations can apply for Funding. Click here to read more and to see the application.
- Stewart's Shops is offering grant funding to non-profits. At this time, they are encouraging nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 to reach out for additional help for sustainability. Grants will be given on a case by case scenario as they come in. There is no deadline for submission. Click here for an application.
Updated 4/12/20: A message from Empire State Development’s Division of Small Business & Technology Development:
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the urgent need for professional assistance and advice for NYS based Small Businesses, we are leveraging the Business Mentor NY system as a method of connecting small businesses in need of help with the growing number of business professionals that are stepping up to volunteer to help in this time of crisis.
From around the state businesspeople are stepping up to act as Mentors that can guide small businesses through this crisis with financial and related advice on acquiring capital and applying for and leveraging various disaster resources including the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. This COVID-19 Volunteer Mentor Task Force is comprised of business people from various disciplines, and they have volunteered to try to help you!
Business Mentor NY is the state's first large scale, web-based, hands-on mentoring program geared to help entrepreneurs and established small businesses overcome challenges to grow. Mentor volunteers act as pro-bono advisors or sounding boards for the small business owners that are looking for guidance. Providing a potential solution to accessing needed information and expertise through a streamlined process, enabled by technology.
It is as simple as visiting the website businessmentor.ny.gov and creating a 10-minute profile by clicking Join Now.
Simply use the search tool to select someone you think could help and start a conversation online. Once you connect you communicate in whatever way you both choose.
For more information refer to the “Walkthrough for Business Seeking Help with COVID-19” document.
Also you can visit: https://esd.ny.gov/small-
Together we will survive and move forward!
- Question: My Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) was approved but the amount was lower than I was expecting, why is it lower?
- Question: I read that the EIDL program provides up to $2 million per loan. Will it be possible to increase my loan amount?
UPDATED 4/29: The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act was signed into law on April 24, 2020. The SBA resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020.
The SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first-come, first-served basis. They will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises) as soon as possible. Click here for more information.
As part of our coronavirus debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Borrowers do not need to apply for this assistance. It will be automatically provided as follows:
- For loans not on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
- For loans currently on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due after the deferment period has ended, and will make six monthly payments.
- For loans made after March 27, 2020 and fully disbursed prior to September 27, 2020, SBA will begin making payments with the first payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
SBA has notified 7(a), 504 and Microloan Lenders that it will pay these borrower loan payments. Lenders have been instructed to refrain from collecting loan payments from borrowers. If a borrower's payment was collected after March 27, 2020, lenders were instructed to inform the borrower that they have the option of having the loan payment returned by the lender or applying the loan payment to further reduce the loan balance after SBA's payment.
Borrowers should contact their lender if they have any questions regarding this payment relief.
UPDATED 4/20: Intuit Quickbooks users can apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, though the $349 billion limite has been reached, these applications will be submitted if and when they are able. Read on below:
"At this time, the Small Business Administration has stopped accepting applications for Paycheck Protection Program loans because the processed loan volume has reached the $349 billion level currently authorized by the CARES Act. We are actively monitoring the situation, and hope more funding will become available. We recommend that you complete your application now with QuickBooks Capital. If and when we are able, we will submit your application to the Small Business Administration. Given the large demand for any such additional funds and our funding capacity, not every qualified Paycheck Protection Program applicant will receive a loan." Click here for more information.
UPDATED 4/15: PayPal has been approved to provide access to Paycheck Protection Program loan. Click here to read more.
UPDATED 4/8: The U.S. Treasury Department has issued a new FAQ on the Paycheck Protection Program Loans. This includes questions related to seasonal businesses.
UPDATED 4/3: On April 2, 2020 the SBA issued an interim final rule regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that contains material changes and additional guidance that borrowers must be aware of in order to properly apply for the PPP. Consistent with this rule, the SBA also released the final application for the PPP.
Some helpful articles on the CARES Act and SBA loans:
- Paycheck Protection Program Looks like a Very Sweet Deal for Employers (Forbes)
- SBA director to small biz: If you think you're going to need a disaster loan, start the application now (Albany Business Review)
- The Albany Business Review lowered its paywall for select COVID-19 coverage. Click here to read the free articles.
If you missed the SBA Cares Act information seminar, you can still view a recording. Click HERE for a link to register. Once you register, you will be emailed a link to a recording.
This information session includes:
• Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Overview
• Paycheck Protection Program Overview
• Program Eligibility Requirements
• Application Processes
• Picking the Right Program for Your Business
Convention & Visitors Bureau Update:
Business & Employee Resources
Click here to check out the Constant Contact Small Business Survival Support Kit for great tips to get through these challenging times.
Click here for Facebook's page on "managing through and building resilience during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
If you lost your job:
- Click here for the NEW Warren County COVID-19 Response Page.
- Warren County Treasurer Michael Swan has put into place a new tax relief plan to help during the COVID outbreak. Click here to read the statement.
- Warren County's Employment & Training Office staff members are ready to assist those who need help with employment issues in this difficult time, with Director Liza Ochsendorf and staff working remotely at this point. If you need help, call 518-743-0925. Online resources and assistance can be found at thejoblink.org/.
Warren County Employment & Training Administration opened its Metrix Online Learning platform to anyone in Warren, Washington, and Saratoga counties for FREE! There are thousands of courses that are great for individuals and businesses.
From the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance:
- Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order expanding the Tax Commissioner’s authority to abate late filing and payment penalties. This will allow the Commissioner to abate interest on quarterly and annual sales and use tax filings and remittances with a due date of March 20, 2020, for those who were unable to timely file and pay as result of the COVID-19 virus. To view the guidance issued, visit N-20-1, Announcement Regarding the Abatement of Penalties and Interest for Sales and Use Tax due to the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. For additional information, visit Tax Department response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order (202.12) authorizing the Tax Commissioner to provide relief from certain tax filing and payment deadlines. In response, the Tax Commissioner has extended the April 15, 2020 due date to July 15, 2020, for New York State personal income tax and corporation tax returns originally due on April 15, 2020. In addition, the Commissioner is allowing taxpayers to defer all related tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. Click here to read the announcement from the Department of Taxation and Finance.
From the NYS Department of Labor:
- Click here for a link for Unemployment Assistance.
- The Shared Work Program allows staff to be partially laid off during a downturn in business. Once a company is approved for Shared Work, staff can collect a partial UI benefit while working reduced hours. Staff do not have a "work search requirement" as they are still employed. Click here for more information.
- Click here for Paid Sick Leave Guidance for mandatory or precautionary quarantine.
- DOL Rapid Response Services — Click here to view a Fact Sheet on Rapid Response Services. Help for Businesses Facing Cutbacks with programs like Shared Work, New York State Warn Act. Rapid Response is a service offered to businesses and workers affected by cutbacks and site closings, providing early job placement assistance and other service resources.
Contact for businesses: Richard Grossi, Statewide Rapid Response Coordinator. Phone: (518) 457-9880 Email: Richard.Grossi@labor.ny.gov
DOL Shared Work Program — Click here to view a Fact Sheet on the Shared Work Program. An alternative to laying off workers during business downturns by allowing them to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial Unemployment Insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you can reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group.
From the NYS Department of Health and NYS Agriculture and Markets:
To help prevent spread of COVID-19, procedures and supplies should be in place to encourage proper hand and respiratory hygiene as well as routine cleaning and disinfection of high-risk locations. This guidance is provided for any food manufacturing facilities, food distribution centers or food retail stores so that owners, operators and other individuals can incorporate these procedures into their facility protocols.
Cleaning Protocols from the NYS Department of Health
- COVID-19 Approved Cleaning Products
- General Building Cleaning Guidance
- Cleaning Guidance for non-healthcare settings.
- Office spaces/meeting rooms -- Clean and disinfect door handles, hard-surface chair arms, and telephones daily.
- Lunch/break rooms -- Clean and disinfect lunch tables and chairs regularly (at least once daily).
- Restrooms -- Establish a regular cleaning schedule for surfaces such as floor mats, doors, countertops, partitions, wall-mounted hardware, toilets. Disinfect at least daily.
- Counters, displays, vending machines, POS/self-checkout -- Clean and disinfect surfaces multiple times per day.
- Cleaning product options:
- Premixed bleach solution at 10% (3.2 ounces of any over-the-counter chlorine bleach per quart of water) -- Wiped on with a clean cloth and allowed to quickly air dry. At the end of business applied as a light mist and let to air dry.
The Business Council of New York State:
- Click here to access The Business Council Webinar with guidelines for employers.
- Click here to access The Business Council Webinar with information on PFL/ADA/FMLA/Workers’ Compensation/NYS Short-term disability – managing an employee’s leave status while out sick.