COVID-19 Resources

These times of uncertainty are when a sense of community is needed the most. We need to stand by each other and encourage one another not to give into the grip of fear and anxiety in the face of the unknown.

Together, with preparedness and positivity, we face the future.

We want to help our Members keep the public updated on hours and ways they can continue to patronize local businesses.

Members, please click HERE to fill out a form to send us your updated hours.

Click here for updates from Chamber member businesses.


Safely Reopening

New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool
This tool will help you determine whether or not your business is eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which your business must comply.

Click here to access the NY Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool.

(Update 5/19) — The Capital Region has now met all seven public health metrics needed to begin phase one of reopening. The Capital region will able to start Phase One tomorrow — Wednesday, May, 19. The Long Island region has met five of the seven metrics, the Mid-Hudson region has met four of seven, and the New York City region has met three of seven. All other regions are authorized to begin phase one of reopening.

BEACHES: The Governor announced a multi-state agreement with New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware to reopen beaches for Memorial Day Weekend. The Governor outlined specific conditions New York beaches must meet to reopen. State and local beaches and lakeshores in New York State may open the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend on the following minimum conditions:
  1. Mandating no more than 50 percent capacity by ensuring controlled exits/entrances and limiting parking
  2. Prohibiting group contact activities, including sports (e.g. volleyball, football)
  3. Keeping areas of social gathering closed (e.g. designated picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions, arcades, amusement rides)
  4. Enforcing social distancing measures for both employees and visitors
  5. Requiring masks to be worn by all employees and visitors when social distancing is not possible
  6. Closing concessions
  7. Ensuring staff levels are adequate to achieve these measures and enforce crowd control.
City, town and county beaches may open on the same conditions subject to local government home rule:
  1. Local government must fully enforce minimum rules and may impose additional conditions
  2. If local governments do not enforce minimum rules, the beach will be closed
  3. Locals must notify the public by Wednesday, May 20 of their intention to open 
  4. Beaches can open on Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, May 22, 2020 
Click here for more information.

(UPDATE 5/14) — The New York State Department of Health has issued safety plan templates and interim guidance for the industries reopening in Phase 1.
Businesses that are reopening are not required to use this safety plan template but they are REQUIRED to read and affirm these detailed guidelines electronically.
The Capital Region remains two metrics away from being able to reopen.
Phase One: https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase

Press Release — Warren County Tourism Businesses Form Commission to Plan Economic Recovery

Please review these resources for best practices and cleaning standards in the hospitality industry:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on May 11 that three of the 10 Regions in the state — Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley — have met the 7 metrics required to begin phase 1 of the Reopening Plan.

Cuomo also announced certain low-risk business and recreational activities — including landscaping, gardening, tennis and drive-in-movie theaters — will reopen statewide on Friday.

(Updated 5/13) The Capital Region (including Warren and Washington counties) are again two metrics away while the North Country (including Essex County) has met 7/7 metrics to start phase one of reopening.

You can now track all the regions through the Regional Monitoring Dashboard.

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.
Click here to read metrics to guide reopening.

Below is an updated breakdown of industries that can open in each phase:

Phase One
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail - Curbside Pickup
  • Wholesale Trade (Newly Added)
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting (Newly Added)
Phase Two
  • Professional Services
  • Retail
  • Administrative Support
  • Real Estate / Rental & Leasing
Phase Three
  • Restaurants / Food Services
Phase Four
  • Arts / Entertainment / Recreation
  • Education
Click here to read details on all of the phases.
Click here to see the 10 Regional Councils Map.
Click here to read NYForward: A Guide to Reopening New York & Building Back Better
NEW— The Governor has released Executive Order 202.28. Please find the Executive Order here
 
The Executive Order extended the provisions of previous Executive Orders (scheduled to expire on May 7th) until June 6th, expect for certain specifications. 

Local DRAFT Guidelines

Local businesses have come together to research best practices and produce the following guidelines using a variety of sources including the CDC and NYS Health Department. Click on the images below to view these documents by industry. Similar guidelines for Retail and Attractions will be releases shortly.

Click here for a PDF of the NYS Business Reopening Safety Plan Template
Click here for a Word document of the NYS Business Reopening Safety Plan Template

Hospitality   food and beverage

NY on Pause

New York will re-open on a regional basis as each region meets the 12 criteria necessary to protect public health as businesses re-open. New York State remains on PAUSE through May 15.

Click here to read more information about Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to reopen New York.


UPDATED 4/1: Empire State Development has deemed specific real estate brokerage activities as essential. 

UPDATED 4/3: If you lost your job or health coverage or are unisured, click this link for the NY State of Health Official Health Plan Marketplace.

UPDATED 4/19: Gov. Andew Cuomo lifts restrictions on marriage licenses including:

UPDATED 4/19: New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers will be allowed to open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed. Click here to read more.

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

For NON-PROFITS

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.

visit:  https://esd.ny.gov/business-mentor-ny-covid-19-assistance or https://businessmentor.ny.gov/learn-more/about for more information on Business Mentor NY.

Also you can visit:  https://esd.ny.gov/small-business-administration-sba-covid-19-loans for other live resources such as our Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers, NY Small Business Development Centers, and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) around the state.

Together we will survive and move forward!

CARES Act

(UPDATE 5/14)

EIDL message from SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance:
  1. Question: My Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) was approved but the amount was lower than I was expecting, why is it lower?
 
Answer: We had to make a difficult decision to limit loan amounts to ensure the program reaches as many small businesses as possible. SBA may be able to further assist you with funding through our Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides up to 8 weeks of forgivable loan funds to cover payroll, as well as mortgage interest, rent and utility costs. We encourage you to visit sba.gov/paycheckprotection to obtain more information about PPP loans.
 
  1. Question: I read that the EIDL program provides up to $2 million per loan. Will it be possible to increase my loan amount?
Answer: Historically, the maximum amount of EIDL assistance is 2 million dollars. During these unprecedented times and given our current funding levels we do not expect to increase loan amounts for the EIDL program.
 
PPP Interim Final Rule on post-disbursement loan increases for partnerships and seasonal employers:
 
This rule provides guidance for certain borrowers for whom the original PPP loan amount may need to be increased based on subsequent published guidance.
 
https://www.sba.gov/document/policy-guidance--ppp-interim-final-rule-requirements-loan-increases-partnerships-or-seasonal-employers
 
Safe Harbor deadline extended to 5/18, FAQ number 47:
 
https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Paycheck-Protection-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf

UPDATED 5/13: Click here for the latest Frequently Asked Questions for Lenders and Borrowers for the Paycheck Protection Program from the SBA.

Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Calculator

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. 

UPDATED 4/29 The Latest on EIDL from the SBA:

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.

SBA Debt Relief

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:

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. 

Click here for U.S. Rep Elise Stefanik's Resource page on the CARES Act.

Click here for a Guide from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the CARES Act for small businesses

Click here for the SBA's Guide to Economic Injury Disaster Loans 

Click here for Resources for 1099 Workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic 

Click here for a Small Business Guide & Checklist for Emergency Loans under the CARES Act.

Click here to read a chart with loan options.

Click here for the National Restaurant Association CARES Act Executive Summar for Restaurants.

All non-profits including 501(c)6s now eligible for grants and SBA Disaster Loans

The Business Council has designed a one page breakdown of the Paycheck Protection Program as outlined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) bill.

In addition, click here for Paycheck Protection Program Information Sheet from the U.S. Treasury.

Resource page from New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association

Some helpful articles on the CARES Act and SBA loans:

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:

Click here to read to a blog post from the virtual CVB meeting on March 30.

Click here to read a blog post from the virtual CVB meeting on April 16.

Click here for the Meetings Mean Business coalition updates.


Business & Employee Resources

Email Marketing

Click here to check out the Constant Contact Small Business Survival Support Kit for great tips to get through these challenging times.

Social Media:

Click here for Facebook's page on "managing through and building resilience during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

If you lost your job:

13 steps to take if you’ve lost your job due to the coronavirus crisis


Warren County:


From the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance:


From the NYS Department of Labor:


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.

Click here for the NYS Department of Health's main page on COVID-19.

Click here for the Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Food Manufacturing Facilities or Food Retail Stores for COVID-19.

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:

The Business Council of New York State:


Restaurant Employee Relief Fund:

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have demonstrated being financially impacted by COVID-19, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. These grants will be made on a first-come first-served basis, subject to availability of funds. 100% of the Fund’s proceeds will go to providing grants to restaurant workers. This Fund is operated by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, whose mission is to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workers. APPLY FOR A $500 GRANT STARTING THURSDAY, APRIL 2.

Click here for more information.


Special note for Property Owners and Commercial Tenants:

With April 1st this Wednesday, we're hearing from both property owners and commercial tenants with questions about rent payments. Thanks to a recommendation from D'Orazio Peterson LLP, we'd like to share the following link with you to the NYS Homes and Community Renewal website where you can see everything Governor Cuomo has announced relative to this issue. Here are a couple of important highlights:

Q: I’m a landlord and my tenants are unable to pay rent due to the virus, so I am unable to make my mortgage payments. What should I do?

Governor Cuomo has ordered a 90-day mortgage relief period for borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders are suspended for renters, but rental payments have not been waived. There is no moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. 

Q: Do I still have to pay rent during this outbreak?

While there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, there is no stay or moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. The Executive order states in part: There shall be no enforcement of either an eviction of any tenant residential or commercial, or a foreclosure of any residential or commercial property for a period of ninety days. 

"At this point, applying for the SBA loans (as noted above) could help with keeping up with rent and receiving a tax benefit. Most of what we are seeing so far on this issue is putting the burden on tenants and landlords to try to work together to find some kind of solution that can get them through this time," said Giovanna D'Orazio.
Reprinted with permission from Saratoga County Chamber. 

Looking Ahead

The situation with J1-Visa student workers continues to evolve. We will provide updates as soon as we have them.

Below are updates from two of our member agencies:
  • InterExchange has paused all placements and job approvals for J1 Visas until further notice. They continue to monitor the situation. If you have any questions please email worktravel@interexchange.org or call 1-800-621-1202. Click here to access InterExchange COVID-19 Updates page.
  • From CIEE: "Given the uncertainty about what lies ahead for this summer, we believe it is best to focus our attention and resources supporting those applicants who have already committed to CIEE’s Work & Travel USA program. CIEE will not be permitting any new applications for Summer 2020, effective immediately as of March 23, 2020. Any applications in our system as of March 23, 2020 will be allowed to move forward. Additionally, we will continue to make placements until May 1, 2020. All prospective applicants must plan to arrive in the U.S. on May 11, 2020 or later. Click here to access the CIEE COVID-19 Updates page.
We continue to receive inquiries and requests for information from people who are planning to visit the area. We have heard from at least one lodging member that is receiving summer vacation cancellations. If your property has a cancellation, please reach out to us and we will try to help in any way we can.

Watch the video above for a Q&A with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, Sen. Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec.