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.
- Mandating no more than 50 percent capacity by ensuring controlled exits/entrances and limiting parking
- Prohibiting group contact activities, including sports (e.g. volleyball, football)
- Keeping areas of social gathering closed (e.g. designated picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions, arcades, amusement rides)
- Enforcing social distancing measures for both employees and visitors
- Requiring masks to be worn by all employees and visitors when social distancing is not possible
- Closing concessions
- Ensuring staff levels are adequate to achieve these measures and enforce crowd control.
- Local government must fully enforce minimum rules and may impose additional conditions
- If local governments do not enforce minimum rules, the beach will be closed
- Locals must notify the public by Wednesday, May 20 of their intention to open
- Beaches can open on Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, May 22, 2020
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
- 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
- Arts / Entertainment / Recreation
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.
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.
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:
- Waives the 60 days required to obtain a marriage license during the period of time that there exists a declared emergency in New York State;
- Permits those persons who were unable to marry within the time frame issued on the marriage license to obtain a second marriage license (and waives the fees), if necessary, mirroring the original marriage license that was obtained during the period of time a declared emergency existed in New York State;
- Authorizes the issuance of a marriage license application, marriage license, or witnessing or solemnizing of the marriage ceremony, to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided certain conditions are met.
- Read the full executive order here.
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.
UPDATE APPLICATION PERIOD IS CLOSED. U.S. Chamber's Save Small Business Initiative: To extend a helping hand to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – is working to provide financial relief through the Save Small Business Fund. This fund is a key pillar of the U.S. Chamber’s Save Small Business Initiative. For information on this grant program, visit : https://www.savesmallbusiness.
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.
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.
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.
The situation with J1-Visa student workers continues to evolve. We will provide updates as soon as we have them.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Watch the video above for a Q&A with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, Sen. Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec.