COVID-19 Guidance for Business Owners and FAQs

All NYC Business Solutions Centers are delivering services remotely until further notice.

Please select a topic below to view the information in that section.

General Information

To reduce the spread of Coronavirus, please follow these guidelines:

  • If you are sick, STAY HOME.
  • If you have chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, a compromised immune system, chronic lung disease, and/or cancer, we are advising you to limit your exposure.
  • If you have no symptoms, continue to practice good hygiene and remain vigilant about your health.
  • Practice Social Distancing: Even if you feel well, stay at home as much as possible. In public, keep at least 6 feet distance from others. Avoid unnecessary appointments.
  • Wash Your Hands. Cover Your Cough: Cover your cough and sneezes. Use your elbow or a tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Take Caution with New Yorkers At-Risk: Take special caution to avoid exposing the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. Avoid visiting those most at risk, call instead. Offer help with groceries and other goods.

Information for Employers on NYC's COVID-19 Testing Recommendations

Additional information and resources are available on NYC Health's COVID-19: Businesses and Schools resource page.


Reopening NYC Businesses

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Active Industry Guidance

NYC Business and Restaurant Resource Guides

Check out our NYC Business Reopening Guide and NYC Restaurant Resource Guide to find out when and how you can safely reopen your non-essential business.

Please continue to watch for emails from us (sign up here) as more information will be shared as it becomes available.

Open Storefronts

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Open Storefronts program on October 28, 2020, which allows storefront businesses to temporarily use a portion of the sidewalk directly in front of their business to promote open space, enhance social distancing, and help them rebound in these difficult economic times. Learn more and apply.

Download our outreach flyers and share with other businesses:

Have questions about reopening and other requirements related to COVID-19?

If you have any questions, you can call our hotline: 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692).

Guidelines for Reopening Your Business Webinars

Reopening Flyers to Share

Additional Resources for Businesses

The following resources can help businesses meet the State's requirements to reopen:


Overview of Executive Orders: New Rules from the City

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May 14, 2020: NYC Council passes several bills to aid small businesses

These bills were signed into law by Mayor de Blasio on May 26, 2020:

  1. Intro. 1898-A prohibits third-party food delivery services from charging restaurants a fee for telephone orders that do not result in an actual sale. The bill imposes penalties of up to $500 per violation, and the City can bring litigation seeking these penalties as well as restitution of illegally charged fees. The bill will take effect June 2, 2020, lasting until 90 days after the end of a declared emergency.
  2. Intro. 1908-B caps the fees that third-party food delivery services can charge restaurants for the duration of a declared emergency and for 90 days thereafter. Third-party food delivery services will be prohibited from charging restaurants a fee greater than 15% per order for delivery and 5% per order for any other charge. Currently, third-party food delivery services sometimes charge up to 30% of the total order. Violators are subject to civil penalties of up to $1,000 per restaurant per day. The bill will take effect on June 2, 2020.
  3. Intro. 1916-A suspends collection of indoor sidewalk cafe fees from restaurants from March 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021, and for outdoor sidewalk cafes through the duration of the emergency. Through Executive Order, the City already stopped collecting these fees for the duration of the emergency; this bill extends the suspension for indoor cafes until the end of February 2021.
  4. Intro. 1914-A designates threatening a commercial tenant based on its status as a COVID-19 impacted business a form of harassment, effective immediately. This includes businesses that were subject to capacity restrictions, were forced to close, or business owners who contracted the virus.
  5. Intro. 1932-A protects commercial tenants' personal assets by temporarily prohibiting the enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements involving COVID-19 impacted tenants. Threatening to or attempting to enforce such a provision will be considered a form of harassment, effective immediately.
  6. Intro. 1936-A expands the definition of tenant harassment to protect tenants from threats based on status as an essential employee or being impacted by COVID-19.
  7. Intro. 1940-A codifies the Mayor's EO 107, which suspends renewal requirements for licenses and permits from City agencies during the duration of the emergency and extends such suspension for an extra 45 days. This will provide both City agencies and applicants enough time to complete and process renewals after the end of the emergency and when businesses come back online again. This bill takes effect immediately and will require the City to post a list of licenses not covered under the EO.

Key To NYC Vaccination Requirements for Businesses

Starting August 17, people 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO for:

  • Indoor dining
  • Indoor fitness
  • Indoor entertainment

This new requirement — called the Key to NYC — includes bars, fitness gyms, movie and stage theatres, museums, and other indoor venues. Staff at these locations are also required to be vaccinated. Learn more at nyc.gov/KeyToNYC. Have questions? Call our hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692).


Information About Essential Businesses

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What is considered an essential business?

  • Essential healthcare operations
  • Essential infrastructure
  • Essential manufacturing
  • Essential retail (grocery stores, pharmacies, farmer's markets, gas stations, restaurants/bars for take out and delivery, hardware, pet food, and more)
  • Essential services, including laundromats, childcare, auto repair, funeral homes, bicycle repair, animal shelters and animal services
  • News media
  • Financial Institutions
  • Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations
  • Construction (all non-essential construction must safely shut down, except emergency construction – details on essential construction can be found here)
  • Defense
  • Essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences or other businesses
  • Vendors that provide essential services or products, including childcare
  • Recreation (parks and other open public spaces, but not playgrounds, golf courses, or boat launches and marinas)
  • Professional services with extensive restrictions

Find the full, expanded list of essential businesses here.

What are some general good practices for businesses?

  • Have a contingency plan in place. Gather employee and supplier contact information, legal, insurance and financial records.
  • Have hand sanitizer and tissues visibly available for employees and customers to use while in your place of business.
  • Monitor your inventory. Make sure you have enough materials on hand and contact your suppliers to stay up to date on any changes in inventory needs or availability of supply.
  • Contact your insurance company to determine if your insurance will cover expenses incurred, liability, or business interruption.
  • Hang signage in your place of business with information on how to stay healthy. You can find signage here: nyc.gov/coronavirus
  • Promote tap and pay to limit handling of cash and the use of touch screens.
  • Use booking and scheduling to stagger office flow to comply with the new rules surrounding occupancy restrictions
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and adjusting air conditioning units.
  • Consider selling gift cards in person and online, if possible.
  • Text COVID to 692-692 to receive regular coronavirus updates via text message. (Text COVIDESP to 692-692 to receive updates via text message in Spanish.)
  • Follow Public and Private Facilities Cleaning and Disinfection Guidance
  • High-touch surfaces, such as food, deli and checkout counters, should be wiped down frequently with disinfectants.
  • Discourage groups of people from congregating inside and at entrances.
    • Limit access to retail spaces when occupancy reaches required maximum capacity to minimize crowding and lines.
    • Manage lines inside and outside by keeping customers 6 feet apart. If space is limited, allow only one customer inside at a time.
    • Reduce unnecessary assembly of staff, such as large meetings. Use alternative methods to communicate information, such as bulletin boards or digital tools. Stagger break times, if possible.
  • Require employees to practice healthy personal hygiene and to stay home if sick. Share the COVID-19 Factsheet available in multiple languages on the Health Department's website.
  • Place alcohol-based hand sanitizers near the cash registers to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Print and post Stop the Spread of Coronavirus Flyer available in multiple languages on the Health Department's website.
  • Read the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection's comprehensive document outlining updated Workplace Laws as NYC Seeks to Stop the Spread of the New Coronavirus

Examples of Actions Stores Have Taken To Maintain Social Distancing

The following are examples of actions grocery stores have taken to maintain social distancing. These are only examples, and are not requirements.

  1. Post signage on front doors of the store indicating how many people the store is allowing in at one time.
  2. Post signage indicating people should wait in line outside the store if the store is at capacity.
  3. Manage a line outside the store with tape demarcating 6-foot intervals; have an employee manage the number of people entering the store by the entry.
  4. Add tape to the ground every 6 feet in a checkout line.
  5. Place signs in produce area encouraging people to not touch and put back produce.
  6. Limit the number of people who are shopping at one time.
  7. Only using every other checkout station.
  8. Have aisles be one-way in stores where practicable to maximize spacing between customers.
  9. Install Plexiglas shields to separate employees from customers at checkout lines.
  10. Discontinue all self-serve foods.
  11. Sanitize credit card machines (including pen) regularly and consistently.
  12. Sanitize cart and basket handles between uses (by staff).
  13. Wherever possible, have employees wear gloves and face masks when interacting with customers and/or handling products.

How can I disinfect my business if someone comes in and they appear to have symptoms?

  • For businesses or other facilities that do not house people overnight, the CDC recommends closing off areas and waiting as long as is practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Staff should wear and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) according to your existing policies and procedures.
  • Have soap and paper towels in bathrooms at all times. Ensure that all hand washing sinks are in good state of repair.
  • Use regular cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., Clorox, Purell, and peroxide products).
  • Pay special attention to frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, water fountains, and faucets.
  • Learn more about the CDC's recommendations.
  • Learn more about EPA-approved cleaning products.

Please note: The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has declared facemasks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes temporarily in short supply to prevent stores from overcharging New Yorkers. The declaration makes it temporarily illegal to drastically increase prices. Stores found to be overcharging consumers will be issued a violation with a fine up to $500 per item. NYC DCWP encourages consumers who feel they were overcharged to file a complaint at nyc.gov/dcwp or by contacting 311.

Is there any guidance from the NYPD about how to protect myself and my business?

Think about burglary prevention.

  • Test your alarm
  • Make sure cameras are functioning and can record for 30-60 days
  • Change the combination of any safes
  • Protect accessible windows with locks, security films, grilles, or bars
  • Ensure all entrances are well-lit
  • Secure and alarm roof openings
  • Lock up or remove climbing aids (like ladders)
  • Empty and lock your cash register
  • Secure and lock sidewalk openings
  • Find your local precinct

If you receive a phone call, email, or text message instructing you to purchase a prepaid merchant gift/debit card, cryptocurrency, or money order to pay any of the following, just hang up – it's a scam!

  • Law enforcement for bail
  • IRS for owed taxes
  • Utility company to avoid service interruption
  • Immigration officials to avoid deportation/arrest
  • Social Security officials for fraudulent activity/warrant/arrest involving your Social Security number
  • Ransom
  • Hospital for emergency treatment of a loved one

Is there additional advice I can share with my staff?

  • Encourage employees to get the COVID-19 Vaccine: Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are available to all New Yorkers, 12 and over. Learn more about the vaccine and find out how you can get your shot today at nyc.gov/covidvaccine.
  • Encourage employees to get the flu vaccine — it's not too late. Employees can visit nyc.gov/flu or text FLU to 877877 for low- to no-cost vaccine locations.
  • Get Tested: Any New Yorker can now get tested at one of the 200+ testing sites citywide. New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/covidtest or call 311 to find the sites nearest them.
  • Encourage employees who are sick to stay home and seek medical care if needed. New Yorkers who do not have primary care providers can call 311 or visit nychealthandhospitals.org to find a provider.
  • Employees should not go back to work until they have been fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing drugs like Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  • Make sure your work policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidelines. Do not require a doctor's note for staff who are sick, as provider offices may be very busy. Allow your staff to stay home and care for family members who are sick.
  • Emphasize and encourage healthy hygiene habits and etiquette. Put up posters encouraging staff to stay home when sick, to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their sleeve (not their hands), and to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Consider making alcohol-based hand sanitizer available at your place of business.
  • Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, and hand sanitizer.
  • Keep workspaces clean. Use cleaners with disinfectant to wipe down workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes to your staff.

I need to hire staff, who can help me with recruitment?

No matter what your staffing needs are, we can help you hire the right employees at no cost. We can tap our pool of 100,000+ candidates to identify qualified individuals to meet your needs in industries such as food services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, transportation, and warehousing. Learn more and access our recruitment services at no cost here.


Information for Food Businesses

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What are some good practices for food businesses, including restaurants and grocery stores?

  • If you are not already on a delivery platform, consider joining one or advertising phone orders on your social media channels.
  • Offer contact-less delivery. If you or your customers prefer, you can offer to leave food just outside their doors instead of waiting for them to open the door for you.
  • Follow NYC Health Code requirements for food preparation to prevent foodborne illness. No additional food protection protocols are required for COVID-19.
  • Do not make deliveries if you are sick. You should be at home if you are sick.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before and after each delivery.
  • Practice social distancing, keeping 6 feet between you and others.
    • Ask customer before delivering food whether the food can be left at the door or with a doorman, if there is one.
    • In buildings with elevators, only get into a car where you can maintain a safe distance from others. Otherwise, wait for the next elevator. If possible, take the stairs.
  • If you do interact with a customer, remember to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after every transaction.

Workplace FAQs

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What should I do if I feel sick or my employee feels sick?

  • Stay home and call your doctor.
  • Get Tested: Any New Yorker can now get tested at one of the 200+ testing sites citywide. New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/covidtest or call 311 to find the sites nearest them.
  • If you are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms — coughing, sneezing, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat — call your doctor.
  • If you are not feeling better after 3 or 4 days and do not have any preexisting conditions, consult your doctor.
  • If you are over 50 years of age and have preexisting conditions and you begin to feel symptoms, consult your doctor – they may want to monitor you more closely.
  • If you are an essential employee and have been authorized to continue to work out of your office, do not go back to work until you have been home for seven days and fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing drugs like acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil).

Learn more: nyc.gov/coronavirus

What if someone on my staff tests positive for COVID-19?

  • As an employer, you should avoid sharing personal medical information of staff. Without providing identifying information, you may send a communication to staff that there has been a confirmed case, and the steps you are taking to sanitize the office and keep staff healthy.
  • Get Tested: Any New Yorker can now get tested at one of the 200+ testing sites citywide. New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/covidtest or call 311 to find the sites nearest them.
  • Make sure to continue to follow guidelines to keep workspaces clean, and encourage staff to practice good hygiene.
  • If anyone feels sick, they should stay home and contact their healthcare provider. New Yorkers who do not have primary care providers can call 311 or visit nychealthandhospitals.org to find a provider. Hospital staff will not ask about immigration status and strict laws protect patient confidentiality.

How and where can I and my staff get a COVID-19 vaccination?

It has never been easier to get a COVID-19 vaccination in NYC. People 12 and older are eligible for the vaccine. After you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a face covering or stay 6 feet away from others in most places, in addition to other benefits of vaccination. Learn more about the vaccine and find out how you can get your shot today at nyc.gov/covidvaccine.

Do I need to wear a face covering? Do my customers?

People who do not show symptoms may still be able to spread COVID-19. A face covering can help prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to other people, so you should wear one whenever you leave the home.

A face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas. Do not use health care worker masks, as those must be preserved for people in the health care system.

If you would like to purchase masks or other non-medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the City has compiled a list of non-medical PPE manufacturers and suppliers. These companies are not endorsed by the City of New York.

Even if you have a face covering, continue to stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact with other people. For more information, visit nyc.gov/facecoverings and read NYC Health's Face Covering FAQs.

When adopting policies related to face coverings and social distancing, bars and restaurants must offer reasonable accommodations to customers with disabilities and should follow the guidance of the NYC Commission on Human Rights for Public Accommodations Protections.

Is there any guidance or resources to help businesses and employees work from home?

The Mayor's Office of the Chief Technology Officer has created a toolkit to help businesses and individuals in NYC transition to working from home.

Having trouble receiving mail at your business?

Consider signing up for Informed Delivery by USPS, a free service that allows you to digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon. You can also check here to see if there are any mail outages in your area. FAQs about mail service can be found here.

Was your business impacted by Open Streets?

Learn how to recognize COVID-19 scams

Scammers often take advantage of vulnerable people during times of crisis and distress. It is important that you be aware of any potential scams in order to protect yourself and your money. The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection released guidance on how to recognize and prevent COVID-19 related scams: COVID-19 Scams and Safety Tips

Is it ok to lay off staff if there's no business coming in due to the virus?

Under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid safe and sick leave. Covered employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. Employers and employees can visit nyc.gov/sbs or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for more information.

On March 18, 2020, the Governor signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Read more here.

While we hope that you do not have to reduce the number of people you employ, there is a layoff process that must be followed. If your private sector business has 50 or more employees, the NYS Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires 90 days notice before a plant closing, mass layoff, relocation, or other covered reduction in work hours. Notice must also be given when there is a layoff that affects either 33 percent of the workforce (at least 25 workers) or 250 workers from a single employment site. Learn more about the WARN Act.

The Shared Work Program gives you 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. Learn more about the Shared Work Program here.

You can also visit the NYS Department of Labor website to learn more.

More resources for staff are available at nyc.gov/covid19wf1.

What can I do to help decrease fear and discrimination related to novel coronavirus?

  • Stay informed, listen to public health messages from reliable sources like the NYC Health Department or the CDC, and implement good personal and public health practices to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
  • Avoid stigmatizing people who have recently traveled from any affected areas. There are a lot of things on social media and in the news that are not rooted in science and are offensive, demeaning and racist. You can report discrimination here.
  • Learn more: nyc.gov/coronavirus

My staff and/or I are feeling stressed or harassed because of the potential outbreak. What can I do?

  • Emotional reactions to stressful situations such as feeling sad, anxious or overwhelmed, or having trouble sleeping, or other symptoms of distress are normal. If you or your staff are feeling stressed or anxious, contact NYC Well at 888-NYCWELL (888-692-9355) or text WELL to 65173. NYC Well is a confidential help line that is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors who can provide brief supportive therapy, crisis counseling and connections to behavioral health treatment and support in more than 200 languages.
  • If you feel you or your staff has been harassed due to race, nation of origin or other identities, you can report this to the NYC Commission on Human Rights by calling 311 or 718-722-3131.
  • The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes coordinates city efforts to prevent and respond to hate crimes. If you are the victim of a hate crime or witness what you believe to be a hate crime, please call 911 or visit your nearest police precinct. NYPD officers will not ask about the immigration status of anyone seeking emergency assistance or help to report a crime.

Financial Assistance

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I am worried about the financial impact of COVID-19. Are there any grants or loans available to help me?

If you would like to be updated about any new local, state or federal financial assistance programs that become available, please provide your information here.

Our NYC Business Solutions Center experts are available to help you identify additional financing available, including financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or local philanthropic financing if you are a nonprofit.

We are offering webinars to help you learn about resources for small businesses in NYC impacted by COVID-19, including public and private funding opportunities.

View and download a copy of the presentation to learn about a range of assistance available for small businesses in NYC impacted by COVID-19, including funding opportunities, here:

Female Business Owner with text Resources for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

بإمكانكم مشاهدة تسجيل عرضنا التقديمي لمساعدتكم على التعرف على المساعدات المتاحة للشركات الصغيرة في مدينة نيويورك المتأثرة بcovid-19

NYS Business Pandemic Recovery Initiative

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 Relief Options

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering a number of COVID-19 relief options learn more here.

If you have questions related to the SBA programs, find a local SBA resource partner.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

Have a business or non-profit connected to live performance? You might be able to get up to $10 million from the federal government under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and the City of New York has a free application assistance program to help. Curtains Up NYC offers free webinars and one-on-one counseling for people interested in applying for this grant.

Learn more at nyc.gov/curtainsupnyc.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) is a grant program run by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that provides emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying food service businesses impacted by COVID-19. Please note that this information is subject to change frequently, so visit sba.gov/restaurants for information on eligibility and program details.

Need help?

Through Fair Share NYC: Restaurants, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) are providing assistance to Restaurant Revitalization Fund applicants. Learn more at nyc.gov/restaurantfund.

Are you looking to apply for small business relief funds?

The City is offering free resources to help you secure these important funds for your business:

  • Webinars to review a variety of available programs and how to apply
  • One-on-one assistance to find the best funding option for your business and get help filling out the application
  • Information about additional programs and services that can help your business

Resources are available in multiple languages. Learn more at nyc.gov/fairsharenyc.

Please note that scammers are targeting businesses with loan and grant fraud. Beware of phishing emails and robocalls, and double-check any web addresses to make sure that they are associated with the correct government agency. For more information and quick tips, follow the NYPD Crime Prevention Division on Twitter using handle @nypdcpd.


Legal Assistance

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WE Legal

WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC), an initiative based out of the NYC Department of Small Business Services dedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses, has partnered with Start Small Think Big and the COVID-19 Pro Bono Collaborative to help small businesses survive the economic impact of COVID-19.

This collaborative will provide remote legal consultations on COVID-19 related legal issues including but not limited to commercial lease assistance, insurance, loans, and employment law.

Learn more and request a consultation here.

COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic

Through its Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP), the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC)'s COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic (the CV-19 Clinic) will offer pro bono legal consultations to help entrepreneurs in New York City determine the best path forward for their small businesses in these particularly challenging times.

New York City's entrepreneurs and small businesses who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can receive free, limited-scope legal advice. Topics include: loans & grants, contracts & force majeure clauses, employment law matters, real estate and commercial leasing issues, and insurance matters.

Request an appointment here.

Attorney Interested in Volunteering?

If you are an attorney interested in volunteering with the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC)'s COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic (the CV-19 Clinic), please fill out a volunteer registration form. Please note that completing this form does not guarantee you will receive a pro bono assignment through the clinic – assignments will depend on the volume and type of requests received. Further, this form is to be completed by lawyers who are City Bar members or whose law firms are already confirmed participants in this program.

If your organization is interested in collaborating with CBJC and NELP on the CV-19 Clinic or other crisis response initiatives, please contact CBJC Pro Bono Counsel Kurt M. Denk at covidresponse@nycbar.org.

Small Business Legal Relief Alliance (SBLRA)

The Small Business Legal Relief Alliance (SBLRA) is a group of legal service organizations and 15+ top law firms providing free consultations with pro bono lawyers for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alliance serves small businesses, nonprofits and self-employed individuals in practice areas including: loan & grant, tax, commercial lease, contracts, employment, insurance, and intellectual property, among others.

Request a consultation here.


Commercial Lease Support

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I am concerned about paying my commercial lease. Is there anyone who can help?

Yes. If your business needs help with a commercial lease issue in New York City, you may be eligible for free legal services. Visit nyc.gov/commlease to learn more.

The Legal Aid Society – Commercial Assistance

The Legal Aid Society is providing pro-bono legal advice to businesses impacted by COVID-19. As businesses may experience lost income due to the current threat, The Legal Aid Society can review leases to determine what a business' rights and obligations are in case of disaster, negotiate payment plans for arrears, get business documents in order for loan applications, etc.

For assistance, small businesses should contact Legal Aid Society at either (212) 426-3002 or (212) 426-3004 or email The Legal Aid Society's Community Development Project at communitydevproject@legal-aid.org.


Insurance Guidance

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What does my business interruption insurance cover?

Your business interruption insurance policy should list or describe the types of events it covers. Events that are not listed on, or not described in, the policy are typically not covered. It is important to review the policy exclusions, coverage limits, and applicable deductibles. You should also determine if the policy requires your business interruption to last for a certain time period before you are entitled to any policy benefits.

Business interruption coverage typically can only be triggered if you have property loss that leads to the business interruption. One example could be that a fire in your office has caused you to suspend your business activities.

Because coverage varies across policies, you will need to read your exact policy and consult your broker/insurer/agent for more information.

Is there a type of business insurance to cover cancellation of events due to COVID19?

You should call your insurance provider with questions about your specific plan and whether it covers event cancellations. You might also want to ask your insurance provider about loss of profits cover, "key person" insurance, whether your current levels of coverage are adequate, and whether any exclusions may be relevant.

Guidance and FAQs from NYS Department of Financial Services regarding COVID-19 and Business Interruption Insurance here.

New Yorkers with complaints about a business interruption insurance policy should contact: dfs.ny.gov/complaint.


Government Contracts and Supply Chain Access

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I have contracts with the City/State/Federal government, but I can't access my product due to travel and export restrictions. Now I'm concerned I won't be able to fulfill the contract on time or at all – what should I do?

First, review your contract carefully to be sure you understand your obligations. Consult an attorney, if needed, for help understanding contract terms. If you need legal assistance, visit nyc.gov/LegalAssistance.

Once you understand your obligations, and if your attorney agrees that it's advisable, communicate clearly and promptly with the contract manager about the cause of delay, and any contingency plans you are able to offer. Understanding the magnitude of the situation, your government client may be willing to negotiate an extension or other adjustment in terms, even if it is not contractually obligated to do so.

I am in the process of contracting with the City, but now I am not hearing back from anyone. What should I do?

Please be patient. Circumstances relating to the public health situation may have changed agencies' focus. We're all in this together, working to keep New York and New Yorkers safe. While you wait, be sure you don't miss deadlines to respond to requests for bids and solicitations. Also, consider how the goods or services you provide could help the City at this time and be ready if new opportunities come your way.

Are you facing challenges with your demand or supply of food?

Any business, nonprofit, school, government agency, religious organization, or community group located in New York City is eligible to donate or receive food through the donateNYC food portal.


City Agency Service Updates

Some City agencies have adjusted their operations during this time. See updates here.


Official COVID-19 Information & Guidance from Utility Companies


Donate or Sell Supplies, Food, or Funds

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My company wants to help. How can I donate or sell supplies, food, or funds?

  • NYCEDC is seeking businesses with the ability to quickly source and/or make needed medical supplies (e.g. face shields, gowns, ventilators, masks, and other products as needed) to support the City's COVID-19 response. Learn more and complete the info form here.
  • Suppliers or distributors with access to a stock of ready-made supplies to sell or donate (medical or otherwise) should visit nyc.gov/covidsuppliers.
  • Companies or individuals looking to volunteer and/or donate funds, food, and goods to those in need should visit nyc.gov/donate.
  • If you have additional questions on how you can support in the response, please visit Help Now NYC.

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