COVID-19 Guidance for Business Owners and FAQs

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

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

General Information

Governor Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to stay at home as much as possible and to keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others in public spaces to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

If you need to go out, 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


Reopening NYC Businesses

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COVID-19 Cluster Action Initiative and Localized Restrictions

As you may have heard, COVID-19 infection rates are beginning to spike in some New York City neighborhoods. Governor Cuomo announced a new cluster action initiative to prevent further spread of the virus.

The City of New York is taking action by implementing restrictions in three zones identified by the State — red, orange, yellow.

Find Your Zone

Read more on the New York Forward site

FAQs: What You Need to Know About NYC's Localized Restrictions. Other Languages: Español | 繁體中文 | 简体中文 | Kreyòl ayisyen | 한국어 | বাংলা | Italiano | Polski | العربية | Français | ײִדיש | اردو

Red, Orange, and Yellow Zone Restrictions by Facility Type

Effective Friday, November 13, at 10 p.m., all bars, restaurants, and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m. so long as otherwise permitted, but cannot serve alcohol to go. The State Liquor Authority will issue further guidance for licensees.

For more information, read Governor Cuomo's press release.

Have questions about the cluster action initiative or anything else related to reopening? Call our hotline at (888) SBS-4NYC and check out our NYC Business Reopening Guide and NYC Restaurant Reopening Guide.

NYC entered Phase One of Restart NYC on Monday, June 8, 2020

NYC entered Phase Two of Restart NYC on Monday, June 22, 2020

Businesses that may start or expand operations in Phase Two include offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, hair salons and barbershops, real estate, commercial building management, retail rental, repair and cleaning, and vehicle sales, leases, and rentals. Learn what your business needs to know to prepare for reopening: 

Additional information on Phase Two reopening guidelines can be found here.

NYC entered Phase Three of Restart NYC on Monday, July 6, 2020

Businesses that may start or expand operations in Phase Three include personal care services such as a tattoo and piercing parlor, appearance enhancement practice, massage therapy practice, spa, cosmetology salon, nail salon, tanning salon, or waxing salon. Indoor dining will no longer be available in Phase Three.

Learn what your business needs to know to prepare for reopening:

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

NYC entered Phase Four of Restart NYC on Monday, July 20, 2020

Businesses that may start or expand operations in Phase Four include higher education, Pre-K to grade 12 schools, low-risk indoor arts & entertainment, low-risk outdoor arts & entertainment, malls, media production, and professional sports competitions with no fans. Indoor dining started on September 30.

Learn what your business needs to know to prepare for reopening:

Additional information on Phase Four reopening guidelines can be found here.

If you own a business in one of these industries, you must affirm that you have read and understand the State-issued guidelines for your industry. If you are unclear about which phase your business is included in, you can use this tool to check.

To be clear, New York City is ONLY in Phase Four and businesses that are not part of Phases One, Two, Three, or Four industries are still required to follow the Governor's and Mayor's executive orders.

NYC Business and Restaurant Reopening Guides

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



Guidance for Indoor Dining

Restaurants can reopen for indoor dining beginning on September 30. They will be subject to rigorous inspection protocols and strict occupancy limits. Some requirements for restaurants include:

  • Make sure that seating in your indoor dining space does not exceed 25% maximum capacity
  • Check the temperature of every customer at the front door
  • Collect contact information from at least one customer in each party
  • Close bar tops for seating or serving
  • OOffer COVID-19 protections like PPE for employees, make sure that employees are wearing face coverings at all times, and remind customers to wear face coverings when not eating or drinking
  • Place tables so that there is at least six feet between each dining party

If New York City hits 2% in COVID-19 positivity rates, the City will immediately reassess.

Once indoor dining begins, the public will be able to call 833-208-4160 to make a report or text VIOLATION to 855-904-5036.

Read the Counsel to the Mayor's NYC Indoor Dining FAQ.

Please continue to watch for emails from us (sign up here) as more information will be shared in the coming weeks.

Read the NYS Guidance on Indoor Food Service.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Reopening Guide for additional resources.

Open Storefronts

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Open Storefronts program on October 28, 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

Visit nycsmallbizcourses.eventbrite.com and search for "Reopening Guidelines" to sign up for an upcoming webinar to learn about State requirements, recommendations, and resources available to help businesses reopen in NYC.

Download our Reopening Guidelines Webinars flyer and share with other businesses.

View and download a copy of the presentation here:

Storefront graphic with outdoor seating on a purple background with copy NYC Means Business > Guidelines for Reopening Your Business

Informacion sobre la reapertura de negocios​ | إرشادات​ لإعادة فتح الشركات​ | ববসাসমহ পনরায় খালা সিকত িনেদিশকা​ | 复工指导方针​企业​ | 企業復工指導方針​ | Directives pour la réouverture des entreprises​ | Enstriksyon pou Relouvri Biznis​​ | 계사업재개지침 | Рекомендации по возобновлению работы предприятий

纽约市第一,二,三阶段业务重新开放的准则



Representatives from NYC Departments of Small Business Services, Consumer & Worker Protection, Buildings, Environmental Protection, Fire, Sanitation, and Health joined together on June 12, to answer questions about reopening your Phase One business, including:

  • Requirements and guidelines to reopening
  • Safety plans for reopening
  • Regulatory changes
  • Employee support

View a recording here.

On July 10, we hosted a virtual Small Business Conversation for NYC small businesses in the personal care industry in collaboration with NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and the New York Hispanic Cosmetology & Beauty Chamber of Commerce.

View a recording here.

Download the text transcript of the video.

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 and State

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March 7, 2020: Governor Cuomo issued an executive order declaring a State disaster emergency for the State of New York.

This executive order was updated under New York State on PAUSE to mandate that all non-essential businesses cease in-office work and move to telecommuting and working from home. This executive order amendment also limits gatherings of any size. Guidance about essential and non-essential business types can be found here.

March 16-21, 2020: Bars and restaurants were limited to take out and delivery only, other businesses closed to the public.

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

April 15, 2020: Face Covering Requirement

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:

  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. Read Does Your Consumer Affairs License Expire February through June 2020?: Important Update  flyer in: English (PDF, May 2020) | Other Languages (PDF, April 2020): Español (Spanish) | العربية (Arabic) | বাংলা (Bengali) | 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified) | 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional) | Français (French) | Kreyòl Ayisyen (Haitian Creole) | 한국어 (Korean) | Język Polski (Polish) | Русский (Russian) | ردو (Urdu)

May 28, 2020: Governor Cuomo signed an executive order authorizing private businesses to deny entry to those who do not wear masks or face coverings.

You can learn more and watch Governor Cuomo sign the executive order here.

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.

June 18: Governor Cuomo amended Executive Order 202.43 (EO) to include updated guidance for food and beverage establishments effective immediately.

Under the amended Executive Order 202.43, businesses selling or serving alcohol to be consumed at the business or elsewhere must ensure that everyone within 100 feet of their business is:

  • In compliance with open-container, social-distancing, and face-covering rules; and
  • Following all existing rules, regulations, and laws.

Businesses that cannot follow these guidelines must stop selling alcohol until they can.

Violations could result in having a license suspended or revoked, with fines up to $10,000 per violation.

Patrons can also be fined for breaking open container or social distancing rules.

You can learn more and watch the announcement here.

July 16: Governor Cuomo announces new regulations for bars and restaurants to ensure compliance with State social distancing and face covering orders

Governor Cuomo signed an executive order on July 16, imposing requirements and restrictions on the sale of alcohol at bars and restaurants whose liquor licenses require that they also make food available to patrons. All restaurants and bars statewide must only serve alcohol to people who are also ordering and eating food, and all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers.

Full Guidance from the State Liquor Authority

Additionally, as part of the "Three Strikes and You're Closed" initiative, any establishment that receives three violations will be shut down. Outdoor dining is for just that: outdoor dining. New York State does not approve outdoor bars where you set up tables for people to place drinks and then have a block party of 100 people mingling outside. Citizens can report violations to the NYS Liquor Authority.

Learn more here.

November 11: Governor Cuomo announces new COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants, and gyms

Effective Friday, November 13, at 10 p.m., bars, restaurants, and gyms or fitness centers, as well as any State Liquor Authority-licensed establishment, will be required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

Restaurants will still be allowed to provide curbside, food-only pick-up or delivery after 10 p.m. so long as otherwise permitted, but cannot serve alcohol to go. The State Liquor Authority will issue further guidance for licensees.

For more information, read Governor Cuomo's press release.


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.

If you think your business is essential but is not included here, you may apply for Essential Business Designation.

What are some general good practices for essential businesses?

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 right now?

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 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.

My business delivers essential services and 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.

Childcare for Essential Workers

The City is offering free childcare for the children of essential workers, with at least two sites in every school district. Childcare will be offered Monday-Friday, from 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. The centers will provide children with three daily hot meals, remote learning time with their teachers, activities like art, music, and physical education, and social and emotional support.

Essential workers who are New York City residents and would like to enroll in one of these centers need to complete this Regional Enrichment Center (REC) Enrollment Form. The form needs to be completed for every child, and the worker will then receive an email confirming your child's center assignment.


Information for Essential 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.

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.

Free Face Coverings for Small Businesses & Their Employees

The City of New York will distribute more than 4 million face coverings citywide to small businesses and their employees as we move toward reopening the local economy. To get these resources to you and your employees, the NYC Department of Small Business Services and NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection are working with business-serving partner organizations throughout the five boroughs.

Learn more and find a distribution partner located near you.

If you would like to purchase additional 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.

New York City will also continue distributing face coverings in parks, DOE Grab & Go meal sites, NYCHA buildings, some Mitchell-Lama buildings, grocery stores, and during social distancing enforcement. Learn more at nyc.gov/facecoverings.

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, 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, Governor Cuomo 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?

Due to overwhelming interest in the NYC Business Continuity Loan Fund, we have paused application intake.

Note: The NYC Employee Retention Grant Program is no longer accepting applications.

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 here:

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

New York Forward Loan Fund

On May 22, Governor Cuomo announced the New York Forward Loan Fund, a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. The NYFLF targets the state's small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income. The NYFLF is specifically timed to support businesses and organizations as they proceed to reopen and have upfront expenses to comply with guidelines (e.g., inventory, marketing, refitting for new social distancing guidelines) under the New York Forward Plan.

Pre-applications for the New York Forward Loan Fund are now open. Priority will be given to industries and regions that have been reopened. This is not a first-come, first-served loan program. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as regions and industries reopen.

  • Small businesses and nonprofits must employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees;
  • Small businesses must have gross revenues of less than $3 million per year;
  • Nonprofits must provide direct services and have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million per year; and
  • Have not received a loan from SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020.

On September 24, Empire State Development (ESD) announced that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recipients are now eligible to receive low-interest loans from the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF). This conditional change will provide the Fund's network of lenders and financial institutions with greater flexibility and enable them to provide more small businesses with working capital to cover expenses associated with reopening.

Learn more, including how to apply, here.

If you have any questions or need help with your application, request assistance here.

Restaurant Revitalization Program

The Restaurant Revitalization Program (RRP) provides up to $30,000 to select restaurants to pay unemployed or under-employed workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This 6- to 12-week program helps restaurants that want to support their workers’ financial well-being and help feed community members in need.

Learn more and apply here.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Financial Assistance Programs

We recommend that businesses interested in the PPP reach out to your business lender to understand any additional criteria they may require to qualify.

You should reach out to the SBA for guidance on how any other financial awards could impact your SBA award. If you have questions related to the SBA programs, find a local SBA resource partner.

Businesses can access free assistance to apply to the SBA loan products. We help businesses:

  • Understand which loan is best suited for their needs
  • Review and put together loan documents
  • Calculate loan repayment terms
  • Connect with multiple lenders – including banks, credit unions, non-profit lenders and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Prepare SBA loan forgiveness documents
  • Understand loan payment deferment options

Learn more and request assistance here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

On June 15, the SBA reopened the EIDL loan program.

  • A low-interest, fixed rate loan up to $10,000
  • Can be used to pay immediate expenses during an emergency (payroll, bills/accounts payable, fixed debts)
  • See localized information here.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 EIDL Loans

Paycheck Protection Program

The deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan was August 8, 2020.

The SBA released new guidance regarding forgiveness for the Paycheck Protection Program.

The new guidance includes a simplified process for loans under $50,000 and clarifies lender responsibilities around borrower calculations and documentation.

Read more in the FAQs.

SBA Express Bridge Loan

  • Businesses with existing relationships with an SBA Express Lender can access up to $25,000 quickly. This loan can be used while applying for the EIDL loan
  • This loan must be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

SBA Debt Relief

  • As part of SBA's debt relief efforts the SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months
  • The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020

Tip: Ask your lender or accountant about depositing any SBA funding into a separate business banking account. They may recommend doing so, and using that account to only pay for eligible expenses outlined by the SBA, which include: payroll, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, retirement benefits, and health insurance. Separating out your SBA funds from other sources of income may help you more easily prove compliance and enable forgiveness of these loans.

More information on the SBA's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources here.

Please note that scammers are targeting businesses with loan and grant fraud. Beware of phishing emails and robocalls, and doublecheck 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 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?

If you are a farmer, food producer, food processor, food distributor, or food retailer with excess supply or if you have demand for certain food items you cannot meet, let the City know by signing up for the City's Food Supply Match Directory.


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.

Additional Resources