This page was updated on May 27 2020 at 12:02 AM
This Webster Chamber of Commerce website page is specifically focused on resources and links for Chamber members who are dealing with the economic impact of the regulations and restrictions put in place that affect businesses and their employees. Check back regularly as the page will be updated as factual information becomes available. We realize that many businesses and employees are now struggling and will continue to struggle with the financial impact of the current situation in New York State, the United States, and the world. We also recognize that this impact may result in businesses failing and closing their doors for good.
New York State Re-opening in Phases
Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Re-opening refers to non-essential businesses and business activities. Essential businesses and business activities that are open will remain open. There are guidelines and protocols that apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to re-open and essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open. Use the link below to look-up your business to see when you will be allowed to re-open.
NYS issued Industry Guidelines and Protocols (Summary and Detailed) in Phase 1 that are specific to that industry/business type. Guidelines for businesses in Phases 2 and beyond (as well as Essential businesses currently open) will be issued in the future (no timeline has been mentioned. There is also an online form for a business to affirm that they have read the guidelines and have or will be implementing them before re-opening.
Each re-opening business must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out a template to fulfill the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.
Business owners should refer to the State’s industry-specific guidelines for more information on how to safely operate - click here for that information.
In the Finger Lakes Region only Phase 1 businesses will begin re-opening on May 15th. Phase 2 and beyond will have specifics and guidance on Safety Plans forthcoming.
SBA Disaster Loans and Assistance (for CARES ACT):
Update 05/15/2020 SBA: The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application.
The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.
The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:
- Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
- Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
- Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
- Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
- Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined
The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The documents released today will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.
Chamber member Tim Shortsleeve passed along this blog post summary regarding the PPP forgiveness application with some tricks and traps. Thanks to Steve Nelson for allowing us to post with his permission. Click here to see his summary.
For complete details on SBA, visit www.sba.gov. SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process at 1-800-659-2955.
NYS Contact Tracing Initiative: Click here for more information and to apply
New York State is looking to immediately fill the following roles:
- *Contact* Tracers: reach out to the contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to assess symptoms, ensure compliance with quarantine and determine social support needs.
- Team Supervisors: lead a team of 20 *Contact* Tracers, and one Community Support Specialist who are working remotely using digital tools.
- Community Support Specialists: work with the team and the local health departments to address the physical/mental health, and social/human service needs of those contacted, especially those who are under isolation or quarantine.
Face Covering now in effect:
Governor Cuomo has ordered all citizens wear face coverings in public areas where social distancing is not possible. The order took effect at 8:00 pm Friday, April 17. Businesses have the requirement that “face coverings” be worn by employees working at essential businesses who have direct contact with customers or the general public, effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8:00 PM.
Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Application
New York State has set up an application for New Yorkers to apply for pandemic unemployment assistance without having to first apply for unemployment insurance. This affects people who not be traditionally eligible for NYS unemployment (sole proprietors, particularly). Here's a link with more detail
ESD Web Portal - Essential Business information:
Link to Guidance on Essential Businesses (updated 04/28/2020) FAQs are here: Click here for FAQs regarding if you are subject to the rules.
Cares Act - Loans & Grants for immediate and longer term assistance:
NEW 05/13/2020: The US Treasury released new FAQs
Updates on NYS Unemployment and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:
The best way to file a new claim for unemployment insurance is through the improved online filing system. File a new claim here. This is only for new claims. If you already have a claim, please go to labor.ny.gov/signin to make weekly certifications or to view your claim information. New Yorkers who have already filed partial claims under the old UI system and were told to call the call center to finish their application should NOT - instead, the DOL call center will call these New Yorkers directly.
Click on this link to SEE IF YOU QUALIFY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT - most people do, even self employed and sole practitioners
Click on this link for RELIEF FOR WORKERS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS ACT information
Click on this link for the RELIEF FOR WORKERS FLOWCHART Information
Health Insurance Special enrollment and help with subsidies and low cost insurance:
New Yorkers without health insurance can apply through NY State of Health through June 15, 2020; you must apply within 60 days of losing coverage.
Individuals who enroll in through NY State of Health are eligible for subsidies, cost share reductions, the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus, and Medicaid - all based on income levels. Reduced income due to COVID closures and layoffs could make you or your family eligible.
Call the Webster Chamber of Commerce to see if you might be eligible and for enrollment on the NY State of Health.
Retail Council of NYS offer free website listing for retailers (at no cost):
The Retail Council of New York State has created an online listing of stores across the state so they can do business remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The listing at RetailNewYork.com, grew from a handful of stores to more than 100 in two weeks. The listing is open to all retailers in the state, not just members of the Retail Council. Retailers can become part of the list with a few clicks at the new website. They don’t have to have an online store to participate, or even a web page.,
NYS Website / NY On Pause (now extended to 05/15) website with the latest NYS information:
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a new executive order mandating all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state to reduce their in-person workforce at any location by 100%, excepting operations deemed essential. This mandate goes into effect at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 22. Businesses not in compliance with this mandate face civil penalties and/or closure.
Here is New York State's regularly updated (throughout the day) website providing a broad array of information including further links and information for businesses and the latest announcements: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
Chamber Members offering help to Chamber Members:
Chamber members are offering assistance to other businesses during this situation. Those businesses have provided the following information and links:
Harter Secrest & Emery LLP: The Law firm is providing free webinars with guidance for employers during the COVID situation. Recordings of upcoming and previous guidance for employers webinars by them.
CMSMAX is one of the largest website developers and content management providers in the area and is offering free services during the situation. CLICK HERE to go to their website for all the information.
Computer Works Pro, Inc is an independent IT consultant and Computer Sales & Service Provider. They are open and available to assist you. CLICK here to go to their Facebook page
Spectrum Internet: Spectrum is aware that reduction in staff at offices and businesses is creating needs for internet connections to be set up for their employees at home. They are also hearing from businesses that need to stream meetings requiring higher bandwidth or that need a new internet connection. With higher demand for internet, customers may need to upgrade the internet at the office-- especially if they have employees that need to VPN into the office. Steve Conger from Spectrum has been helping members with internet services during this time. Please email Steve if you need assistance.
CMIT Solutions: CMIT is waiving on-boarding fees for Webster Chamber members through the month of April (must have 10 or more employees). Members can have a remote assessment about their IT support needs to see how CMIT Solutions can be of help. Email Cheryl Nelan for more information.
Monroe County Emergency Small Business Assistance for Business Affected by COVID-19:
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, Monroe County has established a loan program to support small businesses (defined as businesses having 50 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees) impacted by the pandemic. Those seeking financial assistance can click here to get the information and the online application.
Monroe County Job Portal:
Monroe County announced a job portal that will connect essential businesses who are looking to expand their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis and individuals across the community who are healthy and looking for work. While the local economic impact of COVID-19 is already visible, this is an effort to direct both employers looking to hire workers and residents seeking work to a single platform. Job seekers and employers are encouraged to use the RochesterWorks system, which may be accessed at www.monroecounty.gov/works.
Guidance on Family Leave Laws - NYS and Federal from the Small Business Council:
The Webster Chamber is a member of the NYS Small Business Council. They are providing guidance (as of 03/19/2020) on the Federal and NYS Leave Laws, including employer mandates, eligibility and strategy for employees. Click here to review that updated information.
New York State Shared Work Program:
Consider the Shared Work program as you manage your work force. Shared Work lets you keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible. See the website for details.
The Chamber is in contact with local, regional, State and Federal legislators directly or through our partnerships with the Business Council of New York State, Unshackle Upstate, and the Chamber Alliance of New York State. We are working hard to advocate for our members and assist them in getting our legislators to understand the impact this crisis is having on all businesses.