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Coronavirus Updates for Businesses

Posted on: May 27, 2021

Governor Cuomo Announces $3.5 Billion in Assistance for Small Businesses

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $3.5 billion in assistance for renters and small businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The small business recovery grant program makes up to $800 million in funding available for small businesses to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Applications for the program will be accepted starting June 10 for small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Flexible grants up to $50,000 will be made available to eligible small businesses and can be used for operating expenses, including payroll, rent or mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, personal protective equipment, or other business expenses incurred during the pandemic. Over 330,000 small and micro businesses are potentially eligible for this program, including 57 percent of the State's certified MWBEs.

Governor Cuomo also announced that starting Tuesday, May 25, phase two of the Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew campaign will launch to make small businesses and residents who have been financially impacted by the pandemic aware of the many relief and recovery programs that are available in New York State. Print ads will run in local community newspapers across the state and social media ads will be featured on Facebook and Linked in with additional digital video ads advertised across the internet. 

"New Yorkers and small businesses in every corner of the State were devastated by the pandemic, and as we continue to recover and rebuild we need to make sure they have the resources they need get back on their feet and succeed in a new, reimagined economy," Governor Cuomo said. "This critical funding will help ensure New Yorkers who are experiencing financial hardship through no fault of their own will not be thrown onto the streets, while also providing stability for small businesses so they can help play a role in New York's economic resurgence."

Small Business Recovery Grant Program

The small business recovery grant program will provide funding to small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, with priority being given to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses, and businesses located in economically distressed communities. 

Grants will be for a minimum award of $5,000 and a maximum award of $50,000 and will be calculated based on a New York State business' annual gross receipts for 2019. Reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses must have been incurred between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021 and can include:

    Payroll costs

    Commercial rent or mortgage payments for NYS-based property

    Payment of local property or school taxes 

    Insurance costs

    Utility costs

    Costs of personal protection equipment (PPE) necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety

    Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) costs

    Other machinery or equipment costs

    Supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols

ESD has created a website - NYSBusinessRecovery.ny.gov - to highlight the various resources available to support small businesses seeking pandemic relief. The website will be continuously updated as more details and funding information as it becomes available.

The ESD Board of Directors approved $10 million in technical assistance grants for New York's statewide Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers and Small Business Development Centers to help small businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations secure COVID-related financial assistance and grants available through existing state and federal programs.

This network of service providers will work directly with small businesses, guiding them through available funding sources and helping them navigate the application process. Recognizing that pandemic-induced economic hardship has disproportionately affected micro and small businesses and that application processes can be difficult to navigate - especially due to a language barrier - the partners will use these funds to hire or contract more staff for one-on-one, direct counseling services. Education materials and applications will be offered in 12 languages in addition to English. This support, along with increased technical assistance staffing, will position these providers to better assist businesses and organizations in applying for funding through the New York State's COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or any other available federal economic recovery program, catalyzing our state and local economies as more businesses and communities reopen. 

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