Relief available for small businesses affected by COVID-19

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The de Blasio administration and the Department of Small Business Services announced last Friday that loans are now available for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The Small Business Continuity Fund offers financial assistance to small businesses in New York while they deal with challenges in response to coronavirus, and businesses can access the application online.

To meet the requirements for a loan, small businesses must be located within the five boroughs, demonstrate that the COVID-19 outbreak caused at least a 25% decrease in revenue, employ fewer than 100 employees across all locations, have no outstanding tax liens or legal judgments and demonstrate the ability to repay the loan.

In order to demonstrate a revenue decrease, businesses will be required to provide documentation such as point-of-sales reports, bank statements, quarterly sales tax filings, 2019 tax returns, or CPA-certified profit & loss statements. Businesses that are eligible can receive loans up to $75,000 to help retain employees and ensure business continuity.

The program is a public-private partnership between Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Tapestry, Inc.’s Coach Foundation and Pursuit to provide the loans for local businesses throughout the city.

“The city is committed to making sure small businesses have the resources they need to stay open during this time,” said Gregg Bishop, commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “As the situation continues to evolve, we will hear from our small businesses and make the necessary changes to address the challenges that they are facing. This partnership represents a step in the right direction as City and private companies come together to assist this community.”

Local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are also offering services to help local shops get the resources they need during the pandemic. Flatiron BID Executive Director James Mettham said that the BID itself has a small staff so it wasn’t technically difficult to set up for the team to work remotely, but he said that the more challenging task is knowing what’s happening in the neighborhood.

“It is difficult to be ordered away from the neighborhood you’re cast with locally serving and advocating for at this hour of greatest need, citywide, nationwide and globally at the drop of a dime that’s been decimated,” he said.

The BID has been working on being a resource for local businesses so small organizations in the neighborhood can get information about relief that is available. The BID has a resource page on its website, offering links to local business fundraisers that offer ways customers can support businesses they love, as well as virtual experiences and online classes from institutions and businesses throughout the Flatiron/NoMad neighborhood.

The Union Square Partnership has released a number of resources for small businesses as well, including information about the program from SBS, in addition to a grant program offered by the city for small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than five employees. The grants cover 40% of payroll costs for two months in order to help the company retain employees.

US Senator Charles Schumer also announced legislation signed by the president that offers $33.8 billion in relief for the Small Business Administration for payroll relief to New York small businesses.

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