Help Available For Small Businesses Affected By Coronavirus

Help Available For Small Businesses Affected By Coronavirus
Coney Island Avenue. Liena Zagare/Bklyner

Yesterday, March 9, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced measures to help businesses affected or about to be affected by the coronavirus. The city is asking businesses to carry on, but if possible to allow employees to work remotely, or at stagger the hours so that rush hour commuting is not as packed.

“If you have a business where people typically all come in at eight o’clock or nine o’clock and you can get some of them to come in at 10:00 am and work later, that really helps us. So we’re looking for either or both of those accommodations from employers to the maximum extent they can,” the Mayor said.

We have reported on the impact on the businesses in Brooklyn’s Chinatowns, but all businesses should have plans in case of an emergency.

We reached out to Small Business Services (SBS) for more details, and if you run a business, here’s what you need to know:

Is there a number to call?

Call #311, ask for the small business relief programs for coronavirus/COVID-19 and you should be directed to someone at SBS that can help.

What kind of help is available right now and over the coming weeks/months?

The City will provide relief for small businesses across the City who are seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19.

  • Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.
  • The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months (an average of $6,000) to help retain employees. Eligible owners who would like to learn more about these programs should call 311 for assistance.
  • You can also let the City know you need help by filling out this form. More information and tips are available here.

If you run a retail business:

The Department of Consumer Affairs is designating items that are in short supply.  This currently includes N95 masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes, most up to date list can be found here. This means that any stores that charge exorbitant prices for those items will be fined up to $500 per incident. Use #311 to report.

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