Straight from the experts
We've compiled a wealth of resources to help guide you, your business, and your employees through the Coronavirus pandemic. Filtering out the noise during times like these can be a difficult task, and that's why we've gathered credible resources directly from the experts for you to rely on. We will continue to keep this page and the accompanying materials updated as a resource for you.
(NEW!) Capital Region Business Advancement Fund: A new lending and relief program for Capital Region businesses. Rensselaer County based businesses ARE eligible to apply. Click here to learn more of the requirements and loan details
(NEW - PPP Loan Forgiveness): 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). Read and download a copy of the form here.
WATCH: Our friends at Greenbush Financial Group, LLC have created this brief video that guides businesses through the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application process: click here to view.
(NEW- Business Safety Plan): The State has indicated each business will have to develop a safety plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Reopening plans do NOT have to be submitted to state agencies for approval; however, plans should be kept on premise and available for NYS DOH in the event of an inspection.
- Employers must submit a form to the State affirming they have read and understand the guidelines and will implement them.
- You may use this safety plan template designed by the state OR develop your own safety plan.
(NEW - Phase One Guidelines): The State has provided specific guidelines that businesses in the Phase One (construction, retail, manufacturing and agriculture) must adhere to. For an overview of those guidelines specific to each sector, click here.
Governor Cuomo and his team have unveiled the regional criterion that must be met before a region can proceed with reopening. Read more about those metrics here.
(April 26, 2020): Governor Cuomo has introduced an initial outline for a phased reopening of NY Businesses. Read the full plan here.
(April 24, 2020): The second CARES Act relief funding bill was passed in the Senate and signed into effect on April 24. For a top-line summary of the funding and allocation of where the $659 Billion relief will be distributed, click here.
(April 6, 2020) The UAlbany Small Business Development Center has received additional clarification on the eligibility and requirements of both the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- For the latest on the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, click here.
- For the latest on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.
(Effective March 27 at 4 p.m.) The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security) was just passed by the House. For a complete breakdown of the impact and implications this aid will provide to Small Businesses, click here.
- WATCH a webinar session from the UAlbany Small Business Development Center that focuses on the CARES Act and available programs to businesses,click here. Please note you will be prompted to provide your email address, and the webinar will be sent to you.
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. View the checklist for your business to qualify.
- Summary of Bipartisan Agreement for CARES Act
- Under the CARES Act, there is additional relief for workers affected by COVID19. See New York State's Flowchart of Relief for Affected Workers
- NEW: See the list of lenders available for the Paycheck Protection Program
Governor Cuomo has announced he is mandating that any non-essential business across New York must have 100% of their workforce work from home. (Effective March 20 at 11a.m). These mandates have been extended and will remain in effect through at least May 15, 2020.
- Governor Cuomo has provided an initial plan to 'Un-Pause' NY businesses. Click here to read that plan.
- To apply for an exemption to this mandate, the State has provided this application for businesses.
- Empire State Development (ESD) offers guidelines as what the state deems as "essential businesses" and therefore, exempt from the executive order. Click here.
- Have a question regarding the essential business mandate? Review this Essential Business FAQ.
The Small Business Association (SBA) has announced they will be offering up to $2 Million in disaster assistance loans to qualifying small businesses and non-profit organizations. For qualifications and more details, click here.
As the EIDL applications continue to surge, the Office of Disaster Assistance has provided an alternate method for applicants to submit and upload forms while the application portal is down for maintenance. Click to access PDFs and see where you would upload completed forms.
- Here's the guide for the 3 Step Process of Applying
- NEW Our partners at Albany Small Businesses Development Center (SBDC) have created a step-by-step guide for businesses that helps explain the SBA Disaster Loan Application Process. Click here for those resources
(Effective March 18) Governor Cuomo has announced Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave.
- The new law guarantees job-protected paid leave to workers who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation for COVID-19, issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order, or whose minor dependent child is under such an order.
- Read about guidelines for Employers for Paid Sick Leave during COVID-19 under this law.
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidelines on the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (Passed March 18) and goes into effect on April 1, 2020. Read the guidance here. In addition, The Department of Labor (US and NYS) have guidance on FMLA, PFL and unemployment insurance:
- The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a series of Q&As on the impact of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For a downloadable version you can use in your workplace, click here.
- The New York State Department of Labor has released new mandates and revised schedule for individuals who need to file for unemployment insurance. Click here for more information. NEW: NYS has waived the 7 day waiting period for unemployment insurance.
- The New York State of Department of Labor has a FAQ fact sheet regarding the Shared Work Program which gives employers an alternative to laying off workers during business downturns by allowing them to work a reduced work schedule.
In addition to SBA loans, organizations can access capital through additional resources:
- Facebook announced a new program (on 3/17) where they will be offering up to $100 Million in cash grants and ad credits to small businesses disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more details on the program and qualifications, click here.
- The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region is developing emergency loan funding for their clients.
- The United Way of the Greater Capital Region and The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region have created The Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund which aims to provide flexible resources to 501c3 organizations in our region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak. Learn more about the fund and qualifications here.
More resources from our partners:
- The CDC has developed a recommended guidance plan for employers to adhere to. Based on the current understanding of the Coronavirus, this comprehensive guide lays the groundwork for businesses to follow to proactively plan ahead. Read the full guide here.
- The New York State Business Council has created series of memos that employers can share with their employees. For a general memorandum to share with employees regarding policies and steps to take during the outbreak, click here. For a template memorandum employers can share with their employees to enact temporary telecommuting arrangements, click here.
- In the event that you or an employee contracts COVID-19, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created an informative guide with step-by-step processes businesses can take to mitigate exposure. Read the full guide here.
- Empire State Development (ESD) of New York is encouraging and accepting any COVID-19 related questions from the business community. Submit your questions here.
- The NY Attorney General is currently accepting submissions for suspension of state-related debt collection. For more information, qualifications and the application, click here.
- The New York State Department of Health has released a new set of guidelines for retail stores to follow to provide a thoroughly sanitized storefront for customers. Read and download the guide here.
Local & Statewide Impact
- The Department of Tax and Finance has released its guidelines regarding abatement of interest on quarterly and annual sales and use tax filings and remittances with a due date of March 20, 2020, for those who were unable to timely file and pay as result of the COVID-19 virus.
- New York State and the Federal income tax filing deadline has been moved to July 15 from April 15. Read more here. Please note, this comes from the Govenor's press conference and guidance on details are forthcoming. The tax filing extensions are for 2019 taxes only. To date neither the IRS nor New York State has announced extensions to file and pay 2020 estimated income tax payment.
- The New York State Department of Health is offering an up-to-date breakdown of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in counties across the state. For the latest figures, click here.
- Rensselaer County has enacted new protocols to visitation of county facilities (as of March 12) click here for more.
- The City of Troy has announced suspended metered parking in downtown Troy effective March 17. Read the full set of guidelines here.
- The City of Troy has announced city-owned playgrounds and basketball courts will be closed effective March 24. City Parks are still open and remain accessible. More information here.
- National Grid is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our customers. These policies are effective immediately and will be in place through the end of April. More information here.
Mental Health Resources
In these unprecedented times of heightened isolation and anxiety, it is of paramount importance that we monitor and prioritize our mental health.
- The New York State Department of Health's Office of Mental Health has released a series of basic mental health guidelines for everyone managing the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read and distribute their advice here
- Carebridge Corporation has released a series of mental health guidelines to adhere to: for general guidelines, click here. For advice to managers and supervisors on how to best manage and anticipate the needs of employees, click here. And for the heroic medical professionals on the front lines of this fight, click here.
- Telemedicine Services powered by United Concierge Medicine: CDPHP, MVP and Blue Shield are offering telemedicine benefits at no cost for visits related to COVID-19. ER Anywhere App: New ER Anywhere App being provided by CDPHP and MVP in conjunction with United Concierge Medicine to provide members free/no-cost access to telemedicine services to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Doing Your Part
- The CDC has created a series of steps that individuals should adhere to in order to minimize their potential risk for contracting the Coronavirus. Read and share those steps here.
- In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization has prepared a guide specifically catered to organizers of mass gatherings. Read and download the plan here.
Members Helping Members
Our members have stepped up to the challenge and are helping our communities. See below for services. For webinars and training, see the Chamber's Member Events Calendar.
- Greenbush Financial has created a short, informational video for anyone who may have accidentally misplaced their stimulus checks from the government. Watch the video here.
- Cresa Albany has provided a presentation on the list of items and considerations you should make to rethink your workspace for an eventual return to work. Click here to read the presentation.
- SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/Southern Washington Counties has created a comprehensive guide for businesses to provide a total and thorough cleaning to their office spaces in an effort to to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Read and download the guide here.
- KPM Restoration has announced that as of March 21, they will officially be a 'COVID-19 certified sanitation service.' Their full-cleaning services can be applied to business and residential properties. For a complete rundown of that process and the cleaning solutions they will be using, refer to this guide.
- E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy LLP provided a comprehensive write-up for businesses and consumers on how they can mitigate losses during the pandemic. Click here to read.
- Walrath Recruiting released their new book about the "ultimate job search" to the community for free. For tips on writing an attention-grabbing cover letter to handling interviews with confidence, you'll learn a lot in this free download.
- Capital District YMCA is providing critical childcare services to emergency personnel. To learn more, visit here.
- GTM Payroll has some tips for those able to work remotely and how to be productive.
- Capital Roots has expanded their hours during the pandemic to provide fresh produce to the community. Learn more.