UPDATED: April 17, 2020 –

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced a new grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States. To qualify, applicants must employ between 3-20 people and have been financially harmed by the pandemic. The application will go live on Monday, April 20 at 3 PM.

UPDATED: April 15, 2020 –

The Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency (IURA), Tompkins County Development Corporation (TCDC) and Cornell University have provided funding for the Ithaca Tompkins County COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Fund (SBRF). The SBRF will provide forgivable loans of up to $5,000 to “micro-enterprises and small businesses in Ithaca and Tompkins County experiencing hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

  • These loans carry a zero-interest rate, an 18-month term, and will be forgiven for businesses “open and in operation on December 1, 2020 that have complied with the program rules.”
  • The announcement stresses that demand may exceed the availability of the program’s funding.
  • Priority will be given to ground-floor storefront businesses open to the general public and businesses in established commercial districts.
  • Learn more including how to apply: https://www.cityofithaca.org/658/COVID-19

Tompkins County Area Development has introduced a short-term emergency relief fund to provide loans for Tompkins County businesses impacted by COVID-19.

  • These loans carry three-year term loans, 36-month terms, and a 2.5% interest rate with no equity requirement to traded sector businesses whose customers are regional or national in scope.
  • Learn more including how to apply: http://tcad.org/

UPDATED: April 2, 2020 –

Additional resources have been made available with the signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. Click here to read our breakdown of the CARES Act.

Original post: March 25, 2020 –

As federal and state governments work to alleviate the financial hardship caused by the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, it can be difficult to stay up to date on all the resources being made to small businesses at this time. We have compiled a variety of guidelines and resources to provide vital information and much-needed relief to your business below:

New York State & Tompkins County Policies and Resources

  • As of Sunday, March 22 at 8PM, Governor Cuomo has mandated that 100% of “non-essential” workforce employees must stay at home. Working from home is encouraged, if possible. Shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions are deemed “essential” and therefore are exempt from the Governor’s Executive Order. If you feel your organization provides essential services but is not currently on the exempt list, you can request to be deemed an “essential business” by filling out this form.
  • The Treasury Department and New York State have extended both the filing and payment deadlines for federal and state income tax from April 15 to July 15. For more information, please read our blog post on these extensions.
  • Small businesses in New York State, as well as all other U.S. states and territories, are now eligible to apply for a low-interest loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Eligible businesses can qualify for a loan of up to $2 million. Businesses must have a significant physical presence in the state of New York, be able to show the ability to repay the loan, and be able to prove they have lost revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There is no cost to apply or to take the loan. If you are approved for the loan, you are not obligated to take it if a better option arises and there is no penalty if the loan is paid off early. Read our blog post to learn more and apply today.
  • Governor Cuomo has signed emergency legislation that guarantees job protection and financial compensation for anyone who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary quarantine or isolation issued by New York State, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such an order. This legislation also applies to a minor dependent child of an affected parent or guardian. You can learn more about the paid leave policy on New York State’s website.
  • The New York State Shared Work Program is intended to help businesses maintain a trained staff and avoid layoffs while reducing employee’s hours. Employees can receive partial unemployment benefits while working these reduced hours. You can learn more about to program on the NYS Labor Department’s website here.

For additional local information, be sure to view the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce’s dedicated webpage featuring helpful chamber, county, and state information.

Federal Policies and Resources

  • As stated above, the Treasury Department has extended the income tax filing and payment deadlines from April 15 to July 15. You can read our blog which further breaks down the payment extension here.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, signed by President Trump on Wednesday, March 18 provides a payroll tax credit to companies who provide paid sick leave or family or medical leave for their employees who miss work due to several coronavirus-related reasons. This credit covers 100% of eligible wages paid by the employer.
  • Another portion of H.R. 6201 requires employers with fewer than 500 employees provide public health emergency leave when an employee is unable to work or telework in order to care for a child under age 18 because the school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

It’s important to note that the details are still coming out as to how exactly these tax credits will end up working. If you have any questions regarding these tax credits, as always, please contact us and stay tuned to our website and social media for future updates.

Additional Resources

  • Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement has compiled a list of helpful resources specific to startup companies here.
  • Local to the Ithaca area, service industry workers have created a “Virtual Tip Jar” which allows community members to provide some financial support via Venmo, Paypal, and the Cash app to bartenders, waitstaff, hairdressers, and others who are no longer able to rely on the tips which make up a large percentage of their wage. If you are a local service industry worker whose work and income has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, you can fill out this form to be added to the tip jar’s list.
  • Yelp has announced $25 million of waived advertising fees and free advertising for independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses. Restaurants offering delivery and/or takeout can receive $100 in free search advertising. These efforts are available to “small, independently owned restaurant and nightlife businesses and franchisees in the U.S., Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico with fewer than five locations.” You can learn more on Yelp’s blog here.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to reach out to your loan providers as many financial institutions are offering temporary loan assistance. Tompkins Trust Company has implemented a temporary program to provide relief to its loan customers affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Learn more here.

Sciarabba Walker understands this is an unusual and challenging time for all of us. We will monitor future announcements from both federal and state governments regarding this ongoing crisis and update this blog as additional resources are announced.

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