Dear Hunts Point, Longwood, Port Morris and South Bronx Businesses:

March 16, 2020 -  Aware that the Corona Virus (COVID-19) will severely impact small business, the City of New York has announced that there is assistance available to help businesses stay afloat, protect their employees and adapt to changing customer behavior.

Economic Assistance

 Businesses may qualify for low-interest loans and employee retention grants:

Zero-interest loan: 

Zero-interest loans of up to $75K will be available to help businesses that experience a sales decline associated with COVID-19.  

The working capital will help businesses remain afloat during this potential decrease in economic activity. Similar to SBA disaster loans, which have long repayment terms, these loans would be structured so that businesses have time to recover.

To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and document at least a 25% percent decrease in sales.  

Employee retention grant: 

A cash grant of up to 40% of payroll to help pay and retain employees during decrease in sales.  

Businesses with fewer than five employees are eligible.  

More about all programs here: 

Direct link to Employee Retention Grant  here: 


SBS is developing a variety of resources and wants you feedback, so please fill out the online Business Survey to receive more info about COVID-19 assistance and other programs:

Health & Business Resilience

The City remains open for business. At this time, New Yorkers do not need to limit travel within the city, change where they purchase food or how they prepare it, or avoid public transportation. However, gatherings of more than 50 persons are discouraged, and bars and restaurants are temporarily limited to take-out services. New Yorkers are reminded to stay home if they feel sick, and practice good hygiene. 

This is a rapidly changing situation, visit the NYC Health website for more up-to-date information, including FAQs for employers.

The government has four particularly useful guides for businesses in these trying times. All are available to download at the bottom of this page.

NYC Coronavirus Health Factsheet 

Guidance for Understanding Changes in Customer Behavior

Business Emergency Planning Checklist

CDC Business Planning Checklist for Pandemics

For the most up to date and accurate social media content, please only share content from the federal Centers for Disease Control (social media links at bottom right of the homepage) or NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The City info can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram via the handle @nychealthy. 

You may also share content that is posted by the NYC Department of Small Business Services, found on the following channels: 

· Facebook and LinkedIn: @NYC Department of Small Business Services

· Twitter: @NYC_SBS

· Instagram: @nycsmallbiz

What can I do to prepare for a potential local outbreak?

· Review human resources policies, establish flexible or staggered work hours, identify critical job roles, plan communications strategies with staff, and share and discuss the outbreak response plan with employees.

My customers are wary about public spaces. What should I tell them?

· If customers are concerned about going into a public space, businesses should consider providing in-home services. Make sure policies and procedures around home visits are clear to all employees. 

What can I do to help decrease fear and discrimination related to COVID-19?

· Stay informed, listen to public health messages from reliable sources like the NYC Health Department or the CDC, and implement good personal and public health practices to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. 

· Avoid stigmatizing people on the basis of ethnicity or who have recently traveled from any affected areas. There are a lot of things on social media and in the news that are not rooted in science and are offensive, demeaning, and racist. Learn more from the NYC Coronavirus Health Factsheet (download below).

Are there any suggested signs I can print out and hang in my business?

· Yes! You can visit the NYC Department of Health website to find printable signage about how to stay healthy. Got to: (scroll down to the bottom of the page and under Additional Information, click “Posters”)